By Mahmood Mamdani (2005)
Anyone who ever doubted that there are two sides to every story should read, “Good Muslim, Bad Muslim” (GMBM) by an Americanized India-Indian, Mahmood Mamdani, a Professor of Government at Columbia University and author of several other government-related books. As one who has read the Koran cover-to-cover twice, I am not a devotee of that faith, but I am always open to new data. Mamdani gives us data that we need to know in this increasingly Muslim-impacted world.
Mandami has audaciously forged a most disturbing commentary on governments’ (and the U.S. and the U.K. in particular) use of wars, terrorism, aid of all kinds, and even the drug trade to obtain and/or maintain indirect control over political leaders around the world, especially in the Middle East. The use of “proxy wars” , drug trading, etc. is here well documented – often with excerpts from Congressional testimony by the very government officials whom it incriminates.
The overriding point is that the U.S. and U.K. have, over time, created their own enemies by backing “insurgents” to overthrow national leaders, such as Hussein in Iraq. The death toll (more of innocent civilians than military forces) has fomented a hatred of the U.S. and U.K. that has few bounds and has given Middle Easterners abundant reasons to cheer whenever pain is inflicted on the U.S. The author is hardly an irrational zealot; he is a scholar documenting the causes of the infamous “9/11” – the 11 September 2001 destruction of The World Trade Center by Islamic terrorists who flew two commercial airliners into the WTC, killing several thousand and destroying the WTC.
Mamdani’s factual support is compelling, and ( he urges) Americans need to know these things and to reconsider their ongoing choice of jingoistic leaders who seem power-bent on world control (usually for American economic interests but deviously masqueraded as a democratic or human-rights’ causes); these American leaders have been persuaded by American business, military and CIA to engage in endless wars, proxy wars or terrorist campaigns – even when Congress has expressly forbidden it, as it did in the Iran-Contra scandal under Reagan . Mamdani demonstrates that America has been doing these “evil deeds” for the past half century (“the Century of Wars”). By the book’s end, even a Doubting Thomas is convinced that the U.S. has often been the real “evil doer” and fomenter of genocide for its own ends, and, therefore, that America is now reaping what it has sown.
Published in 2005 and sold only in South Asia, GMBM describes the rise of political Islam and reveals that, as is now well known, Osama Bin Laden was recruited, trained and
substantially funded by the CIA to lead the Afghans against Russia . Bin Ladin’s alQaeda and the Taliban were outgrowths of that movement; indeed, their weapons were largely CIA-supplied. This fact is so well known that it has been reported in the press worldwide, even sometimes in America’s “patriotic press”, as Mamdani dubs it. This disturbing denouement was not a “one off” move by the U.S.; it was but the most recent step in a long series of similar events that began in the early 1900’s.
Countries have myriad reasons to want to control other countries, such as access to oil, trade, treaties or even to suppress competition or to impose democracy (and Bush’s fundamentalist Christianity) upon others. Mamdani reveals that the British Empire has done much the same. Beginning around 1910, the Brits galvanized a monopoly of the opium trade (the raw material for heroin) by providing its navy to protect to the opium traders as they moved from Burma, India to China. This military effort became known as the ignoble Opium War.
In the early 1950’s, the U.S. voters and Congress were not in the mood to finance anti-communist skirmishes around the world. At the time, the drug trade worldwide was largely moribund, and the U.S. saw drugs as a method of obtaining the funding; so, the U.S. financed drug production and sales to fund anti-communist insurgents in various places around the world, for example, in Africa, where decolonization was underway, and the emerging governments tended to be communistic and needed to be overthrown. The CIA was the prime mover, supplying funds, legal protection, and sometimes air cover for the drug smugglers, while steering much of the profits to the mercenaries who would overthrow various governments and place U.S.-puppet leaders in power.
The Korean War was a case on point in the 1950’s. Then, from 1975-1990, the height of the Cold War, China was in the bulls eye, along with Africa, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, etc. Mamdani shows that the CIA used its headquarters in Laos as a heroin refinery and made the U.S. Air Forces available to protect drug traffickers and continued to use white mercenaries to fight the wars. Even Columbian drug traders were used to abet these efforts.
While these pro-drug trade policies helped fund the military-mercenaries worldwide and did block Soviet expansion (if this was really needed), it elevated the then moribund drug trade to today’s worldwide-crisis proportions, and it laid the foundation for very recriminatory and vindictive terrorist strikes by Muslims and others today, who see the U.S. “as the real evil empire”. The U.S’s merciless killings of anti-U.S. rulers worldwide set the stage and gave the example to which others are now responding.
9/11 (11 Septembver 2001) became a turning point. The U.S. no longer sought justice for wrongs; it sought revenge – as Bush’s words and pugilistic body language so vividly communicate. America adopted a zero tolerance stance and began imprisoning people without trial and even without charges. Even America’s “patriotic press” has exposed a number of such instances. This seeming police state seemed to be unleashed by “The Patriot Act”, which quashed the remnants of the rights to privacy, due process, and prohibitions against search and
seizures without warrants. Mamdani concludes that terrorism, which the U.S. has brought upon itself, is sanctioning this expanding police state in America.
There is no “good Muslim” or “bad Muslim”, says Mamdani, but there is a Middle East that has been led to drugs and terrorism by U.S. military and its political policy which has devastated the Middle East’s infrastructure (water, sewers, utilities, police protection, schools, roads, retail stores), leaving chaos, disease, lawlessness and a viciously revengeful attitude throughout. America has set in motion a series of punches and counter punches that may have no end. The U.S. war on terrorism has metamorphosed into an offensive imperial war: a modified and more brutal form of the colonialism that enabled the British, Americans, French, Dutch, etc. to dominate the world in the 19th Century. Yet, the U.S. insists that this is a battle of “good against evil” (as does the Middle East see America as “The Great Satan”, to recall Iran’s Khomeini), but democracy cannot work in an illiterate society (as Plato long ago admonished), and Christianity cannot be forced down the throats of the one billion rabid Islamists . Having read The Koran (the Islamic bible) cover-to-cover, it is certain that Muslims will fight to the death with little or no provocation, simply to spread their own faith. Moreover, when the U.S. took most of the profits from Iranian oil to pay America’s military costs , while starving much of Iraq’s population, who is being “evil” and who was being “good”.
Mamdani opines that the lesson of Korea, Vietnam, and increasingly of Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Palestine, etc., is that wars to change cultures (much less religions) and reform nationalism cannot be won by military confrontation, embargos, lies, disingenuous public relations, cruelty, force, imprisonment, stacking nude prisoners in a heap, rape, torture or murder – all of which, he asserts, have become routine, unpunished tactics of America in the Middle East. Again, his sources and evidence suggest more than does smoke to denote a fire. Countries, he pleads, must be left to reform from within; just as America evolved, so must they. Further, he finds, the expense of these endless military engagements and occupations is fast exceeding any nation’s budget. The author ends by urging America to stop using the drug trade and terrorism and military-mercenaries to further its own economic and political interests. While, clearly, we cannot ignore terrorist threats, we cannot remake the world in our image either. This India-Indian American passionately concludes,
“American cannot occupy the world. It needs to live with it.”
Can it be any wonder that Mamdani was able to have this book published and sold only in South Asia?
1. A “proxy war” is one where you induce others to do the fighting for you.
2. Therein, to avoid detection by Congress, Reagan’s CIA sold weapons to Iran at inflated prices and middlemen (with Ollie North’s guidance) directed the profits to Swiss accounts from which the Contra-rebels were funded in their fight to overthrow the Nicaraguan government. Any President less popular than Reagan would have likely been impeached over it. Instead, North was made The Scapegoat and all was forgotten.
3. In the Afghan war, of its 20 million population, over one million died and five million were displaced, and 1.5M went “clinically insane” from decades of endless wars.
4. World religions are currently divided roughly: 33%-Christians; 20%-Muslims/Islams; 14%-Hindus; 6%-Budhists; 6%-Chinese/Confucians; and 22%-non-religious and Other. See Barrett’s World Christian Encyclopedia.
According to UN data, Iraq receives an estimated one-third of its oil revenues, and U.S. keeps the rest (using some to fund the UN).
As Mamdani notes, the U.S. conveniently ignores its own massive genocide of American Indians and its enslavement of blacks, all in furtherance of its economic objectives, then viewed as “good”., and to the U.S., crimes occur when others are doing them but not when the U.S. is the instigator. Another example, is the treatment of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. soldiers (which remains unpunished).