Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive! We only ask one time of year, but when we do, we mean it. Without your support we can’t continue to bring you the very best material, day-in and day-out. CounterPunch is one of the last common spaces on the Internet. Help make sure it stays that way.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Eliminating Terrorism

by TOM H. HASTINGS

I teach peace and conflict studies. When I teach about the possibilities of a nonviolent response to terrorism, I try to cover many aspects of this complex topic. One of the main strands is the idea that the objectives of al Qa’ida, as stated by Osama bin Laden on several occasions in the 1990s, were not at all unreasonable, but their methods, we agree, were grotesque.

What bin Laden said they wanted ended:

~Military aid to the corrupt governments of the Middle East

~UN sanctions on Iraq, even though Saddam was still his enemy, since the bulk of those suffering were children and other innocents

~Military aid to the Israeli Defense Force who enforced the occupation of Palestine in contravention of UN resolutions

~Infidel troops in holy lands

In the 1990s most of us in the peace movement would have completely agreed with bin Laden on his objectives and obviously were horrified by his methods, which were indiscriminate and seemed to vacillate from insurgent attacks on the military—no more or less objectionable than our Founders’ tactics in the American Revolution—to ghastly, immoral attacks on civilians culminating in 9.11.01.

Now view our current situation from the standpoint of, say, a village in Yemen that has experienced US drone or US war jet attacks. Listen to this—it takes almost 17 minutes, but please listen. Even Talk of the Nation host Neal Conan, who has years of fawning platitudes to the US military, cannot work around this outstanding reportage by NPR correspondent Kelly McEvers. Conan gives the US military line and McEvers counters effectively by a combination of direct observation and analysis. The facts are complex, but the cowardliness and backfire results of US air power directed against ‘militants’ in villages are abundantly clear. This lesson was learned in Vietnam and has been forgotten. As documented in the NPR segment, the blowback or backfire is inevitable.

As Aung San Suu Kyi said, it’s karma, which is like starlight. It may take a long time to get here, but you know it’s on the way. The Yemeni children who now swear revenge for the death of those killed by US air strikes are just more ticking time bombs we’ve created by our technical prowess coupled with lack of morality.

So, too bad there is no Yemeni Gandhi to stand up to American state terror, which only leaves us with Yemeni al-Qa’ida on the Arabian Peninsula. Oh wait—we do have the nonviolent Arab Spring leaders such as Tawakul Karman, who showed how to oppose the violence of insurgents, the violence of al-Qa’ida, and the violence of US air strikes. And too bad there is no US Gandhi in charge of a foreign policy that would make recruiting almost impossible for al-Qa’ida. Actually, we do have Kathy Kelly, founder of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, and Kelly has been acting with principled nonviolence in opposition to US violence for decades.

Supporting these leaders and their movements and withdrawing our support for the US military while encouraging Yemenis to withdraw their support for al-Qa’ida is a tall order—and is the most effective way to win in our human struggle against terrorism from above or below, from angry dispossessed or brutal states. Nonviolence is the slowest and most ineffective method—except for all the rest.

Tom H. Hastings teaches in the Conflict Resolution program at Portland State University. He can be reached at:  pcwtom@gmail.com.

COMING SOON: 
The CounterPunch Online Auction

Featuring paintings, photographs, curios, oddities and objets d’art, donated by Alexander Cockburn, Jeffrey St. Clair, Noam Chomsky, Ralph Nader, Tom Tomorrow, Margot Kidder, Tao Ruspoli, elin Slavic o’hara, Anthony Papa, Shephard Fairey, Rob Urie, Paul Craig Roberts and many others!!

 

 

 

Tom H. Hastings is core faculty in the Conflict Resolution Department at Portland State University and founding director of PeaceVoice

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

September 26, 2016
Diana Johnstone
The Hillary Clinton Presidency has Already Begun as Lame Ducks Promote Her War
Gary Leupp
Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Against Russia
Dave Lindorff
Parking While Black: When Police Shoot as First Resort
Robert Crawford
The Political Rhetoric of Perpetual War
Howard Lisnoff
The Case of One Homeless Person
Michael Howard
The New York Times Endorses Hillary, Scorns the World
Russell Mokhiber
Wells Fargo and the Library of Congress’ National Book Festival
Chad Nelson
The Crime of Going Vegan: the Latest Attack on Angela Davis
Colin Todhunter
A System of Food Production for Human Need, Not Corporate Greed
Brian Cloughley
The United States Wants to Put Russia in a Corner
Guillermo R. Gil
The Clevenger Effect: Exposing Racism in Pro Sports
David Swanson
Turn the Pentagon into a Hospital
Ralph Nader
Are You Ready for Democracy?
Chris Martenson
Hell to Pay
Frank X Murphy
Power & Struggle: the Detroit Literacy Case
Chris Knight
The Tom and Noam Show: a Review of Tom Wolfe’s “The Kingdom of Speech”
Weekend Edition
September 23, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Meaning of the Trump Surge
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: More Pricks Than Kicks
Mike Whitney
Oh, Say Can You See the Carnage? Why Stand for a Country That Can Gun You Down in Cold Blood?
Chris Welzenbach
The Diminution of Chris Hayes
Vincent Emanuele
The Riots Will Continue
Rob Urie
A Scam Too Far
Pepe Escobar
Les Deplorables
Patrick Cockburn
Airstrikes, Obfuscation and Propaganda in Syria
Timothy Braatz
The Quarterback and the Propaganda
Sheldon Richman
Obama Rewards Israel’s Bad Behavior
Libby Lunstrum - Patrick Bond
Militarizing Game Parks and Marketing Wildlife are Unsustainable Strategies
Andy Thayer
More Cops Will Worsen, Not Help, Chicago’s Violence Problem
Louis Yako
Can Westerners Help Refugees from War-torn Countries?
David Rosen
Rudy Giuliani & Trump’s Possible Cabinet
Joyce Nelson
TISA and the Privatization of Public Services
Pete Dolack
Global Warming Will Accelerate as Oceans Reach Limits of Remediation
Franklin Lamb
34 Years After the Sabra-Shatila Massacre
Cesar Chelala
How One Man Held off Nuclear War
Norman Pollack
Sovereign Immunity, War Crimes, and Compensation to 9/11 Families
Lamont Lilly
Standing Rock Stakes Claim for Sovereignty: Eyewitness Report From North Dakota
Barbara G. Ellis
A Sandernista Priority: Push Bernie’s Planks!
Hiroyuki Hamada
How Do We Dream the Dream of Peace Together?
Russell Mokhiber
From Rags and Robes to Speedos and Thongs: Why Trump is Crushing Clinton in WV
Julian Vigo
Living La Vida Loca
Aidan O'Brien
Where is Europe’s Duterte? 
Abel Cohen
Russia’s Improbable Role in Everything
Ron Jacobs
A Change Has Gotta’ Come
Uri Avnery
Shimon Peres and the Saga of Sisyphus
Graham Peebles
Ethiopian’s Crying out for Freedom and Justice
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail