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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • It's a great country to live in if you are a white person. It's a great country to live in if you are middle class (or better).

    It's not such a great country to live in if you're a person of color, though it could be worse (or better). It's not such a great country to live in if you're very poor. Though again, that could be worse and better, depending on where you look.

    And the really fucked up thing about the US has very little to do with how its own citizens are treated, but rather with how the US tre
    • I wouldn't want to be a poor peasant living Afghanistan right now, or Colombia, or Cuba, or anywhere in most of Africa, or Russia, or any of a dozen other places where US foreign policy is making an already difficult life nearly unbearable

      What are you talking about? Is it your opinion that the US is holding these countries down? Let's look at two of your examples:

      1) Africa. Not a single great nation has come out of Africa since Hannibal & Cleopatra. I'm sure Africa's "demise" had much more to do

      • Well, the American slave trade didn't exactly do any good for Africa. Nor did US support of the South African apartheid regime.

        Russia, yes, had internal problems. The cold war, explicitly designed to destroy the Russian economy, also didn't help.

        But here are a few others:

        - Iran, where we installed a dictator that served our (oil) interests. That dictator's oppression was so severe that he was overthrown by a fundamentalist Islamic regime, which has been making Iran miserable ever since. Remember, at one point Iran had a popularly supported government in the early 50s.

        - Support to Israel (#1 recipient of foreign aid) in killing huge numbers of Palestinians.

        - Argentina, where the US supported Augusto Pinochet for many years.

        - Honduras & Guatamela, more US supported right wing death-squad using dictators.

        - Nicaragua, where US support of the contras led to thousands of murders.

        - Taiwan, where the US supported a government (the Nationalists) that killed approximate 18-28 native Taiwanese people when they first arrived and ran the country via martial law until 1988.

        - Saudia Arabia, where we support an autocratic monarchy hated by almost all of the people in the country.

        - Turkey, where the US supported government has massacred huge numbers of Kurds.

        - Vietnam (& Cambodia & Laos), where hundreds of thousands of peasants were murdered in a US led terror campaign.

        - Colombia, where we are supporting yet another death squad employing government, this time in the name of the drug war.

        - Cambodia, where the US support Khmer Rouge killed over one million people!

        That's not quite a dozen, but it sure is a lot. These are places where either past or current US actions have led to massacres, starvation, state-sponsored terrorism, and unheard of human rights abuses, as well as the continued impovershment of people all over the world.
        • I'm not up on all of these events and all of their degrees of complexity (I'm still trying to get my head around the Milosevic stuff), but I think it unfair to directly associate the deaths of millions of people to the support (or lack thereof) of the US.

          The US is not pulling the trigger in most of those examples, and I would hunch that it was not only the US that supported those governments or parties that led to those atrosities. Additionally, hindsight allows us the luxury to see that they were atrosi

          • The US is not pulling the trigger in most of those examples, and I would hunch that it was not only the US that supported those governments or parties that led to those atrosities.

            In Vietnam (and Cambodia & Laos), the US did indeed pull the trigger.

            In all the others I've mentioned, there was active US involvement (usually via the CIA) to support the brutality. This goes for all the South American countries mentioned as well as Iran, Iraq and other middle eastern countries.

            The others have all recei
            • There are those who see the whole Vietnam/Cambodia/Laos debàcle as a reason for indicting Kissinger on war [guardian.co.uk] crimes [guardian.co.uk] charges. There's other [guardian.co.uk] despicable stuff too mind.
              • I definitely think Kissinger is a war criminal. As are Bill Clinton and Madeline Albright (Iraq) and numerous other US government officials. Frankly, the list of people in the US government, past, and present, who should be indicted on war crimes, is simply too long to list. And then we can go to the puppet regimes the US supported in South America and Southeast Asia, there's Ariel Sharon, and the list goes on.

                Of course, none of them will be brought to trial because it is not politically useful for the
                • I think the shocking thing about Kissinger is not that he did a bad thing, but that he has done so many bad things and has got away with it.
          • The official thread-killer is always a Nazi/Hitler reference ;) - Hitler had the support of the neighboring European countries [suc.org] for his nationalistic endeavours and we all know where that led to. Does that make Italy, Finland and Romania bad countries?

            The US provied the technology and sold the Nazis the computing machines that made their census possible. The US also took no action until Pearl Harbor even though the NYT had front page news of the atrocities of the war. Hitler had a lot of suppo

            • That wasn't my point - this thread seemed to become a US-bashing one and I was merely pointing out that the US is not alone in supporting such atrocities, though the US does seem to receive more than its fair share of finger-pointing.

              Good to see you back, hfb! :)

              Jason

              • I just don't understand why you think the US receives more than its fair share of finger pointing? It does the most worst stuff and gets the most criticism. Pretty simple, I think.

                The reason why I personally focus on the US is that I live here, so I figure I should start close to home.
          • I'm not condoning the choices of my grandparents (or, more like, their parents), but I think at that point in time "it seemed like a good idea". Namely:

            1939 Sep 1st Germany invades Poland
            1939 Sep 3rd Britain, France, Australia, NZ declare war on Germany
            1939 Sep 5th US proclaims neutrality
            1939 Sep 10th Canada declares war on Germany
            1939 Sep 17th Soviets invade Poland
            1939 Sep 27th Poland surrenders
            ...
            1939 Nov 30th Soviets attack Finland

            (Thanks for the WW2 timeline [historyplace.com].)

            What happened between the Sep

            • Uhhh... correction: the M-R treaty had been signed already earlier in the year, not between the September and November.
        • Well, the American slave trade didn't exactly do any good for Africa.
          I have the feeling that the people who benefited most from that particular trade were the merchants of Liverpool and Bristol. Which is why the UK government is not desperately keen on having slavery classified as a crime against humanity 'cos the reparations required would be enormous.
          • Well, I'm not going to fight about who benefitted the most. White Europeans, particularly in England, benefitted a lot. White Americans benefitted a lot. White Americans probably benefitted a lot more than the English after the American Revolution, I would presume. And England abolished slavery in its colonies in the 1830s.
            • I believe that we were still selling slaves to America for quite some time after it was banned in our own colonies, after all there was money (vast amounts of it) to be made.
              • Although, in your favor, the abolitionist movement that spread to the colonies began in the UK, didn't it? And then it was picked up by the Republican party ... wait a minute, my world is turned upside down! :-)
        • You forgot the Caribbean and Baby Doc Duvalier. Impressive list :)

          • I probably forgot lots of others too. That list was mostly from memory, which is a scary thought.

            Any takers on trying to make a list where the US acted in a purely helpful way? Pudge?
                  • Don't forget the Monroe Doctrine, helping Egypt recover from the building of the Aswan Dam[*], or brokering the Israel-Egypt peace treaty. Or all of the foreign aid that comes out of the US whenever there's a natural disaster somewhere in the world...

                    *: How else did the Temple of Dendur wind up in New York City?

                    • If we're counting unequivocably good things that the US has done over the years, I'd have to mention the IGY - the International Geophysical Year in the 50's. I don't remember much about it, but ISTR the US being a key player in that peacetime endeavor.

                      Similarly, NASA's "Mission to Planet Earth" has provided some serious data on what we're doing here and where we might be headed. In 1976, there were news specials about the impending ice age (because the US had a pretty severe winter). Now, the weather

          • Nicaragua, where US support of the contras led to thousands of murders

            Replace "US" with "Russian" and "contras" with "Sandinistas" and you would have an equally accurate statement.

            No, that's not true. The Sandinastas received basically no foreign aid from Russia. What they did do, because they were cut off from all trade with the US and Europe (by the US), was trade with Russia. Nothing wrong with that. The US did that through the entire cold war too.

            As to Turkey, I know why the US supports them, b
              • Actually, Pinochet was the dictator of Chile, wasn't he?

                Yep, you're right. Brain fart. Same point, different country.

                They *are* part of NATO. You can lump most of Europe (i.e. NATO) in there right with us if we're *evil* for supporting the Turkish government.

                I do lump them in with that. Western Europe has long been a supporting player in US malfeasance abroad, though they often draw the line a bit sooner, though England usually toes the US line the longest.

                It would take direct military support
                • However, I do think that the US, in the post-WWII period, has been the single most malevalent player in world politics.

                  Perhaps. It's also been the single greatest benefactor.
                  • Bwah hah hah ha!

                    I think you'll find that, as far as the rest of the world is concerned, the balance comes down heavily weighted on the 'malevolent' side.

                    But the Marshall Plan was really good. Thanks for that.
          • True, but then let's keep in mind that we were still Europeans when we were first dealing in the slave trade.

            What you mean "we", Kimosabe?