Maybe this looks & sounds familiar, like maybe Oliver Stone familiar?
Helicopters flown by CIA mercenaries, filled with government troops and US advisors, swoop down on jungle villages at dawn in a tropical country. They come in firing and dropping gas and napalm and they quickly round up everyone in the village.
A few selected villagers are immediately shot “trying to escape”, while the rest are made to stand by while their homes and belongings are burned.
Women and little girls are taken aside for raping, runny-nosed children hide anywhere they can, and old people are beaten with rifle butts for various reasons. There are no young men left in the village to beat, arrest or kill.
Since the villagers obviously are guilty of consorting with the enemy the entire village, or what remains, is taken on a forced march to a government relocation camp, built by US aid.
Meanwhile back at the village aircraft piloted by other CIA mercenaries begin flying low over the landscape for miles around the village dumping hundreds of tons of toxic chemicals that poison the land, water, plants and animals, destroying all possibility of the people ever coming home.
But this is not Vietnam – it is Colombia.
Beginning with the election in 2000 of George Bush and his White House full of would-be foreign policy Machiavellis, and followed by eight years of the Gang Who Can’t Shoot Straight, Americans have had sixteen years of the enormous distractions of Iraq and Afghanistan to keep them from realizing that the US was playing out the Vietnam War all over again in Colombia.
This war has been going on for over sixteen years, and according to the US there is just as much Coca being grown and Cocaine being produced in Colombia in 2014 as there was in 1999. So like most US wars of aggression masked by any of the usual deceits – “War On Terror”, War On Drugs”, or War To Save Democracy” – the war in Colombia accomplished nothing but destroying the lives and the environments of millions of innocent people and further enriching politicians and generals. Per usual.
However, since this particular war was at its most brutal in the beginning, which coincided with the US invasion of Iraq, it was most conveniently overlooked while it was going on, and has since been filed along with yesterdays news by those who control the media in the US. But it happened.
Plan Colombia refers to a One Billion US/year bundle of “programs”, an innocent word for a bunch of deviously-named, US-sponsored state terrorism strategies in Colombia. Beginning in 2000 the US began sending waves of “advisors” to Colombia, accompanied by all the usual military hardware. There these US soldiers hooked up with large right-wing paramilitary organizations and the piddling little Colombian Army and Air Force and began raining violence and death down on millions of people who lived in the Coca-growing regions.
Colombian paramilitary death squads operating under the direct control of the US military would helicopter into a village just before dawn – lessons learned in Vietnam – and begin pulling “suspected guerillas and criminals” from their homes and executing them on the spot, or hauling them to waiting helicopters. Those left behind were told to pack up and move to government “relocation centers” or the soldiers would be back to burn their village and kill them. There were a number of “My Lai” incidents during these raids involving US personnel that were totally suppressed. Nobody has ever been held accountable.
From 2000 – 2003 nearly 2 million people were first sprayed with poison, then bombed with fire, then attacked by soldiers, and then “relocated”. In this same period over 3000 civilians were executed by US-sponsored death squads and many more simply disappeared.
Now in 2016 the villages are mostly abandoned and those that remain are pitiful shells of the prosperity that Coca growing brought them. As part of “Plan Colombia” the US did its usual “lets give the natives another way to make a living” routine and spent millions upon millions building idiotic “aid projects” like Yucca mills in the middle of nowhere that formerly semi-prosperous Coca growers were supposed to keep supplied with Yucca roots, at pennies a kilo, to be ground into flour. Brilliant. Just fucking brilliant.
There are dozens of these monuments to stupidity (or maybe something a bit more sinister) lying around rural Colombia, and meanwhile the Coca growing has moved on to other parts of Colombia, FARC has signed a peace treaty with the government, and the US president has just had a smileyface press moment with the president of Colombia as they celebrate victory in the war on whatever it was.
Another mission accomplished.