After having written Collective Innocence, I grew worried that I was becoming a touch radical in my views about how as a nation, we Americans allow ourselves to view the world in black and white, good and evil, and thereby justify, rationalize or overlook our own dubious acts both at home and abroad. Then I read the news about how the U.S. was purposefully silent after our Afghan ally hid its own war crimes. But is that so surprising?
After European colonization throughout the Middle East, the U.S. consistently supported repressive regimes (or the continuation of European dominance) in subversion of local grass roots democratic and social liberalization (including womens’ rights) for the sole purpose of hindering the spread of Soviet communism. Ironically, we now criticize that which we promoted — essentially dictatorships and theocracies — without ever acknowledging our share of the responsibility. We contrast Israel’s democracy with the tyranny in Syria, Iran and Sadam’s Iraq, yet we poured millions of dollars into Musharraf’s Pakistan since 9/11. We are huge financiers of Egypt and are best buddies with Saudi Arabia and Jordan.