FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Burnt Offering

Madison, Wisconsin.

No sane human being will applaud the latest act of unspeakable barbarism carried out by ISIS against its hostage, the Jordanian pilot, First Lieutenant Moaz al-Kasasbeh. Too many people will nevertheless point to this latest unspeakable murder as a rationale for continued, even stepped up, efforts by the United States and its “coalition partners”, including (tragically) Jordan, to bomb it into oblivion. Thanks to our media and to the mainstream political commentators in the United States, it will be decidedly more difficult for the average news reader to discern that this is the worst possible action our leaders can take.

Too few people, I fear, will understand that the monstrous activities of ISIS will continue, if not increase, as long as the former colonial and imperial powers of the West, Japan, and their Arab allies –all of them run by tyrants and dictators beholden to or in league with US state power and seeking “security” — persist in their attempts to shape and control the destiny of the Middle East.

It nevertheless seems likely that however long the infernal activities of ISIS continue, ISIS itself – like so many other extremist and fanatical organizations past and present – will eventually destroy itself from within. Public opinion worldwide, above all in the Middle East, is overwhelmingly opposed to the use of such depraved, barbaric tactics. Everywhere, especially where terror like this reigns day and night, people fear and abhor it. Ultimately, the core leaders of ISIS and groups similar to it, will fall upon their own swords and then be devoured, however savagely, by the populations most directly affected by their brutality.

Long established states, guilty of hundreds of thousands of atrocities over centuries, are much more difficult to defeat. Over the centuries, they have established increasingly sophisticated means of control over their populations, using the structure and mechanisms of state power to instill xenophobia, indoctrinate their citizens with propaganda, increase and perfect surveillance, and ensure that their populations are either distracted, kept silent, or living in fear. In these cases, the mobilization of dissent is that much more difficult to harness.

In the United States today, dissidents have a two-fold task. The first is to denounce in the most forceful terms the Frankenstein’s monsters their country has helped to create and are fueling by bombing organizations such as ISIS. The second is to convince their fellow citizens that the policies their leaders have chosen are not in the interest of the general public; that they do not heighten their security, increase their global popularity, or encourage peaceful, diplomatic solutions without recourse to violence. On the contrary, contemporary US foreign policy has dramatically increased the likelihood of both home grown and foreign-sponsored terrorist acts on American soil.

These two tasks require both immediate, sustained action and a lifetime of dedication. Without them, however, our children will inherit the world we’ve got today: where innocent people of all ages and backgrounds are beheaded, burned to death, executed, gassed, targeted and murdered by unmanned drones, detained without trial, tortured in black sites, disappeared, displaced, sacrificed on an altar of state ideology, massacred or otherwise subjected to the byproducts of advanced, militarized, civilization.

Jennifer Loewenstein is Faculty Associate, Middle East Studies University of Wisconsin, Madison. She can be reached at: amadea311@earthlink.net

More articles by:

Jennifer Loewenstein is a human rights activist and faculty associate in Middle East Studies at at Penn State University.  She can be reached at: amadea311@earthlink.net

April 19, 2018
Ramzy Baroud
Media Cover-up: Shielding Israel is a Matter of Policy
Vijay Prashad
Undermining Brazilian Democracy: the Curious Saga of Lula
Steve Fraser
Class Dismissed: Class Conflict in Red State America
John W. Whitehead
Crimes of a Monster: Your Tax Dollars at Work
Kenn Orphan
Whistling Past the Graveyard
Karl Grossman TJ Coles
Opening Pandora’s Box: Karl Grossman on Trump and the Weaponization of Space
Colin Todhunter
Behind Theresa May’s ‘Humanitarian Hysterics’: The Ideology of Empire and Conquest
Jesse Jackson
Syrian Strikes is One More step Toward a Lawless Presidency
Michael Welton
Confronting Militarism is Early Twentieth Century Canada: the Woman’s International League for Peace and Freedom
Alycee Lane
On David S. Buckel and Setting Ourselves on Fire
Jennifer Matsui
Our Overlords Reveal Their Top ‘To Do’s: Are YOU Next On Their Kill List?
George Ochenski
Jive Talkin’: On the Campaign Trail With Montana Republicans
Kary Love
Is It Time for A Nice, “Little” Nuclear War?
April 18, 2018
Alan Nasser
Could Student Loans Lead to Debt Prison? The Handwriting on the Wall
Susan Roberts
Uses for the Poor
Alvaro Huerta
I Am Not Your “Wetback”
Jonah Raskin
Napa County, California: the Clash of Oligarchy & Democracy
Robert Hunziker
America’s Dystopian Future
Geoffrey McDonald
“America First!” as Economic War
Jonathan Cook
Robert Fisk’s Douma Report Rips Away Excuses for Air Strike on Syria
Jeff Berg
WW III This Ain’t
Binoy Kampmark
Macron’s Syria Game
Linn Washington Jr.
Philadelphia’s Top Cop Defends Indefensible Prejudice in Starbucks Arrest Incident
Katie Fite
Chaos in Urban Canyons – Air Force Efforts to Carve a Civilian Population War Game Range across Southern Idaho
Robby Sherwin
Facebook: This Is Where I Leave You
April 17, 2018
Paul Street
Eight Takeaways on Boss Tweet’s Latest Syrian Missile Spasm
Robert Fisk
The Search for the Truth in Douma
Eric Mann
The Historic 1968 Struggle Against Columbia University
Roy Eidelson
The 1%’s Mind Games: Psychology Gone Bad
John Steppling
The Sleep of Civilization
Patrick Cockburn
Syria Bombing Reveals Weakness of Theresa May
Dave Lindorff
No Indication in the US That the Country is at War Again
W. T. Whitney
Colombia and Cuba:  a Tale of Two Countries
Dean Baker
Why Isn’t the Median Wage for Black Workers Rising?
Linn Washington Jr.
Philadelphia’s Top Cop Defends Indefensible Prejudice in Starbucks Arrest Incident
C. L. Cook
Man in the Glass
Kary Love
“The Mob Boss Orders a Hit and a Pardon”
Lawrence Wittner
Which Nations Are the Happiest―and Why
Dr. Hakim
Where on Earth is the Just Economy that Works for All, Including Afghan Children?
April 16, 2018
Dave Lindorff
President Trump’s War Crime is Worse than the One He Accuses Assad of
Ron Jacobs
War is Just F**kin’ Wrong
John Laforge
Nuclear Keeps on Polluting, Long After Shutdown
Norman Solomon
Missile Attack on Syria Is a Salute to “Russiagate” Enthusiasts, Whether They Like It or Not
Uri Avnery
Eyeless in Gaza   
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Iraq Then, Syria Now
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail