Bit of an excuse to paste a letter here, by someone I know, responding to US chargé d'Affaires David Johnson's denial of any US sponsorship of al-Qaida during the cold war. Follow the links to see what, exactly, is being criticised here.
Let's hope that George Monbiot is not going to be too submissive to the spirit of the festive season and turn the other cheek to his critic, the US chargé d'Affaires David Johnson, whose defence of US foreign policy is rhetorical and propagandist (Letters, December 24).
To invoke the September 11 atrocities every time the Bush administration embarks on a new military adventure does not pass the test of reason or credibility. The US administration, with all its resources, has failed to establish a link between Iraq and al-Qaida. And as for the US's dubious liaisons, Johnson's choice of the second-in-command in al-Qaida as a reliable source of information on whether Bin Laden was once an ally of the US or not smacks of irony. While the US's backing of Saddam during the Iraq-Iran war is well documented and can hardly be denied.
David Johnson seems to be ignorant of recent US history. Zbigniew Brzezinski, who had been the national security adviser to Jimmy Carter, admitted in 1998 that the US began giving military aid to the mujahideen six months before the Russians moved into Afghanistan, done precisely to entice them in and give "the USSR its Vietnam war".
Johnson also seems to be unaware of the 1994 US Senate report that lists the chemical weapons and military technology that US corporations were given permission (and encouraged) by the US government to sell to Saddam between 1985 and 1990. Maybe he should speak to Donald Rumsfeld, who was then the front man negotiating these deals.
Here, Tariq Ali argues a similar point about American support (via Zbigniew Brzezinski) for mujahedeen in Afghanistan.