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State Terrorism and the United States: From Counter-Insurgency to the War on Terrorism [Paperback]

Frederick H. Gareau
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Book Description

1 Aug 2004
This is a chilling analysis of the immediate predecessor of the US war on terrorism: its counter-insurgency policy during the Cold War. The US promised a low level response uniquely tailored to assisting third world states to respond to local insurgencies seeking social change. Drawing on the reports of Truth Commissions from six countries, Guatemala, El Salvador, Argentina, Chile, South Africa, and Indonesia, Frederick Gareau examines a harrowing array of human rights abuses by US-supported dictators, governments and paramilitary groups against their own peoples. He shows that state and para-statal forces committed by far the greatest proportion of violence, and that these state repressions were perpetrated with Washington's full awareness, complicity, and military and politico-diplomatic support, if not at its instigation.

Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Zed Books Ltd; First paperback edition edition (1 Aug 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1842775359
  • ISBN-13: 978-1842775356
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 15.4 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 848,684 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


'In his State Terrorism and the United States, Frederick Gareau shows that, contrary to the war on terror imagery of a United States hostile to terrorism and dedicated to its elimination and to democracy-building, this country has regularly supported state terrorists (and dictators) who serve U.S. economic and political interests. Using as his evidentiary base the truth commission reports that have followed the ouster of terror regimes in El Salvador, Guatemala, Chile, Argentina and South Africa, along with a varied array of sources for Indonesia, Israel, Iraq (until August 1990), and Nicaragua, he makes his case for vital U.S. support for these regimes compellingly and soberly. Gareau stresses throughout how little the U.S. public is permitted to hear about what its government has done, which provides a cover for actions the public might well disapprove, and he ends with an appeal for a much needed truth commission for the United States itself. This book is a valuable addition to the literature on terrorism.' --Professor Ed Herman

'Frederick Gareau's State Terrorism and the United States is an important, courageous analysis of America's long involvement in the training of foreign military and police organizations in techniques of torture, assassination, and ethnic cleansing. The U.S. military itself directly committed these types of war crimes in the Phoenix Program in Vietnam, where we killed a minimum of 20,000 people, and in Central America during the Reagan administration. Gareau's research and documentation is path-breaking. The day has arrived when we in the United States desperately need a 'truth commission' to examine our own many secret 'dirty wars' and hold our military and political leaders accountable. Gareau's chapter two, 'The School of the Americas and Terror in El Salvador', is itself worth the price of admission.' --Chalmers Johnson, author of Blowback: The Costs and Consequencs of American Empire

About the Author

Frederick H. Gareau is professor at Florida State University. His previous publications include The United Nations and Other International Institutions: A Critical Analysis (Rowman & Littlefield).

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good account of US support for state terrorists 19 Nov 2004
Using evidence from various truth commissions, Professor Gareau, of Florida State University, presents detailed country studies. In El Salvador in 1980-91, 75,000 people were killed, of whom the government, its army, the National Guard and its death squads, killed 95%. The US gave El Salvador's state $6 billion, supporting the terror.
In Guatemala in 1962-96, the state's forces killed more than 90% of the 200,000 people killed. In Chile after the coup of 11 September 1973, the state, again, killed more than 95% of those killed. In Argentina in 1976-83, 8,960 were killed. In Colombia in 1986-95, 45,000 were killed, again 95% by the army and death squads.
Between 1980 and 1988 the South African state killed 1.5 million people in neighbouring countries. Indonesia's army killed at least 1.5 million people in 1965, 1975 and 1999: the US state supported elections on the back of these massacres.
In every case, the US state backed the state terrorism before, during and after it was committed. Gareau cites three studies proving that the more a state violated its citizens' rights, the more US aid it received.
This was state terrorism, not even-handed civil wars with half the violence committed by one side and half by the other. It was counter-revolutionary murder by US-equipped, US-trained armed forces against people with hardly any means of self-defence.
Why this one-sided ferocity? US military training teaches recruits to use pre-emptive terrorism - 'do it to them before they do it to us'. It tells recruits that the enemy will torture and kill them, take no prisoners and show no respect for the laws of war.
Gareau sums up, "Washington has the right, indeed the duty, to defend the United States against terrorism. The question arises as to how it should do this. ...
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