The American public is aware of the endless wars perpetuated by the United States. But it seems unaware of the nation’s support for countries with gross human rights violations.
Namely: Egypt, which specializes in murder, torture, “enforced disappearances” and suppression of all dissent.
The Egyptian government under President Fattah al-Sisi has shut down the nation’s human rights organization and imposed a reign of terror.
It abducts a disabled woman photographer for two weeks as one of thousands of brutalities carried out by the military, police and state security forces. An Italian PhD student, found half-naked by a roadside, was slowly killed by torture carried out by state security forces.
Jessica Winegar, in a Truthout op-ed interpretive piece, reports: “From 1948 to 2015 the U.S. gave $76 billion in aid to Egypt, the vast majority earmarked for the military. Since 1987 this has equaled $1.3 billion a year.”
In short, a far cry from the millions of Egyptians celebrating in Tahrir Square the overthrow of a tyrant in 2011 with the exultant cry: “freedom and social justice.” The U.S. backed the dictator, arguing falsely that the massive aid was necessary to ensure regional security.
Winegar concludes: “The U.S. is mainly responsible for creating and sustaining the vast military machine that puts a stranglehold on the Egyptian people.”
AFGHANISTAN OPIUM WAR
The U.S. fought for 15 years in Afghanistan, the longest war in its history. It deployed 100,000 soldiers. About 2,200 of them were killed. It spent more than a trillion dollars in military operations, expended a hundred billion more on nation- building and reconstruction. And, it helped raise, fund, equip and train an army of 350,000 Afghans.
Yet Alfred McCoy in a news analysis on TomDispatch says the U.S. stands on the brink of defeat in Afghanistan. Why?
“Washington’s massive military juggernaut has been stopped dead in its steel tracks by a pink flower, the opium poppy,” McCoy writes. “For more than three decades in Afghanistan, Washington’s military operations have succeeded only when they fit into Central Asia’s illicit traffic in opium.
“The first U.S. intervention there succeeded because the surrogate war the CIA launched in 1979 to expel the Soviets coincided with Afghan allies using the swelling drug trade to sustain the fight.
“American military technology transformed this remote, landlocked nation into the world’s first narco-state, a country where illicit drugs dominate the economy, define political choices and determine the fate of military interventions.”
ANOTHER HUMANITARIAN DISASTER
President Obama needed to placate Saudi Arabia after he made a deal with the Saudi’s archenemy, Iran. So Obama gave his approval for the Pentagon to support a military campaign.
“But a year later the war has been a humanitarian disaster for Yemen,” the New York Times reported. “And it also shows the perils of Obama’s push to get Middle Eastern countries to take on bigger military roles in the neighborhood.”
Sen. Christopher Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, is blunt: “As I read about the conflict in Yemen, I have a hard time figuring out what the U.S. national security interests are.”
So do millions of Americans.
BOGUS ELECTRIC HIGHWAY
The 450-miles of Highway 95 between Reno and Las Vegas will not be the magnificent “electric highway” that Nevada’s Governor Sandoval boasted of. The governor’s pipe dream was thoroughly demolished recently by Sparks Tribune columnist, Thomas Mitchell.
Jake Highton is an emeritus journalism professor at the University of Nevada, Reno. (firstname.lastname@example.org)