Representative Jim Himes (U.S. Needs Strategy to Halt Terrorism, February 15) misses the two best and most obvious ways the United States can combat terrorism: stop doing it and stop giving arms, money and diplomatic cover to others who do. Instead, he trots out the usual suspects, all official enemies of US imperialism, though that could change tomorrow; the US ruling class, after all, wrote the book on switching teams and on simultaneously funding both sides of conflicts.
In polls, people around the world regularly select the US as the number one terrorist state. With ongoing US wars of terror in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other places too numerous to list, that is surprising only to US nationalists like Himes. Much was made recently of the horrific burning alive by ISIS of a Jordanian; virtually nothing is made in the mainstream here of the burning alive by US drone strikes of tens of thousands in recent years, the majority non-combatants including many children.
Here’s what a real strategy to stop terrorism might include:
First, we can demand that our ruling class stop invading other countries. Illegal invasions of Iraq in 1991 and 2003, plus the interceding sanctions of mass destruction, have resulted in three million Iraqi deaths and a society in utter disarray. Where Sunni and Shia coexisted for centuries in relative harmony, they now live in savage conflict catalyzed by US aggression. Where al-Qaeda and ISIS were nonexistent, they now thrive, again because of US-induced chaos. And still the killing by the US goes on, long after all the announced pretexts for the invasions have been stripped away as lies and the real reason – access to and control of oil – has become apparent to all.
Iraq is only one example. In recent decades, the US has invaded Laos, Haiti, Vietnam, Panama, Cambodia, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Nicaragua, and many more while many others have been invaded by US proxies. In every case, those invasions were to defend, install, or re-install dictators in service to Wall Street and answerable to Washington who were despised by their people.
Second, we can stop arming, funding and providing diplomatic support to mass murderers. Rwandan dictator Paul Kagame is one current example. In 1990, Kagame’s Rwandan Patriotic Front provoked war by illegally invading Rwanda from Uganda. After killing hundreds of thousands of Rwandans, Kagame twice illegally invaded the Congo and bears most of the responsibility for the 6-8 million deaths in that country the last two decades. None of Kagame’s crimes were possible without US support.
Again, Kagame is just one in a long line of butchers supported by the US: the Somozas, Jonas Savimbi, Suharto, the ARENA terrorists in El Salvador, the Duvaliers, Ian Smith, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Mobutu, Roberto D’Aubisson, the Kosovo Liberation Army and on and on. Right now, the US is sabotaging the peace accords negotiated recently in Ukraine, upping its aid to the neo-Nazis in Kiev and showing again it prefers war to peace and has nothing but contempt for democracy.
Third, stop overthrowing governments and putting into power dictatorships that oppose the people and serve US corporations. The US spent $5 billion to overthrow the Ukrainian government and install war-hungry, neo-Nazis in power. It has spent tens of millions trying to overthrow the democratically-elected government of Venezuela including a foiled coup attempt last week. In 2009, it embraced coup leaders who have turned Honduras into one of the poorest and most violent in the world. Again, the pattern is long and clear: Iran in 1953, Guatemala in 1954, Congo in 1960, Brazil in 1964, Indonesia in 1965, Ghana in 1966, Greece in 1967, Chile in 1973, Argentina in 1976, Haiti in 1991 and 2004.
Fourth, stop arming and financing Israeli terror in Palestine. Time and again, Israel launches strikes against occupied Palestine and every time the US is there with support. Every time, millions around the world rally to demand justice for Palestine. In addition, leaders of virtually every country except the US have come to see Israeli attacks on Palestine as a likely road to calamity in the Middle East. In addition to Israel, the US props up the monarchy in Saudi Arabia that funds ISIS, al Qaeda, the 9/11 terrorists and who knows who else.
Himes and the rest of the political class serve the Super Rich and by definition rule in opposition to the popular will, as President Obama’s recent budget proposal illustrates. In the midst of a major crisis in education and with a majority of Americans opposed to US aggression, Obama proposes eight times as much for weapons as for education. Change of the sort suggested above can, therefore, only come from an aroused populace. Then and only then will we stop the carnage inflicted worldwide in our names and perhaps begin to live with others in something approximating harmony.
Andy Piascik is a long-time activist and award-winning author who writes for Z, CounterPunch and many other publications and websites. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.