Archive for the ‘Terrorism’ Category
The killings at Fort Hood have received an understood amount of media attention, but one thing that Shepard Smith of Fox News stated yesterday bugged me until I had to sit down and articulate it. In opening an interview with a retired coworker of Major Hassan, Smith stated that Hassan had made “outlandish” comments about America’s foreign policy. As the interview continued, the coworker explained that Hassan had expressed that the United States should not be “over there”–should not be engaged in military action in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that the native people should rise up against the aggressors.
I’m in no way advocating the actions of the Major at Fort Hood, but I want a moment to examine what his peers knew of his beliefs, and the way that Fox’s Shepard Smith framed the news segment. Is it outlandish to believe that we should not be involved in pointless wars overseas? They cost American lives, and stretch the printing press of the Fed to new levels, destroying our money even further, and for what? To protect us from a people that don’t have navies, air forces, or a unified standing army? How does having a large occupying force in several nations in the Middle East protect us from a random act of terrorism that would be perpetrated thousands of miles away, here at home? As for the “aggressors” comment, let’s propose a hypothetical. If the Chinese had a standing army on our soil, with the goal of making us change our way of life, would it be “outlandish” for us to resist and attempt to overthrow our aggressors? We overthrew the British empire, after all. Is this not an American ideal?
Hassan was said to have felt promise upon the election of President Obama, that our overseas occupations would end, but was extremely disappointed when he did not deliver. I think that’s a very common feeling among those that drank the President’s anti-war campaign Kool-Aid but were left thirsty and wanting. He has escalated these wars, and shows no sign of changing our foreign policy to something more sensible.
We must see past the propaganda machine of the mainstream media and note that these particular beliefs and frustrations perhaps weren’t so “outlandish” after all.
How Can “Fear-Mongering” Incite Wars?
The infamous cycle of fear-mongering and war basically works like this:
- Politicians focus their campaigns on something that incites fear among the population and claim to be the best candidates for fighting against the source of fear;
- Terrified voters vote for who they think will best protect themselves and their loved ones;
- Fear-mongering politicans get elected;
- Anticipating re-election, and with ample resources from a scared population (willing to pay nearly anything for defense), the politicians attack the source of fear with the military resources at-hand;
- Weapon suppliers lobby politicians for contracts, fund political campaigns, and integrate themselves into military operations;
- Major construction companies and other “war-profiteers,” with potential financial gains embedded in fighting particular wars, integrate themselves into military operations;
- Giant corporations hold vested financial interests in military spending;
- Military spending legislation is ratified by the politicians;
- Defense spending increases;
- An election approaches;
- Politicians focus their campaigns on something that incites fear among the population…
This explanation addresses fear-mongering only in the context of the military-industrial complex, and with a narrow scope at that. Another context to consider is the distractive nature of a political focus on providing security. As self-preservation is the fundamental concern of most living things, the political emphasis on security distracts voters from other issues, which decreases the politicians’ accountability. Less accountability gives politicians more freedom to govern. Thus the distraction inherently gives more power to the government, which requires taking power away from the governed (through tax increases and relaxed restrictions on government’s authority over the people). The tragic irony is that the focus on security ultimately results in decreased security, due to the afflicitions of exploiting military force in foreign lands. The CIA coined the term “blowback” to describe this counterforce of defense spending.
But it’s not just the distractiveness of fear that empowers bureaucratic government. The sociological and political consequences of a frightened population have concerned scholars for hundreds of years. From Machiavelli to Tocqueville, from Arendt to Chomsky, the ultimate conclusion remains the same: exploited fear leads to more war and less liberty, despite its utility in winning elections.
The Missouri Information Analysis Center recently released a report to over 1,000 of its law enforcement officials warning that “violent” militia members are usually supporters of Ron Paul and Campaign for Liberty. Oh yea, they are also usually characterized by their support of the Constitution.
So there you have it! It has finally been done. The men and women of America who actually believe in and support the US Constitution have been labeled terrorist threats! One state down, 49 to go.
This comes, of course, on the eve of the UM Constitutionalists trip to St. Louis, Missouri to attend the Campaign for Liberty Regional Conference. We are now considered terrorist threats in the state we are about to enter, I wonder if we will be arrested with no charges, sent to Bagram Base in Afghanistan and tortured by Obama’s watchmen.
If you want to read the story on this go here: http://www.chuckbaldwinlive.com/c2009/cbarchive_20090317.html
Also, please sign C4L’s pledge in response to this ridiculous report. Go here: http://www.campaignforliberty.com/campaigns/citizenspetition.php
The world is too astonishing for me sometimes. I usually end up with my hands being thrown in the air screaming, “They did WHAT!!” The most recent news with the ability to elicit such a response from me is that Colin Powell was picked to speak on our campus about, “A World of Opportunity and Challenge” as part of Black History Month. He has also been touted as being, “an extraordinary human being who has reached the top ranks of military, diplomatic and political circles,” by the Honors College dean. It’s a nice attempt to characterize the extremely expensive guest speaker as better than he actually is, but don’t be fooled.
In order to grasp the horrid picture I have of Colin Powell, I must first describe the events in which he played a major role. According to Richard Cummings and his article Lockheed Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, a meeting occurred in November of 2002 between Stephen J. Hadley, then deputy national security advisor, and Bruce Jackson where they discussed how to get American citizens complacent with a needless war that they were about to start. Hadley reportedly told Jackson, “they are going to war and are struggling with a rationale,” to justify it. So Jackson’s job was to do just that, create a reason to have innocent American soldiers and Iraqis murdered.
Is everybody familiar with the cliché, “One man’s terrorist, is another man’s freedom fighter?” Though it may be used too often, this phrase is all too true, and very relevant to our current situation in the Middle East. There are several examples throughout history that relate to this, ridiculously named, “War on Terror.” One all too prevalent to me is the Native American/White Man struggle that occurred a while back.
Condensing this long struggle for land and culture into a few paragraphs will eliminate several points I could make; yet I will try nonetheless. We are in a place today where most people will admit the atrocities that were inflicted upon Native Americans in the early settlement of the Americas were horrible and unfair. We have issued apologies to the Native Americans, and tried to right the wrongs. However, most people still shudder when they stop to think about the horrors these people suffered at the hands of the ‘white eyes,’ or white man. Eve Ball wrote of the Apache Indians’ perspective on some of these events. She interviewed many Apache tribe leaders about what they went through at the hands of the ‘white eyes.’ A nephew of the famous Apache Indian Geronimo described to Eve Ball a night when his mother, baby sister and his uncle were all murdered by ‘white eyes’. It breaks your heart to hear these interviews and the completely inhumane treatment that took place during this time.
We wonder why people were so brutal to these Native Americans. However, if you heard of some of the horrors that people captured by Apaches went through, you would shudder as well. The Apache warriors showed no mercy to their enemies either. Their brutal retaliation made it easy to demonize them to all ‘white eyes.’ Therefore, Indians, the ones inhabiting the land first, were deemed terrorists. However, I’m sure the Apaches themselves viewed these ‘terrorists’ as freedom fighters. I would be willing to bet that the types of acts committed against these Apaches had a lot of bearing on the hatred they harbored toward ‘white eyes.’ During an interview, one Apache told Eve Ball he wished a nuclear bomb would wipe out white civilization; and this was in the 1940’s and 50’s! Think of the deep seeded hatred. But it is a natural reaction, considering white people had killed these peoples’ families. Even in this country, the defense given to the death penalty is, “What if some guy had murdered your mom or dad, wouldn’t he deserve to die?” This revenge mentality is the same mentality the Apaches had, and it’s the same mentality the “terrorists” of today in the Middle East have as well.
America has done more than enough to anger Palestinians into a vengeful mindset. America supports Israel, who is responsible for numerous atrocities against Palestinian people. America has supported brutal dictators in the Middle East, imposed harsh sanctions, built military bases on holy soil, and, as a latest edition, declared war on Iraq, which has resulted in over 50,000 civilian deaths, not to mention the water-boarding and the paying of other countries to torture family members of these newly created ‘terrorists.’ We also have that Abu Ghraib prison debacle where the US has tortured and killed the freedom fighters of many extremists. I would say the torturing of one man to get information for one act of terrorism creates three to four new “terrorists” and several acts of terrorism.
Is this our idea of winning the war on terror and preventing more attacks on US soil? We are creating a whole new generation of extremists and terrorist acts by fighting a war of ideals with weapons. Native Americans began fighting white settlers in the 1600’s, and the end of the fighting really only came in the late 1800’s. That is two centuries! Are we willing to wage this war of attrition for over two centuries? If not, I would suggest us putting our pride away and start dealing with fighting terrorism the correct way. This is an ideological struggle, and the side that portrays morality is going to be the victor. Apaches had a limited terrain to deal with, while terrorists have the whole world. Apaches can only be born, while terrorists can be created. In this war of ideology, we cannot win by being a bully; we must be the better man.