Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Homegrown Terrorism

Main Entry: ter·ror·ismPronunciation: 'ter-&r-"i-z&mFunction: nounDate: 1795: the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion

The word terrorism first came into use during the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror. Although acts of terrorism had been around since the dawn of history, in 1795 a name was put to it. It has most definitely become a part of our 21st Century vocabulary. Not a day goes by when we do not hear the words terrorist or terrorism.

Terrorism was brought home to us again this week when, this time, London became the target of this insane brutality. Apparently the terrorists have taken Mr. Bush at his word when he dared them to "bring it on". And bring it on they surely have. From the Bali nightclub bombing, to Madrid's trains now to London's "tube" and buses, the marginalized, the religious fanatics and simply those who feel that, perhaps in death, they will have the attention they never received in life, have visited upon us a seemingly never ending campaign of seek and destroy.

As I said above, this is not new behavior, and as long as men inhabit this planet it will never stop. No matter how many "wars" we fight against it, it will never go away. This is not a fatalistic outlook, just a plain truth. At the expense of so many American and Iraqi lives, I think we can safely say the war is a losing proposition. If anything, terrorist behavior has been fueled by OUR terrorist behaviors. You cannot wage a war against a "thing", which is what terrorism is.

War is by it's very nature terroristic. Us against them...whoever "us" might be and whoever "them" might be. Each side takes it's turn doing the most horrid and inhumane things they can think of to thwart the enemy. Amazing though how we can have the mind set that what WE do is ok and what the other fellow does is terrorism.. Do those "foreigners" have a corner on the market of terrorism? Most decidedly not. We have had many acts of homegrown terrorism here, but we never used the word terrorist or terrorism. We save the term for the "foreigners". It is what has been programmed into our national psyche. After all they are beneath us, aren't they? They live in a dusty, dirty land. They are darker than we. They are not Christians! How many of you know that Iraq is the land where the Garden of Eden was located?

Well, let us take a real look at terrorism and terrorist acts then. One thing you might like to remember while you look over this list is one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. I think you will see that when you read the following list. Some actually predate the use of the term terrorist, but they were nonetheless acts of terrorism against the local populace. Obviously it would take reams of paper to list then all so I have attempted to list those that sprang to mind and that I felt you would be the most familiar with.

All of these people or groups used acts of terror as a means to an end, and most certainly terrifying to those who were targeted. Coercion at it's height.

*King Herod and the slaying of the Jewish male babies.
*Rome...throwing Christians to lions
*The Spanish Inquisition
*The Boston Tea Party
*Quartering of troops in private homes
*The Salem Witch Trials
*Sherman's March to the Sea
*Hitler's SS against the Jews, Gypsies, Intellectuals, Homosexuals, etc.
*The KKK
*The IRA
*The Bombing of Hiroshima & Nagasaki
*Church bombing in Birmingham, AL.
*Use of fire hoses & dogs against blacks
*Never ending music played at high volume...Manuel Noreiga, David Koresh/Waco
*Any genocide...native Americans,Australian Aborigines, Cambodians, various African peoples
*Ruby Ridge
*Bombings of Abortion Clinics and the murder of abortion Dr.s
*Oklahoma City...Timothy McVeigh
*1st WTC bombing
*Abu Ghraib
*Guantanamo Bay

The most insidious form of terrorism, however, is that used by a government to create an atmosphere of fear among it's countrymen. Hitler did it to great effect in Germany and it is being used here now among us. We are told to be afraid, be very afraid. Those terrorists are out to get us. We have to take the war to THEM or THEY will be here over running our streets, murdering us in our beds and trying to convert us all to Islam. What poppycock, but a great many of us buy right into it. I think there is no doubt that we are cautious about what can, and just might very well, happen. But to live our lives in this heightened atmosphere of fear is ridiculous. What exactly do you do when the "terror alert" color changes?

You cannot say that the British were better equipped to handle it when it hit London. But they have lived with IRA terrorism for years and know quite well that it can strike at any moment and in any place. That, however, never prevented them from "carrying on". After all, who among us ever knows what fate will befall us, or when. And, maybe I am wrong, but I do not ever remember a Prime Minister threatening to bomb all of Northern Ireland in retaliation.

I do know this. That since we went into another sovereign country, and which has been shown, time and time again, to have had NOTHING to do with the 9/11 WTC attack, one that was contained under UN sanctions, one that had not even a pea shooter's worth of chemical or biological WMD's, we have put ourselves...our greater risk. We have created a breeding ground for terrorists. We have devastated a country, and despite all the billions of dollars earmarked for the rebuilding of Iraq's infrastructure, nothing has been accomplished. We have punished an entire people for the acts of a few, and those few not even Iraqi but Saudis!

This is not, as the rightwing would have you believe, simply a "bleeding heart, blame American first, Liberal belief. It is a truth about taking responsibility for the actions of our country. Perhaps liberals have more of an ability to understand that it is the result of our actions which has brought these things down on our heads? We are an arrogant group, we Americans. Never letting the rest of the world forget that it was we who saved the collective butt of Europe, forgetting ourselves that we were not the only nation on the beaches of Normandy. It is this arrogance, this Manifest Destiny syndrome we suffer from that has made some groups wish to wipe the smile of superiority off our faces.

When an individual, or a group, feel so disenfranchised, and normal courses of action seem closed to them, they will take whatever measures they can see that will get attention. Whether it be throwing tea into Boston Harbor or flying an airplane into the WTC, acts of terrorism will surely make others sit up and pay attention. The chance you take, however, that you may not always get the sort of attention you wish. Exactly what did the Iraqis do that brought this living hell down upon them? Nothing. One of the greatest acts of terrorism in the past 3 years has been the lie that was told, by our own government, one which we chose to believe.

I like to leave you today with an invitation to take the time to view the video that you can access here...
then tell me that we are, in no way, responsible for this current, sorry state of affairs. Tell me how our government has not made anyone and everyone a scapegoat for this lack of responsibility taking on their part. The lies of this administration have been a systematic campaign of terrorism. Think back about the rhetoric ... WMD's, mushroom clouds, Saddam Hussein as evil incarnate. Folks, we have been had.

Yes, we are being terrorized, but it is homegrown.