The CIA, Libya, and Conspiracy Theories

The AP has a story today, “Libyan Intelligence Documents Show Ties to CIA”.  Essentially, it’s about how the CIA sent terror suspects to Gadhafi’s Libya for questioning.  These intelligence services in Libya were reportedly abusive.

Over the course of my life, I’ve come across conspiracy theories.  The impression I got from Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11, to use an example, was that the War on Terror is phony: that the U.S. under George W. Bush was not really concerned about Al-Qaeda, for the Bushes were friends of the Ben-Laden family.  Rather, Moore’s thesis appeared to have been that Bush was aiming to increase state power (i.e., through the Patriot Act) and to support the selfish interests of rich corporations.

How would conspiracy theorists account for our attempts to gather intelligence from terror suspects, though?  If the War on Terror was merely a ruse, why were we trying to learn the terrorists’ next move, or to find out information about their network?  Would the answer of many conspiracy theorists be that the terrorists were threatening the selfish interests of rich corporations, along with our imperialistic ambitions?

I’m not going to get into the morality or efficiency of how the U.S. pursued intelligence, for there are different sides to that issue, and I find myself incompetent to debate it.  I myself don’t know which narrative is right.  I mean, what do you do when different sides are presenting different “facts” about, say, whether or not we were violating the Geneva Convention through our interrogation techniques?  If you want to comment on that, fine, but don’t try to pick a fight with me.  I’ll probably just publish your comment, and let you have the last word.

What interests me, though, is how conspiracy theorists would point to the latest news about the CIA and Libya as evidence that the U.S. Government is evil.  But there had to be more to its motive than just pure evil, for it was trying to stop or prevent certain acts of terrorism.  For conspiracy theorists, was that somehow part of its evil agenda?

Often, I don’t like how conspiracy theorists frame issues—or at least I wish that they would elaborate on their framing a little more.  The way some of them present it, you either see our government as totally evil, or you are a naive simpleton who thinks that our government always does good, and out of the purest of motives.  I think human nature is more complex than those two extremes, let alone the U.S. Government.  People may do evil while thinking it is for a good cause.  Or they may do evil to pursue their selfish interests.  And there are other options.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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