MUHAMMAD: Who 'Lost' America?
Askia Muhammad | 11/6/2013, 3 p.m.
Since America’s all-out victory in World War II, this country’s fortunes have been declining. Militarily, there’s been a decline resulting from unnecessary and immoral military adventures. The country’s economic power and influence has been declining. And America’s moral authority has been declining, even as the country has wrestled with correcting its immoral posture at home and on the world stage.
The oligarchs who still mistakenly believe that this country has a divine right and a manifest destiny to hoard the vast surplus of the world’s resources for their own one percent brood, seem to make a sport out of condemning America’s political leaders for “losing” prestige in one theater of influence after another.
Even though the Korean War has not officially ended after 63 years (a formal “cease fire” remains in effect), the slide and blame game can be said to have begun there. Maybe it was President Harry Truman who turned that conflict over to former WWII allied commander Dwight Eisenhower in 1952, or maybe it was Ike himself who “lost Korea” after 36,516 U.S. forces were killed from 1950 to 1953.
And then there was Cuba, just 90 miles from the Florida Keys, which was overthrown and replaced with a Communist government led by Fidel Castro. Who “lost Cuba?” President John F. Kennedy? Did the Mafia repay him for its loss of a corrupt paradise for themselves there, by engineering JFK’s assassination?
Later in the 1960s, some say it was General William Westmoreland, others say it was the “hippies” and the anti-war pacifists led by actress Jane Fonda, who “lost Vietnam” after a staggering 58,209 dead. Was it low morale at home, and an unfair military draft that left the suffering and dying disproportionately to Blacks and the poor, or was the cause simply unjust, and that war was just un-winnable from the start?
How did that work out for you Henry Kissinger? Robert McNamara? President Lyndon Baines Johnson?
Right around the time of the end of the Vietnam War, all manner of reprehensible government practices came to light. There was the revelation of the FBI’s COINTELPRO which infiltrated and disrupted Black civil rights and grassroots self-help organizations in order to “prevent the rise of a Black Messiah.” A Messiah who might turn Black loyalties away from the slave master and his children who had oppressed Black people and toward themselves for their own relief and liberation?
At the same time, there were revelations that the CIA also engaged in gross violations of human rights and every other norm of civilized behavior. But in the face of all that shame, no national observers ever raised the prospect that this country might “lose” the affection of its own downtrodden masses, that America might be lost.
No, we muddled through the 1980s and into the 1990s trying to hold on to waning U.S. influence right here in the Western Hemisphere while countries, one-by-one, found their own liberation, even as some church leaders preached “Liberation Theology.”
Then all of a sudden, Africa and the Middle East took America’s attention with South Africa’s apartheid government – which the U.S. supported wholeheartedly – falling in a practically bloodless coup at the ballot box when U.S. “terrorism watch-list” suspect Nelson Mandela led his people, who were 85 percent of the population, into power. Who lost South Africa? Ronald Reagan (17,201 U.S. forces killed during his two terms in office)?