Have We Helped or Hurt?

In this period, al-Qaeda, a small-scale organization capable of immodest terror acts every couple of years …, managed, with Washington’s help, to turn itself into a global franchise. The more the Bush and Obama administrations went after it, the more al-Qaeda wannabe organizations sprang up across the Greater Middle East and north Africa like mushrooms after a soaking rain.
—Nick Turse, Secret Wars and Black Ops Blowback

Do you think Turse is too harsh? Do you think there’s any truth in what he says?

He also writes,

You would think that someone in the nation’s capital might have drawn a lesson or two from such a record, something simple like: Don’t do it!

Do you think Obama’s hesitation to get more involved in Syria means he’s learned something? Or do you think he’s made a mistake? Do you think our previous interventions have made things better or worse?


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8 Responses to Have We Helped or Hurt?

  1. Rummuser says:

    I intend reading the whole book – The Special Ops Surge
    America’s Secret War in 134 Countries. I don’t think that there is any understatement in the quotes. A number of things that the Americans have done over the last couple of decades have not endeared themselves to most of the world. In India, the latest diplomatic goof up has opened fresh wounds and it is likely to get aggravated if by next summer Narendra Modi becomes our Prime Minister as he is very likely to.

  2. bikehikebabe says:

    It’s common sense. When you fight someone, they fight back & with vengeance. This applied to al-Qaeda.

    Obama shouldn’t make promises he can’t keep. (common politician fault) He told Syria if Syria used chemical weapons he’d… take action, put a stop to it…….Then he didn’t or couldn’t.

  3. tammyj says:

    although… they are busy dumping the chemical weapons of syria now somewhere into our beloved ocean … to get rid of them.
    it’s such a free~for~all MESS. all around the world.
    i think these are birth pains. of what i’m not entirely sure. that’s not terribly pollyanna of me really. i think it might all have to come apart before it can be put back together.
    time marches on. and our grandchildren’s children will read about the upheavals in the history books. and they will think… like we think about the nazi period… what a horrendous terrible time it was! and now we are happy tourists there.

    and even then … in that far off future time… they will no doubt be fighting their own particular wars…
    because that seems to be what mankind does best. KILL.

    our u.s. policies have been bad for so long and irritated so many… i don’t know if we’ll ever get our good standing back. nor do i know if we even deserve it.

  4. Evan says:

    I don’t think Nick is harsh at all. I think what he says is quite true.

    The US and Aus have made things worse – even in Iraq. And now they leave.

    If you wish to breed terrorists then marginalise a group so that they feel resentful and also are able to operate in secret (terrorism requires secrecy). This way you will make them rely on themselves rather than connections to the broader society – and it is easier to kill strangers than those you relate to.

    Violent means are usually justified by crisis – and looking at how and why the crisis occurred is usually regarded as not relevant. Here’s a hint: if you don’t want psychopaths to have weapons of mass destruction, it might be a good idea to not sell them any. And consequences aren’t considered usually either. And it isn’t that they were impossible to predict – a number of decidedly hard headed military people spoke of the likely difficulties of ‘winning’ (sic) in Iraq.

    • Jean says:

      The problem in Iraq is Shiite Maliki is too sectarian but the U.S. and Iran think he’s the best bet to stop Al-Qaeda. So it looks like civil war.

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