Let’s just bag the Bush/Blair baloney, okay?
Sure the attack in London was an outrage. It was an outrage whether it was the work of four alienated second-generation British-Pakistani young men acting on their own, or of four foot soldiers of Al Qaeda.
Get angry, sure. But let’s not get all self-righteous about it.
When George Bush or his poodle Tony Blair act all indignant about this “attack on innocents,” we need to remember that the U.S. and Britain are terrorist states in their own right, and on a much grander scale.
If you have any doubts about this, check out an article in a magazine called Electronic Iraq<, written by one William Van Wagenen. This well-documented and footnoted article quotes from the original planning document for “Shock and Awe,” developed by the U.S. National Defense University in 1996 and adopted by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld as policy well before the start of the war, called for using aerial bombardment and other military resources for “controlling, affecting, and breaking the will of the adversary to resist.” The approach goes on to call for attacking “means of communication, transportation, food production, water supply, and other aspects of infrastructure,” with deliberate violence designed to be “all encompassing” in scope. (This strategy–particularly as it targets food and water–it should be noted, is on its face a war crime.)
Luckily for Iraqis, the Pentagon in the end did not fully apply the strategy as laid out in “Shock and Awe” (a phrase which, incidentally, is a pretty good synonym for “terrorize”). As Wagenen points out, the plan was to occupy and run Iraq after the defeat of Saddam, and so it was felt that the power grid, water system, etc., should not be destroyed. But clearly some elements of the strategy for intimidating the people of Iraq were adopted.
Wagenen, for example, writes in his article that on a visit last month to Baghdad, he was taken by a taxi driver to three government-owned shopping malls in the city, each of which had been completely devastated by U.S. bombs in the opening days of the attack. He says he was told that other street markets were similarly hit. One of these malls he visited, the Rashid Market in downtown Baghdad, was bombed with such precision that “no other buildings next to it, including a mosque, seemed to be harmed.”
This, dear reader, is deliberate terrorism, pure and simple.
It might seem odd, if you are one of those who buy into the Bush rhetoric that America was “liberating” Iraqis from a brutal regime.
After all, how exactly are you “liberating” people if you bomb their markets and malls and deliberately seek to terrorize them with a Shock and Awe campaign that, in the words of a Pentagon official quoted by CBS News on the eve of the invasion, will mean “There will not be a safe place in Baghdad”?
The answer, of course, is that the U.S. invasion of Iraq was not and is not about liberation; it’s about conquest and creation of, if not a colony, then a client state.
This is the invasion which our “heroic” soldiers are today being asked to continue to defend with their weapons and their lives.
And make no mistake: Shock and Awe is continuing. The leveling of Fallujah, once a city of 300,000, was just another chapter. Many smaller such levelings of towns and villages are going on now.
The Nazis in World War II had a tactic, especially popular on the Eastern Front, of leveling any town or neighborhood where partisans were active. It’s a tactic that the Israeli Army has been officially using against Palestinians for years.
American forces did the same thing in Vietnam, and they’re doing it now in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Whatever they call it at the Pentagon or in the White House War Room, the real name for such a tactic is terror.
And it’s being done in our name.
DAVE LINDORFF is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His new book of CounterPunch columns titled “This Can’t be Happening!” is published by Common Courage Press. Information about both books and other work by Lindorff can be found at www.thiscantbehappening.net.
He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org