The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Talking about terrorism to avoid telling the truth about it

Oct 11, 2004

Kerry and Bush are both making a point to talk about the threat of terrorism. Accusing each other of not doing enough or not voting for enough, they talk about police, fire and emergency medical personnel, as well as the Homeland Security Department and a new Intelligence Czar. They debate who really will implement the recommendations of the 9-11 Commission Report.

But the one thing that neither of them has ever discussed is why there is so much terrorism today in the world and, more to the point, why the U.S. is increasingly the target, here or abroad.

If there is terrorism today directed against the U.S., it's precisely because the U.S. controls so much of what happens in other countries.

U.S. corporations impoverish people around the world, stealing the proceeds of their labor, draining natural resources from their countries.

And the U.S. military is used to impose this state of affairs on other people. Today, there are more than 900 U.S. military bases in more than 100 countries around the world. Those bases were not built in countries thousands of miles away to defend the shores of the U.S. from attack. They are there, staffed by hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops, to back up U.S. companies as they steal the world's wealth.

The U.S. has long carried out wars – big and small – against other people around the globe. Long before the current wars against Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. military was taking action somewhere in the world every single day. Whether it was oil in the Middle East or uranium in Somalia or manufactured goods in Haiti, U.S. troops were thrown into action to prevent impoverished people from rising up.

U.S. money and training supports military dictators around the world, helping them to keep their own impoverished populations under control – just as the U.S. once aided Saddam Hussein.

And the U.S. funds terrorists around the world to attack regimes it can't control – just as it once funded Osama bin Laden or more recently funded terrorists in Venezuela.

Terrorism, which targets innocent civilians, is despicable, no matter where it's carried out and against whom.

But we need to understand that the wave of terrorism we see today has been caused by the widespread state-sponsored violence the U.S. has unleashed against people all around the globe.

U.S. policies toward other countries have produced a whole generation of desperate people, ready to sacrifice themselves in order to stop the U.S., or at least to avenge themselves for what they have seen the U.S. do.

Of course, Bush and Kerry don't speak of this – because they are the representatives of the parties that carried out – and will continue to carry out – wars and repressive policies in the far-flung corners of the world.

If we want an end to terrorism, we have to oppose the terrorism that the U.S. carries out against people in other countries – including what is the worst terrorism of all, the bombing and wars the U.S. carries out against civilian populations in other countries like Iraq and Afghanistan.