Earth Is Our Homeland

by Tom Turnipseed

Continuous television news hypes the “War on Terrorism” like it’s a big ball game we can win if we can only destroy enough of “the enemy” and their “targets” as we unleash our sophisticated, hi-tech, destroy-and-kill military machine on one of the poorest countries in the world. CBS’s Mark Phillips stands on the deck of a U.S. aircraft carrier with cruise missiles streaking away toward some cave in Afghanistan and enthusiastically quotes a sailor who says, “We are going to terrorize the terrorists.” Funky cheerleader hosts like Geraldo Rivera exclaim, “Don’t it feel good to hit back,” as his General Electric-owned cable channel boosts the battle for their defense contracting parent company. Retired generals and admirals appear on camera as analysts of the bomb-by-bomb, play-by-play action. Beyond the flag-waving and getting-even- feels-good that keeps the score in the game of death and destruction dominating television, there are increasingly sobering stories in newspapers of daunting doomsday danger.

On October 8, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, John Negroponte, sent a letter to the U.N. Security Council that claimed the right under Article 51 to launch military attacks in self-defense and, after singling out Osama bin Laden’s al-Queda and the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, said, “We may find that our self-defense requires further actions with respect to other organizations and other states.” U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan said he and diplomats in the world body were “disturbed” by the U.S. statement claiming a right to extend military attacks beyond Afghanistan. Negroponte’s nomination for U.N. Ambassador was opposed by human rights advocates because of his support for the murderous Honduran military and their CIA trained death squads in the Contra War when he was the U.S. ambassador in Honduras from 1981 to 1985. On October 10, the N.Y. Times reported that U.S. officials said terrorists tied to al-Queda in the Phillippines, Indonesia and Malaysia are among the “likely” targets of future covert and overt American actions. The Wall Street Journal gave in-depth coverage to a “simmering debate within the Bush administration over whether any ‘war’ on terrorism could be complete without a strike at Iraq.”

The N.Y. Times also reported on October 10 that Pakistan’s President, General Musharraf, said he had received “definite assurances” from the U.S. that the military operation in Afghanistan would be short, but the White House contradicted him with Bush commenting, “I don’t know who told the Pakistani president that.” In nuclear-armed Pakistan, the N.Y. Times reported that military officers close to Musharraf said the U.S. should not take for granted that Musharraf can indefinitely hold the loyalties of the army and Washington needed to understand how tenuous General Musharraf’s position might be if the bombings continued, additional Afghan civilians were killed, and the Islamic protests grew. As the war planners expand the conflict, their need for more secrecy grows.

On October 9, President Bush lashed out at members of Congress for “leaks” of classified information about the war against terrorism. Bush received bi-partisan criticism for his “order” limiting Congressional access to classified information about war making activities and plans. Senator Hagel (Rep. Neb.) complained that “this thing exploded” and Senator Stevens from Alaska, who is the senior Republican on the Appropriations Committee, said “I’m not going to vote for money for intelligence matters that I don’t know where it’s going to.” Senate Majority Leader Daschle said “Congress has a constitutional role involving oversight.” The secrecy “leak” issue caused the House Appropriations Committee to cancel a scheduled mark-up of a $369 billion Pentagon spending bill that includes the CIA budget. According to the Wall Street Journal, a committee spokesman said, “It won’t be rescheduled until this is fixed.” The greatest threat to democracy in nation states like ours is government secrecy, particularly in “national security” matters. President Eisenhower warned us about the military/industrial complex that contrives secret war plans to make “defense” contractors lots of money and can get a lot of people killed. We must demand openness in our government and especially the most lethal part of it. The American people need to hear why and how the United States is going to kill people and why so many people in the world hate us enough to kill us. The Bush Administration must not continue the secrecy in war planning and the media censorship they are now demanding.

President Bush’s newly appointed head of “Homeland Security,” Tom Ridge, declared this week that “the only turf we should be worried about protecting is the turf we stand on”. I believe the earth, the-whole-wide-world, is our homeland and “terrorizing the terrorists” continues the cycle of killing. CP

Tom Turnipseed is an attorney, writer and civil rights activist in Columbia, South Carolina. http://www.turnipseed.net

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
Weekend Edition
July 31-33, 2015
Jeffrey St. Clair
Bernie and the Sandernistas
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
Mike Whitney
Power-Mad Erdogan Launches War in Attempt to Become Turkey’s Supreme Leader
Ellen Brown
The Greek Coup: Liquidity as a Weapon of Coercion
Stephen Lendman
Russia Challenges America’s Orwellian NED
Will Parrish
The Politics of California’s Water System
John Wight
The Murder of Ali Saad Dawabsha, a Palestinian Infant Burned Alive by Israeli Terrorists
Jeffrey Blankfort
Leading Bibi’s Army in the War for Washington
Geoffrey McDonald
Obama’s Overtime Tweak: What is the Fair Price of a Missed Life?
Brian Cloughley
Hypocrisy, Obama-Style
Robert Fantina
Israeli Missteps Take a Toll
Pete Dolack
Speculators Circling Puerto Rico Latest Mode of Colonialism
Ron Jacobs
Spying on Black Writers: the FB Eye Blues
Paul Buhle
The Leftwing Seventies?
Binoy Kampmark
The TPP Trade Deal: of Sovereignty and Secrecy
David Swanson
Vietnam, Fifty Years After Defeating the US
Robert Hunziker
Human-Made Evolution
Shamus Cooke
Why Obama’s “Safe Zone” in Syria Will Inflame the War Zone
David Rosen
Hillary Clinton: Learn From Your Sisters
Sam Husseini
How #AllLivesMatter and #BlackLivesMatter Can Devalue Life
Shepherd Bliss
Why I Support Bernie Sanders for President
Louis Proyect
Manufacturing Denial
Howard Lisnoff
The Wrong Argument
Tracey Harris
Living Tiny: a Richer and More Sustainable Future
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
A Day of Tears: Report from the “sHell No!” Action in Portland
Tom Clifford
Guns of August: the Gulf War Revisited
Renee Lovelace
I Dream of Ghana
Colin Todhunter
GMOs: Where Does Science Begin and Lobbying End?
Ben Debney
Modern Newspeak Dictionary, pt. II
Christopher Brauchli
Guns Don’t Kill People, Immigrants Do and Other Congressional Words of Wisdom
S. Mubashir Noor
India’s UNSC Endgame
Ellen Taylor
The Voyage of the Golden Rule
Norman Ball
Ten Questions for Lee Drutman: Author of “The Business of America is Lobbying”
Franklin Lamb
Return to Ma’loula, Syria
Masturah Alatas
Six Critics in Search of an Author
Mark Hand
Cinéma Engagé: Filmmaker Chronicles Texas Fracking Wars
Mary Lou Singleton
Gender, Patriarchy, and All That Jazz
Patrick Hiller
The Icebreaker and #ShellNo: How Activists Determine the Course
Charles Larson
Tango Bends Its Gender: Carolina De Robertis’s “The Gods of Tango”