So, I'm getting sick of The Pub. I figured I need to shake the place up a little bit. I need to get rid of the "America does no wrong" mentality that some people still seem to be stuck in. I dun'no if I'll succeed. Anyway, I've decided to make a series called "Hypocricy, Genocide, and the United States," as this thread's title might suggest. I'm gonna pick, pretty much at random, some US imperialistic, hegemonic, and illegal skulldrudgery that we've taken part in over the decades, all over the world. Most of these will be lesser known incidents: things a lot of people here will never have heard of (which up until recently included myself). Anyway, I'm going to start with the US-backed Indonesian invasion - and consequent genocide of - the tiny island of East Timor.
If there's one country in Southeast Asia that has been constantly picked on and ignored by Western countries, and deserves at least a little attention today, it's East Timor. The Portugese colonized much of Southeast Asia in the 16th century, including this little island. After being thrown around between several countries up until the mid-20th century, the people desperately, and understandably, wanted independence. So, when Portugal abandoned them in 1974, they started picking up the pieces and started working toward long-awaited and much-deserved (of course) self-government. The Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor, the FRETILIN, had fought against Portugese occupation, and after Portugal left, they became a popular party in the country's brand new multi-party system.
The nearby islands of Indonesia had just seen a military coup, completely - albeit covertly - supported by the United States, and other Western nations, and the right-wing regime of Suharto (between 500,000 and 1,000,000 "communists" and leftist dissidents were killed during that US-backed uprising alone) was put into power. The US continued selling massive amounts of weapons to the newly installed fascist regime of general Suharto, making a pretty penny for themselves in the process.
Anyway, Indonesia saw East Timor, a tiny island of around 700,000 tired peasants, as fresh meat. It would be easy territory to capture and hold. So, they first tried instigating a coup there, which failed miserably, but not before fighting claimed the lives of nearly 3,000 people. After that didn't work, Indonesia simply decided to invade the country, claiming that they were merely, and innocently, trying to quell the violence and instability (most of which probably didn't exist, the other part of which was Indonesia's making). Within a year, it is estimated that some "sixty thousand" people had been arrested, tortured, and murdered by the Suharto regime.
The international community acknowledged what was happening. Nearly 70,000 people were dead before a year of occupation was up. Of course there would be worldwide concern. East Timor pleaded to the UN Security Council very early on in the struggle, and UN action was blocked by - you guessed it! - the United States (why on earth would the US want the atrocities stopped? They were making a bundle from the arms sales). Then UN Ambassador Daniel Patrick Moynihan recalled his objective at the time: "The United States wished things to turn out as they did and worked to bring this about. The Department of State desired that the United Nations prove utterly ineffective in whatever measures it undertook." As the crisis mounted, Jimmy Carter continued to supply even more material and diplomatic aid to the murderous government of Indonesia.
Of course they received more than just weapons and diplomatic help. It's been suggested that the Indonesian military employed direct US-supplied tactics and training during the occupation of East Timor:
"Historically, the United States has been a leading supporter of the Indonesian military. The United States has sold $1.25 billion dollars worth of weaponry to Indonesia since 1975. The U.S. has also provided some for of security assistance virtually every year since 1950, including $388 million in grants and loans to pay for U.S. arms. The U.S. government also provided training under the International Military Education and Training (IMET) program from 1950 to 1992, when Congress prohibited this aid in reaction to severe human rights abuses in East Timor. In that 42-year period, over 7,300 Indonesian military personnel received IMET training, demonstrating the close ties between the U.S. and Indonesian militaries. Indonesia was later reauthorized to receive "E-IMET," which provides classroom courses in human rights and civil-military relations. After regular IMET training was suspended, Indonesian troops continued to receive combat training from U.S. soldiers under the Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) program (see chart below). The units trained included the infamous Kopassus special operations forces, known by the U.S. to engage in torture, "disappearances," and other atrocities across Indonesia. Training courses included sniper techniques, air operations, and close quarters combat. Whether the U.S.-trained units were present in East Timor during the pre- and post-referendum violence is unclear, but the tactics and techniques used by security forces were strikingly similar to techniques taught in JCET and other U.S. military training courses." - US Arms Profile, Indonesia
Over the years, concluding with massacres in 1999 by leftovers of the Indonesian military, it is estimated that anywhere between 175,000 to 200,000 innocent people died as a result of the 24-year occupation. In 1998, because of internal turmoil, Suharto was forced to resign his position in Indonesia, and his successor was willing to hold a referendum vote in E. Timor. Of course, the people of East Timor quickly voted Indonesia out of their country. Because of international pressure, the US withdrew support of the Indonesian regime gradually thourought the late 90s, and shortly thereafter Indonesia withdrew from East Timor (this could have been achieved at any time during the occupation, mind you.) East Timor was left in ruin, with nearly 80% of its infrastructure destroyed or otherwise unusable, it is estimated. After Indonesia pulled out, and the country lay in ruins, the UN was finally allowed to come in with a multinational peacekeeping force, the UNTAET. What then?
"U.S. motives now are the same as always: to pursue those policies that will enhance the power and economic returns of U.S. corporate and political elites with as few dangers of disrupting existing relations of power as possible, and especially as few disturbing effects in the form of enlarging public awareness and dissidence. The United States has a long history of cozying up to ruthless dictators, being indifferent to if not enthusiastic about their atrocities, and disengaging only when Washington concludes that the dictator has provoked so much instability and dissidence that U.S. interests are threatened. Thus, President Jimmy Carter backed the Shah of Iran until it seemed as if the army would fall apart in trying to suppress mass demonstrations; President Reagan embraced Marcos in the Philippines until splits in the armed forces and huge numbers of people in the streets put U.S. interests at risk. So in Indonesia, the United States supported Suharto until a popular explosion seemed to imperil U.S. economic and geopolitical interests. The United States supported Indonesian policy in East Timor—with weapons, training, and diplomatic support—as long as doing so seemed to further U.S. interests. As long as East Timor could be kept off the front page, Washington was happy to give Jakarta a free hand. But news of the latest atrocities could not be suppressed. Some courageous journalists and independent observers, some UN workers who refused to abandon the Timorese, and networks of activists have all spread the word. This has raised the costs to the U.S. government of continuing to tolerate Indonesian terrorism in East Timor. Washington still hopes, however, to protect its economic stake in Indonesia and maintain close ties with that country’s military." - Noam Chomsky, East Timor: Q & A, 1999
So, the US government, as usual, participates in mass slaughters of innocent people on behalf of the business interests they serve. Western powers stand by and watch as their fascist friends tear to pieces the helpless little nation of East Timor, causing the death of nearly 30% of the country's population. The story was barely reported on in Western media, thanks to the obedient nature of corporate media and the PR industry in general. Republicans and Democratic leaders alike did nothing to prevent, or stop (which they could have done, quite easily, at pretty much any time during the 24-year occupation), this genocide.
My sources include, but are not limited to: wikipedia.org answers.org http://fas.org/asmp/profiles/indonesia.htm The Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor The Chomsky Reader, East Timor by Noam Chomsky A People's History of the United States[i] by Howard Zinn [i]Hegemony or Survival by Noam Chomsky Essays on War and Justice by Howard Zinn
For further opinion on the conflict, I highly recommend this Noam Chomsky article: http://www.chomsky.info/articles/199910--.htm
That was just a brief history, of course. Any thoughts?
Everyone has blood on their hands.
The U.S.A. is no different.
WiseBoboEveryone has blood on their hands.
Of course. I don't mean to imply different. However, I'm just getting started. The Phillipines, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Laos, Vietnam, Haiti, Ecuador, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Chile, Angola, Nicaragua, Iran, Iraq, Honduras, Cuba, Cambodia, Colombia, a lot of Africa, and many more. The list goes on and on, and on. My objective is simply to make people realize that the US's foreign policy isn't all nice. It's far from it.
Not everyone has so much, recent blood on their hands.
The USA is different. :)
Locomotor;3318550Of course. I don't mean to imply different. However, I'm just getting started. The Phillipines, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Laos, Vietnam, Haiti, Ecuador, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Chile, Angola, Nicaragua, Iran, Iraq, Honduras, Cuba, Cambodia, Colombia, a lot of Africa, and many more. The list goes on and on, and on. My objective is simply to make people realize that the US's foreign policy isn't all nice. It's far from it.
A lot of those countries are fucked up as the result of European colonialism as well.
WiseBobo;3318568A lot of those countries are fucked up as the result of European colonialism as well.
But does it make the actions of the USA right just because others have done bad things too? Don't try to change the subject.
So, I'm getting sick of The Pub. I figured I need to shake the place up a little bit. I need to get rid of the "America does no wrong" mentality that some people still seem to be stuck in.
Since I have yet to see a single person who said anything of the kind...
Are we perfect? No. Have we done a pretty decent job, despite our mistakes? Yes.
This is another example of the old saying. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
The 13th Raptor;3318551Not everyone has so much, recent blood on their hands. The USA is different. :)
20th century European history says otherwise... actually, 20th century World History says otherwise. I like how whenever someone says a cruel statement, they put a ":)" at the end, as if that would make it any better. The Swedes are Nazis.:) The Brits are Jew Killers:) The Arabs are all nuclear terrorists bent on world domination.:)
Machiavelli's ApprenticeSince I have yet to see a single person who said anything of the kind...
I did mean to phrase that differently. Of course, I don't think anyone here believes the US's record is spotless. And, this thread wasn't aimed at you, specifically, mind you.
Have we done a pretty decent job, despite our mistakes? Yes.
Except, this behavior hasn't stopped! This crap still goes on today. There's little reason to think it will stop anytime soon. The least anyone can do is acknowledge it. Then, you might start by showing at least a little sympathy for those that are caught under machine guns through no fault of their own. Like was pointed out in masked_marsoe's The Value of Life thread: these people are nothing but statistics on the other side of the world to the majority of people that even know about incidents such as these. Events like these are far too easily forgotten.
Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
It's one thing to supply a fascist regime with all kinds of support while it invades a helpless little island. It's another to let it continue for another 24 years. Our leaders didn't care about these peoples' suffering. It would've simply been a case of calling off the hounds - in other words, cutting material aid to the Indonesian military.
I don't know about you, but I don't think every country on Earth should hold a "National Remembrance Day" for a country it's never been a part of. The U.S. should offer an apology, but we shouldn't dwell on this. We shouldn't be crying about 700,000 Timorians, we shouldn't act like as if each one were close friends, I should say.
Machiavelli's Apprentice;3319310 The Swedes are Nazis.:)
Care to explain this one?