For someone who already holds a relative distaste towards the American government, it may not have been the best decision for me to read the book, “Boomerang! How Our Covert Wars have Created Enemies across the Middle East and Brought Terror to America,” by Mark Zepezauer.
In this book Zepezauer provides an in-depth, crash course history lesson in America’s policies in the Middle East from as far back as the mid-19th century up until 2003, when the book was published.
Though it’s obvious in the introduction and afterword that Zepezauer holds a bias (we should stop causing destruction and turmoil in foreign nations), the body of the book is merely facts, laid out clearly and plainly.
What I learned from reading this book is something that I have already perceived as true, but was never sure of the extent to which these actions stretched. Throughout American history our government has funded, ignited, and armed a slew of hot-headed rulers (most of which are far from shy about their inhumane practices), coups, revolutions, and civil wars. It’s pretty ironic, coming from a country that so valiantly fought for their freedom from a dominant foreign power, that we have no problem whatsoever exerting as much money and military personnel as possible to maintain our influence as the dominant super power in other nations.
What inspires our prolific leaders to execute such powerful and patriotic acts? A strong component in the equation is none other but oil, our greatest friend. The Middle East is pretty full of it and whoever controls the oil keeps the power, and who are we, as the world’s greatest super power, to let anyone else carry the burden of keeping watch over these precious oil deposits?
Another facet of the puzzle is our favorite foe, Russia, formerly the Soviet Union. It’s only obvious that our nation must plot conspiracies and fund wars to make sure that Russia never equates to our power and influence, isn’t it? The nations that we tear apart in the process, the lives that we destroy, are a measly price for world power.
As Zepezauer takes the reader from nation to nation, things begin to get a bit repetitive. The CIA held secret meetings with this government or leader, they funded this war, supplied these weapons to these people, turned their backs after their interests looked elsewhere, imposed sanctions which left hundreds of thousands of children and families without healthcare, energy, and water.
The most disturbing part throughout all of this is the reactions of western officials.
A 1979 State Department memo wrote, “The United States’ larger interest would be served by the demise of the Taraki-Amin regime, despite whatever setbacks this might mean for future social and economic reforms in Afghanistan,” (Zepezauer, 2003).
It’s clear that our government holds zero interest in the respect of humanity or any human life outside of our own borders. How can people let the notion of a nation overpower the value of our own existence?
Finishing this book left me wondering – what is our nation doing now? Have our policies in the Middle East changed?
In a New York Times article, Warily, Jordan assists rebels in Syrian war, published on April 10, 2014, Ben Hubbard wrote on the situation in Syria. Hubbard mentioned what the Obama administration is doing to help.
“In fact, many rebels say they believe that the Obama administration is giving just enough to keep the rebel cause alive, but not enough to actually help it win, as part of a dark strategy aimed at prolonging the war,” Hubbard wrote.
This sounds eerily familiar to the practices discussed in Zepezauer’s book.
I find it very possible that our nation hasn’t changed their ways. Next time you think about turmoil in the Middle East, think about how those nations got that way, think about which super powers got their hands dirty in those countries and what were their true intentions?
I highly suggest any and all to read Boomerang!, it could change your view of living in “the greatest country on earth.”