To understand the concept of blowback, first you have to understand the United States’ military history with the middle east over the past 100 years.(re: US Military intervention in the Middle East in the past 100 years)
Once you understand that we have been blowing up buildings, sanctioning, overthrowing leaders, promoting regime changes, pillaging for minerals, and such – it becomes suddenly easy to understand why a few people hate the U.S. over there. It also becomes clear why religious groups radicalized and see the U.S. as an enemy. We even begin to understand why events as evil as 9/11 happened. As with any story, it’s not as simple as good versus evil, as most media outlets would like it to seem. This is the basic concept of blowback:
“Blowback” is a CIA term first used in March 1954 in a recently declassified report on the 1953 operation to overthrow the government of Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran. It is a metaphor for the unintended consequences of the US government’s international activities that have been kept secret from the American people. The CIA’s fears that there might ultimately be some blowback from its egregious interference in the affairs of Iran were well founded. Installing the Shah in power brought twenty-five years of tyranny and repressionto the Iranian people and elicited the Ayatollah Khomeini’s revolution. The staff of the American embassy in Teheran was held hostage for more than a year. This misguided “covert operation” of the US government helped convince many capable people throughout the Islamic world that the United States was an implacable enemy.”
I know what you might be thinking. “How dare you suggest the US caused 9/11!” Well, that’s not exactly what I’m saying. What I am saying is that to those people “in the know” those attacks were no surprise and our involvement with the middle east wasn’t suddenly sparked by 9/11. Lets take a look at what was happening before the attacks.
January 2001: Tenth anniversary of the U.S. war on Iraq: sanctions are still in place and the UN estimates that 4,500 children are dying per month from disease and malnutrition as a result. The U.S. planes, which have flown over 280,000 sorties in Iraq over the past decade, continue to attack from the air. In the past two years, over 300 Iraqis have been killed in these bombings.
Yep, we were already in Iraq. For 10 years. So why are we surprised by mid-eastern radicalization? Why are we surprised that these terrorist groups can actually recruit and get young men to agree to suicide bombs? Not because America is “great and free” (are we? re: Erosion of American Civil Liberties), but rather because we have a long and negative history with the very people we demonize in the media.
What should we do?
Admitting that we as a nation are not guilt free is a tough pill to swallow, but once that’s over with we can start developing an honest solution to our situation.
1. Admit we have made mistakes and begin healing the relationship
2. End the never-ending wars in Middle East
3. Promote free trade, diplomacy, and good-will
4. Strong homeland defense
Being intellectually honest also means realizing that we have made real enemies now too. I doubt that most of our enemies will say “ok, you said sorry, we can be bff’s now). This means that the US should
1. Maintain intelligence gathering initiatives to prevent attacks. (without invading American’s civil liberties)
2. Promote strong diplomatic relations with political allies.
3. Befriend political leaders and display acts of goodwill demonstrating our commitment to peace.
What can we do as individuals?
1. Vote for Political leaders who will follow this intellectually honest foreign policy (re: Ron Paul)
2. Stop buying in to the media hype.
3. Do your own research and draw your own conclusions.
4. Spread the word.