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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.

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Jose Martinez is a university professor.

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