On 14 June, Donald Trump called Iran “a nation of terror” amid increasing tensions. That showed real nerve. Because the US is probably the ‘nation of terror’. And it’s held that position for many, many decades.
Wasn’t ‘terrorism’ an official US policy?
As Noam Chomsky has pointed out, regular international polls agree that the US is the “gravest threat to world peace… by a huge margin”. And the evidence backs that up.
Regarding Iran in particular, there really has been some impressive linguistic gymnastics recently. US secretary of state and former CIA director Mike Pompeo, for example, claimed Iran had launched “40 years of unprovoked aggression” against the US. But he totally whitewashed the fact that the CIA and MI6 had orchestrated the overthrow of Iran’s democratic government in 1953; backed the brutally repressive regime that followed; and aided and abetted Iran’s notoriously vicious SAVAK (secret police) until the 1979 revolution dissolved it. Vital context for Iran’s serious distrust of the US in recent decades? Not for Pompeo, apparently.
US scheming against Iran didn’t end there, though. Because in 1980, long-time US asset Saddam Hussein invaded Iran. And the US supported his regime, as did France and Britain. This Western support came in spite of Hussein using chemical weapons against Iranian troops and thousands of his own civilians. The conflict dragged on for eight years thanks to this backing. It eventually killed over a million people and left both countries with deep scars.
One specific act of US terror during the devastating Iran-Iraq war, meanwhile, was the downing in 1988 of an Iranian commercial flight in the Persian Gulf. This killed 290 civilians (including 66 children). That seems to be roughly 290 more than the number of US civilians that Iran has ever killed.
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Allies of terror
But the US isn’t the only terrorist, of course. Because its list of allies reads like a who’s who of terrorism. And the Saudi dictatorship – Iran’s regional foe – is probably the biggest terrorist of them all.
In recent years, Saudi Arabia has created the world’s worst humanitarian crisis in Yemen. And it’s done so with Donald Trump’s unwavering support. In fact, he’s made it utterly clear that, as long as the Saudi regime keeps buying arms and selling oil, they’ll remain ‘steadfast partners’. That means turning a massive blind eye to Saudi human rights abuses and links to terrorism.
There are other powerful terrorist allies too. Take key NATO member Turkey, for example, which has been found guilty of war crimes against Kurdish communities. Or Israel – with its apartheid, occupation, mass murder of Palestinian civilians, and alleged war crimes and ethnic cleansing. And if that’s not enough, take your pick from the long list of oppressive US allies; from Egypt to Bahrain, and from the Philippines to Rwanda.
Don’t forget the ‘backyard’
The US is the ‘nation of terror’, though. Hands down. Because it launched countless CIA operations in the 20th century, supporting coups and brutal right-wing dictatorships throughout the world. And while the century changed, things stayed the same. Devastating illegal invasions continued; most recently in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. The US also murdered numerous civilians via drone strikes in countries like Pakistan and Yemen.
But a vile 19th-century foreign policy marked one particular place as Washington’s ‘backyard’. This was Latin America. And duly, the US has sought total dominance over the region. In the process, it’s backed countless “state terrorists” to stop any kind of progress or democracy that could challenge the interests of US elites.
As I previously detailed, US-backed dictators in South America killed tens of thousands of left-wingers in the 20th century. Washington also fuelled brutal wars in Central America that killed hundreds of thousands of people. And it launched coups, campaigns of terror, and invasions throughout the Caribbean. Along with its fascist allies, it left a trail of death and destruction for many, many decades. And it’s still killing tens of thousands of people today via brutal sanctions.
The nation of terror
Today, Trump and his allies complain about ‘illegal immigration’. But they ignore the fact that the US has long terrorised people around the world to get what it wants, forcing countless civilians to flee to safety. It then celebrates the war criminals responsible. Time and again, Washington has gleefully trampled over international law; so why shouldn’t it expect everyone else to do the same?
To stop Trump and his war hawks, we need to call out this bullshit. And we need to shout it from the rooftops: the US is the nation of terror.
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