Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Government and Terrorism

ter · ror · ism ( P ) (tr-rzm) n.
The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons.

Notice the above definition to the word "terrorism". Now imagine this; our country is invaded, bombed, and occupied. The militants topple our government, give us a curfew, search our homes and bodies regularly, detain our loved ones without reason, shoot and kill any "suspicious" citizens including children, and inappropriately touch women during unwarranted searches. How enraged would you become? Would you be willing to fight these oppressors with violence? Would you be willing to give YOUR life to protect your way of life, and the lives of your loved ones? Would you consider these invaders...terrorists? Now, picture that you live in the Middle East.

The U.S. involvement in the Middle East has led to unconscionable actions for decades. Many innocent people have lost their lives, the lives of their loved ones, their property, and culture due to our countries meddling. Is there really any surprise that America and its allies are experiencing terrorist acts perpetrated by Middle Easterners and Islamic extremists? Our public servants and policy makers always seem to explain to us that terrorists from the Middle East hate us for being us, but any person with half a brain and general knowledge of history can figure out for themselves this kind of lip service is nothing more than lies and propaganda. Government officials never seem to say that terrorists perceive themselves to be rational human beings. Rational? How can that be? Well, in their own minds they have a rational justification for their actions; and that the justification is usually retaliation for various American actions. The unrelenting bombing of innocent Iraqi citizens; the unwavering support of Israel and the double standard applied to Israeli terrorism (such as the massacre of 106 Lebanese at the UN base at Qana in 1996); the unnerving military presence in one of the holiest of holy lands for Islam, Saudi Arabia; the never ending persecution of Libya; the shooting down of an Iranian passenger plane ... these actions are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to terrorists acts perpetrated by the American government on the peoples of the Middle East. These are the actions that can turn an Arab or a Muslim into an extremist, and in their eyes, a "counter terrorist."

Most Americans believe that on September 11, 2001 we were attacked without reason, after all, that's what our government told us. Below are just a few of the things that our government has done, without remorse, in the Middle East before September 11, 2001:

In 1998 the United States bombed a militant training camp in Afghanistan that was originally set up by the CIA in the 1980s to train the Afghan "freedom fighters"

Many of the 10 million mines left in Afghanistan today were made in the US, and were part of the US support to fundamentalist groups in the 80s

US support for the Moujahedeen fundamentalists began six months before the Soviet invasion in 1979, and was one of the key reasons for it

Egypt is the second largest recipient of US military aid, surpassed only by Israel

Between 1997 and March 2000, the USA exported electro-shock batons, stun guns and optical sighting devices to Egypt

In 1997, the US exported arms for $1.2 billion to Egypt

Torture in police stations are widespread - several people died in custody in the year 2000, and there are reports of systematic torture of political suspects (we fund this brutality with our tax dollars)

In 1953, Iran's elected prime minister Mossadeq - who tried to nationalize the oil industry - was overthrown in a CIA-organized coup

In 1976, Amnesty International concluded that the Shah's security force, SAVAK, had the worst human rights record on the planet, and that the number and variety of torture techniques the CIA had taught SAVAK were "beyond belief"

American corporations exported a number of toxic biological materials to Iraq in the 80s, identical to those the United Nations inspectors later found and removed from the Iraqi biological warfare program

At least 125,000 innocent civilian Iraqis were killed in the Gulf war

In 1998, when Madelaine Albright was asked whether the reported death of 500,000 Iraqi children as a result of sanctions was justified, she answered 'I think this is a very hard choice, but the price - we think the price is worth it

After the Gulf War, an international War Crimes Tribunal was held where the US was found guilty of 19 different crimes

93.6% of the tonnage dropped in the Gulf war were traditional unguided bombs

According to Unicef, the United Nations Children’s Fund, 4,000 children under five are dying every month in Iraq because of the sanctions imposed since the Gulf war

Even after the cease-fire went into effect at the end of the Gulf War, US troops attacked both civilians and retreating Iraqi soldiers

The U.S. government intentionally used sanctions against Iraq to degrade the country's water supply after the Gulf War.

Two operational nuclear reactors and several chemical plants were consciously bombed during the Gulf war

The Potsdam Conference was held in July of 1945. Soon after the meeting a reporter asked President Truman if the creation of a Jewish state was ever discussed. He confirmed that it was and the U.S. supported the mass immigration of Jews into Palestine. The British government believed the U.S. wanted to participate in the policy process regarding Palestine and a Jewish state, but did not want to take responsibility for any negative results that might occur once the policy was in place.

Those in favor of the Jewish state sought to persuade the U.S. government that Israel would be of more use to the U.S. than friendly relations with the Arab states

The birth of Israel occurred on May 14, 1948. On the same day the U.S. recognized the new Israeli government, despite not knowing exactly what type of government they would implement. This is important because it gave birth to decades of wars between Arab nations and Israel (even before Israel became an official nation).

Israel has never ratified the Nonproliferation Treaty and the 1972 biological and toxic weapons convention, as opposed to for example Iran and Libya

Israel got a green light from the US before their invasion of Lebanon in 1982

The Israeli government states openly that extra judicial executions form part of a government policy Palestinian detainees under interrogation are frequently held incommunicado for up to 20 days, and some for as long as 90 days.

Amnesty claims that the great majority of Israeli killings of Palestinians were unlawful, "a result of the excessive use of lethal force when no lives were in danger", and that there is a "culture of impunity" within the Israeli security forces (our government funds these kinds of brutality and considers this barbaric nation an ally, providing it with arms and tax dollars)

Israel is the largest recipient of US military aid

In 1997, The U.S. exported arms to Saudi Arabia worth $4.7 billion

Suspected political or religious activists suffer arbitrary arrest and detention, and face judicial procedures where they are denied the most basic rights, such as the right to be defended by a lawyer

Since 1984 the US Department of Commerce has authorized at least a dozen shipments for the transfer of electro-shock weapons to Saudi Arabia

US taxpayers spend $50 billion annually to maintain 20,000 U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia

Turkey, the fourth largest recipient of U.S. military and police assistance, refuses to recognize the Kurdish community. In fact, publicly referring to "the Kurdish people" can lead to a prison sentence.

Since 1984, the Turkish military has bombed and depopulated more than 3,000 Kurdish villages, two million Kurdish refugees have been driven out of their homes and 30,000 people have died

The U.S. exports high-voltage electro-shock weapons to Turkey, where they are used for torture

You may now see, however wrong it is, how most terrorists see themselves as protecting their own freedom and lives, which have been taken away by U.S. and western intervention. If you would like to read a specific accounts of the centuries of American intervention in the Middle East
click here.

Does a violent retaliation justify violence? Yes, in some cases. If someone breaks into your home, you are justified if you act violently to defend yourself, your loved ones, and your property. However, the people who are getting killed in these nonsense wars are thousands of miles apart. No one who died in the World Trade Centers was directly responsible for destroying lives in the Middle East. It was our government, plain and simple. Do I sympathize with Middle Eastern extremists? No, but I have a need to understand them. Why? So, I can ensure my safety, the safety of my loved ones, and my property. If not, we will never be safe, no matter how much airport security, unreasonable bag checks, racial profiling, unlawful detaining of citizens, unconstitutional searches, wire taps, surveillance cameras, or other losses of freedom we have to endure. We have to stop bullying the rest of the world to ensure SAFETY AND FREEDOM in our own country, not bag checks. We have to bring our troops home from the Middle East, and the rest of the world, and reestablish TRUE free trade with them, not secretly spy on innocent citizens. We have to SHRINK and RESTRAIN our government now, to ensure that our hands will no longer be stained with the blood of innocent men, women, and children again.

September 11, 2001 will always remain a solemn day in my heart, and the hearts of all Americans. Almost 4 years later, we still remember what we were doing when we heard that two planes had flown into the World Trade Centers in New York City, one plane had crashed into the Pentagon, and a final aircraft had gone down in rural Pennsylvania, in the end nearly 3,000 people were dead. This is something we should always remember, but remembering is not enough. If we do not learn from this tragedy we disgrace the memories of the victims who lost their lives and at the same time keep ourselves open to future attacks. Please, let's put all of our political differences aside. Let's end the terrorism acted out by our own government to ensure that we will end future acts of terrorism by other governments and it's peoples.


At 7:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many good points here, I have had many of these thoughts. Surely many of the "terrorists" consider themselves patriots to their country for fighting American (mercantile, trade on America's terms)interests there. Over decades, the way of life they initially defended becomes lost, but the violence remains. Also, American government has seemed to have made a habit of supporting brutal dictators when convenient, only one example being the Shah of Iran.

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