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Like every US president to date, Ronald Reagan is responsible for prosecutable war crimes.  Of course, we being the “good-guys” do not apply the same standards to ourselves that we expect the rest of the world to follow.   It is little wonder you see the ironic smirks in the UN and other international bodies when the US is discussing “law and order” and commitment to human rights, because outside of the memory hole that defines our imperial culture the picture is quite clear cut.  The national interest of the US trumps human rights, justice and law almost every time.  We just do not get to hear about it here in fortress North America.   What we also do not get to easily see is how we sow the seeds of our own discord, as in the case of Afghanistan and the current imperial war taking place there.

Here is what Rasil Basu, UN Developmental Program, senior advisor to the Afghan government for women’s development (1986 – 88) had to say.

“She reported “enormous strides” for women under the Russian occupation:

“Illiteracy declined from 98% to 75%, and they were granted equal rights with men in civil law, and in the Constitution… Unjust patriarchal relations still prevailed in the workplace and in the family with women occupying lower level sex-type jobs.  But the strides [women] took in education and employment were very impressive…  In Kabul I saw great advances in industry, factories, government offices, professions and the media.  With large numbers of men killed or disabled, women shouldered the responsibility of both family and country.  I met a woman who specialized in war medicine with dealt with trauma and reconstructive surgery for the war wounded. This represented empowerment to her.  Another woman was a road engineer.  Roads represented freedom – an escape from the oppressive patriarchal structures.”

By 1988, however, Basu “could see the early warning signals” as Russian troops departed and the fundamentalist Islamist extremists favoured by the Reagan administration took over, brushing aside the more moderate mujahideen groups.  Saudi Arabian and American arms and ammunition “have been vital in giving fundamentalist groups an edge over the moderates,” providing them with military hardware used,” according to Amnesty International, to target unarmed civilians, most of them women and children.”  Then followed much worse horrors as the U.S – Saudi favorites overthrew the Najibullah government.  The suffering of the population was so extreme that the Taliban were welcomed when they drove out Reagan’s freedom fighters.  Another chapter in the triumph of Reaganite reactionary ultranationalism, worshiped today by those dedicated to defaming the honourable term “conservative”.

– Noam Chomsky, Hopes and Prospects pages 245 – 246.

Hardly surprising considering the gross injustices wrought in Central America by Reagan and the United States.  The 1980’s were grim years for Central America plagued by torture, terrorism and death all sponsored by the US.

More people need to educate themselves and do the reading into what exactly their foreign policy entails, because the American populace would certainly not endorse the terror wrought in their name if it was properly publicized and discussed realistically.

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