The countries of the Middle East that have been the subject of wars, whether it's Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia or Libya are “the legacy of failure of U.S. foreign policy. The policy, that claims to be aimed at keeping Americans save from terrorism and bringing democracy to the region has done everything to the opposite”. In Afghanistan, after 15 years of U.S. occupation there are still thousands of troops and tens of thousands of U.S. contractors that flood through the country. It is either the first or second worst country in the world for children's health or maternal mortality. The UN just found out that 42% of the children in Afghanistan have either never gone to school or been forced out of school before the 5th grade. The Bush administration has treated the 9/11 attacks as an act of war not a crime and invaded Afghanistan although the country was not involved in the attacks. Now there is the “Offensive against Mosul”. But in a poll 84% of the city’s residents said: “We don't want to be liberated that way because we are afraid!”. Bennis: “So this notion that we are somehow ‘liberating’ people is simply a lie’”.
Phyllis Bennis, Institute for Policy Studies, Washington D.C.
David Goessmann: Since 2001 and the beginning of the so-called "war on terror" of the US and its allies there is a series of wars, stretching from Afghanistan, Iraq to Libya, in Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and elsewhere we see US special operation forces and drones, fighting dirty wars, targeting so-called enemy combatants outside any war zone, without transparency and due process killing people at will and often civilians. Give us an overview of what the situation is like in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. What are the aftermaths of US foreign policy and its allies since 9/11 in the Middle East?
Phyllis Bennis: The examples that you name, the countries of the Middle East that have been the subject of these wars, whether it's Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia – the whole range, Libya, all of them – are the legacy of failure of US foreign policy. The policy, that claims to be aimed at keeping Americans save from terrorism and bringing democracy to the region, has done everything to the opposite. It has put Americans at far greater risk of real terrorism, although thankfully there haven't been very many. But more importantly, it has been responsible for the slaughter of innocents across that wide region. The failures are legion: in Afghanistan, after 15 years of US occupation and still thousands of US troops, tens of thousands of US contractors that flood through Afghanistan, we still have-- Afghanistan is either the first or second worst country in the world for children's health or maternal mortality, all those UN indicators. We hear sometimes: “well at least with the US occupation children can go to school. They couldn't go to school before, at least now they can go to school.” Well the special inspector for Afghanistan has recently determined that's not true either. 42% of the children in Afghanistan have either never gone to school or been forced out of school before the 5th grade. Because the schools that were built by the US contractors mostly were either never built – they simply lied about it; they were never able to be staffed, because they have not trained any teachers; they had no running water; the children could not safely go to school because there were wars being fought, bombs dropping from US planes, supposedly going after the Taliban. So that's just Afghanistan. Iraq, after a decade of US war and occupation: now huge swats still under the control of ISIS. We keep hearing about: "we're going to have an offensive against Mosul. We'll go after ISIS.” Well, I'm dreading that! There are 650,000 thousand people who live in Mosul. What's going to happen to them? They can't leave, they are kept from leaving by ISIS. And when the US starts bombing ISIS, in their city, they will be the ones to die. What does it mean "we will liberate ISIS"? There was a poll taken recently in Mosul: 84% of the residents of ISIS said: "We don't want to be liberated that way, because we are afraid!” … "We're afraid". So this notion that we are somehow "liberating" people is simply a lie. It's simply a lie. And since September 11, since these horrific attacks, which were in fact a huge crime against humanity, what changed the world was not that crime. On September 11. What changed the world was what happened on September 12. When George Bush announced, that the response to those crimes would be to take the world to war. That we would treat it not as a crime, but as an act of war. And we would go to war, in that case, against Afghanistan, first. None if the hijackers were Afghans. They didn't live in Afghanistan; they lived in Hamburg. They didn't train in Afghanistan; they trained in Florida. They didn't go to flight school in Afghanistan; they went to flight school in Minnesota.