Lessons Unlearned: Boston Marathon BombingsApril 30, 2013
Americans still are not paying attention. The last three major terrorist attacks on U.S. soil have one thing in common: they were all inspired by the U.S. policy of mass-murder in foreign countries.
The Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 was carried out by Timothy McVeigh. He was an Iraq War veteran who was absolutely disgusted by the mass killings of innocent people in Iraq. He witnessed atrocities while serving in the military in Iraq and found it unconscionable that Bill Clinton’s almost daily bombing of Iraq and his murderous policy of sanctions against that country was killing many thousands of people a year. McVeigh stated very publicly that American foreign policy was what caused him to commit his insane act. The last straw for him was when he saw the atrocities routinely carried overseas by the American government had come home and the guns of the government were turned against its own people in Waco, Texas.
The attacks of September 11, 2001 were a direct response to American foreign policy in Iraq and the killing and dehumanizing of the Palestinian people at the hands of the Israeli government which is continually armed, politically and financially supported by the United States. Osama Bin Laden articulated quite forcefully that his war against America was a direct response to the non-stop killing in Muslim countries. The general American political assessment of the terrorist attacks on September 11th was the absurd notion that ‘they hate us because of our freedom’. Absurd, yes, but not entirely wrong. It seems that ‘they’ hate us for our freedom to go around the world and kill Muslims with impunity. This policy has continued right up to this day. Covert murderous policies are being carried out in Syria. The war in Afghanistan continues and drone strikes continue to kill innocent men, women and children in Pakistan and Yemen.
Now we have the Boston Marathon bombings. It should come as no surprise that the Tsarnaev brothers were motivated by the ongoing atrocities carried out in Muslim countries by the United States military. In a world where ordinary citizens are completely powerless to stop the horrors of war and state murder, some people resort to desperate and insane acts to address their grievances. Americans should not be surprised to find out that these brothers are considered heroes to some people in foreign countries who have tragically lost loved ones in ultra-violent acts of the U.S. government.
Terrorist acts are not acts of war in the conventional sense. They are raids conducted upon the studios of reality, as Don Delillo pointed out in his book Mao II. They are an attempt to get people to wake up to the realities that most people ignore. But when you live in a country that is under attack by the U.S. military or its proxies, reality is not something that can be ignored. It is a very painful reality to watch your people murdered and your country destroyed. Terrorists act out of desperation and hope to inflict unspeakable pain upon the people who inflicted unspeakable pain upon their people. They hope that the terrorist act wakes people up and puts a stop to the policies of violence and terror. Terrorists do not hate freedom. Many terrorists consider themselves, and are considered by others to be freedom fighters. George W. Bush is one such terrorist who considered himself a freedom fighter. Unfortunately, terrorist attacks do not solve the problem of violence, they usually serve to continue or intensify the cycle of violence.
The word ‘terrorist’ originated in France in the 18th century. The word was used to describe the horrific acts of murder committed by the French government against its own people. Somehow over time this word has the opposite meaning. People now fighting against governments are considered terrorists. In the western world the idea of state terror has been removed from conventional political discourse.
Another reality too uncomfortable for most people’s contemplation is that terrorist tactics have actually been successful in many cases throughout history. The Algerian people used acts of terror to drive the French out of their country. Iraqis utilized acts of terrorism to drive the American military out of their country. The Israelis invented the car bomb to destroy the Palestinian government and take over most of their land. The IRA forced the British government to the negotiating table by using bombs to blow up buildings in London and have since regained sovereignty over most of their homeland. The indigenous people in Mexico, who are the vast majority of the population, were considered absolutely irrelevant and were virtually invisible in political discourse until the Zapatistas exploded onto the scene in San Cristobal de la Casas in southern Mexico on January 1, 1994. And perhaps the most uncomfortable reality that Americans choose to ignore is that Osama Bin Laden publicly stated that his objective was to draw the Americans into a full-scale conflict in the Middle East in order to destroy the American military and severely weaken its economy. After two lost wars and trillions of dollars drained into the blood-soaked sands of the Middle East we can see that he was, unfortunately, successful in his endeavor.
One important reason that many Americans put Obama into power is that they wanted to put a stop to the insane cycle of violence that further endangered the American homeland and its military abroad. Obama was unjustly awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for what the world was hoping he would do with his power as president of the United States. He has proved to be a grave disappointment. He has dishonored the antiwar dream and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He is responsible for murdering innocent people in multiple Muslim countries. He is responsible for keeping open the most notorious torture center on the planet in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He is now threatening to use military force in Syria. His government is already supporting death squads in Syria. The U.S. is also funding death squads in Honduras, which has now become the most dangerous place on earth.
Americans need to wake up to the realities that they choose to manipulate or edit out of their everyday consciousness. All of us want to live in a world without terror and violence. We need to demand sane policies that address the grievances that drive people insane enough to commit terrorist acts on our soil. Unfortunately, until the vast majority of Americans take seriously enough the causes and conditions that bring terrorism to our shores, our military and homeland will continue to be a target for heinous acts of terror. Obama has not delivered on his promise for real change in American foreign policy. He has merely put a more amiable face on the killing machine.
The Boston Marathon bombings serve as a disgraceful reminder that America has yet to learn that it needs to change the way it relates to other countries and the peoples of the world. It is quite regrettable that the ghosts of Timothy McVeigh and Osama Bin Laden have returned and the most serious of lessons remains unlearned.
Glen Greenwald: The same motive for anti-US ‘terrorism’ is cited over and over
Gore Vidal on Timothy McVeigh: The Meaning of Timothy McVeigh | Vanity Fair
Digital presentation of U.S. drone strikes: drones.pitchinteractive.com
The brilliant film on terrorism by Johan Grimonprez that uses text from Don Delillo’s Mao II: