Rejecting the Language of Terrorism
I don’t believe this is the Third World War. Nor is it a "war on terror". Nor is it a "war of civilizations". But our own leaders are willfully leading us into a period of appalling suffering because they will not address the causes of injustice in the Islamic world.
The War on Terror will persist until its flawed logic is challenged. As long as the root of the deception remains unexposed the global situation will continue to deteriorate.
The driving force is ideas, not bombs. The Bush Administration has carefully disguised these ideas in the language of deception.
Of the many misleading notions propagated by the Bush Administration, the most lethal has been the War on Terror. It is an idea that is every bit as fraudulent as "preemption" (which is the legitimizing of unprovoked aggression) or Israel’s "Security Barrier"; the patently dishonest description of the 20 ft. high behemoth that snakes through Palestine, savaging all hope of a just solution to the ongoing crisis.
The War on Terror is the truest expression of the calculated dishonesty of the Bush White House. It is grounded on "unproved assumptions" and, then, disseminated by an aggressive campaign of fear mongering. These are the weapons of choice for controlling a timorous public, and Bush has proved to be quite adept in their application.
Terror is an inescapable reality in the modern world; a world where a small fraction of the population will respond violently to grievance and injustice. This is a situation that has been dealt with quite successfully through normal "investigative-police" work. Even Mr. Bush admits this, although only when it suits his purposes.
Consider this; Abu Zubayda, Khalid Sheik Muhammed and Ramsi bin al Shibh (alleged Mastermind of 9-11), have all been captured and imprisoned through conventional detective work. The results of their interrogations have undoubtedly provided a clear understanding of the inner workings of al Qaida.
This is how you measure success. This is how you get to the root of terrorist organizations.
Additionally, according to the Administration’s own admissions, more than two-thirds of the al Qaida leadership has been caught and incarcerated.
Again, conspicuous success.
These achievements are much more impressive then the poorly conducted Afghanistan war where the principle characters (bin Laden and Mullah Omar) were able to escape and thousands of innocent Afghanis were either killed or displaced in the hostilities.
So, why does the administration conceal its own successes?
And, why do they downplay the methodology that is putting a dent in terror?
The reasons are obvious.
Without the War on Terror, that source of all demagoguery, the real political objectives of the administration would never be realized.
They need a credible "Monster" to continue their drive to secure the world’s dwindling resources and to abridge the rights of American citizens.
The idea that we are combating "terror" suggests that we are dealing with an irrational force that cannot be appeased, only defeated. The Bush Administration has done everything in its power to cultivate this now widespread belief. The terrorist attacks on America have been stripped of all their political significance and translated into the ravings of bloodthirsty Islamic fanatics, whose sole purpose in life is to kill innocent Americans.
Even the al Qaida communiqués, (which are offered regularly in the European press) are scrupulously omitted from American media, so that any vestige of "reason" will not attach itself to the terrorists.
The perpetrators must be demonized in the harshest, medieval terms. ("Evildoer")
This is in direct odds with what we already know.
For example, following the Madrid bombings, al Qaida sent this message:
"Stop targeting us, release our prisoners and leave our land, we will stop attacking you. The people of US allied countries have to put pressure on their governments to immediately end their alliance with the US in the war on terror (Islam) If you persist we will continue."
Regardless of what we think of the terrorists, this is a straightforward political directive that expresses a "reasoned" approach to injustice. We do not agree with the bombings, but we certainly don’t dismiss these claims as the ravings of religious maniacs who "hate our freedoms."(Bush’s painfully inane assessment of the cause of terrorism)
Instead, their claims match up quite nicely with those of reasonable American’s who entertain the notion that we should simply pay for oil, rather than stealing it; that we should stop occupying Muslim countries, and that we should look for sensible alternatives for negotiation rather than pelting the desert with Cruise Missles.
The idea that we are at war works to the advantage of the Bush Administration. We have already seen how the war on terror conveniently morphed into the war on Iraq. Mr. Bush never misses an opportunity to conflate the two in his attempts to confuse the public.
But is it a war, or just a shabby public relations ploy to achieve an alternate political objective?
We have already demonstrated how the real progress in dismantling terror cells has been through routine police work. So why is the War motif invoked?
First, it suggests that we are responding to aggression.
But, is that the case?
Was 9-11 a flagrant act of unprovoked hostility, or was it retaliatory?
We can see from the communiqué above that the architects considered it "striking back" not "striking out".
This does not vindicate the action, but at least it points to the fact that there are underlying grievances that motivated the attacks. It wasn’t simply blind rage.
This implies that there may be some type of remedy.
Mr. Bush has no remedy.
He is Armstrong Custer charging into harms way with the full might of the US military machine at his beck and call.
We cannot afford such transparent stupidity.
Our life as American’s is threatened by the idea that we are at war. It vindicates the policy decisions that Bush has made that are reshaping the social contract.
If we accept the language of Mr. Bush’s crusade, we must accept its logic. That means that we must accept the further curtailing of civil liberties;
We must accept the increased and "unchecked" power of the Presidency;
We must accept the idea of permanent war.
This is the devil’s bargain we make when we accept the "language" of the War on Terrorism.
We should be more focused on the language of resistance; a language that articulates our stubborn resolve to thwart Mr. Bush’s desperate plan; a language that rejects a vision of a world order that is predicated on lies and murder; a language that points us towards reconciliation with the world community and away from further carnage.
As for terrorism; the most effective tool in undermining terrorism is justice; justice that applies beyond our borders and is not circumscribed by the petty limitations of nationalism.
MIKE WHITNEY may be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org