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

November 12, 2018
Kerron Ó Luain
Poppy Fascism and the English Education System
Conn Hallinan
Nuclear Treaties: Unwrapping Armageddon
Robert Hunziker
Tropical Trump Declares War on Amazonia
John W. Whitehead
Badge of Shame: the Government’s War on Military Veterans
Will Griffin
Military “Service” Serves the Ruling Class
John Eskow
Harold Pinter’s America: Hard Truths and Easy Targets
Rob Okun
Activists Looking Beyond Midterm Elections
Binoy Kampmark
Mid-Term Divisions: The Trump Take
Dean Baker
Short-Term Health Insurance Plans Destroy Insurance Pools
George Wuerthner
Saving the Buffalohorn/Porcupine: the Lamar Valley of the Gallatin Range
Patrick Howlett-Martin
A Note on the Paris Peace Forum
Joseph G. Ramsey
Does America Have a “Gun Problem”…Or a White Supremacy Capitalist Empire Problem?
Weekend Edition
November 09, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Louis Proyect
Why Democrats Are So Okay With Losing
Andrew Levine
What Now?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Chuck and Nancy’s House of Cards
Brian Cloughley
The Malevolent Hypocrisy of Selective Sanctions
Marc Levy
Welcome, Class of ‘70
David Archuleta Jr.
Facebook Allows Governments to Decide What to Censor
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Zika Scare: a Political and Commercial Maneuver of the Chemical Poisons Industry
Nick Pemberton
When It Comes To Stone Throwing, Democrats Live In A Glass House
Ron Jacobs
Impeach!
Lawrence Davidson
A Tale of Two Massacres
José Tirado
A World Off Balance
Jonah Raskin
Something Has Gone Very Wrong: An Interview With Ecuadoran Author Gabriela Alemán
J.P. Linstroth
Myths on Race and Invasion of the ‘Caravan Horde’
Dean Baker
Good News, the Stock Market is Plunging: Thoughts on Wealth
David Rosen
It’s Time to Decriminalize Sex Work
Dan Glazebrook
US Calls for a Yemen Ceasefire is a Cynical Piece of Political Theatre
Jérôme Duval
Forced Marriage Between Argentina and the IMF Turns into a Fiasco
Jill Richardson
Getting Past Gingrich
Dave Lindorff
Not a Blue Wave, But Perhaps a Foreshock
Martha Rosenberg
Dangerous, Expensive Drugs Aggressively Pushed? You Have These Medical Conflicts of Interest to Thank
Will Solomon
Not Much of a Wave
Nicolas J S Davies
Why Yemeni War Deaths are Five Times Higher Than You’ve Been Led to Believe
Jim Goodman
We call BS! Now, Will You Please Get Over This Partisanship?
Josh Hoxie
How Aristocracies are Born
Faisal Khan
The Weaponization of Social Media
James Munson
The Left Has Better Things to Do Than Watch Liberals Scratch Their Heads
Kenneth Culton
The Political Is Personal
Graham Peebles
Fracking in the UK
Alycee Lane
The Colonial Logic of Geoengineering’s “Last Resort”
Kevin Basl
How Veterans Changed the Military and Rebuilt the Middle Class
Thomas Knapp
Election 2018: The More Things Don’t Change, the More They Stay the Same
Gary Leupp
Europe and Secondary Iran Sanctions: Where Do We Go Now?
Saurav Sarkar
An Honest Look at Poverty in the Heartland
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail