Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Endless War

Glenn Greenwald has a great article in Salon about the continuation of war against terrorism, even after many officials say we have essentially eliminated the leaders of the Al Qaeda network and the foiling of several "terror plots" by "lone wolves" in our own borders. Greenwald makes a good point about the manufacturing of fear, the publicity of terrorism, and how we as the people are being groomed to, if not support, then at least accept as inevitable the continued military operations in the Middle East and worldwide.

He even makes the observation that, as things wind down in Iraq and Afghanistan, things seem to be heating up in Iran. It's not that Iran has suddenly become a major issue; it has been for some time. But now that the war-mongers are in need of a new enemy, Iran and it's "nuclear program" seem to fit the bill. It's worth noting that we have already placed sanctions on Iran (which were defied by the Koch brothers, but that's a different topic), and we have been conducting a major smear campaign against them. Yet despite this, other countries have helped Iran develop nuclear capability.

While the situation in Iran is concerning, I can't help but feel that it is being used as the next excuse to engage in a lengthy occupation. I don't think that's what's needed there. There must be a solution that keeps us from investing multiple years, billions of dollars, and thousands of lives to stabilize that region.

I think Greenwald's greatest point, though, is when he says "what little Terrorism does exist is caused directly by our own actions — the very actions justified in the name of stopping Terrorism." It's a great observation, and one that many people, including the iconic Noam Chomsky, have been making for years. While we bemoan the loss of thousands of Americans on 9/11, and rightly so, we must also take that with the understanding that we have directly caused similar atrocities in many other nations over the years. In many ways, we are a terrorist nation to the rest of the world. While it's difficult for us to see ourselves in that way, and even more difficult to accept that without trying to justify those actions, it is worth it to understand that this is how we are seen by the world. Even Ron Paul, in his own way, has flirted with this idea, by saying that the people who oppose us in the Middle East have told us exactly why they don't like us: we built a military base in their holy land, we've oppressed them economically and politically for decades, we take their natural resources, use their people to fight our wars, and don't give them a chance to develop on their own. He also made the point that if we want to understand their frustration with us, imagine if another country did to us what we do to them. We act very presumptuously with the rest of the world, and this is the result.

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