The establishment treats them like Montessori School students with grades based on effort irrespective of the catastrophic results.
Our race towards self-ruination will accelerate unless we begin to hold the authors of foreign policy debacles accountable and create disincentives for stupidity.
In 1953, the Central Intelligence Agency engineered the overthrow of democratically-elected Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadeq on behalf of the megalomaniacal, brutal, and corrupt Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi. Prime Minister Mossadeq was unthreatening to the United States. His democratic dispensation was the first in the Middle East. His agreement to pay compensation for nationalizing the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company satisfied international law. There never would have been an Iranian Revolution if the United States had left Iran’s democratic dispensation unshipwrecked.
The 1979 Revolution was provoked by our support for the keenly execrated Shah.
On Dec. 31, 1977, in Tehran, President Jimmy Carter effused: “Iran, because of the great leadership of the Shah, is an island of stability in one of the more troubled areas of the world. This is a great tribute to you, Your Majesty, and to your leadership and to the respect and the admiration and love which your people give to you.”
Then came Ayatollah Khomeini as the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the hostage crisis, Hezbollah, and Iran’s decent into a theocratic, tyrannical, terroristic state with nuclear ambitions.
No official or advisor has been held accountable for this foreign policy calamity.
In 1954, the CIA orchestrated the overthrow of democratically elected Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz Guzman. He was an unthreatening socialist like Norman Thomas. We next supported four decades of Guatemalan military, genocidal dictatorship featuring hundreds of thousands of unspeakable atrocities. We made Guatemala a failed state that fuels illegal drug trafficking and immigration across our borders.
No official or advisor has been held accountable for our stupendously stupid and wicked Guatemalan interventions.
The Vietnam War was a fool’s errand from its beginning in 1955 to its conclusion in 1975. Indochina posed no threat to the United States. The domino theory was bogus. We engineered the overthrow of President Ngo Dinh Diem, and then supported a phalanx of unpopular, corrupt, and brutal military dictators in tandem with the CIA’s notorious Phoenix assassination program. The war cost more than $1 trillion in current dollars, and more than 58,000 American soldiers were killed. The boundless stupidity of the Vietnam War is confirmed by our current support for Vietnam in its disputes with China over the South China Sea or otherwise; our 2001 extension of permanent normal trade relations with Vietnam; and, out inclusion of Vietnam in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.
Why no professional ignominy for the officials or advisors who engineered the Vietnam non-natural disaster?
We initiated war against Iraq’s Saddam Hussein in 1991 to undo his occupation of Kuwait to restore the 300-year-old Al-Sabah dynasty marginally less tyrannical but more religiously extremist. The war weakened Iraq’s capacity to contain Iran at zero cost to us, and was superfluous to deterring Saddam’s WMD ambitions. Israel had destroyed Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981, and was poised for a repeat performance if necessary. Oil would continue to flow through the Persian Gulf to the United States — directly or indirectly — irrespective of Kuwait’s fate as it did throughout the Arab OPEC oil embargo following the Yom Kippur War. Force does not defeat the law of supply and demand as the failed trillion-dollar War on Drugs corroborates.
Operation Desert Storm was taken to a new level of stupidity 12 years later in Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2003, Iraq was a cost-free Chinese Wall against Iranian regional hegemony. Our no-fly zones and sanctions had eliminated Saddam as a danger to the United States. To believe that Saddam could be replaced with a democratic dispensation featuring freedom of religion, the rule of law, and separation of powers required doltish hallucinations.
The post-Saddam government predictably became an appendage of arch-enemy Iran. Iraq splintered on religious, ethnic, and tribal lines creating an opening for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. To date, the United States has expended $1 trillion in Iraq and sacrificed the lives and limbs of thousands of brave American soldiers over thirteen years to make Iran and Islamic State stronger and Iraq convulsed.
No official or advisor has been stigmatized for complicity in our Iraqi follies.
Since we haven’t taxed foreign policy stupidity, we have gotten more of it in Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, West Africa, South Sudan, the South China Sea, ad infinitum.
We have entrusted foreign policy to persons without any theory of man necessary to avoid catastrophes born of mistaking God for Mephistopheles.
They will not expend the intellectual labor to acquire that mastery without strong professional disincentives for failing to do so.