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

September 25, 2018
Kenneth Surin
Fact-Finding Labour’s “Anti-Semitism” Crisis
Charles Pierson
Destroying Yemen as Humanely as Possible
James Rothenberg
Why Not Socialism?
Patrick Cockburn
How Putin Came Out on Top in Syria
John Grant
“Awesome Uncontrollable Male Passion” Meets Its Match
Guy Horton
Burma: Complicity With Evil?
Steve Stallone
Jujitsu Comms
William Blum
Bombing Libya: the Origins of Europe’s Immigration Crisis
John Feffer
There’s a New Crash Coming
Martha Pskowski
“The Emergency Isn’t Over”: the Homeless Commemorate a Year Since the Mexico City Earthquake
Fred Baumgarten
Ten Ways of Looking at Civility
Dean Baker
The Great Financial Crisis: Bernanke and the Bubble
Binoy Kampmark
Parasitic and Irrelevant: The University Vice Chancellor
September 24, 2018
Jonathan Cook
Hiding in Plain Sight: Why We Cannot See the System Destroying Us
Gary Leupp
All the Good News (Ignored by the Trump-Obsessed Media)
Robert Fisk
I Don’t See How a Palestinian State Can Ever Happen
Barry Brown
Pot as Political Speech
Lara Merling
Puerto Rico’s Colonial Legacy and Its Continuing Economic Troubles
Patrick Cockburn
Iraq’s Prime Ministers Come and Go, But the Stalemate Remains
William Blum
The New Iraq WMD: Russian Interference in US Elections
Julian Vigo
The UK’s Snoopers’ Charter Has Been Dealt a Serious Blow
Joseph Matten
Why Did Global Economic Performance Deteriorate in the 1970s?
Zhivko Illeieff
The Millennial Label: Distinguishing Facts from Fiction
Thomas Hon Wing Polin – Gerry Brown
Xinjiang : The New Great Game
Binoy Kampmark
Casting Kavanaugh: The Trump Supreme Court Drama
Max Wilbert
Blue Angels: the Naked Face of Empire
Weekend Edition
September 21, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Hurricane Florence and 9.7 Million Pigs
Andrew Levine
Israel’s Anti-Semitism Smear Campaign
Paul Street
Laquan McDonald is Being Tried for His Own Racist Murder
Brad Evans
What Does It Mean to Celebrate International Peace Day?
Nick Pemberton
With or Without Kavanaugh, The United States Is Anti-Choice
Jim Kavanagh
“Taxpayer Money” Threatens Medicare-for-All (And Every Other Social Program)
Jonathan Cook
Palestine: The Testbed for Trump’s Plan to Tear up the Rules-Based International Order
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Chickenhawks Have Finally Come Back Home to Roost!
David Rosen
As the Capitalist World Turns: From Empire to Imperialism to Globalization?
Jonah Raskin
Green Capitalism Rears Its Head at Global Climate Action Summit
James Munson
On Climate, the Centrists are the Deplorables
Robert Hunziker
Is Paris 2015 Already Underwater?
Arshad Khan
Will There Ever be Justice for Rohingya Muslims?
Jill Richardson
Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Assault
Dave Clennon
A Victory for Historical Accuracy and the Peace Movement: Not One Emmy for Ken Burns and “The Vietnam War”
W. T. Whitney
US Harasses Cuba Amid Mysterious Circumstances
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
Things That Make Sports Fans Uncomfortable
George Capaccio
Iran: “Snapping Back” Sanctions and the Threat of War
Kenneth Surin
Brexit is Coming, But Which Will It Be?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail