To the editor:
Pointing out a presidential administration's failures in this forum is easy, as is ignoring the inconveniently negative aspects of the ones the writers support. U.S. officials used the enemy-of-our-enemy-is-our-friend diplomacy for decades, with unilaterally disastrous results.
Often and conveniently ignored by the public, our officials and journalists is how the United States gave Iraq military hardware and intelligence for years. How we helped create the Mujahideen in the Soviet-Afghan war, who are now the Taliban. How we supported the Contras in Nicaragua, Noriega in Panama and Somali warlords in Mogadishu. Numerous agencies were listening; they knew the dark sides of these allies, but often did nothing, since these were inconvenient aspects to our positions.
We watched the birth of terrorism, gathered mountains of actionable intelligence on every country and terrorist group in the Middle East since the 1960s, yet discounted a vast majority of those threats wholesale. Continuing those failed policy methods and ignoring the threats opened the door for the 9/11 attacks to take place, and drew a line straight to what's become the debacle in Iraq.
Blame cannot be placed on any single administration for these failures. Arrogant and ignorant U.S. foreign policy helped put the writing on the wall for nearly five decades, and has turned a blind eye to the threats that we helped write. But then, ignoring the inconvenient and shifting the blame is something both parties and the public have become very adept at, which isn't convenient after all.