Apr 29, 2013
We feel horror that someone could decide to set off bombs targeting civilians doing nothing more than going on about their own business – in the case of Boston, at a marathon. No matter what justification the perpetrators imagined, what happened in Boston is appalling. Just as it was appalling when a young man took a gun and decided to kill all those children and their teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
There can be no justification for such violence. It is simply heinous.
It was equally heinous when armed gangs targeted people last week in Baghdad, Kirkuk, Hilla, Falluja, Nasirya and Tikrit in Iraq, killing at least 37 people – just as it was when armed gangs targeted people in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, killing five civilians. All of them were trying to go on about their own daily business.
There can be no justification for such terrorist violence. It is deeply criminal. What was in the minds of these terrorists? What was in the minds of the Boston Marathon bombers? Was it anything more than what was in the mind of the Sandy Hook assassin – that is, the desire to kill people? Who can know?
Police authorities tell us, and the media repeat it, that the two Boston bombers had become radical Islamists, that is, Muslim fundamentalists.
Certainly, this country has seen its share of religious fundamentalists who use terror as a weapon for advancing their cause. But in this country, most of those terrorists have been Christian fundamentalists, extreme right-wing zealots – starting with Timothy McVeigh, who blew up the Oklahoma City federal building in 1995, killing 168 people, including 19 children, injuring 800 others. Or Eric Rudolph, the extreme right-wing Christian fundamentalist, who killed one person and injured 111 others by setting off a pipe-bomb at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996. Rudolph also set off bombs at three women’s clinics and a gay night club, killing one, severely maiming 12 more in these attacks. Then there was Scott Roeder, another right-wing Christian fundamentalist, who killed Dr. George Tiller, a doctor at a woman’s clinic in Wichita, Kansas in 2007.
Between 1977 and 2011, Christian fundamentalist killers have assassinated eight people, tried to kill 17 more, set off 41 bombs, carried out 175 arson attacks, threw acid on 100 people, sent 663 packages with anthrax or other toxins – all of these barbarous actions carried out against people working in women’s clinics by zealots aimed at preventing women from having access to abortion or birth control. This is terrorism in the pure sense of the term – violence whose purpose was to terrorize people, to prevent them from doing something. And this wave of terrorist violence has had a deadly effect, resulting in a third of the women living in counties without an abortion provider.
And let’s not forget the Christian Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, those terrorists who wreaked violence throughout the old South and many other parts of this country to keep black people “in their place.” Those Christian Knights have their own descendants today – like the white supremacist in Ohio who recently circulated a “hit list” of Jewish and black community leaders in the Detroit area.
No, Muslim fundamentalists have no corner on violence and terror in this country. So we have to ask why the authorities and the media ignore those forces who have and continue to carry out many more violent attacks against the population. What is their agenda in this gross oversight? It is hardly an accident.
This focus on terrorism by Muslims is used as an excuse to justify the state terrorism that the U.S. carries out against the peoples of entire countries in the Middle East and Central Asia. The U.S., using drones, has wiped out wedding parties in Afghanistan, or parts of a small village in Pakistan. In Pakistan, U.S. drones have killed at least 880 civilians, including 176 children. Not counting the hundreds of thousands killed by “regular” bombing.
Terrorism is terrorism – but it is made infinitely worse when it is carried out by the most powerful military force in the world, using the most technically advanced weapons of mass destruction.