Bloody price of US foreign policy

IN a recent letter to the Irish Examiner, Jim Malo from Connecticut sought “specific information” on civilian torture by US authorities.

I think I can help him.

From 1945 to 2000 the US attempted to overthrow more then 40 foreign governments, usually successfully, and more then 30 populist movements struggling against dictatorships in their own countries.

Several million people were killed in this process and millions more are enduring a living hell and abject poverty directly as a result of unwanted American interference.

The US Army's School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Georgia, renamed in 2001 as Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC), teaches its 'students' how to torture humans in Latin America.

More than 60,000 'students' among them well-known dictators such as Manuel Noriega and Omar Torrijos of Panama, Hugo Banzar Suarez of Bolivia, Juan Velasco Alvarado of Peru, Leopoldo Galtieri and Roberto Viola of Argentina and Guillermo Rodriguez of Ecuador. The killers of Archbishop

Oscar Romero in El Salvador in 1980 were 'graduates' also of this infamous American school of torture.

American soldiers returning from Vietnam testified that they had raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to male/female genitalia and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, burned entire villages, shot cattle and dogs for fun and poisoned foodstocks of yet another country where they were not wanted.

The horror of Vietnam continues to this day with unexploded US cluster bombs continuing to kill, dismember and cripple for life thousands of children and young adults.

The Cambodian Prince Sihanouk was another leader who did not want to be an American client. After Nixon's and Kissinger's secret 'carpet bombings' of Cambodia in 1969-'70, Washington finally got its way and overthrew the prince in a coup.

Then, five years later, Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge forces entered the fray and murdered over one million, perhaps twice that number, inflicting untold torture and misery on Cambodia.

Finally, in 1979, the Vietnamese army decided enough was enough and stepped in to liberate the Cambodians from Pol Pot, who fled to the jungles where he received support from the US government. As the former US attorney general Ramsay Clark said: "The greatest crime since World War II has been US foreign policy."

Sean Buttimer Jnr



Co Cork

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