The World's Champion Villain

Much of the world now believes that the United States is a force for evil.

Hugo Chavez: George Bush is "the devil".

Harry Belafonte: Bush is "the greatest terrorist in the world".

Nelson Mandela:  U.S. is "a threat to world peace".

Ann Wright (retired U.S. Army colonel and State Dept. official, now anti-war activist):  "We are the cause of violence in Iraq.  The violence will continue as long as we're there."

William Blum (author of Rogue State, and quoted by Osama bin Laden): "If I were the president, I could stop terrorist attacks against the United States in a few days. Permanently. I would first apologize to all the widows and orphans, the tortured and impoverished, and all the many millions of other victims of American imperialism. Then I would announce, in all sincerity, to every corner of the world, that America's global interventions have come to an end."

Joel Rogers (in The Nation): "Our own government, through much of the past fifty years, has been the world's leading ‘rogue state.' ... the bodies of literally hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of innocents, most of them children, whose lives we have taken without any pretense to justice."

Amnesty International: "Throughout the world, on any given day, a man, woman, or child is likely to be displaced, tortured, killed, or 'disappeared', at the hands of governments or armed political groups. More often than not, the United States shares the blame."
And these are not isolated opinions.  In a recent poll, a majority of Europeans think that America is now "a threat to world peace" and see "George Bush as a greater danger to world peace than either the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Il, or the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad."

I'm sure many in the U.S. believe the same.  There seems to be a notion that the world's natural state is one of peace, if only the U.S. hegemon would take a chill pill.

As they used to say: time for a reality check. 

First of all, the United States wasn't even around through most of history, when peoples were annihilating each other in virtually continual warfare - from the extinction of the Neanderthals through Genghis Khan.  But we don't have to go that far back in history; the last century is rife with examples of violence in the world.

One way to get a handle on "evil" in the world is to examine genocides.  The list below is a complete listing of all alleged genocides since 1915, according to Wikipedia.

  • Japan 1910-45.  Japanese killed 25,000,000 Chinese and enslaved millions of Koreans.
  • Turkey 1915-23.  Turks (Muslims) killed 1,500,000 Armenians (Christians).
  • Germany 1940-45.  Nazis killed 11,000,000 Jews, Romas, homosexuals, Slavs, the mentally ill and communists.
  • Croatia 1941-45.  Croats (Catholics) killed 500,000 Serbs (Christian Orthodox).
  • China 1950-80.  Chinese Communists killed 65,000,000 fellow Chinese.  (Fatality count from The Black Book of Communism.)
  • Zanzibar 1964.  Africans killed 5,000 Arabs and Jews.
  • Bangladesh 1971.  Muslims killed 1,500,000 Hindus.
  • Burundi 1972.  Tutsis killed 125,000 Hutus.
  • Cambodia 1975-79.  Communist Cambodians killed 1,700,000 fellow Cambodians.
  • East Timor 1975-99.  Indonesian military (Muslim) killed 150,000 Timors, including many ethnic Chinese.
  • Afghanistan 1979-89.  Soviet Communists killed unspecified number of Afghans.
  • Lebanon (Sabra) 1982.  Christians killed 750 to 3,500 Palestinians.
  • Sudan 1983-2007.  Arab/Muslims killed over 2,000,000 Africans.
  • Iraq 1988.  Iraq's government (Sunni dominated) killed unspecified number of Kurds.
  • Tibet before 1990.  Communist Chinese killed unspecified number of Tibetans.
  • West New Guinea/Papua before 1990.  Indonesian government (Muslim) killed unspecified number of Guineans/Papuans.
  • Bosnia 1992-95.  Serbs killed at least 8,000, mostly Muslim.
  • Rwanda 1994.  Hutus killed 937,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus.
Burundi, Zanzibar, Guinea/Papua, Rwanda, Sudan, Tibet?  Do those sound like the heart of U.S. interventionism's darkness to you?  The largest death tolls are from Communism (100,000,000 dead according to the Black Book of Communism), which was our enemy during the Cold War.  The other big killers were Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan (over 36,000,000 according to the above numbers), who were our enemies in World War II.

In short, the U.S. either had nothing to do with all that violence or was actively fighting to stop it.

Let's move to today, with the U.S. in Iraq.  What was Iraq doing before the U.S. invaded in 2003?  Saddam had already gone to war with two neighbors, Iran and Kuwait, resulting in over a million dead.  Saddam killed hundreds of thousands of his own people; there are over 400,000 dead in mass graves throughout Iraq.  He had lobbed rockets into Saudi Arabia and Israel, shot at U.S. aircraft on UN sanctioned missions and tried to assassinate former President Bush.  He financially rewarded the families of suicide bombers.  And he once had and used WMD, and could make them again.

Yet somehow people seem to believe that if we'd just let Saddam alone, there would be little or no violence in Iraq.  Let's review.  When we did leave him alone, the death count easily reached 1,400,000 or more.  When we merely imposed sanctions, we were accused of causing the deaths of over half a million children.  Now that we've invaded, we're chided for 3,000 American dead and perhaps some tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians.

Let's simplify this by a multiple choice question:  What decision would you make among the following choices:
(a) Do nothing to a regime that has killed over 1,400,000 of its neighbors and own people, shot at U.S. aircraft on UN sanction missions, tried to assassinate a former U.S. president, had contacts with terrorists, had produced WMD and maintained resources to produce them again (assuming it actually got rid of those it had), had declared itself hostile to the U.S. and it allies, and continues to defy UN resolutions, violating terms of its own surrender.

(b) Impose economic sanctions to get a change of that violent behavior, despite the regime causing hundreds of thousand of deaths and blaming them on the sanctions, and not changing violent behavior anyway.

(c ) Invade the country and set up democratic institutions and elections, costing 3,000 or more American deaths and thousands of Iraqi civilian deaths.
It is naïve and sophomoric to harp on what went "wrong", when every possible choice included bad things happening.  And if you think you have some other choice that would have come out wonderfully, consider writing fiction.

Today we face radical Islam.  If you think "they hate us" because of our foreign policy, how do you explain Islamic violence in Thailand, The Philippines, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Sudan, etc.?  Funny how the existence of Israel causes Muslims to kill Hindus, Buddhists, pagans and Christians across the planet.

Dear people:  The true bad guys in this world are not like the boogey man; they do not disappear when you pull the sheet over your head.  Ask the Jews about Auschwitz, the Chinese about Nanking, the Ukrainians about forced famine, the Cambodians about killing fields, the Tutsis about machetes, etc.  Those are example of what happens when the U.S. is not around.