Dirty Wars and the future of America

Dirty Wars shows the dark side of America’s war on terrorist. The movie also shows the lack of check and balance in the system with the privatization of the military. The lesson of the movie is that our extreme way of fighting terrorist is actually producing more terrorist. Then we increase the military to fight the new terrorist and that produces more terrorist. It is a never ending cycle.

The documentary is depressing, I never want to think about it. It makes me feel angry towards the government. It makes me feel like the government is all about big private companies who spends millions of dollar to bribe the government. Innocent people, American and non-American, are dying in order for private military companies to make a profit from the American tax system. America spends so much money on the military when that money can be use in domestic issue such as the health care system, food stamp system and our education system. We are fighting in countries most people never heard of, we are always butting into other people’s business for the idea of democracy. But as Freeman points out, many countries became democratic in eastern Europe after the fall of Soviet Union when American military does not get involve.

So from Clinton to Bush to Obama, I feel like America has not change much in terms of its military, war, and foreign policy issues. These are the problems that I tried not to think about because it makes me feel hopeless. I don’t know what the future of America will look like but it is not good if we continue down this path. I wish we will take a lesson from Washington’s Farewell Address of 1796 about staying out of other countries’ affair. I wish politicians will fight for the people instead of private companies.  This is why America has such low voting turn out rate, the people has lost faith in its government and its politicians. There is not much difference between the Democratic party and the Republican party except for social issues.

Dirty Wars

After watching the “Dirty Wars” I felt powerless, hopeless and helpless. It seemed like a regular American or not American person meant little or nothing for the big guys and for the war machine. It was too easy to kill the one. Sadly, the private interest became more important than public interest. What even worse there is no public interest anymore. Even though all the actions are always depicted as “public interest” in reality these actions are driven by private affairs only.


Much like during Clinton’s administration government proved its inability of working for the public interest. “Clinton’s plan,…, aimed to provide universal insurance coverage and slow the escalation of health-care costs without greatly increasing government spending….” The plan that every employer was required to provide health care insurance to his/her employees and “…individuals who could not afford insurance would receive subsidies and Medicare recipients would get prescription drug and long-term-care coverage.” (421) Even though the plan initially won a high public support, it was fiercely resisted by the interest groups – employers, insurance companies, drug companies, and doctors. After a year of fighting the plan died in Congress. This proves that private interest of the “big guys” controls the government. Government is unable to do much for a regular American.


Jeremy Scahill attempted to warn the public about the danger of private interest in the public sector in his book Blackwater. Describing the privatization of military forces he shows how little lives of regular Americans mean to the “big guys”, or rather – big corporations. In his book, Scahill explains the difference between public army forces and peaceful mercenaries of private organizations. He goes into an in depth description of how the two fought the war in Iraq (which turned out to be completely independent from each other with different goal and different actions). Mercenary combats of private corporations like Blackwater were widely hired for security purposes by the US government officials. Yet when some of the Blackwater’s mercenaries were killed in Iraq, government was not able or willing to help. To help neither to protect them nor to find out for their families what had really happened. Since war became very profitable, bloody business there is a lot at stake for private groups and there is no place for public interest anymore.

Dirty Wars and American Inhumanity

After the Cold War was over, the United States was the only super power to have an ability to use military power to support the world peace. In the beginning of the 1990’s, Bill Clinton became the 42nd president of the United States, and he aggressively intervened militarily in international conflicts to protect humanitarianism and human rights and stop genocide, such as the intervention in the Balkans in 1999. Moreover, because of several terrorist attacks occurred within the United States, Clinton authorized a antiterrorism program in 1995, and Bin Laden was the target as the most dangerous enemy to the United States. This is cause of the prolonged war between the United States and Afghanistan where Al Qaeda has its home base and other Muslim countries to protect American citizens from terrorism. However, the American recent intervention has become irrelevant.


The movie, “Dirty War”, describes the present situations of countries in where the United States has intervened. The movie tells shocking facts which the U.S. government covered up and/or hid. Some of the facts are that innocent pregnant women were shot during the American nighttime raid even though they were totally nonresistant, and the U.S. soldier didn’t bring them to a hospital, and the solders scooped out bullets from their bodies by knives instead.  Other injured innocent people by the raid were taken to the military base and confined for few days without changing their clothing spotted with blood. Another fact is that a 16-year-old boy who was a son of Al Awlaki, the first American citizen listed on the hit list, was killed because of the precaution against him to become a terrorist in future. Freeman points out that The U.S. military intervention in the 1990’s was to support humanitarianism and human rights, on the other hand, the movie emphasized American inhuman military action. It seems that American foreign policy has lost their important aim.


Actually, there are many other horrifying facts in the movie, such as the number of unfair apprehension of Muslims has dramatically increased since September 11. Bin Laden was killed in 2011, yet American military has still remained in Afghanistan. Freeman says that most Americans had few attentions to foreign affairs, and the movie tries to make people focus on these affairs.

“Dirty Wars” Through Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton was elected as the president of the United States in 1992 directly after George H.W. Bush. Unlike the Republican Bush, Clinton, a Democrat, was focused on changing the economic shift in the nation. Bush failed to reduce the fiscal deficit and focused on expanding international powers. Clinton on the other hand passed many reforms to aid in the reduction of the federal deficit and improve all economic qualities of the country. One main act that Clinton passed was the North American Free Trade Agreement as discussed by Freeman in Chapter 18. This allowed for a globalization of trade and a rapid expansion of the American economy, but this clearly came at a price. As a result violence had spread and terrorism resulted from the expanded economic improvements of the United States.

Dirty Wars is a documentary film the shows the true meaning of terrorism and wars in the Middle East, which can be seen as a direct result of the economic expansion of Bill Clinton. As globalization of trade occurred, many grew envious of our nation and conflicts emerged. The narrator of this film, Jeremy Scahill visits many countries in the Middle East including Afghanistan, Yemen and other countries where the U.S. military is currently stationed. Scahill travels through enemy lines without the approval of NATO and this reveals many things that us citizens did not know. Special forces such as JSOC, which is a team of highly train operatives trained to assassinate terrorist war lords across the world. However, their job does not seem to be as innocent as it seems. In the film, Scahill visits a family that was murdered by this operative team for no reason. The dead victims were allies of the United States and were celebrating a holiday prior to being killed. Scahill constantly shows the terror that the United States shows in executing their ordeals. Many quote the United States as being the true terrorists. With globalization at it’s peak the United States will not stop at any cost in expanding their empire.

U.S. Foreign Policy and Dirty Wars


Dirty Wars, a documentary filmed in 2013, discloses shady U.S. activities in foreign nations that are relatively unknown by the public due to a political agenda to keep them a secret. Independent journalist Jeremy Scahill makes it his duty to shed a light on the new foreign policy the government has been practicing. According to Scahill’s investigations, the U.S. military is now occupying seventy-five countries. Despite this vast interference, the relationship the U.S. has with these countries is unheard of by the general public. Scahill’s documentary reveals the contemptible measures taken by the United States to fight “terrorism” in these lands. The unilateral use of arms, considered a norm in modern times, is a comparatively new system in relation to former foreign policy.

In chapter 18 Freeman explains the configuration of this policy, which fails to comply with the opinions of the general public in its bold intrusion into countries that did not provoke U.S. interest. Arguably, the foreign policy, which has been applied in recent times, arose at end of the Vietnam War. The devastating impact of Vietnam left Americans with distaste for military action, and leaders hesitant to exercise armed force. This resistance to war on the grounds of the widespread criticism of armed conflicts, and fear of additional defeat came to be known as the Vietnam Syndrome. Due to the dread of military use, foreign policy after the Vietnam War was dominated by indirect action through proxy wars. By the 1990’s, the Vietnam syndrome subsided with the success of the Panama Invasion, led by President George H.W. Bush.

Foreign policy, which was structured around the Soviet Union shifted after the end of the Cold War, launching a “new world order.” The United States now made it a priority to occupy a larger role in global interaction and to maintain an enormous military. The Panama invasion reinstated the prowess of the American military and eased the way for the President (and future presidents) to embark on more ambitious military operations, such as the Gulf War. George H. W. Bush’s appetite for war established a close-knit relationship between foreign policy and executive power that transferred over into future presidencies. Freeman discusses how the Clinton administration further contributed to the drastic changes in foreign policy that began under Bush’s authority. Clinton initially focused his foreign policy on promoting a global-free trade regime, and worked to make American products available to foreign markets.

As globalization thrived, the role of the military grew more secretive and it motives unclear. The relationship between economic expansion and military power became obscure, as military intervention took on the pretense of “in defense of human rights.” Tying in humanitarian efforts with military force made it easier for the U.S. to interfere in foreign affairs even if it was not directly threatened by it. “Clinton created precedents for the unilateral use of arms by the United States against foreign nations and force that had not attacked it. ” (437) This application of brute force against nations threatening American interests is demonstrated in Dirty Wars, in which the American government goes to great lengths to demolish any sources of susceptible terrorist activity. One of the most shocking attempts was the assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki’s sixteen year old son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki. Anwar al-Awlaki was an American-born Islamic Cleric involved in Al-Qaeda activity, and was killed by a drone attack two weeks prior to his son’s murder. The U.S. government justified this heinous deed by claiming that the son was a liable threat just by being the son of a terrorist. The death of this guiltless child was not exactly widespread news, although if the situation had been reversed, in which an American child was killed by Al-Qaeda, it would’ve spurred a minefield of fury. Although the American public generally understands and seems to accept the role the U.S. takes in global affairs, they appear oblivious to it unless one of their own dies. Despite the fact that hundreds of innocent foreigners that may die in effort to target a few offenders, American media turns a blind eye to these “others,” as well as the sketchy endeavors of the U.S. military that result in the deaths of innocent people. This is proven in Freeman’s discussion of an event in which eighteen American soldiers died in assistance to UN efforts to deliver relief supplies to Somalia, resulting in an ambush that also killed hundreds of Somalis. It is only when actual images of the dead American soldiers surfaced that citizens began to retaliate and question the actions of the U.S. military. Americans were only caught off guard at the death of Americans, and perceived other casualties of wars, such as Awlaki’s son or Somalian civilians, as mere unfortunate repercussions.

This phenomenon of American belief is challenged in Jeremy Scahill’s documentary Dirty Wars, in which he attempts to put a human face and personal story behind the targets of the U.S. military. He does this in the beginning of the film when he investigates a night raid led by NATO that resulted in the killing of an Afghan police commander Mohammed Daoud and three women, two of whom were pregnant. Scahill discusses the death of these innocent civilians with Daoud’s brother, who not only lost his brother but his wife, sister and niece in the incident. The man claimed he witnessed U.S. soldiers carving the bullets out of the bodies of his family members in order to cover up their actions. He states that after the event that he no longer had the desire to live, and wished to blow himself up among Americans as revenge.

This desire to retaliate against the U.S. manifested itself in forms of terrorist attacks in American cities during the 1990’s, one being the first World Trade Center bombing. These attacks disproved the notion that the U.S.’ universal military deployment made the country immune to terrorism. The same weapons that the U.S. placed in the hands of former CIA agents such as Osama Bin Laden were now being pointing back at them. Freeman states that Bin Laden was the least of the U.S.’ worries during this time; as they instigated international conflict, the U.S. was now subjected to a world in which weapons of mass destruction were in the possession of multiple enemies.

Questionable Foreign Policy as Result of Clinton’s Economic Re-shift

Clinton’s presidency made for backdoor politics in U.S. foreign policy by overly focusing on economic issues, including globalization of a free market. The 1995 creation of the WTO with it’s international trade rules helped advance Clinton’s ideal, but did not effectively help regulate as it was supposed to. Clinton’s continuous focus on this ideal shifted the source of power from arms to pure capital, which left the military in a hazy role without clear purpose.
The military was used more and more indecisively, as the “humanitarian” effort in Haiti, compared to the lack of any in Rwanda, show. This indecisive military involvement created tension between the U.S. and those that did not welcome them, and displayed an inconsistent, unclear foreign policy. As indicated by the terrorist incident at the WTC, angry groups started retaliating where it, (now established by Clinton), hurts – the financial center. In turn, the U.S. tries to gain leverage with questionable actions based on questionable claims, and only escalates the situation.
Clinton’s globalization led to an aspect in foreign policy where countries would be so economically dependent on one another, that in order to ensure security, bailouts are necessary (as seen with Japan).

Joint Special Operations Command – “Dirty Wars”

After watching the extremely controversial documentary, Dirty Wars, I strongly disagree with the independent journalist, Jeremy Scahill.  Freedom is not free and there is a price we have to pay as Americans to maintain our freedom.  War and violence is necessary for America’s national security and to defend against its radical enemies.  Joint Special Operations Command, or JSOC, is composed of America’s deadliest warriors and best equipped troops.  Navy Seals, Army Delta Force, and Army Rangers are a few examples of the elite units within JSOC.  JSOC is famously known for their successful mission of assassinating Osama Bin Laden.  Their mission is to seek out foreign terrorists that are combatants of war against the United States and assassinate or capture them covertly.  The reason for JSOC becoming extremely popular within the White House is because of its success and lower casualty rates opposed to traditional warfare and troops.  Scahill disagrees with the tactics and violence they use in order to carry out their mission and wants them to be held accountable for their actions.  It is unfortunate women and children are victims of war, but that is always a consequence of war.  I believe their deadly use of force in carrying out their mission is necessary for their safety and more importably for the safety of our nation.  We are able to live in a free society with a high standard of living because of the United States Military.  I strongly agree with Winston Churchill’s quote, “We sleep safely at night because rough men stand ready to visit violence on those who would harm us.”  The United States of America is nowhere near equivalent to the colonial British Empire, but they’re are similarities and the British were forced to use violence as a means of keeping its empire together.


Bill Clinton and the Economy

Bill Clinton won the 1992 Presidential campaign mainly due to the fact that George Bush Sr. focused mainly on foreign affairs and neglected the problems at home. Bush Sr. was seen to be an elitist politician, far removed from the everyday struggles of regular American Citizens. Clinton focused mainly on the economy and the problems at home. When he came to office he realized that he was very disillusioned as to where the actual power of the United States was centered.  As a candidate Clinton wanted to focus mainly on “investment in infrastructure, worker training, and job creations”. By the time he became President he did not realize that he appointed to many advisers to his staff that favored the private sector. People like Robert Rubin(co-head of Goldman Sachs) convinced Clinton to look at the financial problem in a different way. Instead of creating tax cuts and other stimulus programs, that were aimed at reducing unemployment, Clinton was convinced to help reduce the fiscal deficit.  In reducing the deficit and reducing federal borrowing requirements he created a highly favorable environment for the bond brokers on Wall Street. Besides that Clinton also helped to create free trade treaties with other countries and greatly reduced tariffs on imports. In doing so he greatly open other countries of the world to U.S. investment. This last part is what ties into the movie Dirty Wars. By helping to produce an environment for great growth of Wall Street investments in other regions of the world, such as for example the middle east, he opened a flood gate for violence and terror. In order to protect their investments in the developing world, large corporations began to employ their own private armies such as the Black Water security company. These mercenaries had no moral obligation to the United States people nor were hindered by any patriotic ideals. They simply went out and did what they were told to do in order to secure their paycheck.