The December 15, 2014, Sports Illustrated features a full-page propaganda ad paid for by.....you! It shows a squad of U.S. Marines running out of the back of a troop carrier onto a sandy surface, and running full-tilt into a dust cloud. The caption? "Anyone can see tyrrany. Marines advance to stop it."
Hmmm....now, which tyrant would the Marines be stopping? How about the King of sandy Bahrain, the dictator who rules the country that is the base for the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet? You know, the Sunni King who stays in power over the Shi'ite majority only because his troops used U.S. weapons recently to mow down pro-democracy protestors? After all, there are lots of Marines in Bahrain with the 5th Fleet.
Oh, not that tyrant? Well, maybe the House of Saud, next door, whose U.S.-trained troops swooped across the causeway from the Saudi mainland in U.S. tanks to help the King and his family attack the protestors.
Oh, not that tyrant? Well, maybe we can take up a collection to give the Marines better glasses for Christmas, so they can see the tyrants a bit better.
Let's dispense with the fairy tale that is pushed not just by these sorts of ads but by the constant drone of presidential, congressional, military, and media statements about America's global role. At least in developing countries, our role is not to promote freedom, but to promote freedom of action for American military and covert forces and corporations. Tyrants and non-tryrants, they're all the same to the Marines, and the rest of our forces, as long as they cooperate with us.
When you keep dictators in power, the people who live under them come after you, sooner or later. Since 9/11 it's been sooner. If you want to stop attacks on America, then stop propping Middle Eastern tyrants up with U.S. forces and arms sales.