• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

CounterPunch needs you. piggybank-icon You need us. The cost of keeping the site alive and running is growing fast, as more and more readers visit. We want you to stick around, but it eats up bandwidth and costs us a bundle. Help us reach our modest goal (we are half way there!) so we can keep CounterPunch going. Donate today!
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

The Terrorism Routine: Paris, Here We Go Again

Every time a mass killing occurs, the nation and the media go through a by-now well-worn routine. First, there is the expressed shock by the media, who are soon on the scene. If it is a large enough killing, Obama gets into the act by putting on an air of righteousness and condemning it (a lot of condemnations by now from him, to no avail). Then there is a minute by minute description of what is going on, particularly wall-to-wall filming of police actions. Then eyewitnesses are sought to describe the panic and carnage and their tales of how they managed to survive. If it is a large enough slaughter, “terrorism experts” are brought onto the talking head television screen, but not even one person is included who would contradict them (in our so-called democracy where there is supposedly freedom of speech).

Soon after that the networks are on the search for some sort of heroes, those who did something to further avert or to diminish “what could have been a larger tragedy.” Law enforcement is likewise depicted in a warm-hearted way as saviors, though they did not prevent anything (just as ordinarily they do not prevent crime in society yet they do attack Blacks, Hispanics, poor Whites, etc., but are lauded nonetheless) and are there after the fact walking or running around, with patrol lights flashing everywhere. In the workplace around the water cooler the talk is of “Did you hear about…? How awful!” Soon arrive the flowers and wreaths on the scene of the victimizations and other somber ceremonies very solemnly portrayed on TV.

Never in all these hundreds of 24/7 hours is anyone asking about our perpetration of terrorism in the Middle East and elsewhere, where we have slaughtered millions from at least the Vietnam War onward, and certainly no one discusses what the CIA itself refers to as the predictable and consequent “blowback.” The U.S. itself created ISIS, just as we did Osama bin Laden and just as we are at this very moment using terrorists such as al Nusra and others to attack Syria and elsewhere and the Contras to attack Nicaragua some time before that, and on and on ad nauseam. Obviously we do not much discuss what we can do or could have done constructively that is different than our going to those countries to blow up people without any compunction or conscience even though we claim to be Christian. In a word, we only use the word “carnage” to refer to when they punch us back.

Simply, a ten-year old understands that when he or she is punched, he or she will likely reciprocate. However, there are some of us who sometimes analyze these situations and we wind up saying that we never seem to learn. We are not going to learn. How is anyone going to learn anything when the U.S. objective is material, to get their oil and other resources or to further our corporate interests? The public is not going to learn when we don’t care about the carnage we have been inflicting on others, since there is not even a cursory discussion of such, and there is not going to be, as you will see.

During the television coverage of Paris, a number of commercials interspersed in it were saturated with the blood and gore of upcoming movies, and it should go without saying that so is American life overall in practically any and all aspects, from murders to employer violence (my own father died from the practice of employer violence) against workers causing death and destruction to domestic violence to sexual assault, and so forth. This is not to mention the extensive 24/7 violence throughout our history against Blacks, Hispanics, poor Whites, women, etc.

Clearly the media that most people watch is not going to help viewers when in fact such media are sponsored by the very oil companies and others who are contractors making billions from war profiteering, and do not expect such media to bite the hand that feeds them millions of dollars. As just one example, the anchor Anderson Cooper himself was with the CIA. Is anyone expecting for the word “blowback” to cross his lips? The countless people we have killed and are killing we do not deem worthy of wall-to-wall coverage here. No one here is going to shed tears and say “how awful” in regard to the carnage we inflict on others. No one here is going to go lay a wreath at the site where we blew people up. The entire routine thus continues.

More articles by:

Jose Martinez is a university professor.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

Weekend Edition
May 24, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Rob Urie
Iran, Venezuela and the Throes of Empire
Melvin Goodman
The Dangerous Demise of Disarmament
Jeffrey St. Clair
“The Army Ain’t No Place for a Black Man:” How the Wolf Got Caged
Richard Moser
War is War on Mother Earth
Andrew Levine
The (Small-d) Democrat’s Dilemma
Russell Mokhiber
The Boeing Way: Blaming Dead Pilots
Rev. William Alberts
Gaslighters of God
Phyllis Bennis
The Amputation Crisis in Gaza: a US-Funded Atrocity
David Rosen
21st Century Conglomerate Trusts 
Jonathan Latham
As a GMO Stunt, Professor Tasted a Pesticide and Gave It to Students
Binoy Kampmark
The Espionage Act and Julian Assange
Kathy Deacon
Liberals Fall Into Line: a Recurring Phenomenon
Jill Richardson
The Disparity Behind Anti-Abortion Laws
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Chelsea Manning is Showing Us What Real Resistance Looks Like
Zhivko Illeieff
Russiagate and the Dry Rot in American Journalism
Norman Solomon
Will Biden’s Dog Whistles for Racism Catch Up with Him?
Yanis Varoufakis
The Left Refuses to Get Its Act Together in the Face of Neofascism
Lawrence Davidson
Senator Schumer’s Divine Mission
Thomas Knapp
War Crimes Pardons: A Terrible Memorial Day Idea
Renee Parsons
Dump Bolton before He Starts the Next War
Yves Engler
Canada’s Meddling in Venezuela
Katie Singer
Controlling 5G: A Course in Obstacles
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Beauty of Trees
Jesse Jackson
Extremist Laws, Like Alabama’s, Will Hit Poor Women the Hardest
Andrew Bacevich
The “Forever Wars” Enshrined
Ron Jacobs
Another One Moves On: Roz Payne, Presente!
Christopher Brauchli
The Offal Office
Daniel Falcone
Where the ‘Democratic Left’ Goes to Die: Staten Island NYC and the Forgotten Primaries   
Julia Paley
Life After Deportation
Sarah Anderson
America Needs a Long-Term Care Program for Seniors
Seiji Yamada – John Witeck
Stop U.S. Funding for Human Rights Abuses in the Philippines
Shane Doyle, A.J. Not Afraid and Adrian Bird, Jr.
The Crazy Mountains Deserve Preservation
Charlie Nash
Will Generation Z Introduce a Wizard Renaissance?
Ron Ridenour
Denmark Peace-Justice Conference Based on Activism in Many Countries
Douglas Bevington
Why California’s Costly (and Destructive) Logging Plan for Wildfires Will Fail
Gary Leupp
“Escalating Tensions” with Iran
Jonathan Power
Making the World More Equal
Cesar Chelala
The Social Burden of Depression in Japan
Stephen Cooper
Imbibe Culture and Consciousness with Cocoa Tea (The Interview)
Stacy Bannerman
End This Hidden Threat to Military Families
Kevin Basl
Time to Rethink That POW/MIA Flag
Nicky Reid
Pledging Allegiance to the Divided States of America
Louis Proyect
A Second Look at Neflix
Martin Billheimer
Closed Shave: T. O. Bobe, the Girl and Curl
David Yearsley
Hard Bop and Bezos’ Balls
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail