Throughout history, war has been the catalyst of scenarios culminating in acts of genocide and mass murder, in such grand proportion that the sociopolitical impact has been that of a terrorism campaign. Indeed, protracted conflicts configure the ideal conditions for elements of terrorism from all sides.
For the past eight years the US has committed to what it calls a war ‘against’ terrorism.
Though perhaps few Americans question the rationale for an aggressive movement to minimize the possibility of future attacks on American soil, there is a critical world view of the tactical results and the effort to withhold timely, factual information regarding on the ground realities of a two front conflict.
Terrorism is not just a term inserted into the script of foreign policy. It is a conception wrought of the violent acts and ideological attitudes formulated in orchestrating collective influence and social change. It is administered with the intent of reducing the public psyche to a simple equation of fear and submission. This is potently clear within the deconstructive campaigns of Hitler, Stalin and Mao Tse Tung for example.
With this in mind I would mention that although history illustrates the brutal necessitates of power brokering between nations and within societies, the consequence of modern state terror has never been so relentlessly challenged by small, covert cells of civilian agents, nor has it been so blatantly justified in the broad political theater as the means to a an end.
As an example, I would refer to the Russian invasions of Chechnya (in 1994 and again in 1999), in which Grozny was mercilessly decimated by the Soviet war machine, with hundreds of thousands of civilians dead, missing, imprisoned, tortured. Ruthless measures employed to establish authority and root out separatists led to many reports of human rights abuses. In 2008 Richard Boucher, former spokesman of the U.S. State Department said, “the lack of a political solution and the number of credible reports of massive human rights violations, we believe, contribute to an environment that is favorable toward terrorism.”
A paradox which may be associated with the west’s opposition to communist expansionism during the cold war era was expounded in the expression of right wing terrorism in Latin American politics. The CIA organized the Salvadoran death squads in Central America to combat left wing insurgencies and revolutions in the making. In El Salvador alone, an estimated 130 thousand civilians were murdered in their beds, were disappeared and tortured.
In response to an open-ended conflict with Al-Qaeda soldiers and anti-American insurgents the Bush administration has taken a scholarly approach to the application of accumulative collateral damage and disproportionate violence among civilians. With political advisers and legal consul, he coupled revised legal definitions with a concept of institutionalized terror dubbed Islamo-Fascism. A title which one of thought would find difficult if not impossible to apply as a valid term of description.
His administration officially classified terrorism as a unique act of combat against society outside or beyond that of conventional war. In doing so, his policy created a three pronged stratagem designed to promote and rationalize state sponsored aggression which he knew would ultimately victimize millions of innocent Muslims.
In one of the US government’s first acts of suppressing public knowledge of the reality on the ground, the Al-Jezeera headquarters in Baghdad was destroyed by US tanks after a journalist began publishing photos showing civilian carnage of the invasion.
Through the reclassification process Washington was able to, (1.) accumulate and direct the political will of the conservative right, (2.) establish that excessive force and collateral damage in civilian populations did not equate to terrorism in reverse and, (3.) create legal instruments which circumvented constitutional checks and balances designed to protect the innocent (i.e.Guantanamo – detention without trial).
These and other elements resulted in the alignment of public support for sustained aggressive force as a military necessity based on the idea of a preemptive security policy.
To further this end, the Bush administration used the media to establish an ideological terminology transmuting the efforts of small, poorly organized groups into a virtual global conspiracy threatening the western material lifestyle.
The result of implementing various fear and ideological applications richly enhanced the Bush doctrine of maximum force, punitively reaping destruction in one of the most densely populated areas in the Middle East.
Even President Obama has been converted by the forward thrust of the war, inasmuch as he now sees fit to escalate, instead of mitigating the loses and withdrawing from Afghanistan now. There is little doubt that the Taliban will once again rule the country. This is especially evident in the light of a hopelessly corrupt and ineffective government of criminals propped by US policy, disdained by average citizens. President Obama is escalating the conflict prior to a gradual withdrawal as Afghan forces are capable, only to avoid the charge that he wasn’t tough on terrorism.
By 2009 various well organized studies have cumulatively abridged Iraqi war casualty counts. John Tirman, (executive director and principal research scientist at the MIT Center for International Studies) wrote a commentary for the February issue of The Nation, in which he propounded the statistics underscoring the consequence of the Bush anti-terrorist (terrorism) strategy. According to the best accumulated evidence there are approximately 1 million dead, 4.5 million displaced, 1 to 2 million widows and 5 million orphans.
According to a statement by the Iraqi Health Ministry on Al-Iraqya TV in July 2006, many of these orphans were being housed in filthy prisons.
As perhaps a sign of anti-American nationalism in January, an eight foot bronze replica of the shoe indignantly hurled at Pres. Bush by journalist, Muntadhar al-Zeidi, was erected at an orphanage complex in Tikrit. Days later it was unceremoniously removed at the behest of the central government which uses US liberated oil revenue to support the orphanage complex.
The wife (Amina) of my wonderfully hospitable friend Ahmed Chalabi (not associated with the former Iraqi oil minister and Congressional patsy, Ahmed Abdel Hadi Chalabi) who resides as a naturalized American citizen recently went to Baghdad for a visit. Upon her return, she lamented about the twisted wreckage that was her home town, once brimming with commerce and the aroma of kabob.
Amina alluded to infrastructural damage done during the US invasion bombings alone. After six years of occupation she resented the lack of public services, 4 hours of water and electricity; due to wide spread destruction of water treatment and generator plants by US military.
Though Amina and her family are grateful and enjoy the benefits of American life she was unable to control instinctively feminine emotions regarding the human toll wreaked by reckless policy and the shear destructive terror of military force. Her daughter (Sarah) showed me a disfiguring skin graft on her left forearm from the bombing of her neighborhood by a US jet fighter when she was 15.
Amina also repeated stories circulating about, that US and British intelligence operations were instrumental in covertly inciting sectarian violence through the bombings of Shiite mosques which were then blamed on Sunni insurgents. Ahmed exclaimed that Shia and Sunni marriages were not uncommon before war operations brought sectarian strife. And as a matter of fact, he was Sunni and Amina Shia.
Suspicion of western meddling was further strengthened in 2005, when according to Iraqi officials, two men identified as British agents were detained, who apparently wore robes and shot their way through a security checkpoint in Basra (not verified by the British government). They were subsequently arrested after leaving their vehicle in which weapons and explosive devices were discovered.
It has been leaked that the DOD plans to create Salvadoran style death squads in Iraq and Afghanistan to covertly combat, kidnap and torture insurgency leadership in those countries as well as in neighboring countries. The consequences of such a policy would invariably carry severe social and moral consequences, including a broad galvanization of both anti-western initiatives among terror and insurgency leaders, as well as mounting public consensus toward them in the greater Islamic community.
I recently received a letter from a long known pastor (Steve) who I would consider deeply entrenched in the war complex of the conservative Christian right. Much of his criteria for supporting the war on terror is vested in patriotic ideals coming through people like Newt Gingrich, who often emphasizes disgust over the profound silence of the Islamic community against terrorism.
Strangely, his eyes and ears remain waxed regarding public demonstrations of all kinds, from Muslims across the Middle East, Asia, Europe and the US along with millions of non-Muslims the world over. Public marches, news reports, interviews, religious sermons and the like. They speak openly and vehemently against covert social manipulations and state sanctioned aggressions of unbridled, incisive violence and economic oppressions coming from the west.
The cold war policies of Latin America may have become obscured or internalized in thirty years of the common man’s toil.
This will not be the case in the Middle East and among Muslims generally, where tradition preserves and expounds the lessons of history. And just how does the west resolve diverse points of reference where Muslims are both unwilling to bare the brunt of empirical domination and always eager to become martyrs for their liberties and beliefs?
Qur’an 9:14 “Fight them and Allah will punish them by your hand, lay them low, and cover them with shame. He will help you over them.”