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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-03-07 04:52 PM
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While acts of terrorism of the weak against the powerful must be condemned, the far more prevalent case of terrorism of the powerful against the weak must also be exposed, resolutely condemned, and vanquished. Yet the latter is unmentionable. Abu Spinoza

Terrorism has been defined as ideologically or politically motivated violence directed against civilian targets. Substituting the word innocent for civilian also provides a good definition. The mere thought of terrorism is enough to strike fear (or terror) into the hearts of millions of people throughout the world. And it is justifiably condemned by the great bulk of the worlds people.

Evidence of its condemnation can be found in a great body of international law: Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter says that the U.N. Security Council shall determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression and shall make recommendations to maintain or restore international peace and security. And there are numerous U.N. conventions and resolutions for the purpose of protecting innocent people against violence, including the Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings, the Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, the Geneva Conventions for the treatment of Prisoners of War, the International Criminal Court, the Conventions Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and many others. A major purpose of the United Nations and the body of international law that it sponsors is the prevention of war itself. And the Constitution of the United States addresses the issue by providing a whole array of legal protections against arbitrary arrest and imprisonment (5th and 6th amendments) and against cruel and unusual punishment (8th amendment).

The near universal antipathy towards and fear of terrorism explains why George Bushs War on Terror was initially so popular in the United States, and why a sizable minority of Americans continue to support it even today, despite widespread evidence after nearly six years that it has created much more harm than good. And it also explains why Republicans had much success until the 2006 mid-term elections in stigmatizing or even branding as traitors anyone who challenged or criticized the way that George Bush carries out his war.

Yet, Americans who have the courage, good sense, and vision to view Bushs War on Terror through the eyes of most of the rest of the world have noticed a much darker side to Bushs war. And that is that the United States of America itself is today the major perpetrator of terror in the world.

U.S. sponsored terror in Iraq

What is so obvious to Iraqis and the rest of the world is simply ignored or denied by many or most Americans, with the aid of a complicit corporate news media that isnt much interested in discussing such things.

In assessing the use of terror by the U.S. military in Iraq, two of the most basic facts to consider are: 1) Given that George Bushs excuses for perpetrating the war all turned out to be lies, it is evident that the real reasons for the war were a combination of baser motives, including control of Iraqi oil supplies, the expansion of American military power, and war profiteering; and 2) Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians have died as a result of our invasion. Nor are those hundreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths mere accidents. As noted by Michael Schwartz:

The architects of American policy in the Middle East tend to keep escalating the level of brutality in search of a way to convince the Iraqis (and now the Iranians) that the only path that avoids indiscriminate slaughter is submission to a Pax Americana. Put another way, American policy in the Middle East has devolved into unadorned state terrorism.

The brutality described by Schwartz is evidenced in numerous different ways: The U.S. military does not hesitate to attack heavily populated Iraqi cities, with predictable results:

The US Coalition has used overwhelming military force to attack Iraqi cities on grounds that they were insurgent strongholds. The offensives, involving air and ground bombardment and armored assaults, have resulted in the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people, large civilian casualties and colossal destruction of the urban physical infrastructure, making affected cities at least partly uninhabitable.

Frequent aerial bombing of Iraq has resulted in numerous civilian deaths. The use of chemical weapons by the U.S. military has undoubtedly resulted in especially gruesome deaths and injuries of many civilians. And as frustration mounts on the ground, Day after day, scores of Iraqi civilians are being massacred in concerted offensives aimed at terrorizing the population and stamping American control over the country, while the U.S. government implausibly maintains that the atrocities are merely the work of a few bad apples.

George Bush continues to maintain that we are fighting this war for the benefit the Iraqi people. But how are we benefiting them in a way that would make up for the hundreds of thousands dead and the millions displaced, terrorized or tortured? The infrastructure of Iraq has been devastated by our war, with the availability of electricity in Baghdad as low as 2.4 hours a month and 84% of Iraqs institutions of higher learning burnt, looted or destroyed. Yet, the corporate sponsors of the Bush administration, after receiving billions in no-bid contracts for the reconstruction of Iraq, have utterly failed to make decent progress in repairing the infrastructure that weve destroyed, and they are not held accountable for that failure.

But were fighting for their freedom

Earlier this week on C-SPAN or NPR, I heard a guest whose name I didnt catch comparing our war in Iraq with the American Civil War. He pointed out that the American Civil War, though it was enormously costly in blood and treasure, was nevertheless a great victory for the cause of freedom; and he predicted that the same thing will someday be said about the Iraq War if only we have the fortitude to see it through. There was just one major problem with that analogy however: Unlike our former slaves, the Iraqis, in overwhelming numbers, DO NOT WANT US to fight for their freedom. According to a September 2006 World Opinion Poll, 71% of Iraqis want U.S. forces to get out of their country within a year, and another 20% want us out within 2 years. The remaining 9% say that we should only withdraw as the security situation permits. 78% say that our presence in Iraq is provoking more conflict than it is preventing. And 61% go so far as to say that they approve of violent attacks against U.S. forces.

Judged by the virtual blackout of this issue by our corporate news media, one would think that Iraqi opinions on the occupation of their country are not worth considering. But if one considers the Iraqis to be actual people whose opinions mean something, and if one takes seriously the commitment we owe them (which the Bush administration often uses as an excuse for our continued presence in Iraq) then it is extremely difficult for me to see how we can justify our continued occupation of Iraq. And there is only one conclusion that can be drawn from Bushs unshakable insistence that we remain there that we are there for our own imperialistic purposes, and any talk about fulfilling our commitment to the Iraqis by continuing to occupy their country is the height of hypocrisy.

George Bushs use of terrorism to conduct his War on Terror

Beyond our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and our threatened war against Iran, George Bush conducts his War on Terror using a variety of illegal, brutal, and cowardly means: We capture thousands of terrorist suspects through a variety of means, most commonly by paying bounties for them; we render thousands of them into the custody of tyrannical regimes to be tortured; thousands of others we hold indefinitely in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay, or various secret CIA prisons, without even charging them with a crime; we allow them no access to legal counsel or their own families, who arent even notified of their disappearances; we torture them repeatedly; and for those who are tried for crimes, we dont allow them to see the evidence against them or to contest that evidence. According to Stephen Grey, award winning journalist for Excellence in Human Rights Reporting for Amnesty International, in Ghost Plane The True Story of the CIA Torture Program, we have done such things to about 11,000 human beings since September 11, 2001.

Why do I call this terrorism? The definition I cited at the beginning of this post defined terrorism as violence against civilians. Well, many or most of these people are civilians, or if not, they were merely fighting in defense of their country against George Bushs invasion. Just as important, it is highly likely that the good majority of them are innocent of any crime. Such were the conclusions of Major General Antonio Taguba, who investigated our torture of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib. And such were the conclusions of the International Red Cross.

But even if we didnt have investigations like that to demonstrate the innocence of most of our victims, as a civilized nation we should presume their innocence, merely by virtue of the fact that the good majority of them have neither been tried nor charged with a crime, and also by virtue of the fact that our government does everything it can to keep the whole sordid program as secret as possible. Are we to take comfort from the fact that our nation tosses into prison men (and boys) brought to us by bounty hunters? Are we to take the word of George Bush and Dick Cheney that these men are the worst of the worst, even though theyve never been tried for a crime? Unlike George Bush, we arent blessed with a direct line of communication to God. So how are we to decide?

But are such tactics justified by virtue of the fact that were fighting against a brutal and ruthless enemy? Well, all terrorists justify their terrorism in that manner. George Bushs use of terrorism is no more justified than the terrorism perpetrated by any other terrorist. Perhaps it is less justified, given the unprecedented military power at his disposal. And what exactly is George Bush protecting us against? The only terrorism perpetrated against U.S. citizens in the almost six years since George Bush proclaimed his War on Terror has been the terrorism perpetrated by George Bush himself (many of whose victims are American citizens) and that practiced against U.S. soldiers in occupied Iraq or Afghanistan which isnt terrorism at all, since it is targeted against an invading army.

James Carroll, in his book, House of War The Pentagon and the Disastrous Rise of American Power, suggests a way that a civilized nation the kind of nation that we once were should be handling its terrorism suspects:

The International Criminal Court, fulfilling the desire to replace revenge with adjudication, had its origin in the America-sponsored Nuremberg trials after World War II. Nothing embodied the genius of postwar American statesmanship more completely than this new court, and it would have been the best place to make world-historic cases against Al Qaeda, Saddam Hussein, and anyone else who defied the norms of international order. George W. Bush, in one of his first acts as president, unsigned the ICC Treaty

Terrorist nation

The motivations of the Bush administration can be seen clearly in the writings of the Neoconservatives who compose much of his administration, many who are members of the Project for a New American Century (PNAC). Their chilling (for anyone who abhors imperialism) document, Rebuilding Americas Defenses, written long before the 9-11 attacks on our country, sheds much light on George Bushs War on Terror.

The primary theme of Rebuilding Americas Defenses is that our military must be much stronger than the militaries of any nation or combination of nations that might oppose our ambitions, in order that we may shape a new century favorable to American principles and interests, boldly and purposefully promote American principles abroad and maintain an order that is uniquely friendly to American principles and prosperity. More specifically, we now have new missions which require defending American interests in the Persian Gulf and Middle East by deterring or, when needed, by compelling regional foes to act in ways that protect American interests and principles.

No wonder that even our allies consider George Bush to be a threat to world peace, as demonstrated by a November 2006 international poll which showed that 83% of Mexicans, 78% of British citizens and 74% of Canadians consider George Bush to be a severe or moderate threat to world peace.

This article sums up the situation as well as any Ive seen:

The U.S. is fiercely aggressive toward its neighbors, undaunted by international law, armed to the teeth and dangerous. Increasingly, it is isolating itself from the community of nations in pursuit of unfettered sovereignty and the consequent economic and political power its wealth gives it. If it abrogates treaties, or simply refuses to be involved in any kind of multinational agreements that limit its powers, it will be uncontrollable. In short, a rogue nation.

Just substitute terrorist for rogue, and you have a capsule summary of George Bushs War on Terror.

If Americans are really serious about combating terrorism they will demand that their own government stop perpetrating it. And assuming that George Bush and Dick Cheney fail to comply with that demand, the American people will demand that their Congress make use of the only remaining remedy at their disposal the impeachment and removal from office of the most lawless President and Vice President our nation has ever known.

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DawnIsis Donating Member (202 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-03-07 05:33 PM
Response to Original message
1. Excellently written although I'd like to point out that we did have the anthrax attacks after 9/11
of course we have no idea who did that or why.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-03-07 07:57 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. True -- I forgot about that in the context of this post
Edited on Thu May-03-07 07:59 PM by Time for change
But I think it's pretty clear that that episode could not be tied to al Qaeda or Muslims of any sort. The strain of Anthrax involved was traced to the U.S. Army. No wonder so little investigation was done.
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pberq Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-03-07 09:43 PM
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3. Great article!
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-04-07 01:25 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. Thank you
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-04-07 06:15 AM
Response to Original message
5. Interesting comment by Tommy Thompson last night on Iraq War
Also, it's consistent with his website:

He says that he's the only candidate with a plan for long term success in Iraq. Then he goes on to say that the Iraqis should vote on whether they want us there. If they vote yes, we stay, and if they vote no, we leave.

I wonder if he's aware that that's tantamount to saying that we will leave? They want us out in overwhelming numbers, as indicated by the poll that I link to in the OP. Polls of Iraqis have consistently shown that they want us out.

It's a great idea IMO -- asking the Iraqis what they want us to do. I have to give him credit for asking that question. I wish someone would point it out and challenge the war hawk candidates to say what's wrong with that.
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L0oniX Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-04-07 08:10 AM
Response to Original message
6. Other drivers are the real terrorists
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bonito Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-04-07 09:37 AM
Response to Original message
7. K&R n/t
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-04-07 11:26 AM
Response to Original message
8. E. J. Dionne has a hopeful article about the "awakening" that he says Americans are experiencing as
a result of the Bush atrocities. He believes:

It is also an awakening to the wise skepticism of everyday Americans toward ideologues who devoutly believe that optional wars of their own design can miraculously change the world. /

I am not as optimistic about it as he is, and I have my doubts. Unless Bush and Cheney are impeached and removed from office I'm afraid that the many crimes of the Bush administration are well on their way to becoming standard operating procedure.
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Karenina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-04-07 01:25 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. Their tactics have BEEN SOP
for DECADES. They're just more in-your-face about it. ;-) K&R!
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-04-07 02:41 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. True, but I think it's fair to say that it's far worse under Bush
Nixon had his secret bombing of Cambodia. That was discovered, and Congress should have included that in their articles of impeachment, but they didn't. That set a bad precedent, but at least they got rid of him.

Reagan pursued his Contra war in secret, despite Congress expressly telling him not to and cutting off funding. That was also discovered, and it was partially pursued, but again Congress failed to hold Reagan accountable.

Now, the precedent is such that Bush has taken it to a new level. He tells transparent lies to Congress and the American people in order to justify his war in Iraq, and there is very little move to hold him accountable for that. But he claimed that he didn't even have to do that -- that even if Congress didn't vote yes on the IWR he still would have had the right to go to war.

And he's pushed aside over 800 laws with his "signing statements", claimed that he's not required to follow the Geneva Convention (or any other international law), and ignored our Constitution. In short, he feels that he doesn't have to be accountable to Congress or the American people for anything. We have to draw the line somewhere or the precedent is going to become solified in stone.
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scarletwoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-04-07 03:24 PM
Response to Original message
11. The U.S. M.I.C. has been the state-sponsored terrorism business since the end of WWII.
Here's an old site I found and bookmarked shortly after the 9/11 attacks (it has never been updated to include our 2003 invasion of Iraq):

Chronology of
American State Terrorism>

U.S. State Department Policy Planning Study #23, 1948:

"Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity (U.S. military-economic supremacy).... To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and day-dreaming.... We should cease to talk about vague and...unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better."

George Kennan
Director of Policy Planning
U.S. State Department

The following collection of relatively brief entries is divided into three pages. Each page has the full list near the top so you can jump around from entry to entry between pages.

This list of nations represents literally millions of human beings all over the world who have been brutally murdered directly by the United States government/military or by its obediant proxies. Huge though the list is, there is yet more to add. It does, however, contain the most well-known campaigns of American state terrorism, genocide and subversion all of which are in the historical record for the whole world to see. God only knows what evil the U.S. government and military have committed that remains hidden.

And as long as the United States remains a military power the list of state terror victims will keep growing.

(Long list of countries with clickable links follows the introductory statement)

Our country was founded through genocide, the big difference now is the scale and lethality of our weaponry and the size and complexity of the state apparatus that supports and feeds off of this ability to accomplish industrial-strength slaughter.


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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-04-07 04:26 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. That's quite a list
A more manageable and concise list can be found in "Overthrow -- America's History of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq" by Stephen Kinzer:

It skips over a lot, but that's about all I could handle for one month.
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liberalla Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-04-07 06:39 PM
Response to Original message
13. kicking - to remind me to read later
Bookmarked, too.
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