Confronting and Dismantling the Federal Killing Machine

In my blog post yesterday, I wrote that a necessary prerequisite to ending the massive violence that afflicts American society is dismantling the federal killing machine. By wreaking death, injury, suffering, and destruction on millions of people in foreign lands for the past several decades, the Pentagon and the CIA have triggered something inside off-kilter people here at home that has caused them to copy the federal killing sprees in foreign lands.

But in order to reach the point of bringing an end to what Martin Luther King called “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world,” it is first necessary for Americans to recognize that the federal government is, in fact, the greatest purveyor of violence in the world. The problem is that all too many Americans, especially liberals and conservatives, are loathe to even acknowledge the existence of this killing machine, much less call for its dismantling. 

A good example of this phenomenon is an article that appeared in yesterday’s New York Times.  The article is entitled “Timothy McVeigh’s Dreams Are Coming True” by Michelle Goldberg, a Times opinion columnist. In her article, Goldberg states that McVeigh’s beliefs in extreme rightwing ideology are growing in popularity and are usually behind ideologically driven mass killings here in the United States. Not surprisingly, Goldberg uses her article to make the standard call for gun control.

What is so fascinating — and so revealing — about Goldberg’s piece is the absence of three words: Ruby Ridge and Waco. How in the world can anyone write about Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma bombing without mentioning Ruby Ridge and Waco? Answer: Someone who is loathe to confront America’s killing machine, the machine that King correctly termed “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world.”

It was the federal massacres at Ruby Ridge and Waco that motivated McVeigh to commit the Oklahoma City bombing. In other words, if the feds had not attacked Randy Weaver and killed his wife Vickie at Ruby Ridge and if they had not gassed and incinerated those people at Waco, McVeigh would never have committed the Oklahoma City bombing. McVeigh always made it clear that he was retaliating for the federal massacres at Ruby Ridge and Waco.

McVeigh was tried for murder, condemned as a ruthless killer, and sentenced to death. Yet, the federal agents who killed Vickie Weaver and the Branch Davidians were praised as great Americans who were doing their patriotic duty when they engaged in their killing sprees.

In her article, Goldberg says that American rightwing groups hail the tyrannical rightwing regime of Chilean General Augusto Pinochet. Once again, what is fascinating and revealing is what she leaves out of her analysis — that it was the U.S. government that inspired and supported the military coup that violently ousted the democratically elected president of the country and then ardently supported Pinochet when his goons rounded up 60,000 innocent people, tortured and raped them, and killed or disappeared 3,000 of them.

This phenomenon was no different with the mainstream media’s response to the 9/11 attacks. Immediately after those attacks, U.S. officials declared that the terrorists hated America for its “freedom and values.” It was a position that the U.S. mainstream press quickly and wholeheartedly embraced. 

But there was one big problem with that position: It was a lie. In fact, the terrorists had struck because they hated the federal killing machine, a machine that had contributed to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children from U.S. sanctions on Iraq. Everyone condemned the terrorists — and rightly so, given that they had killed innocent people as a way to achieve a political goal — but one would be hard-pressed to find any commentary in the mainstream press criticizing the federal killing machine’s sanctions-related murder of those Iraqi children.

The same holds true for U.S. Ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright’s infamous statement that the deaths of half-a-million Iraqi children from the sanctions were “worth it.” By “it” Albright meant regime change, which was nothing more than a political goal that the sanctions-related murder of those Iraqi children were intended to achieve.

After a foreign terrorist shot several CIA personnel in their cars while they were driving into CIA headquarters in McLean, Virginia, in 1993, he was captured, brought to trial, and convicted. At his sentencing hearing, he pointed out that he was retaliating for the death and destruction that the CIA and the Pentagon had been wreaking in the Middle East. He was condemned for being a ruthless killer, but there was no criticism of the federal killing machine that had motivated him to act. Criticizing the greatest purveyor of violence in the world was considered to be unpatriotic. But the fact remains: If the killing machine had not been killing those foreigners, that terrorist attack on those CIA people would never have occurred.

The same year, 1993, terrorists struck the World Trade Center. When one of them was brought to trial, he too angrily cited the death and destruction that the federal killing machine had been wreaking in the Middle East as the motivating factor in the WTC attack. He too was condemned as a ruthless killer but there wasn’t a peep of protest issued against the federal killing machine that had motivated him to act. Again, it’s worth pointing out that if the federal killing machine had not been killing those foreigners, that retaliatory strike on the WTC would never have occurred.

The big problem we face in this country is the fact that all too many people are loathe to confront the federal killing machine, much less bring it to an end. That’s because they consider the Pentagon and the CIA to be a patriotic god, one whose massive killings, they believe, keep us “safe.” But if we really want to bring an end to the massive violence that afflicts our society, it is necessary to confront what Martin Luther King called “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world,” acknowledge its evil nature, dismantle it, and restore our founding governmental system of a limited-government republic.

Reprinted with permission from The Future of Freedom Foundation.

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