Friday, December 24, 2004

The Phony War on Terror, Part 2

Terrorists are the new Communists. For about 50 years US Administrations, Democrat and Republican, held the threat of Communist world domination over the heads of Americans as a way of frightening us into submission and acquiescence with all of their harebrained military adventures from Korea to Vietnam, to Nicaragua, and as a justification for regressive domestic policies that would control protest and maintain a submissive population. All this because those in power have always had a private agenda to play out that served only themselves and their corporate sponsors. Their exaggeration and exploitation of the Communist threat served as a cover for their efforts to expand US military and corporate economic domination around the world. They have been incredibly successful. Ironic that while they perpetuated the notion that Communist world domination was a serious threat, they were actually scheming and working their own form of domination. Among magicians the technique is called "misdirection". I get you to look at my left hand while my right hand is quickly tucking the silver dollar out of sight. Undetectable to many when done by a skilled practitioner.

Then came the fall of the Berlin Wall, followed by the historic (and devastating to the people) collapse of the Soviet Union. In an instant the bogeyman Communist threat evaporated and along with it a secondary fear bludgeon, the threat of nuclear war. As the world's sole superpower, the US now had no serious challenger. While publicly cheering and taking credit, the powers that be secretly lamented the loss of their fear leverage. What would they do now to prevent their control over the masses from slipping away? But not to worry. Some astute reactionary got the idea to latch onto terrorist acts as the great new fear. Not that terrorism itself was new to the US, we have known it since the birth throes of the war of independence. Later, the US Cavalry, as well as civilians, terrorized Native American populations as the country expanded westward. In more recent times we have seen white racist terrorism in the South, black terrorism, revolutionary left terrorism, Puerto Rican terrorism, Jewish Defence League terrorism, Cuban emigre terrorism, anti-abortion terrorism and the terrorism of ultra-right, survivalist and anti-government groups. No, terrorism had been going on here but only became a subject of interest to the fearmongers when, having lost the Communist angle they needed a replacement. That need became particularly acute after 9/11 when the Bush Adminstration saw what for them must have been a wonderfully seredipitous opening, the opportunity to roll out a plan to invade Iraq that had been ripening on the agenda of the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) for years. PNAC is a neo-conservative Washington think tank whose principals became key members of the Bush White House, Pentagon and Defense Department. The names Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle will be familiar to most. Part of their strategy to dupe the American public into backing their absurd adventure was the terror fear card, and it worked brilliantly! Even today, after the charges have been totally discredited, a significant percentage of Americans still believe that Iraq was involved in 9/11 and had a working relationship with Al Qaeda.

The strategy worked so well that now all things that the US Administration doesn't like and wants us to hate too are conveniently labeled "terrorist". They have even reprised the old nuclear threat bludgeon, suggesting the real possibility that Al Qaeda might be capable of putting a nuke in a suitcase and detonating it in one of our cities. Communist revolutionaries in South America and liberation fighters around the world are suddenly renamed terrorists in the belief that this term arouses more fear and antagonism in us than the emasculated "leftist" or "Communist". The very Iraqis who are defending their country against an unprovoked American invasion are called terrorists by this Administration and the news media here when in fact, they are simply Iraqi people (some might call them "freedom fighters") trying to repel a powerful occupying force. So the label "terrorist" as used by Bush and Co. doesn't really mean terrorist. It is code for any group that they consider the enemy and even some who simply disagree with them. In a cynical effort to gain our support for it's radical and wrongheaded policies this Administration attempts to manipulate us through fear and false patriotism, boldfaced lies and other deception. They want us to see terrorists everywhere just as former Administrations wanted us to see Communists everywhere, in order to soften us up and have us agree to their plan.