Six Facts Most Americans Don’t Know about Iraq, Afghanistan and Terrorism

1. The Bush administration rejected all potential diplomatic solutions before the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq began

After 9/11, the Bush administration demanded the Taliban extradite bin Laden. The Taliban “were ready to negotiate with Washington about turning over Osama bin Laden to a third country” on the condition that the United States provide evidence that bin Laden was involved in the 9/11 attacks.

The United States refused to negotiate and commenced their bombing campaign. President Bush later added there is “no need to discuss innocence or guilt” on the part of bin Laden. Though it is possible the Taliban weren’t serious about their extradition offer, the point is the United States didn’t even bother to entertain the notion, preferring violence.

The war in Afghanistan has resulted in the deaths of over 3400 coalition forces, tens of thousands of Afghan deaths and tens of thousands wounded.

Iraq also made tentative offers to avoid an invasion, saying they would allow US officials in the country to search for WMD and also promised to hold internationally-monitored elections. Saddam apparently offered to go into exile on the condition he be allowed to keep $1 billion. All of this was rejected, as war was preferred.

As a result, 4800 coalition forces died, as well as hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost us trillions of dollars.

2. The war in Iraq began long before the official start date in March 2003

The United States and Britain began bombing Iraq in mid-to-late 2002. These early bombings were “designed to weaken Iraq’s air defence systems” and had “nothing to do with their stated original purpose of defending the marsh Arabs and the Sh’ia population of southern Iraq.”

In addition, the CIA infiltrated Iraq in the summer of 2002 in preparation for the upcoming war. All of this was at a time when public officials were still pretending they wanted a diplomatic solution, but we now know beyond any shadow of a doubt they fully intended to invade the country.

3. The United States harbors known international terrorists

As George Bush famously said after 9/11, the United States “will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them.” States that harbor terrorists are just guilty as terrorists themselves, and they are subject to attack if they refuse to extradite them.

One problem with this logic is that the United States harbors terrorists.

Luis Posada CarrilesLuis Posada Carriles is one such terrorist. He is wanted by Cuba and Venezuela for blowing up an airliner, killing 73 people. He openly admitted to bombing several hotels in Cuba. The US Justice Department has said he is “an admitted mastermind of terrorist plots and attacks.” He worked for the CIA for much of his life, and the US refuses to extradite him (does that mean Cuba and Venezuela should bomb and invade the United States?).

He walks a free man in Miami.

Orlando Bosch was another such terrorist, who died in 2011. He was the leader of what the FBI called “an anti-Castro terrorist umbrella organization.” He was implicated in the same airliner bombing as Luis Posada Carriles and later said that “you have to down planes, you have to sink ships, you have to be prepared to attack anything that is within your reach.”

He was pardoned by the first President Bush in 1990 for illegally entering the United States and was permitted to live comfortably in Miami for the rest of his life.

4. The United States has long sided with Islamic fundamentalists

American political leaders want the public to believe that there is some grand struggle between Western democracy and Islamic fundamentalism, each diametrically opposed to the other in an epic conflict.

There is no such conflict. The United States sells billions of dollars worth of arms to the world’s most extreme Islamic regime, Saudi Arabia, a theocratic monarchy.

In Saudi Arabia, people are executed publicly through a variety of methods, including beheading, stoning, crucifixion, and firing squad. Milder punishments include amputations and floggings. What merits such punishments? Things like “sorcery,” adultery, drug use, and apostasy.

In addition, women are second-class citizens. There is no religious freedom. There is no freedom of the press or of speech. You cannot form a union. I could go on and on.

What about non-state Islamic fundamentalists? The United States began arming the mujahideen in Afghanistan before the Soviets invaded in 1979.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor at the time, later explained that “this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.” The operation was “an excellent idea” that had “the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap” giving them their own “Vietnam war.”

In fact, the United States and the West were supporting Islamic fundamentalists all across the Middle East during the Cold War to counter the “communist” secular Arab nationalist governments and movements because these threatened US business interests.

Esteemed groups supported by the United States included the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.

5. The United States undermined democracy in Iraq

Once the official reasons for the war in Iraq were exposed as charades, the rationale switched to “bringing democracy,” to show how benevolent and amazing we are. This can be shown to be totally false as well.

Retired general Jay Garner was initially selected to head the Iraq occupation. He called for elections and for a swift US withdrawal. Apparently, however, he didn’t get the memo, and was quickly replaced by Paul Bremer, who would tow the Washington line.

The US then did everything it could to block elections. Bremer “unilaterally cancelled what…would have been the first such election in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein.” The US wanted a handpicked government to be in place. But Iraqis would not tolerate this.

A mass demonstration movement took place demanding free elections, and the US was compelled to go along with it, as the occupation had proven to be a total disaster.

Once the elections did take place, the occupiers took credit for them, pretending they were in favor of them all along. But that’s standard.

6. Obama didn’t “get us out of Iraq;” he was compelled to do so by the Iraqi people

The reason the United States left Iraq by the end of 2011 are well-documented. In 2008 negotiations between Iraq and the US began over the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). The initial draft proposed by Washington would have essentially allowed the occupation to continue indefinitely.

The final agreement ended up being the exact opposite of what Washington wanted, however, which now mandated all forces leave Iraq by the end of 2011.

Obama tried to renegotiate this agreement so some US forces could stay longer, but Iraq would have none of it, and the United States was finally out of Iraq by the end of 2011.