Unholy Wars - Third Edition: Afghanistan, America and International Terrorism (Anglais) Broché – 20 juin 2002
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We get a very good look at the other nations involved in this issue and how the internal politics of one nation may effect the world. For example the help that China provided the Afghani fighters to keep the Russians busy then turned into an issue for China when those same fighters started working with separatist organizations in Western China. The books main point is that if you use mercenaries to fight a war for you it tends to have far reaching repercussions.
What I did not like about the book was the bone-dry writing. He managed to take an interesting topic and turn it into a story with all the excitement of an economics lecture. This is good stuff, punch it up a bit and get me excited to move to the next page. I also wanted a bit more background or links to other events - we get a blizzard of facts, dates, places etc, but it is not tied together very well. And if you are a nut on typos (you probably would get mad at my typing) then watch out because it does not look like too much editing was done on the text.
If you want more detail on the Afghanistan freedom fighters / CIA funding process during the 1980's I would suggest the book "The Forth World War", a great book written by the head of the French version of the CIA which is quoted a number of times in this book. For a more in-depth look at what happened to the aid the book "The Bear Trap" is also very interesting. If you just want a nice, easy to read overview of UBL then I would suggest "Holy War Inc".
The Reagan regime continued Carter's Central Asian policy, and began to deploy an army of Muslim zealots from geographically strategic Pakistan and wealthy Saudi Arabia. Jihadists from every corner of the Muslim world were recruited and trained by the CIA and US military Special Forces in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and even at US military bases. Reagan vastly increased funding of mujahedin "holy warriors" who established their own facilities -- later to become terrorist training camps -- in Afghanistan. There, exiled Saudi billionaire Usama bin Laden started his ascent from mujahed commander to international terrorist mastermind. Following the death of Leonid Brezhnev, Mikhail Gorbachev implored the UN to intervene and help negociate an end to the Soviet Afghan quagmire. At this, Reagan responded with his infamous exhortation to the mujahedin "Declare holy jihad and go for the victory!" After the Soviet withdrawal, the government of Afghanistan collapsed. The various mujahedin factions began to fight amongst themselves for political supremacy, territory, and opium. The fundamentalist Wahabist Taliban emerged victorious. The so-called northern alliance was (and still is) a loose coalition of warlords and bandits with the motive of personal power, tribal bigotry, and drug profits for its opposition to the Saudi-sponsored Taliban. Moscow regarded the Northern Alliance as the sole barrier between Wahabist extremism and the vulnerable bordering Central Asian states. Russia committed ongoing support to the northern forces, whose leader was, ironically, one of the most notorious CIA-trained rebel operatives during the Soviet Afghan War.
Normally, I am not impressed by right-of-center interpretations of history, because they so frequently attempt to absolve the US of responsibility for disasterous policy. But Cooley has written an honest, unbiased account of the birth and rise of a world-threatening evil. And "Unholy Wars" does not spare recriminations toward any country whose actions contributed to the empowerment of international terrorism. It is a frighteningly eye-opening and timely book. All I can say is, read it now!
For the first time, we were facing the prospect of protesting
American military intervention based on an attack on American
The warmongers quickly seized the high ground with all the trappings of phony patriotism. Overnight, the nation was covered with wall-to-wall flags. Dissent died daring not to raise its head.
Yet, like the beginnings of the Vietnam protest, the resurgence
of the left must begin with information. Freely admitting to an
absymal ignorance of the situation in Afghanistan, I inherently
knew from past experience with the U.S. Government that Bush and Company could not be trusted to give a truthful account of events except to engage in spin doctoring.
"Unholy Wars" places September 11th into its proper place in the time and space continuum of American history. Based on the well-founded principle of blowback, as described in Chalmers Johnson's excellent work, the vents of September 11th have brought home the activities of the CIA in the Middle East and how the arming of the Afghan resistance to the Soviet invasion of 1979 has now come home to roost in a permanent and never-ending "war on terrorism."
Certainly, the domestic portion of the ground war at home comes now in the form of a war on the civil liberties of Americans under the guise of a "war on terrorists" (nevermind that these same 'terrorists' were equipped and trained by the CIA).
Under the current thinking, the only view of post September 11th events comes from the corporate media and its sycophants in the entertainment industry, such as "Sir" Paul McCartney. As a musician, I am certain that John lennon must be spinning in his grave watching Sir Paul play the straight he said he was in "How Can You Sleep."
Cooley's book is jam packed with enormous detail presenting the Middle Eastern situation in context and perspective for the reader. Each nation, like the pieces of a puzzle, plays its part reflecting its internal politics and how the U.S. government meddles, interferes and generally screws up in the Middle East. Let's hope well all don't pay the price for their intereference and incompetence.
"Unholy Wars" is the story of a tragi accident happening before our eyes. An accident that we can only stand and watch. An accident caused by the CIA and the intereference of the U.S. Government.
"Unholy Wars" equips the reader with detailed information about the origins of the situation in Afgahnistan. As the corporate media remains focused upon the tragedy of September 11th and catapaults that tragedy into blind patriotism, Americans need more than ever to educate themselves to the realities of the Afghan situation, the Middle East situation and to see beyond the false and phony patriotism of American riding around in their gas guzzling cars (powered by oil from the Middle East)with flags waving. While Bush and Company, like Reagan before him, refuses to develop a national energy policy, refuses conservation, and continues to think that the energy dependence of Americans can be cured by drilling in the Artic, or some other foolishness.
"Unholy Wars" is a tough read, small, detailed and intense print. Yet, it is worth the effort to get beyond the phony, artificial "patriotism" infecting Americans as the American military searches the endless mountains and caves of Afghanistan for Bin Laden, a former CIA operative and veteran of the Afghani wars.
"And when your wounded on Afghan's plain,
and the women come out to cut up what remains,
just roll to your musket and blow out your brains,
and go to your God like a soldier."
Sentences, paragraphs, and whole chapters start off going one way, then wander off the path and into the forest. The book is riddled with editing errors that place critical dates off by a decade, and enough minor errors exist to call into question whatever fact checking was done. To take a few items at random from one chapter: the Special Operations Command is incorrectly named; a California university is misplaced in Nevada; and critical dates are refered to as 1977 rather than 1987. One would hope that a reporter's book would be more carefully edited, or at least proof-read.
There is some good information there, but I don't know how much to trust it, given the other errors.
The author has an axe to grind with the Reagan administration, which wouldn't be all that bad, if the book had been properly executed. It wasn't.
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