Jan 18, 2010
On Christmas Day over the skies of Detroit, a young Nigerian man attempted to kill himself in order to blow up an airplane, along with all its passengers and crew. When pulled off the plane, he claimed allegiance to al-Qaeda.
Individual terrorism is a horrifying act, engaged in by desperate people, often aimed against civilians. Organizations that engage people in such self-destructive acts, targeting civilians as a way to get back at governments, are despicable.
But despicable as they are, the terrorists are gaining adherents today. And they are gaining them precisely because the U.S., with its vast arsenal, has engaged itself in terrorist actions against whole populations.
It’s been eight years and three months that the U.S. has been in Afghanistan. Almost seven years in Iraq. Those wars were mirrored in “secret” U.S. wars in Pakistan and Yemen, which have now become open wars. And all during these wars, the level of terrorism around the world went up.
Of course, terrorism didn’t start with the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. The attacks of 9-11 showed that. In fact, the reservoir of terrorists who were behind 9-11 came from clandestine forces the CIA helped establish in the 1980s. Used originally against the Soviet Union, these brutal forces then bit the U.S. hand that had fed them, turning their CIA money and covert military training against U.S. civilians.
Instead of stopping the activity that had created these terrorists, the U.S. invaded Afghanistan, overthrowing its government and attacking a civilian population who had nothing to do with the attack of 9-11.
Then the U.S. invaded Iraq, pretending that al-Qaeda had forces there – an outright lie. More than a million people are dead in Iraq as the result of this U.S. war – most of them civilians.
What is this, except state terrorism, carried out by the most powerful nation on the planet against defenseless people?
When unmanned drones hit villages in Pakistan, killing women and school children, al-Qaeda gains recruits. When Blackwater’s private army shoots up a busy cross-roads in Iraq, killing dozens of people who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, more people are convinced to sacrifice themselves in terrorist acts. When Special Forces raid a village in Yemen, pulling out all the young men, trashing the village, al-Qaeda gains support. When U.S. money and troops go to prop up a corrupt Afghan government, when the U.S. uses brutal Afghan warlords to impose order, it funnels more desperate people into the terrorist reservoirs.
The U.S. military is in the Middle East and nearby Asia today in order to maintain the hold of U.S. corporations over the region’s oil and its oil pipelines. The so-called war on terrorism is simply a pretext. These are imperialist wars.
These imperialist wars have let loose a conflagration on the world – including the terrorism they have inspired.
To end the ravaging of the world by terrorism requires the ending of imperialist wars that terrorize civilian populations.