The Ultimate Rogue Nation

By Swomley, John M. | The Humanist, January 2001 | Go to article overview
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The Ultimate Rogue Nation


Swomley, John M., The Humanist


Where have all the "rogue states" gone? The politically correct term used by the U.S. government these days is states of concern. In a June 19, 2000, interview on National Public Radio, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright explained, "We are now calling these states states of concern because we are concerned about their support of terrorist activity, their development of missiles, their desire to disrupt the international system."

Presumably this new terminology permits rehabilitation of some nation states that are now willing to play by U.S. rules. More likely it is in recognition that a state like North Korea may be weaned from too close of a relationship with China, now that South and North Korea are discussing unification. And the term also identifies those states which aren't officially engaged in acts of war but which harbor or enable factions engaged in terrorist activities carried out in the name of religious zealotry or in retaliation for real or perceived injustices by their targets (such as, perhaps, the October 12, 2000, attack on the U.S.S. Cole in the Yemen harbor of Aden).

The term rogue states was originally used in reference to Cuba, Syria, North Korea, Iran, Iraq, and Libya by Les Aspin, chair of the House Armed Services Committee and Bill Clinton's first Secretary of Defense. Aspin was referring to those nations which oppose the foreign and military policies of the United States in their region, including U.S. actions and efforts to dominate those countries.

Most U.S. citizens accept their government's view of "rogue states" because the major news media parrot the Pentagon's point of view. However, in nearly every case of suspected terrorism, the United States was in fact the original aggressor, using its own form of aggression to which the "rogue states" were responding.

The word terrorist is a political term used by U.S. officials to describe opponents who engage in isolated violent attacks against the United States or its allies. Those who perform such acts, however, see themselves as "freedom fighters" against a vastly superior armed force or nation they believe is seeking to dominate or oppress them. Modern terrorist attacks against the United States haven't involved organized militia but are like hit-and-run raids that target a specific building, bridge, airport, plane, ship, or police or military barracks--the Cole attack being the most recent.

The United States uses very similar terrorist attacks but instead describes them as covert action. The CIA has been responsible for numerous such acts and they are always instigated within a political context.

For example, the hostility experienced today between the United States and Iran is the result of five decades of U.S. interference. There was the CIA-supported overthrow of Iran's Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh in 1953, the disintegration of U.S.-Iran relations during the Carter administration, and our foisting of Western values and polices on that country, which eventually led to the fundamentalist takeover and the resultant hostage crisis in 1979.

Another example of U.S. terrorist tactics occurred when Israel invaded Lebanon in June 1982. The Reagan administration stationed U.S. Marines at the Beirut airport and engaged in the naval bombardment of Muslim-held areas in Beirut, killing Lebanese civilians. This was the context in April 1983 that prompted the truck bomb attack that killed 241 marines and the bombing of the U.S. embassy in Beirut. A Pentagon board of inquiry, headed by Admiral L. J. Long, strongly condemned Ronald Reagan's policy in Lebanon that had led to the terrorism against the marines and the embassy.

Reagan and his advisers were also responsible for the U.S. fleet attack on Libya in March 1986 that killed sixty Libyan sailors and the April bombing of Libyan cities that killed and injured hundreds of civilians. In addition, according to the April 16, 1986, New York Times, the Pentagon's "precision bombing" of Tripoli damaged the embassies of France, Austria, and Rumania, the residences of Swiss and Japanese ambassadors, as well as the Bin Ashun neighborhood of the Libyan middle class and intelligencia.

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