Blogs > Liberty and Power > NOT SO CUDDLY

Dec 27, 2003 1:43 am


It occurs to me that I haven't yet stated (and I should) that: My views don't necessarily reflect those of

I'm pleased to see Chris Sciabarra's link from this blog to"The Saudi Connection: How Billions in Oil Money Spawned a Global Terror Network," by David E. Kaplan, with Monica Ekman and Aamir Latif, featured in the December 15 U.S. News and World Report. This article, based on five months of research,"a review of thousands of pages of court records, U.S. and foreign intelligence reports, and other documents," and in-depth interviews with"more than three dozen current and former counterterrorism officers, as well as government officials and outside experts in Riyadh," provides compelling evidence that the Saudi state continued to support al Qaeda after the alleged cutoff date of 1989 - right up to the Sept 11, 2001 (at least) - and that bipartisan US government support for jihad, particularly Saudi-led jihad, obstructed investigation and apprehension of anti-American Teflon terrorists in the United States. Even an unethical, interventionist, Machiavellian approach to foreign policy, if rational, would have required the abandonment of US support for jihad after the dissolution of the Soviet Union but, unfortunately, government programs are easier to start than to end. Corrupt alliances offer tangible benefits to a few insiders, while the costs are paid by many outsiders: taxpayers, innocent bystanders, and soldiers.

US News is a respected mainstream source, and this article demonstrates the costs of interventionism, yet the vast majority of antiwar and (real, as opposed to liberventionist) libertarian sites have ignored it (check it on google). I suspect that the left and liberal antiwar sites are ignoring the story because much of the damage occurred during the Clinton administration. But why have non-leftists opponents of war and empire ignored it? Why this insistence on portraying the terror-promoting theocratic Saudi monarcho-kleptocracy as a maligned republic of Ewoks? One of the reasons seems to be dualistic thinking, the idea that if members of the pro-war lunatic fringe criticize Saudi Arabia while advocating war then any criticism of Saudi Arabia must be pro-war. Highly illogical: our adversaries may be wrong in all their conclusions but that doesn't mean that their every statement is a lie - they'd be much less effective if so; actually, they mix truth, falsehood, exaggeration, logic, bias, and faulty reasoning. It's absurd to insist that the world conform to the opposite of anyone's opinions.

If anti-interventionists ignore the mountain of evidence indicating Saudi government support for al Qaeda, it's likely to lead to a loss in credibility; it could also actually encourage intervention in Saudi Arabia. Considering the many business and personal ties between the Bush administration and Saudi royalty, not to mention the lack of a pro-US alternative, intervention by the US in explicit opposition to the monarchy is unlikely. More likely is intervention in defense of the monarchy, or certain factions thereof, and/or the Saudi state. That being the case, it's likely that the greater the degree of (misplaced) trust in the quasi-ally, the greater the support for intervention.

More speculatively, I think there's a tendency among non-leftist anti-interventionists to blame US interventionism on alien and ideological fringe influences. This seems to be our equivalent of the old Russian peasant expression:"If the czar only knew…!" Today, some wish to believe that Bush II is a reasonable, ethical, non-interventionist Forrest Gump who's merely being misled by his weirdo ministers. This assumption is apparently based on some comments made during the presidential campaign, as if campaign promises have predictive value.

Another issue involving words vs. deeds is this supposed US-backed democratic revolution targeting Muslim and Arab nations. Is there a single Arab or Muslim nation allied with the United States that could credibly be called a democracy? If not, where's the revolution?

Even the existence of a war against anti-US terrorism is questionable. In defense of the idea we can cite the fact that some terror-funding organizations have been shut down and some terrorists and supporters have been arrested and some killed, and the overthrow of the Taliban may have weakened al Qaeda. On the other, the prominent jihadiphilic US government officials that allowed and encouraged terrorists to infiltrate the America have not been removed or punished - on the contrary, they've been rewarded for with increased funding and power. It's also not clear if the Saudi and Pakistani governments, their intelligence agencies in particular, have stopped aiding al Qaeda. Karzai's Afghan government accuses Pakistani intelligence of shielding the Taliban and al Qaeda:

"In Pakistan, meanwhile, President Pervez Musharraf has twice asked Riyadh to curtail the millions of Saudi dollars that pour into local Islamic political parties, jihad groups, and religious schools. Again, the Saudis have promised change, but Pakistani officials are skeptical. They point to the visit to Mecca last month by the chief of the Jamiat-e-Ullema Islam, one of Pakistan's top Islamic parties. The JUI shares power in Pakistan's Northwest Territory, where it provides sanctuary for Taliban members staging attacks in Afghanistan. Why was JUI's boss in Mecca? For fundraising, JUI sources told U.S. News."

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