May 1 was the first anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan, by the brave men of Seal Team-6. He was America’s most-wanted terrorist for many years.
Bin Laden led the militant al-Qaeda groups that bombed American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 and the U.S. warship Cole in Yemen in 2000. He was also credited with masterminding the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Arlington County, Va. Those attacks killed 2,606 in the twin towers and on the ground, 125 at the Pentagon, 246 on the planes and 19 hijackers.
Most people do not know that Osama bin Laden was once employed by the U.S. government, as were several other high-profile Middle Easterners. He was working for our Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) against the Russian occupiers of Afghanistan in the late ‘70s and ‘80s.
Some of the others who were once on our CIA payroll were Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gadaffi and Anwar Sadat. They all eventually went on to become oppressive dictators.
Most of us remember Saddam Hussein who was the Iraqi dictator who invaded Kuwait in 1990. He was then driven back from Kuwait. A coalition of countries led by the U.S. and United Kingdom eventually invaded Iraq to depose him in March of 2003. He was captured on Dec. 13, 2003 and tried by the Iraqi government for the killing of 148 Shiites. He was executed on Dec. 30, 2006.
Saddam Hussein was on the payroll of the CIA Covert Operations in 1959. Hussein was a key U.S. ally in the Middle East at one time. He invaded Iran in 1980 as the U.S. supplied military advice and intelligence on Iran. The U.S. and British helped Iraq develop its chemical and biological weapons capabilities for this.
Our CIA was making payments to Muammar Gadaffi of Libya in the early ‘60s and Anwar Sadat of Egypt in the early ‘70s. Both eventually became brutal dictators. BBC News reported that Libya’s former justice minister claimed that Gadaffi had personally ordered the Lockerbie Scotland bombing of Pan Am flight 103. That attack killed 270 people in 1988.
Much of this historical information was only released for public consumption many years after it happened. As you can see, our tax dollars supported some who eventually proved to be pretty bad guys.
These events have occurred during the administrations of several presidents of both political parties. Access to Middle East oil has been one of the major driving forces behind many of these efforts. This is another reason for us to develop the energy resources that are available to us in our own country.
Chuck Drury is an Anoka resident, retired engineer and former technical director of Federal Cartridge Company.