FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

If Bush Were Serious About Wiping Out Terrorism

by Derek Bishop

If we want to root out terrorism, then we have to display a leadership that extends beyond our narrow economic and military interests.

We funneled billions in military aid to both Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden when it suited US policy to do so. The stark truth of the matter is that these two men are creatures of US policy.

During the waning years of the Cold War we supported Hussein in an effort to contain a Soviet-backed Iran. Reflecting shifting US policy, in the more recent Gulf War we encouraged Iraqi citizens to rise up against Hussein. But as soon as Saddam’s army surrendered, and the westward flow of oil from Kuwait was no longer threatened, the war ended. We stood by idly as Hussein slaughtered 1000s of pro-democracy Iraqis. If it was important enough for us to wage war against Iraq, it should have been just as important to install a peace-keeping force to ensure that its nascent democracy took hold. The result is that Hussein, who is a supporter of bin Laden’s al-Qaeda terrorist network, is gaining power by the day. A related issue is the US’s shameful medical embargo against Iraq, which has done nothing to hinder Hussein’s rule of the area, and has killed 1000s of innocent civilians. Far more have died from our purposeful destruction of the Iraqi water supply, an act violating the Geneva Convention. The UN estimates that 500,00 Iraqi children have perished as a result of US actions and sanctions, with an additional 5,000 dying each month.

Osama bin Laden, another Cold War creation, was supported and trained by the US to repel the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan. Billions of US dollars went to the Afghan Mujahiddeen, a group of Islamic fundamentalist holy warriors. When the Soviets withdrew, the US did nothing to assist the more moderate and tolerant faction within Afghanistan. The result was that the repressive Taliban regime took over. It was not until 1998 that Unocal, under pressure following the US embassy bombings in Africa, pulled out of its Afghan oil pipeline scheme. Earlier this year the US sent $45 million to the Taliban to help fight its production of opium ? which was a poor decision, given that opium is the Taliban’s greatest export, second only to terrorism. The greatest act of terrorism in modern Middle Eastern history occurred nineteen years ago, in a three-day orgy of rape and murder, when Israel and its Phalangist militia allies killed 1700 Palestinian civilians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps. This followed an Israeli invasion of Lebanon that killed nearly 18,000 Lebanese and Palestinians ? almost all of whom were innocent civilians. The US, of course, backed this act, and provided Israel with the Apache helicopters and Boeing air to ground missiles to get the job done. Israel continues to use US weapons on Palestinian civilians. Israel and US policy are in violation of UN resolutions calling for Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza and the West Bank. The US and Britain are the only countries supporting Israel’s state sponsored terrorism against the Palestinians.

In my view, there are only two options for the US to pursue. Option 1 is to mount an all-out war on terrorism. This, however, is doomed to failure. Witness Russian military advisers who tell the US that a battle in Afghanistan will make Vietnam look like a picnic. More war will further radicalize an already desperate people, and destablize an already precarious region. More war will not redress, let alone acknowledge, the many wrongs in the Mid East for which the US is responsible. Afghanistan is already laid low. A more wretched country you’ll be hard pressed to find.

Option 2 is a non-military option. It involves seeking justice through the International Court, collaboration with international financial institutions to freeze the flow of money that funds terrorism, and a redress, for starters, of Palestinian grievances. The US’s blatantly biased support of Israel’s war against the Palestinian and Lebanese people has created the fever pitch of anger we now find in radical Islam. After considerable study in this area, I feel that the silver bullet to the resolution of our Mid East problems would be forcing Israel to withdraw to its pre-1967 borders: A complete withdrawal from Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem. This would be in accord with international consensus, via the UN, that Israel is illegally occupying these lands. If this can be accomplished, much of the basis for the anger that drives terrorism will be removed.

The result of a non-military approach could be miraculous. Let us see what some honesty and a turning of the other cheek might accomplish.

And, if it doesn’t work ? if it doesn’t curb terrorism — then the US could always fall back on its military might, re-installing an Israeli state 1000 miles across if we chose to do so.

Mario Cuomo, New York’s governor, has spoken eloquently regarding the horrible events of September 11 as NOT being a Pearl Harbor. It was an act of terrorism, NOT an act of war.

If the US succumbs to its fears, gives up its cherished civil liberties, becomes a more closed society, and refuses to acknowledge that the vast majority of Islam (and there are many denominations of Islam) does NOT support terrorism, the world ? OUR world ? will become a yet more sorrowful and fearful place.

Make no mistake about it: The terrorism of September 11 was a horrible, despicable, unconscionable act. But more bloodshed through a US war effort is neither morally nor politically right. CP

Derek Bishop lives in Hawaii.

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
March 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Trump is Obama’s Legacy: Will this Break up the Democratic Party?
Eric Draitser
Donald Trump and the Triumph of White Identity Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Nothing Was Delivered
Paul Buhle
The CIA and the Intellectuals…Again
Andrew Levine
Ryan’s Choice
John Wight
London and the Dreary Ritual of Terrorist Attacks
Joshua Frank
Global Coal in Freefall, Tar Sands Development Drying Up
Anthony DiMaggio
Ditching the “Deep State”: The Rise of a New Conspiracy Theory in American Politics
Vijay Prashad
Inventing Enemies
David Rosen
Why Did Trump Target Transgender Youth?
Bill Willers
Volunteerism; Charisma; the Ivy League Stranglehold: a Very Brief Trilogy
Lawrence Davidson
Moral Failure at the UN
Pete Dolack
World Bank Declares Itself Above the Law
Nicola Perugini - Neve Gordon
Israel’s Human Rights Spies
Ralph Nader
Reason and Justice Address Realities
Ramzy Baroud
‘Decolonizing the Mind’: Using Hollywood Celebrities to Validate Islam
Colin Todhunter
Monsanto in India: The Sacred and the Profane
Louisa Willcox
Grizzlies Under the Endangered Species Act: How Have They Fared?
Norman Pollack
Militarization of American Fascism: Trump the Usurper
Pepe Escobar
North Korea: The Real Serious Options on the Table
Brian Cloughley
“These Things Are Done”: Eavesdropping on Trump
Carol Wolman
Trump vs the People: a Psychiatrist’s Analysis
Farhang Jahanpour
America’s Woes, Europe’s Responsibilities
Joseph Natoli
March Madness Outside the Basketball Court
Bruce Mastron
Slaughtered Arabs Don’t Count
Ayesha Khan
The Headscarf is Not an Islamic Compulsion
Ron Jacobs
Music is Love, Music is Politics
Christopher Brauchli
Prisoners as Captive Customers
M. Shadee Malaklou
An Open Letter to Duke University’s Class of 2007, About Your Open Letter to Stephen Miller
Robert Koehler
The Mosque That Disappeared
Barbara Nimri Aziz
The Gig Economy: Which Side Are You On?
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Marines to Kill Desert Tortoises
Charles R. Larson
Review: David Bellos’s “Novel of the Century: the Extraordinary Adventure of Les Misérables”
March 23, 2017
Chip Gibbons
Crusader-in-Chief: the Strange Rehabilitation of George W. Bush
Michael J. Sainato
Cybersecurity Firm That Attributed DNC Hacks to Russia May Have Fabricated Russia Hacking in Ukraine
Chuck Collins
Underwater Nation: As the Rich Thrive, the Rest of Us Sink
CJ Hopkins
The United States of Cognitive Dissonance
Howard Lisnoff
BDS, Women’s Rights, Human Rights and the Failings of Security States
Mike Whitney
Will Washington Risk WW3 to Block an Emerging EU-Russia Superstate
John Wight
Martin McGuinness: Man of War who Fought for Peace in Ireland
Linn Washington Jr.
Ryancare Wreckage
Eileen Appelbaum
What We Learned From Just Two Pages of Trump’s Tax Returns
Mark Weisbrot
Ecuador’s Elections: Why National Sovereignty Matters
Thomas Knapp
It’s Time to End America’s Longest War
Chris Zinda
Aggregate Journalism at Salon
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail