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!!

 

 

 

More articles by:

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

Weekend Edition
February 23, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Richard D. Wolff
Capitalism as Obstacle to Equality and Democracy: the US Story
Paul Street
Where’s the Beef Stroganoff? Eight Sacrilegious Reflections on Russiagate
Jeffrey St. Clair
They Came, They Saw, They Tweeted
Andrew Levine
Their Meddlers and Ours
Charles Pierson
Nuclear Nonproliferation, American Style
Joseph Essertier
Why Japan’s Ultranationalists Hate the Olympic Truce
W. T. Whitney
US and Allies Look to Military Intervention in Venezuela
John Laforge
Maybe All Threats of Mass Destruction are “Mentally Deranged”
Matthew Stevenson
Why Vietnam Still Matters: an American Reckoning
David Rosen
For Some Reason, Being White Still Matters
Robert Fantina
Nikki Haley: the U.S. Embarrassment at the United Nations
Joyce Nelson
Why Mueller’s Indictments Are Hugely Important
Joshua Frank
Pearl Jam, Will You Help Stop Sen. Tester From Destroying Montana’s Public Lands?
Dana E. Abizaid
The Attack on Historical Perspective
Conn Hallinan
Immigration and the Italian Elections
George Ochenski
The Great Danger of Anthropocentricity
Pete Dolack
China Can’t Save Capitalism from Environmental Destruction
Joseph Natoli
Broken Lives
Manuel García, Jr.
Why Did Russia Vote For Trump?
Geoff Dutton
One Regime to Rule Them All
Torkil Lauesen – Gabriel Kuhn
Radical Theory and Academia: a Thorny Relationship
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: The Work of Persuasion
Thomas Klikauer
Umberto Eco and Germany’s New Fascism
George Burchett
La Folie Des Grandeurs
Howard Lisnoff
Minister of War
Eileen Appelbaum
Why Trump’s Plan Won’t Solve the Problems of America’s Crumbling Infrastructure
Ramzy Baroud
More Than a Fight over Couscous: Why the Palestinian Narrative Must Be Embraced
Jill Richardson
Mass Shootings Shouldn’t Be the Only Time We Talk About Mental Illness
Jessicah Pierre
Racism is Killing African American Mothers
Steve Horn
Wyoming Now Third State to Propose ALEC Bill Cracking Down on Pipeline Protests
David Griscom
When ‘Fake News’ is Good For Business
Barton Kunstler
Brainwashed Nation
Griffin Bird
I’m an Eagle Scout and I Don’t Want Pipelines in My Wilderness
Edward Curtin
The Coming Wars to End All Wars
Missy Comley Beattie
Message To New Activists
Jonah Raskin
Literary Hubbub in Sonoma: Novel about Mrs. Jack London Roils the Faithful
Binoy Kampmark
Frontiersman of the Internet: John Perry Barlow
Chelli Stanley
The Mirrors of Palestine
James McEnteer
How Brexit Won World War Two
Ralph Nader
Absorbing the Irresistible Consumer Reports Magazine
Cesar Chelala
A Word I Shouldn’t Use
Louis Proyect
Marx at the Movies
Osha Neumann
A White Guy Watches “The Black Panther”
Stephen Cooper
Rebel Talk with Nattali Rize: the Interview
David Yearsley
Market Music
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail