Two events on Mayday 2011 provoked my sense of outrage beyond its usual limits. Most days I can watch the news with a mild sense of disgust at the state of the world or dismay that any decent human being with normal intelligence could believe the deceitful propaganda passed on to the gullible as news.
The first event was the NATA bombing of Kaddafi’s family compound in Tripoli, killing his son and three grandchildren. It appears obvious that this was a targeted assassination attempt against a head of state, reportedly carried out by the British contingent of NAT0 and likely with a green light from the United States. The Get Kaddafi pronouncements have been circulating in the United States for a time. Republican Senator Lindsay Graham has been vociferous in his public calling for the killing of Kaddafi. In a sane United States, where the rule of law is presumed to exist, one would expect that Senator Graham would be called before the Senate Ethics Committee, censured, and expelled from Congress to then face conspiracy to murder charges by the Department of Justice.
The second event was the unprecedented late Sunday night gathering of the press at the White House for President Obama´s announcement of the killing of Osama Bin Laden. It is not unreasonable to think that there are cases of justifiable homicide. If we are to believe what we are told Bin Laden was the mastermind of the September 11, 2001 attack which killed over 3000 persons in the World Trade Center. This fugitive managed to hide out for nearly 10 years and maybe it was not possible to walk in and take him for a fair trial. Since the building was surrounded one might think that a surrender order was appropriate, but no, the intent was to kill. The assassination was very convenient, not having to risk putting the War on Terror itself on trail. I say ¨if we are to believe¨ because the information that we have on this militant and the terrorist organization Al Qaeda is supplied by the same U.S. intelligence agencies that concocted the evidence that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and harbored Al Qaeda, fabrications used to justify the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
No, what sets off my outrage is not the attempted murder of a tyrant or the killing of a terrorist– those who live by violence often die that way– it is the larger meaning of these two events. The War on Terror is a gigantic fraud, a largely successful attempt to ideologically justify America’s Imperial Ambition in the oil rich Middle East, a smoke screen for America´s state sponsored ¨offical terrorism.¨ This terrorism is exercised far in excess of anything that Islamic extremists have perpetrated.
The term Terrorism is a one-dimensional catchword, an ideological construct forged to encourage the flag wavers and build political consensus and popular support for violence and war. This allows plausibility for the official wisdom that invading another country, Afghanistan first then Iraq, now maybe Libya, and in the process cremating with bombs thousands of civilians, is not terrorism. People being burned alive and blown to bits are acts of terrorism, whether this occurs in Baghdad, the Pakistani frontier, Tripoli, or Kabul or New York. Well over 100,000 people have died in Iraq and several million people have been displaced from their homes as a consequence of that war and occupation, not to mention the ongoing regime of torture by the puppet government forces and the sectarian violence precipitated by the invasion.
The regime of Saddam Hussein was portrayed as a Rogue State. That is a fair term, even though the current puppet Iraqi government is even more violent. Iraq was an oppressive dictatorship, but after being beaten back in Iran and evicted from Kuwait in 2001, Saddam was hardly a threat to neighboring countries and certainly not to the United States. What the United States wanted was to escalate the War on Terror and specifically coveted the oil that Iraq sits on and more generally aimed to subordinate all nations that resist being incorporated into the Bush Family and Associates Inc. dream of the New World Order.
In the America Under Bush construction of a New World Order, the United States became a Super Rogue State. The Super Rogue declared its right to use unilateral preemptive military means against whatever nation or political group deemed to present a challenge to imperial design. The Super Rogue used economic and military aid to construct and fortify Client Rogues that pursued policies of official terrorism. The Super Rogue used terrorist means to wage a War on Terrorism. The root causes of the terrorism of the victims, the oppressed, the desperate was totally ignored. Terrorists were to be exterminated, initiating an escalating chain of violence. The Super Rogue did not work diplomatically to forge alliances with friendly nations. It expected European allies to be, like Great Britain, vassals in the imperial system. It bribed and coerced lesser states to follow its dictates. The Super Rogue worked to dominate international institutions and when it did not get its way, sought to undermine or to make these institutions irrelevant to its actions. The Super Rogue violated international law, established treaties, and human rights at will and with impunity and celebrated these violations as bringing freedom and democracy. With Barack Obama´s ascendance to the Presidency his supporters were hopeful of real change. This has not happened and under Obama will not happen.
The construction of the Super Rogue State was a political project of extremist mummies like Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld, made possible by the events of September 11, 2001. The world’s leading aspirant to be Terrorist of the Day was not Osama Bin Laden; his name was George W. Bush. The Burning Bush needed his violent homologues, his mirror images, Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.
The foremost terrorist organization is not El Qaeda, nor even its covert rival in Dirty Tricks, sequestering suspects, torture, fabricating intelligence– the CIA. It is the Pentagon.
Of course, this was not all Bush and Company and the Pentagon, it has a history—and a continuation under the President the majority elected in 2008 to put a stop to wars, torture, violation of international law and human rights… How does one characterize President Reagan’s bombardment of Libya in an attempt to assassinate Kaddafi, an alleged promoter of state sponsored terrorism, killing his daughter and a lot of other civilians? Or the deaths during Reagan’s invasion of Grenada? Or the first Bush’s invasion of Panama, killing hundreds, in the effort to extra-officially extradite a General who had the temerity to stop taking the CIA’s money and not be very supportive of American sponsored counterinsurgency in Central America? Let’s call the military interventions of the Americans for what they are, official terrorism. A long history of official terrorism is one root cause of the suicide bombings and other terrible acts of the terrorism of the occupied, the oppressed, the victims, and the desperate. Were the United States to end all forms of official terrorism the terrorism of the desperate would diminish if not disappear.
And what of the official terrorism of the client states set-up or supported and armed to the teeth by the United States? The nasty confrontation between the United States and the Islamic State of Iran had a lot to do with American support for the repressive regime of the Shah. After Libya perhaps Obama will take on Iran. The bloody dictator Saddam Hussein was a favorite of the Americans, who applauded as Iraqi armies invaded Iran and killed more than a million. That changed when Saddam got greedy for some oil fields in a nearby Kingdom carved out of the desert by British imperialism to which the Western Powers, led by the Americans, want to make sure they have perpetual access. The Philippines too had a lot of trouble with Islamic rebels. The origins of this conflict go back to the years of the corrupt dictator Marcos, kept in power with American military and economic aid. Indonesia can be considered one of these violent client states. Israel, another nation that engages state sponsored terrorism, has received more American military and economic aid than any country in the world, allowing the continuation of the Palestinian occupation and violent repression of the resistance. Withholding that aid will likely end Palestinian suicide bombings and missile attacks on Israel, bring a quick Middle East settlement, and go a long way toward making a more peaceful region.
The utter hypocrisy of the cries of the wounded giant after 9/11, hiding the Imperial Design since 2001 in a War on Terror, was once concealed in the rhetoric of the Cold War. Communism, that came to be defined as almost any threat of change to the established order, had to be and was fought by any means necessary. The torture of political prisoners was not unique to the Bush era; it had its origin in CIA programs in Latin America under President Kennedy in the early 1960s. Kennedy brought the world to the edge of nuclear holocaust by attempts to turn back the Cuban Revolution. The fiery explosions that destroyed the World Trade Center appear as mere candle lights in comparison to the napalm that cremated untold numbers of Vietnamese. The overthrow of democratic governments by right-wing military dictatorships, as in Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile– the first 9/11 bombing the Presidential Palace and killing President Allende– stemmed the socialist tide by disappearing socialists. The generals and death squads in Guatemala and El Salvador, with the blessings of Ronald Reagan, kept the guerrillas in check through massacres and brutal repression. The U.S.-armed Contra forces smashed any hope for the Nicaraguan people. Fifty years of embargo and attempts to overthrow the Castro government have kept the Revolution isolated on one small island. (They even tried to get Fidel to smoke an exploding cigar. Congress finally banned assassination as a legitimate foreign policy tool, but the word later became Bin Laden, dead or alive, and that is what is said now of Kaddafi . Should not those who advocate murder, like Senator Graham, go to jail?)
Ironic reversals in Cold War nonsense plague America today. American aid to the Afghan fundamentalists fighting Soviet intervention made sense to the Cold Warriors of the time. The aid to Islamic extremists that laid the basis for the decrepit Taliban regime came back to haunt them. The Soviets, worried about their Southern frontier and Moslem allegiance in their own Republics, at least intervened on the side of secularism and modernization in the Afghan conflict. But all it got them was defeat, another factor in the collapse of the Soviet Union, continuing Islamic insurgency, bombings in Moscow, and Russian official terrorism in Chechnya. The United States appears anxious to follow the Russian example in Afghanistan and exceed the Chechnya excesses, so energetically denounced by the Americans. What goes around comes around. Most people know nothing about the U.S. aid to Islamic extremists (some sources say Al Qaeda was recruited) in Bosnia in the fight against the Serbs.
In the days since the May 1 events I am astounded at the media celebration of the killing Bin Laden. There is not the slightest hint of any views that remotely resemble the ones expressed here. Many Americans have little or no sense of history and not much ability to emphasize with the plight of others not of their own kind. It has been drummed out of their consciousness by the omnipotence of the ideological order they live under, the total lack of exposure to critical thinking in the media, in schools, or in political arenas, and a culture with a strong legacy of racism and ethnocentrism. That is a main reason George Bush was able to make new American wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and now maybe Obama will do the same in Libya. And we should worry about interventions in Iran and Syria too.
The Administration of George Bush, with the support of most Democrats and large sectors of the population was determined to substitute the rhetoric and the violent actions of the Cold War with fighting words and dirty deeds dressed up as a just war against vicious terrorism. This happened at an historical moment when the opportunity existed to achieve a much more just and peaceful world, relatively free of violence, devoid of ethnic cleansing, a world where religious fundamentalists are free to practice their ways but not impose them on others in a secular world, where superpowers drunk on the arrogance of power are sobered in what they can do, where a global capitalism that generates social injustice and inequality is constrained by the powers of communities and tempered by popular demands for justice and equality. The first step in working toward this vision of a better world is recognizing the history and stopping the Americans from what they continue to intend to do.
And that requires a realization that President Obama is as capable as George Bush of ruthless pursuit of the Imperial Ambition through official terrorism. Obama is up to now Bush Lite, but it could get worse. In considering these two assassinations approved by President Obama it is ironic that Obama himself has been subject to many assassination threats. There are in the United States numerous white racists who would, if they could, kidnap the President to Mississippi to lynch him from the highest tree, or right-wing fanatics who would like to drown him in the Pacific surrounding Hawaii where the claim he wasn´t born, and certainly many millions of Islamic extremists who would delight in his demise.
Murder is not the right way, morally, politically or any way, to deal with the state of our world, be it Islamic extremist or imperial war and assassination. While the terrorism of the desperate may be viewed by them as the only option, it is only feeding the Imperial Beast what is needed to continue killing. Popular protest is the way. In the United States I would surely like to see, if not a third party that focuses on real issues, then a repeat of the tumultuous 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention in the 2012 Convention, in which a candidate emerges who actually would do the things Obama promised in his 2008 campaign. I recall reading as a student in the early 1960s Herbert Marcuse ONE DIMENSIONAL MAN, which viewed the omnipotent system as immutable. Then the 60s took off. It is past time for a repeat.