Terrorism Is Terrorism: An American Contradiction in Terms

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Since, as Randolph Bourne so honestly stated, u201CWar is the health of the state,u201D let us for a moment identify the war players and properly define their roles. This is not often done, at least not truthfully, due to the risk of being socially ostracized and literally cursed or worse by multitudes of Americans. There is most always a risk in seeking and telling the whole truth, but in this case, the risk is greatly accentuated.

The major premises of my statements here are dependent on the belief (fact) that normal people do not cause and prosecute wars; governments do. One is not protecting this country or defending its freedoms (so-called) by allowing the government and the military industrial complex to send him to foreign lands to murder innocents; quite the contrary is the case. This is so especially considering that no country has attacked the United States since the Japanese attack of Pearl Harbor, and even that attack is cloaked in controversy. And no, the September 11th attack in 2001 was not an act of war, contrary to popular belief, nor did any country or their military attack the U.S. It was strictly a terrorist act by all accounts, and because of this it was a criminal act. Those involved, and no one knows to this day who all the responsible parties were, or even if there was U.S. government involvement, complicity or cover-ups, committed a heinous and evil act and one that is completely indefensible. Regardless of this, no war against any foreign nation was or is now warranted or moral. In addition, not one aggressive action initiated by the United States due to the 2001 terrorist attacks is constitutional.

So who are now the terrorists and who are now the victims? Who are now the occupiers and who are now the freedom fighters? Who are now the enemy combatants? And are there really any insurgents? To answer these questions honestly will cause much anguish, but it’s about time the truth was told.

An insurgent according to the Oxford English Dictionary is:

B. n. One who rises in revolt against constituted authority; a rebel who is not recognized as a belligerent.

Today, any who fight against or resist the invasion of the United States armed forces, whether in occupied territory or not, and even when they are defending their own homes and families, are called insurgents. But given the proper definition above, do these u201Cinsurgentsu201D really exist? In order to accept this, one would have to assume that the U.S. has constituted or legally established a government in another country; in this case Afghanistan and Iraq? Is the U.S. government the legal government in these countries, or one established or controlled by force? The latter is the obvious truth, so the opposition fighters in the Middle East protecting their homeland against U.S. forced occupation are not insurgents at all. In fact, if the same scenario was taking place on U.S. soil; in other words, if another country was attacked by a few American u201Cterroristsu201D and that country decided to occupy and prosecute war here due to those attacks, would all those Americans who resisted be insurgents? Of course not; they would be freedom fighters. So why are those citizens in Afghanistan and Iraq who are simply fighting against aggressive and occupying U.S. forces not freedom fighters as well? When the roles are reversed, the truth rears its ugly head. Anyone protecting his family, friends, and country from aggressive occupation is most certainly not an insurgent, but is simply and properly defending his own life and freedom.

The term enemy combatant according to Wikipedia is: u201Ca term historically referring to members of the armed forces of the state with which another state is at war.u201D

But today’s (post 9/11) new meaning by the same source carries a much broader definition:

In the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks the United States Congress passed a resolution known as the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists (AUMF) on September 18, 2001[4], wherein the Congress invoked the War Powers Resolution. Using this authorization granted to him by Congress, on November 13, 2001, President Bush issued a Presidential Military Order: “Detention, Treatment, and Trial of Certain Non-Citizens in the War Against Terrorism[5]. The administration chose to call those who it detained under the Presidential Military Orders “enemy combatants”. Since then, the administration has formalized its usage of the term by using it specifically for detained alleged members and supporters of al-Qaida or the Taliban. For example: Under the provisions of the Secretary of the Navy Memorandum Implementation of Combatant Status Review Tribunal Procedures for Enemy Combatant Detained at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base Cuba … An enemy combatant has been defined as “an individual who was part of or supporting the Taliban or al Qaida forces, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners. This includes any person who committed a belligerent act or has directly supported hostilities in aid of enemy armed forces.” [6]

As you can see, the definition was simply changed arbitrarily by the Bush administration after September 11th, 2001 to suit their agenda. If one considers the historical meaning, only members of the opposing military force could be considered an enemy combatant; if in fact the war was legitimate and constitutional in the first place. This of course is not the case, as the aggressor in these unconstitutional occupations is the U.S.

Enemy combatant and unlawful combatant are much of the time used interchangeably but this is improper. An unlawful combatant is u201Ca civilian who directly engages in armed conflict in violation of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and may be detained or prosecuted under the domestic law of the detaining state for such action.u201D Can one be considered an unlawful combatant or an enemy combatant when defending his home, country or region from an aggressive and occupying force? I don’t think so; at least not legitimately, but this is the current belief of most Americans. Because of the absolute idiocy of the idea of American exceptionalism, many in this country accept the notion that anyone who defends himself or fights against U.S. forces, regardless of the circumstances, deserves to be incarcerated, tortured or even killed; all without the benefit of trial. This thinking is preposterous!

Is the killing of innocent civilians or those protecting their own lives and property by the use of drones, bombings and ground attacks terrorism? Is destroying the infrastructure of an entire country, a country that never even attacked anyone, an act of terrorism? Is the displacement of over 5 million people terrorism? Are brutal and forced sanctions that cause the death and starvation of innocents’ terrorism? Is the forced and armed occupation of a country an act of terrorism? In my mind, brutal sanctions and armed occupation are not only terroristic in nature but are acts of war as well. Does committing acts of terrorism if one is on the u201Crightu201D side mean that there is no real terrorism being committed? This is the position that many Americans today seem to cling to in order to pacify their myopic sense of u201Cpatriotism,u201D but is that a moral position to take?

Terrorism entails the use of violence and threats of violence to coerce or intimidate. Terrorism is based on instilling fear through submission, property destruction or killing. In the most heinous cases, these acts are carried out against innocent civilians in order to gain a political edge. All terrorism is wrong, immoral, and evil. It is irrelevant whether it is executed by one individual, a group of individuals, or a government. Whether or not the perpetrator of such acts has been wronged or feels that he or they have been victimized is also irrelevant, because any act of violence against innocents or civilians is criminal and wicked. No one should get a pass here; either individual or powerful state. It is always abominable!

So who are the terrorists of today? Certainly, anyone or any entity who would commit an overt act of violence against an innocent to gain politically would be considered a terrorist. This would include suicide bombers intent on killing civilians to further their cause. It would also include entire governments’ intent on imperialistic behavior by threat of or prosecution of unjustified wars.

In the name of fighting terrorism (e.g., The War on Terror) the United States government (and its military industrial complex) is now committing the very acts of terrorism it claims to battle against. In addition, all those allied with the United States who have sent troops to the Middle East are complicit in this terroristic assault, whether they realize it or not. These are harsh accusations, but reality is difficult to refute.

With the new Obama regime now solidly in power, nothing more than a continuation of the Bush Doctrine is taking place. There is more war, more terrorism, more threat of additional war, and a massive buildup up the military industrial complex. There are plans by this administration to more than triple the number of drones to 800. These inhuman killer drones are now being used to murder at will, and can be deployed anywhere in the world literally with the touch of a button. Domestically, the police state advancement is in high gear and no end to this buildup is anywhere in sight.

The point I’m attempting to make is that terrorism is terrorism regardless of the players involved. I think this fact is overlooked by the masses who simply bury their heads in the sand in order to escape the hard truth. When the general populations, in this case much of the population in America, accept barbarous torture, rendition, suspension or elimination of common rights, military tribunals, rape and murder, then they have become part of the problem, not the solution. Support of any government that participates in this kind of behavior is indicative of a blind society, and one that has lost its soul. This kind of hypocrisy is the epitome of immorality, and if continued can only lead straight to hell!

Gary D. Barnett [send him mail] is president of Barnett Financial Services, Inc., in Lewistown, Montana.

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