Countering the Lynch Mob

by Steven Alan Carr

As Pearl Harbor emerges as the metaphor of choice to describe September 11th’s horrendous sequence of events, screaming for World War III may be the worst response to this tragedy.

December 7th and September 11th share obvious parallels, as well as crucial disparities. As Thomas Friedman notes in one of the first New York Times editorial to appear after the attacks, Pearl Harbor pitted America against a world superpower. Then, December 7th tipped the scales after a protracted, yearlong Great Debate between intervention and isolation. We are now the superpower, and terrorism notwithstanding, we are still the world1s only superpower. The U.S. entry into World War II meant a fight at least as much against the consistent and certain record of Nazi aggression as it did against a devastating surprise attack. The U.S. manufacture of World War III will occur without any debate, against a protean enemy yet with the odds stacked in our favor.

However misguided, enemies of the U.S. see us as the equivalent of Nazi Germany. Only the most extreme fundamentalist could defend any justification for the recent terrorism. But only the most rabid patriot would deny that this country has made mistakes ? some of which seem, in retrospect, entirely consistent with Nazi beliefs. When one anti-globalization website compares the collapse of the World Trade Centers to the burning of the German Reichstag in 1933, we have an ethical obligation to heed that warning. The comparison reminds us of what the attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center cannot become. The Nazi Party used the highly visible destruction of its Parliament to build its military machine and centralization of power upon the ruins of civil liberties and basic human rights. History has taught us nothing if we succumb to that example.

George W. Bush is no Hitler and comparing any political party to Nazism reeks of demagoguery. But the emerging lynch mob mentality toward financially impoverished Arab and Muslim nations is no more suited to democracy than crashing a jetliner into a skyscraper or the wholesale slaughter of civilians.

Before mounting an all-out military assault costing the lives of even more men, women and children, we must consider one of the most powerful weapons that we have at our disposal. It carries great sacrifice, but costs relatively little in terms of lives. It is a non-exclusive option, and in the long term, it will truly disable terrorist adversaries. The United States must demand an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. The United States must demand that Israel completely evacuate all settlements in these areas, and a return to all pre-1967 borders. Taking terrorism by surprise, such an initiative would splinter whatever support a small band of extremists now have.

In Hebrew, Tikkun Olam means the just repair of the world. Bombing civilians abroad is neither just nor certainly repairing. If we are truly the leaders of a civilized world, then we must demonstrate this leadership now by seizing upon an opportunity, instead of wreaking more havoc. Amid the passions of their respective eras, there were plenty of justifications for slavery, lynchings, genocide, internments and holocausts ? nuclear and otherwise. We grew to regret those actions, at least in part. Let us not give in to the instant gratification of a vengeful war meant to destroy convenient Muslim and Arab scapegoats. Like past mistakes made amid passion and unreason, we can only grow to regret such self-righteousness later. CP

Steven Alan Carr is author of Hollywood and Anti-Semitism: A Cultural History up to World War II (New York: Cambridge UP, 2001).

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
August 05, 2015
John Eskow
The Fake Courage of Caitlyn Jenner
Mike Whitney
 The Brookings Institute Plan to Liquidate Syria 
John K. White
Life on the Layaway Plan: We’re All Greek Now
Ted Rall
14 Years Ago, a Woman Vindicated Me Now
Thomas Mountain
A Letter From Africa to #BlackLivesMatter
Roger Annis
Well-Known Canadian Journalist Visits Ukraine and Praises neo-Nazi
August 04, 2015
Vincent J. Roscigno
University Bureaucracy as Organized Crime
Paul Street
Bernie Sanders’ Top Five Race Problems: the Whiteness of Nominal Socialism
Herbert Dyer, Jr.
Is White Supremacy a Mental Disorder?
Ramzy Baroud
The Palestinian Bubble and the Burning of Toddler, Ali Dawabsha
Pepe Escobar
Reshuffling Eurasia’s Energy Deck — Iran, China and Pipelineistan
L. Michael Hager
The Battle Over BDS
Eric Draitser
Puerto Rico: Troubled Commonwealth or Debt Colony?
Colin Todhunter
Hypnotic Trance in Delhi: Monsanto, GMOs and the Looting of India’s Agriculture
Benjamin Willis
The New Cubanologos: What’s in a Word?
Matt Peppe
60 Minutes Provides Platform for US Military
Binoy Kampmark
The Turkish Mission: Reining in the Kurds
Eoin Higgins
Teaching Lessons of White Supremacy in Prime-Time: Blackrifice in the Post-Apocalyptic World of the CW’s The 100
Gary Corseri
Gaza: Our Child’s Shattered Face in the Mirror
Robert Dodge
The Nuclear World at 70
Paula Bach
Exit the Euro? Polemic with Greek Economist Costas Lapavitsas
August 03, 2015
Jack Dresser
The Case of Alison Weir: Two Palestinian Solidarity Organizations Borrow from Joe McCarthy’s Playbook
Joseph Mangano – Janette D. Sherman
The Atomic Era Turns 70, as Nuclear Hazards Endure
Nelson Valdes
An Internet Legend: the Pope, Fidel and the Black President
Robert Hunziker
The Perfectly Nasty Ocean Storm
Ahmad Moussa
Incinerating Palestinian Children
Greg Felton
Greece Succumbs to Imperialist Banksterism
Binoy Kampmark
Stalling the Trans-Pacific Partnership: the Failure of the Hawai’i Talks
Ted Rall
My Letter to Nick Goldberg of the LA Times
Mark Weisbrot
New Greek Bailout Increases the Possibility of Grexit
Jose Martinez
Black/Hispanic/Women: a Leadership Crisis
Victor Grossman
German Know-Nothings Today
Patrick Walker
We’re Not Sandernistas: Reinventing the Wheels of Bernie’s Bandwagon
Norman Pollack
Moral Consequences of War: America’s Hegemonic Thirst
Ralph Nader
Republicans Support Massive Tax Evasion by Starving IRS Budget
Alexander Reid Ross
Colonial Pride and the Killing of Cecil the Lion
Suhayb Ahmed
What’s Happening in Britain: Jeremy Corbyn and the Future of the Labour Party
Weekend Edition
July 31-33, 2015
Jeffrey St. Clair
Bernie and the Sandernistas: Into the Void
John Pilger
Julian Assange: the Untold Story of an Epic Struggle for Justice
Roberto J. González – David Price
Remaking the Human Terrain: The US Military’s Continuing Quest to Commandeer Culture
Lawrence Ware
Bernie Sanders’ Race Problem
Andrew Levine
The Logic of Illlogic: Narrow Self-Interest Keeps Israel’s “Existential Threats” Alive
ANDRE VLTCHEK
Kos, Bodrum, Desperate Refugees and a Dying Child
Paul Street
“That’s Politics”: the Sandernistas on the Master’s Schedule
Ted Rall
How the LAPD Conspired to Get Me Fired from the LA Times