FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Barbaric, But Not Unexpected

by RAMZY BAROUD

Barbaric. There is hardly any other term that is capable of depicting the murder of over 50 people and the wounding of hundreds more during London’s rush hour on July 7. Unexpected, however is the least relevant term.

But why would “mass murder” an expression used fittingly by London’s highly regarded Mayor Ken Livingstone following the attacks become an “inevitable” event, is another dreadful component in this disastrous episode.

It was Livingstone who warned in September 2002: “An assault on Iraq will inflame world opinion and jeopardize security and peace everywhere. London, as one of the major world cities, has a great deal to lose from war and a lot to gain from peace, international cooperation and global security.”

The mayor’s words were poignant and ring true today more than ever before. However, they were of little consequence for British Prime Minister Tony Blair, so adamant in his quest for war, so incessant in maintaining his country’s dangerous alliance with Washington’s self-serving and now debauched “war on terror.”

Although Britain can only claim a small portion of the subsequent carnage in Afghanistan and Iraq, Blair was and remains an unyielding partner in both wars. He has, so pompously, overlooked untold atrocities against innocent civilians in both countries while maintaining an active role in ridding the-world-of-evil-farce, which continues to plague the world and increasingly, albeit misguidedly define the correlation between the West and the Muslim world.

It is quite a paradox that Blair was the first to infuse the term “barbaric” following the London carnage; a paradox because the barbarism in London had an undeniable kinship with the years of barbarism in Iraq, which continues to unfold in full force.

In May 2003, following protests from human rights groups regarding the British army’s use of cluster bombs in and around the Iraqi city of Basra, British officials had nothing but unabashed rationalization as a response.

Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram justified the use of cluster bombs, in an interview with BBC radio, on military grounds, arguing: “Cluster bombs are not illegal. They are effective weapons. They are used in specific circumstances where there is a threat to our troops.”

Those “specific circumstances”, according to British media, compelled the dropping of 2,000 Israeli-made cluster bombs on Basra and its surroundings in April 2003 alone. Richard Lloyd, Director of Landmine Action, asserted that he had seen maps – provided to the UN by the US military – showing cities that were almost completely masked by a heap of symbols indicating where cluster bombs had been used. “These weapons were used in and around virtually every built-up area where there was major fighting,” Lloyd said.

Hundreds of these bombs are still there, not yet detonated and just waiting to go off among hoards of scavenging children, a dreadful and recurring episode in both Afghanistan and Iraq; utterly barbaric indeed.

It’s a catastrophe that innocent Londoners, who have fought so earnestly for the cause of justice from the very beginning, objecting so earnestly to the war, mass protesting and taking on their government like in no other capital in Europe, had to pay the profound price for Blair’s reprehensible lies and forgeries – his groundless case for WMD and his unsubstantiated claims that regime change in Iraq means security for his country. But whoever said that barbarism subscribes to any rules of conduct?

Terrorism is not random; it’s a callous mirroring to an equally callous legacy of terror and violence, this time ensued in part by relentlessly arrogant and self-congratulating statesmen like Tony Blair.

Commenting on the slaughter in London, Blair’s response failed to abandon the highly predictable and self-observed rhetoric. “My opinion is that those people who kill the innocent and cause such bloodshed are solely responsible”.

But isn’t the above so twisted an underlying principle? It’s another cruel irony that following years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq with a human toll that has been put past the one hundred thousand mark and a price tag of hundreds of billions of dollars, to pin the sole responsibility’ on a few terrorists, who despite their reprehensible acts pale in comparison to the mega crimes of Bush and Blair against humanity.

Is it possible that we have not learned a single thing since the massacres of September 11, Jenin, Kandahar and Fallujah? Such erroneous logic will persist with pundits like Gerard Baker of The Times blaming “14th century (Islamic) fanaticism” for the London bombings, while strongly rebuffing any linkage between group and state terrorism.

When will the Bush and Blair crowd wake up and smell the decomposed Iraqi bodies and forever quit utilizing the ever handy “we will not change our way of life” comeback to terrorism, based on the fallacious conclusion that terrorists are blowing people up because they hate freedom?

The reality that Blair conveniently wishes to neglect is as plain as it is tragic. Terrorism and militancy is thriving all around, with Iraq as a base and a cause. The Anglo-American war has wrought nothing but murder and mayhem, which crossed the borders of many countries and cities with London as its latest target. The intelligence failure that has led to war in Iraq is repeated with another disastrous failure that couldn’t intercept a major bombing scheme that disabled a major city like London. This is yet another attestation of which neither sheer military strength nor superior intelligence holds the answer.

The answer lies in an immediate halt of all military aggressions perpetrated in the name of civilization and democratization by the super powers against vulnerable and defenseless countries. This void can only be filled by sensible diplomacy, cultural integration and dialogue to achieve what cluster bombs have utterly failed to deliver. Otherwise the “inevitable” attacks on London will go on with the same certainty as the promise of each new day.

RAMZY BAROUD, a veteran Arab American journalist, teaches Mass Communication at Curtin University of Technology. He is the author of the forthcoming book, Writings on the Second Palestinian Uprising (Pluto Press, London).

 

Dr. Ramzy Baroud has been writing about the Middle East for over 20 years. He is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a media consultant, an author of several books and the founder of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press, London). His website is: ramzybaroud.net

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
May 26, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Anthony DiMaggio
Swamp Politics, Trump Style: “Russiagate” Diverts From the Real White House Scandals
Paul Street
It’s Not Gonna Be Okay: the Nauseating Nothingness of Neoliberal Capitalist and Professional Class Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
The ICEmen Cometh
Ron Jacobs
The Deep State is the State
Pete Dolack
Why Pence Might be Even Worse Than Trump
Patrick Cockburn
We Know What Inspired the Manchester Attack, We Just Won’t Admit It
Thomas Powell
The Dirty Secret of the Korean War
Mark Ashwill
The Fat Lady Finally Sings: Bob Kerrey Quietly Resigns from Fulbright University Vietnam Leadership Position
John Davis
Beyond Hope
Uri Avnery
The Visitation: Trump in Israel
Ralph Nader
The Left/Right Challenge to the Failed “War on Drugs”
Traci Yoder
Free Speech on Campus: a Critical Analysis
Dave Lindorff
Beware the Supporter Scorned: Upstate New York Trump Voters Hit Hard in President’s Proposed 2018 Budget
Daniel Read
“Sickening Cowardice”: Now More Than Ever, Britain’s Theresa May Must be Held to Account on the Plight of Yemen’s Children
Ana Portnoy
Before the Gates: Puerto Rico’s First Bankruptcy Trial
M. Reza Behnam
Rethinking Iran’s Terrorism Designation
Brian Cloughley
Ukraine and the NATO Military Alliance
Josh Hoxie
Pain as a Policy Choice
David Macaray
Stephen Hawking Needs to Keep His Mouth Shut
Ramzy Baroud
Fear as an Obstacle to Peace: Why Are Israelis So Afraid?
Kathleen Wallace
The Bilious Incongruity of Trump’s Toilet
Seth Sandronsky
Temping Now
Alan Barber – Dean Baker
Blue Collar Blues: Manufacturing Falls in Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania in April
Jill Richardson
Saving America’s Great Places
Richard Lawless
Are Credit Rating Agencies America’s Secret Fifth Column?
Louis Proyect
Venezuela Reconsidered
Murray Dobbin
The NDP’s Singh and Ashton: Flash Versus Vision
Ron Leighton
Endarkenment: Postmodernism, Identity Politics, and the Attack on Free Speech
Anthony Papa
Drug War Victim: Oklahoma’s Larry Yarbrough to be Freed after 23 Years in Prison
Rev. John Dear
A Call to Mobilize the Nation Over the Next 18 Months
Yves Engler
Why Anti-Zionism and Anti-Jewish Prejudice Have to Do With Each Other
Ish Mishra
Political Underworld and Adventure Journalism
Binoy Kampmark
Roger Moore in Bondage
Rob Seimetz
Measuring Manhoods
Edward Curtin
Sorry, You’re Not Invited
Vern Loomis
Winning the Lottery is a State of Mind
Charles R. Larson
Review: Mary V. Dearborn’s “Ernest Hemingway”
David Yearsley
The Ethos of Mayfest
May 25, 2017
Jennifer Matsui
The Rise of the Alt-Center
Michael Hudson
Another Housing Bubble?
Robert Fisk
Trump Meets the New Leader of the Secular World, Pope Francis
John Laforge
Draft Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapons Unveiled
Benjamin Dangl
Trump’s Budget Expands War on the Backs of America’s Poor
Alice Donovan
US-Led Air Strikes Killed Record Number of Civilians in Syria
Andrew Moss
The Meaning of Trump’s Wall
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail