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The Tribune Democrat, November 23, 2010

Using terrorism as a threat

We are as much an occupying force as were the British imperialists before us, who brutalized and seized Iraq, Afghanistan and other Middle Eastern nations

Jim Scofield

Our present wars are not against terrorists. Iraq was clearly not a terrorist threat (or any threat to the United States), although the Bush administration tried to confuse us on this.

The Taliban in Afghanistan are not international terrorists. Though a brutal group, it should properly be seen as a resistance force to the Western, mainly U.S., occupation of the country.

Initiating a war against the then-ruling Taliban in 2001 after the 9/11 terrorist attacks was not the right way to oppose al-Qaida, the group responsible for the terrorist bombing.

From the start, President Bush equated al-Qaida with the Taliban and used a massive bombing campaign against the Taliban, killing many thousands.

This sort of pseudorevenge, killing lots of people not involved, played well with the American public.

Bush refused the Taliban offer to bring Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaida leader who then was only suspected of the attacks, before a third-party court.

By contrast, the previous attack, in 1993 on the World Trade Center, was treated as an international police case.

As Jacob Hornberger of the Future of Freedom Foundation points out: “Some three years after the (1993) attack, Ramzi Yousef (the leader) was captured by the police in Pakistan ... extradited to the United States, stood trial in federal district court, and given a life sentence.”

This idea of war is vague, indiscriminate and potentially endless.
Our method of warfare uses extremely powerful weapons that kill on a large scale.
These wars we have conducted have killed hundreds of thousands of people and devastated Iraq and Afghanistan.
They have made the United States pretty roundly hated and probably created more terrorists.
They have killed thousands of our troops, maimed physically and mentally thousands more, and subjected our personnel to multiple battle tours.
The Tribune Democrat, Nov. 23, 2010

Instead, we now have “a war against terrorism,” which has allowed our leaders to attack not only Afghanistan, but Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and even threaten an attack on Iran.

This idea of war is vague, indiscriminate and potentially endless.

Our method of warfare uses extremely powerful weapons that kill on a large scale.

These wars we have conducted have killed hundreds of thousands of people and devastated Iraq and Afghanistan.

They have made the United States pretty roundly hated and probably created more terrorists.

They have killed thousands of our troops, maimed physically and mentally thousands more, and subjected our personnel to multiple battle tours.

Was this tactic better than the police action after the first attack on the World Trade Center?

We are as much an occupying force as were the British imperialists before us, who brutalized and seized Iraq, Afghanistan and other Middle Eastern nations.

We are an alien force, culturally strange.

How would we react to a foreign group with a different language, religion and customs, who totally controlled the air over us, could direct missiles to kill off our leaders at will, broke in our doors in the middle of the night, and tortured our people?

I suspect we would then understand the concept of having a resistance, even if our enemy termed it “terrorist.”

We have no right to control the Middle East. After World War II, we were to return to the traditional small standing army. But leaders have found one enemy after another, chiefly in Asia, from Korea in 1950 on, to fight wars against.

One recalls how the despotic government of Big Brother in the novel “1984” manipulated its people by always finding an enemy for them to hate and fear.

Presidents such as George Washington and Dwight Eisenhower saw the peril of having a huge, permanent armed forces and the military-industrial complex that supports it.

The political power of these are a danger to our nation.

Our military budgets are way out of proportion, equal to those of the rest of the world’s combined. Excessive military spending alone accounts for the most considerable part of our national debt.

Though it should be evident that such spending must be curtailed, neither party dares to suggest this.

It seems there is only one political party: The war party.

Our infrastructure, including our water, sewage, transportation, medical care and schools, have been allowed to decay and fall behind those in other countries, though our politicians, in their mindless political rhetoric, dare not concede this.

Given the financial crisis we now face, one would think we could move to curtail our militarism.

Unfortunately, this is unlikely.

* We now plan to stay in Afghanistan until 2014, at least.

* We will keep our bases in Iraq.

* We have many hundreds of military bases in countries around the world.

Terrorism is the perfect enemy that can always be adduced to scare the public into war fever.

Jim Scofield is an associate professor emeritus of Pitt-Johnstown.

Category: Taliban/ISIS/Terrorism, US-NATO, HR Violations - Views: 6493


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