FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Letters to Editors

by Carl Estabrook

What follows are a series of letters I sent to my local, remarkably rightwing, paper in Champaign/Urbana.

[01.09.29]

One of the worst lies offered by pundits and professors since the atrocities of September 11 is the insistence that any attempt to understand the causes, reasons or motives for those crimes is to justify or excuse them. The assertion is dishonest nonsense.

The outrages that draw people to terror networks to the point of being willing to kill and be killed, are also resented by people of all social classes and backgrounds throughout the Middle East. It is the fault of those pundits and professors that Americans are largely unaware of them — (1) US support for corrupt family dictatorships across Arabia, support that is the result of US insistence on control of Mideast oil; (2) US sanctions on Iraq, which have killed a million people, half of them children; and (3) US support for Israel’s murderous occupation of Palestine, now in its thirty-fifth year and declared illegal by the United Nations.

Until we end these crimes, for which we as US citizens are responsible, we will be unable to stop crimes like those of September 11, for which we are not responsible.

[01.10.01]

On Monday, October 1, the local daily chose to feature on its editorial page a frantic attack by one Michael Kelly [of the Washington Post] on “pacifism” as “immoral.” Kelly doesn’t bother to distinguish the various views to which that term might refer, up to and including the position that the US should employ international law to apprehend and prosecute the criminals responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks, rather than launching military assaults on impoverished countries. No, he just knows that “the pacifists’ position … is evil,” and, although “their arguments are not being taken seriously,” he seems very afraid that they will convince “Americans to not fight.”

Kelly seems to want (other people) to split heads as if they were infinitives, and he enlists George Orwell to help him make the Hitler Rhetorical Transposition — i.e., the standard assertion that all our enemies, whoever they may be, are always like Nazi Germany — and therefore of course justify any enormity practiced upon them.

Instead of this mad persiflage, we might get a better idea of the motivation for Kelly’s attack on peacemakers of all sorts from another recent column of his, in which (before September 11) he advised Israel to reject American advice on restraint: “Why shouldn’t [Israel] go right ahead and escalate the violence? … It can win only by fighting the war on its terms, unleashing an overwhelming force … to destroy, kill, capture and expel the armed Palestinian forces…”

Machine-gun Kelly is at one with Osama bin Laden in wanting to bring about a war between “the West” and Islam. “That is [their] position, and it is evil.”

[01.10.03]

Suppose that, after the Columbine High School shootings, the government’s policy had been to go to the homes of the shooters and kill the parents who had “harbored” and “succored” them; locate the friends who agreed with their ideas and maybe even had some knowledge of their plans and kill them; and then burn the entire suburb to the ground. The media, while applauding the infinite justice of this response, would then excoriate as a justification of the original atrocity any suggestion that the motives or causes for the events should be examined.

We would of course condemn these responses as criminal and psychotic. Yet equivalent policies are being undertaken and applauded in response to the killings of September 11. What is the difference? The answer is short, sharp, and nasty: racism. Arabs and Afghans living half a world away are simply considered not quite so human as Colorado suburbanites, and therefore they may be attacked in ways that are inconceivable for people like us.

If we could put aside the “bloodlust” that the president rather surprisingly referred to last weekend, we could recognize that the proper course is to use rather than to flout the instruments of international law — the UN Security Council and the World Court — to apprehend and prosecute those responsible for the September 11 crimes, and to try to understand why they happened, in order to see that they do not happen again. And it would be good idea to avoid more killing, even if it makes us feel better. CP

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

June 26, 2017
William Hawes – Jason Holland
Lies That Capitalists Tell Us
Chairman Brandon Sazue
Out of the Shadow of Custer: Zinke Proves He’s No “Champion” of Indian Country With his Grizzly Lies
Patrick Cockburn
Grenfell Tower: the Tragic Price of the Rolled-Back Stat
Joseph Mangano
Tritium: Toxic Tip of the Nuclear Iceberg
Ray McGovern
Hersh’s Big Scoop: Bad Intel Behind Trump’s Syria Attack
Roy Eidelson
Heart of Darkness: Observations on a Torture Notebook
Geoff Beckman
Why Democrats Lose: the Case of Jon Ossoff
Matthew Stevenson
Travels Around Trump’s America
David Macaray
Law Enforcement’s Dirty Little Secret
Colin Todhunter
Future Shock: Imagining India
Yoav Litvin
Animals at the Roger Waters Concert
Binoy Kampmark
Pride in San Francisco
Stansfield Smith
North Koreans in South Korea Face Imprisonment for Wanting to Return Home
Hamid Yazdan Panah
Remembering Native American Civil Rights Pioneer, Lehman Brightman
James Porteous
Seventeen-Year-Old Nabra Hassanen Was Murdered
Weekend Edition
June 23, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Democrats in the Dead Zone
Gary Leupp
Trump, Qatar and the Danger of Total Confusion
Andrew Levine
The “Democracies” We Deserve
Jeffrey St. Clair - Joshua Frank
The FBI’s “Operation Backfire” and the Case of Briana Waters
Rob Urie
Cannibal Corpse
Joseph G. Ramsey
Savage Calculations: On the Exoneration of Philando Castile’s Killer
John Wight
Trump’s Attack on Cuba
Dave Lindorff
We Need a Mass Movement to Demand Radical Progressive Change
Brian Cloughley
Moving Closer to Doom
David Rosen
The Sex Offender: the 21st Century Witch
John Feffer
All Signs Point to Trump’s Coming War With Iran
Jennifer L. Lieberman
What’s Really New About the Gig Economy?
Pete Dolack
Analyzing the Failures of Syriza
Vijay Prashad
The Russian Nexus
Mike Whitney
Putin Tries to Avoid a Wider War With the US
Gregory Barrett
“Realpolitik” in Berlin: Merkel Fawns Over Kissinger
Louis Yako
The Road to Understanding Syria Goes Through Iraq
Graham Peebles
Grenfell Tower: A Disaster Waiting to Happen
Ezra Rosser
The Poverty State of Mind and the State’s Obligations to the Poor
Ron Jacobs
Andrew Jackson and the American Psyche
Pepe Escobar
Fear and Loathing on the Afghan Silk Road
Andre Vltchek
Why I Reject Western Courts and Justice
Lawrence Davidson
On Hidden Cultural Corruptors
Christopher Brauchli
The Routinization of Mass Shootings in America
Missy Comley Beattie
The Poor Need Not Apply
Martin Billheimer
White Man’s Country and the Iron Room
Joseph Natoli
What to Wonder Now
Tom Clifford
Hong Kong: the Chinese Meant Business
Thomas Knapp
The Castile Doctrine: Cops Without Consequences
Nyla Ali Khan
Borders Versus Memory
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail