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US policies driven to moral bankruptcy
Mon, 02 May 2011 18:32:50 GMT
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US President Barack Obama has announced US forces have killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and took the custody of his body.

Former US senate candidate Mark Dankof discusses the issue furthermore with Press TV.

Press TV:You heard Obama's public statement, but let's start out with this, the question of many analysts that have been asking is not the fact that basically Osama bin Laden is dead now but that he has been dead for many years. Please tell us your thoughts on that and also what do you think about the president's statement ?

Dankof:I have a number of colleagues and journalists who say that Osama bin Laden has been dead for a long time. I don't really know how to assess that .

I think the most important thing to come out of all of this is that if indeed the US did kill Osama in this operation as was described by the president tonight, it's largely an empty victory, and the reason I say that is that Osama had stated a long time ago that it was his intention to drive the United States into bankruptcy and if you look at what has happened since 9/11, the US has been driven to the brink of economic catastrophe by the policies that it has been pursuing in the Middle East and arguably has been driven to the point of moral bankruptcy as well.

The fact of the matter is that we are now running a 1.6 trillion dollar federal budget deficit in this country that 40 percent of all of what the federal government spends in the US is being borrowed from foreign banks and we have a military and intelligence establishment in the US that has grown since 9/11 to 1.2 trillion dollars a year.

This of course is involved greatly and we are doing in the Middle East , well we have thousands of American troops committed to a couple of wars of counterinsurgency, we are now involved militarily in Libya, there are stirrings that we may come involved against both Syria and Iran, and overall it seems to me that Osama has had a tremendous impact in driving the US on the overextension of its military empire in the Middle East but we are going to find that the American policy is as unsustainable in the long run as its British predecessor was.

Press TV:This isn't the first time this issue has been raised; it's the first time it's been formally announced by the US president, but back in 2008 a former CIA officer asserted that bin Laden is dead , President Musharraf in 2002, President Zardari in 2009 they also separately stated that bin Laden was dead; yet again in 2008, an FBI counter-terrorism chief stated that bin Laden was probably dead by now, late last former White House spokesman lashed out at the US government for using bin Laden as a pretext to continue its occupation of Afghanistan ?

Dankof:Well yes and again, all of these statements are very suggestive of something that's going to have to be proven in the days ahead, proven in fact that the US did kill Osama bin Laden in this operation that the president was talking about and when you look at Afghanistan, just taking that particular situation in isolation, the American public needs to understand that Osama bin Laden was for years being supported by the American intelligence agency and was being used as an American asset in Afghanistan against a former Soviet Union.

So there's an entire history of Osama bin Laden in terms of his relationship of American intelligence, the American Central Intelligence Agency and frankly in terms of extended business relationships, the Bush family, which was conveniently not discussed by anyone that I have seen in the media, in the American media, but when you look at this whole business as Afghanistan [CIA chief] Leon Panetta said not too long ago that there were not believed to be any more than 200 people in that entire country that were affiliated with the so called al-Qaeda organization and yet the US and NATO have 150,000 conventional troops in that country.

When you look what we are spending in both Iraq and Afghanistan we are talking about approximately USD 15 billion a month for both of these military involvements.

When you look at the amount of money that's being spent, the amount of money that's being borrowed and again just in Afghanistan that you have 150,000 conventional American and NATO boots on the ground in that country, allegedly there for the purpose of trying to fair out an organization that on his [Panetta] mission had 200 or less people there in Afghanistan, the numbers simply don't add up in terms of the US's stated reason for being in that country.

Press TV: Another issue that was raised during Obama's public statement was that he said this is a great victory in the US's war against al-Qaeda but my question is how significant was the figure of bin Laden? He has either been hiding or, according to some, dead for quite some time now.

Dankof:Well the point is certainly not how significant or insignificant Osama bin Laden is at this juncture but the fact of the matter is that it seems to me when you look at American foreign policy in the Middle East generally, the fact that we continue to give the Israelis a blank check to do whatever they want to in Palestine and in Gaza, the fact that the US continues to be pursuing policies in the Middle East, in regards to conventional military occupation of other peoples' countries, the so called predator drone strikes which have been killing dozens of innocent people both in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the fact of the matter is that our policies seem to me are designed to create more dislike of us by the minute and presumably to create more radicals both in Sunni and in Shia Islam who have no use for the US whatsoever.

The fact of the matter is we have a disaster bated attention in that part of the world in the last 10 years with what we have been doing not to mention what we have been doing in that part of the world certainly since 1948 if not before.

So we have to assess our overall policies in the region and to understand that as long as we are tempting to involve ourselves in intelligence-designed to destabilize regimes, as long as we are involved in major conventional military operations in the Islamic world that are not welcomed there and as long as we are continuing this proportionately to kill many more people that have lost their lives in 9/11, until our policy leaders think that through and come up with a different plan of our situation of the Middle East is not going to change in terms of the lives lost the amount of money borrowed and spent and the rising and popularity of the US and the West generally in the Middle East and in Central Asia.

Press TV: Some analysts think that the US had been using bin Laden as a pretext to continue its occupation of Afghanistan but there's also different trail of thought which says maybe al-Qaeda wanted specifically the US to believe that bin Laden had been alive and well...

Dankof: Well it's difficult to say, but at any rate one thing that is absolutely sure is that the US is going to have to prove that beyond a shadow of doubt that in fact it was Osama bin Laden that had lost his life in this operation in Pakistan and that they do have the body and that the identification of his body can be established, but again it seems to me that aside from the issue of bin Laden as an individual, that one can make an excellent case for the fact that what the US has been doing in Central Asia and the Middle East has a lot less to do with Osama bin Laden than it does with multinational oil and gas and the government of Israel that has been using the US military as a force for its own agenda in that region.

And once again I have to emphasize that the fundamental foreign policy mistakes that the US has been making in the Middle East and in Central Asia, largely go uncorrected.

MD/AKM
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