FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Bringing the War Home

by Carl Estabrook

“The chickens come home to roost” –Malcolm X, at the time of the Kennedy assassination.

The destruction in New York on September 11 was a great crime, but it is not an excuse for the leaders of the Bush Administration to kill Arabs or Afghanis.

Those Americans who say that the carnage in New York “changed the world forever” haven’t been paying much attention to what their country has been doing in the world. (Of course, they’re encouraged not to.) The US government is responsible just in the last decade for enormities around the world that have killed many more people than did the terrorist crimes in New York. Americans may not have noticed, but the rest of the world has. That’s the answer to the plaintive inquiry, “Why do they hate us so much?”

If you were to ask Americans, Did the Clinton Administration ever do anything that killed more people than died in New York this week?, most would be shocked at the question. But that administration began with US troops killing perhaps twice as many people in Somalia and continued with the killing of at least as many in Serbia. Against the five thousand thought to have died in New York, we have to count the deaths from sanctions in Iraq, where Clinton’s secretary of State said in 1996 that the half-million children’s corpses by then were “a high price” but “worth it.”

In Timor, US-supplied paramilitaries from US-client Indonesia killed thousands in massacres that could have been stopped with a phone call from Washington.

In Turkey — the third leading recipient of US arms — American heavy weapons and planes were used against Kurds throughout the Clinton years (and on), killing tens of thousands.

In those same years, the principal US client, Israel, which receives half of all US foreign aid, concluded 22 years of illegal occupation of Lebanon with tens of thousands dead; it continues after 34 years its illegal occupation of Palestine, with the deaths of many thousands.

In another ongoing US-financed war, tens of thousands have been killed in Colombia (which has now displaced Turkey as a US-arms recipient).

On one afternoon in August of 1998 (it happened to be the day M. Lewinsky was testifying) the Clinton administration sent a dozen million-dollar-each cruise missiles into a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan, one of the poorest countries in the world, destroying most of that country’s capacity to make antibiotics and drugs for malaria, tuberculosis, and cholera, as well as veterinary medicine and fertilizer. It is estimated that many thousands died as a result; the US blocked a UN inquiry into the death toll.

Last week’s terrorist crimes in New York are just that — crimes, and not an “act of war,” as the Bush Administration keeps bleating. (Even the insurance companies, who would be let off the hook if the New York losses were the result of war, have admitted that they can’t claim that.) We’ve had some recent examples of how international criminals should be dealt with. In Paris a few months ago, an international criminal responsible for many more deaths than Osama bin Laden was subpoenaed by a French judge. He fled the country while his government asserted that he was in no way subject to French jurisdiction, but Henry Kissinger — for it was he — like Bin Laden now has to be careful where he travels. The pattern was set by the UK’s detention of the Chilean mass-murderer Pinochet (put in place by Kissinger), although he was eventually released by the man who is now the UK foreign minister.

The real grief of Americans is being turned by the Bush administration into a suicidal flourish of geriatric machismo. “Up to 60 countries face the full wrath of American military might!” exclaims loony Defense Secretary Rumsfeld. “Use tactical nuclear weapons on Afghanistan!” says the usual shadowy spokesman for the US “intelligence community.” And the putative president of the US threatens to attack any country found “harboring” terrorists. Of course, if that were an excuse for killing a country’s civilians, then many in the rest of the world would say that Bin Laden could claim it in regard to America, where Clinton and Kissinger are at large, and the government is purportedly put in place by the people.

A war emergency has advantages to the Bush administration, of course. Its “approval rating” rises, as typically in crises; it’s an excuse to send money to large corporations and lessen the capital gains tax while revving up young Americans to kill foreigners; and it justifies further inroads on civil liberties. (In the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing, Clinton signed one of the most repressive pieces of legislation in years, the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act.) In launching a war on poor Islamic countries, the Bush administration is contributing to the fulfillment of the fevered fantasies of Bin Laden and American “political scientist” Samuel Huntington, who both look to a “clash of civilizations” between Islamic militancy and US hegemony.

The principal beneficiary from the carnage of September 11 is of course Israel. Prime Minister Sharon took the occasion of the world’s concentration on New York suddenly to cancel his planned meeting with Arafat and to send tanks and helicopter gunships into Palestinian towns, killing a number of Palestinians; plans for walling off Palestinian enclaves were suddenly resurrected. As it prepared for its war with “Islamic fundamentalism,” the Bush administration’s feeble attempts to restrain its blood-thirsty client have disappeared entirely, and the Israeli government knows it: the war criminal at its head can do anything he likes. When his opponent (from the right), Benyamin Netanyahu, was asked what the attack means for relations between the US and Israel, he replied, “It’s very good.”

The US must retract the war it has projected around the world for generations. In New York last week the victims were as usual working people — janitors, secretaries, firefighters. It will be another and greater crime to continue to kill poor people in the Middle East at an even greater rate in response. CP

More articles by:
May 30, 2016
Ron Jacobs
The State of the Left: Many Movements, Too Many Goals?
James Abourezk
The Intricacies of Language
Porfirio Quintano
Hillary, Honduras, and the Murder of My Friend Berta
Patrick Cockburn
Airstrikes on ISIS are Reducing Their Cities to Ruins
Uri Avnery
The Center Doesn’t Hold
Raouf Halaby
The Sailors of the USS Liberty: They, Too, Deserve to Be Honored
Rodrigue Tremblay
Barack Obama’s Legacy: What Happened?
Matt Peppe
Just the Facts: The Speech Obama Should Have Given at Hiroshima
Deborah James
Trade Pacts and Deregulation: Latest Leaks Reveal Core Problem with TISA
Michael Donnelly
Still Wavy After All These Years: Flower Geezer Turns 80
Ralph Nader
The Funny Business of Farm Credit
Paul Craig Roberts
Memorial Day and the Glorification of Past Wars
Colin Todhunter
From Albrecht to Monsanto: A System Not Run for the Public Good Can Never Serve the Public Good
Rivera Sun
White Rose Begins Leaflet Campaigns June 1942
Tom H. Hastings
Field Report from the Dick Cheney Hunting Instruction Manual
Weekend Edition
May 27, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Silencing America as It Prepares for War
Rob Urie
By the Numbers: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are Fringe Candidates
Paul Street
Feel the Hate
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
Basic Income Gathers Steam Across Europe
Andrew Levine
Hillary’s Gun Gambit
Jeffrey St. Clair
Hand Jobs: Heidegger, Hitler and Trump
S. Brian Willson
Remembering All the Deaths From All of Our Wars
Dave Lindorff
With Clinton’s Nixonian Email Scandal Deepening, Sanders Must Demand Answers
Pete Dolack
Millions for the Boss, Cuts for You!
Peter Lee
To Hell and Back: Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Gunnar Westberg
Close Calls: We Were Much Closer to Nuclear Annihilation Than We Ever Knew
Karl Grossman
Long Island as a Nuclear Park
Binoy Kampmark
Sweden’s Assange Problem: The District Court Ruling
Robert Fisk
Why the US Dropped Its Demand That Assad Must Go
Martha Rosenberg – Ronnie Cummins
Bayer and Monsanto: a Marriage Made in Hell
Brian Cloughley
Pivoting to War
Stavros Mavroudeas
Blatant Hypocrisy: the Latest Late-Night Bailout of Greece
Arun Gupta
A War of All Against All
Dan Kovalik
NPR, Yemen & the Downplaying of U.S. War Crimes
Randy Blazak
Thugs, Bullies, and Donald J. Trump: The Perils of Wounded Masculinity
Murray Dobbin
Are We Witnessing the Beginning of the End of Globalization?
Daniel Falcone
Urban Injustice: How Ghettos Happen, an Interview with David Hilfiker
Gloria Jimenez
In Honduras, USAID Was in Bed with Berta Cáceres’ Accused Killers
Kent Paterson
The Old Braceros Fight On
Lawrence Reichard
The Seemingly Endless Indignities of Air Travel: Report from the Losing Side of Class Warfare
Peter Berllios
Bernie and Utopia
Stan Cox – Paul Cox
Indonesia’s Unnatural Mud Disaster Turns Ten
Linda Pentz Gunter
Obama in Hiroshima: Time to Say “Sorry” and “Ban the Bomb”
George Souvlis
How the West Came to Rule: an Interview with Alexander Anievas
Julian Vigo
The Government and Your i-Phone: the Latest Threat to Privacy
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail