Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Victory against the war on terrorism

We're going to be hearing a lot more of the idea that terrorist actions can affect elections in democratic countries, and that if the electorate votes for certain political parties the terrorists will have won. The neocons have been very successful in blanketing the world with their insane ideas about the nature of terrorism, ideas which serve their purposes very well but which are completely against the interests of normal people around the world. The neocon world-view is based on the following assumptions:

  • The United States is inherently good.

  • The terrorists are inherently evil.

  • There are no rational reasons for terrorism.

  • Terrorism is the Manichaean battle between the Forces of Good, consisting of the United States and its allies, and the Forces of Evil, consisting of Islamic fundamentalism.

  • The battle against terrorism is an actual war, where victory will only be achieved through military means.

This world-view suits the interests of the neocons for the following reasons:

  • It allows them to trumpet American moral superiority, with the implication that God is behind the actions of the United States.

  • It allows them to wallow in a racist hatred of the Muslim world.

  • It allows them to build theories of the inherent inferiority of the Muslim and Arab worlds, thus allowing them to assert that these worlds can't have democracy as they are not suited to it.

  • It allows them to avoid taking responsibility for years of colonial oppression which has stolen resources and deprived the people of the Middle East access to democracy and modern liberal ideas.

  • It allows them to avoid having to face the issue of root causes, and avoid having to change American behavior, exploitative and colonialist, in the Middle East.

  • By turning the war on terror into a war rather than a police or intelligence operation, it allows them to have excuses for wars which were desired for other reasons (Afghanistan, and, as we have seen with all the recent revelations about Bush, Iraq, not to mention upcoming wars against Syria and Iran).

  • It allows them to engage in a massive military build-up in fighting the war on terror, thus benefiting the military-industrial complex at the expense of everyone else.

  • It allows them to hide one of the main causes of the problem, Israel's ongoing theft of Palestinian lands coupled with Israeli state terrorism against the Palestinian people, and the American encouragement of Israel's actions.

  • It allows them to realize Michael Ledeen's nirvana of a United States completely militarized, ruled by fear which ends civil rights, and on a constant war footing, with every aspect of American life disciplined by the all-pervasive need to fight the war on terror.

  • By encouraging terrorist reprisals against the implementation of the American war on terror, it allows them to have a continuing fuel for the fear which is their main weapon against the people of the world.

The model of the world proposed by the neocons suits them very well. Under the neocon assumptions, if terrorism occurs and an electorate votes for a party with a sane, constructive and non-fear-ridden attitude towards terrorism, the terrorists have succeeded in blackmailing the country into agreeing to the terms of the terrorists. While this is the prevailing view of almost every commentator in the United States, it is also wrong, and actually quite insane. It is the world-view to have if you want to live in fear for the rest of your life, with dwindling civil liberties, in a constant state of war, and with social programs ruined to pay the military-industrial complex for the tools of war. With the bumbling and overtly mendacious actions of the Aznar government in Spain, the people of Spain woke up to what the rest of the world must see, that the war on terrorism is a sham perpetrated by the neocons and their followers to achieve goals none of the rest of us want. There are real ways to stop terrorism, and in fact the methods of the neocons actually increase terrorism (which suits them just fine). Governments have to start taking the following steps:

  1. Treat the fight against terrorism as a police and intelligence matter, and not as an excuse for wars which only increase the risk of terrorism. Bush could have made real efforts to prevent terrorism before 9-11, but that would have involved paying salaries to FBI and intelligence agents, and not diverting money to his corporate friends to fund the scam that is missile defense. The deep truth is that the Bush Administration's profound disinterest in preventing terrorism was due to the fact that they could see no way for their corporate friends to make money from it. After September 11, Bush could have sent FBI agents to Afghanistan to capture the alleged perpetrators behind 9-11, but chose to use 9-11 as an excuse to attack Afghanistan and later Iraq, countries he wanted to attack for other reasons. It is not a coincidence that the only terrorists who have been apprehended have been apprehended by countries other than the United States. Fighting terrorism through war is not only ineffective, it is actually completely counterproductive, increasing the future risk of terrorist attacks by the relatives of the victims of the wars. Terrorists could not have better recruitment advertising that the actions of the United States. The United States is going to suffer the fallout from the attack on Iraq for a long time.

  2. Stop seeing the war against terror as a comic-book battle between Good and Evil. Americans have to start viewing the terrorists as something other than animals. They are human beings the same as everyone else, and want the same goals as everyone else. These goals are pretty boring. They would like to be able to live in peace in countries whose assets are not being stolen by corrupt governments run by puppets of American oil companies, they would like to be able to live without jackbooted American thugs wandering around their neighborhoods, and they would like to be able to choose their own leaders. By casting racist aspersions against the entire Muslim world, the neocons play into inherent racist ideas and dehumanize the enemy. This allows them the excuse to impose unspeakable horrors on these people ('shock and awe'), while denying them a normal existence because they claim these untermenschen aren't capable of handling ideas like democracy.

  3. Start paying attention to root causes. A good starting point would be to acknowledge the essential justice behind bin Laden's main demands. Stop supporting tyrants who are bribed by American money to allow national assets to be stolen by American corporations, stop basing troops in areas of holy sites, and stop the completely one-sided support of the Israeli state terrorism which is being used in the theft of Palestinian lands. The neocon thesis is that the terrorists have no reason other than an essential evil for what they do. Nothing could be further from the truth. The real evil is what one hundred years of colonial repression has done to the Middle East, and the United States is the current sole colonial power. Any group of people subject to the horrors imposed on them by the Americans would try to fight back in self-defense. If Americans want to see terrorism as a war they have to realize that they started it, and only they can make the changes which will stop it.

  4. Stop living in a culture of manufactured fear. Not only were the Spanish not caving in to terrorism, they were actually exhibiting a considerable amount of courage by refusing to continue to live in the insane world of the neocons. You don't have to be constantly in terror, hoping that your militaristic government will save you from the forces of evil. By voting for governments with adult and responsible attitudes towards the rest of the world, you can actually take steps to break the culture of fear.

The Spanish people realized that the neocon war on terror is actually a deception created for many purposes, not one of which is the elimination of terrorism. In fact, the way the war on terror is being waged by the U. S. and its allies actually increases the danger of terrorism. There are actually two groups of terrorists in the world, the Islamic fundamentalists, and the American neocons. Each group feeds off the other, and the rest of us get caught in the crossfire. Of the two groups, the neocons are by far the better armed, and by far the more dangerous. It is time for the rest of us to stop feeding their insanity.