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America — a terrorist state Featured

MY grandson Maximillian has been fascinated of late by wars and history. When not absorbed in “Mine Craft,” the internet video game that has occupied the waking hours of his peers (he is seven years old), questions about his country’s wars intrigue him. He has never been ambiguous about his identity. Despite his 50-percent Filipino blood, New Yorker by birth but now a (temporary) resident of Manila — he clings to his stateside ways, his accent (doesn’t speak Tagalog), his demeanor and his fierce sense of individualism. Just like most Americans. I also have another grandson, Javier, who may not speak the local dialect, asserts his Filipino pedigree, but is learning to speak Chinese — as the Philippines, I believe, will someday be a province of China.

Max’s queries are roused by documentaries on Cable TV and Netflix — which I welcome, rather than that he be engrossed in “Paw Patrol” or spend hours video-gaming. These are about wars and conflicts his country has been involved in; which gave me a reason to research on the topics. And the data is appalling. I will not tell Max these facts, just yet; he will learn about these in his own good time.

9/11 — New York
The dastardly act of pure terrorism perpetrated by Al Qaida in the 9/11 Twin Towers attack introduced into the world’s stage a new instrument of public display of atrocity and unmitigated horror that was meant to inflict numbing fear never before seen since perhaps the era of the Spanish Inquisition of 1478. The perverted nature of the deed left a great nation bewildered and shocked into an understandable demand for collective revenge — something really out of character of a civilized people, but totally within the purview of its equally traumatized leadership. Thus, President “Dubya” Bush may have been left with no choice as he discerned the desire of a wounded people and embarked on a war of retribution. His righteous indignation reflecting the people’s anger was justified, but his subsequent methods, faulty.

The attacks that day resulted in 3,000 fatalities; it forever distorted the perception of any country’s safety and security, amidst threats from a band of fanatics capable of elevating such conflicts to another level. And the panic that ensued that day awakened the dormant and unspoken fear and pent-up biases brought about by ignorance of cultural and religious nuances. It was convenient for Bush and the American political-military clique to lay the blame on countries in the Middle East and easier still to sell to the American people that it was Islam, and no dichotomy was countenanced between the greater majority of the peaceful Muslims and extremists. What was being peddled was that al-Qaida, with predominantly Islamic adherents out to sow terror, were the perpetrators using Afghanistan as their base under the protection of the Taliban. Despite the fact that the majority of the 9/11 terrorists were from Saudi Arabia, an ally of America, whose despotic princes are personal family friends of the Bush political dynasty, that country was spared.

War on terror
Bush, the 43rd US President, barely needed a pretext to exact revenge. Aside from Afghanistan’s Taliban, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein was a convenient villain; and perhaps to finish what Bush the 41st US President left undone during the “Desert Storm.“ Quickly hammering out the “coalition of the willing,” the US-led multi-national forces invaded Afghanistan and Iraq. Thus, a reprise of what was once a similar blight on medieval Christian Europe — a modern-day Crusade appeared to bring about the downfall of not only a regime, and the Muslims themselves were convinced, justifiable or not, that it was a war with religious undertones. A clash of civilizations. America had to hype the danger of Iraq possessing nuclear weapons (a hoax we now know). A regime change was set in motion. With the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq, America has surrendered the moral high ground.

But let us briefly examine the consequences of 9/11 that killed 3,000 Americans and other nationalities. President Trump admitted that the US has spent almost $7 trillion since. But American leadership never admitted that the death toll within that period was approximately 500,000 to 800,000 souls.

More deadly, the Global War on Terror, the linchpin of Dubya Bush’s foreign policy initiatives of retribution, produced a convoluted mindset in conflict resolution which subsequent American presidents have continued to apply with disastrous results.

Extraordinary rendition
To skirt US laws, suspects are snatched and brought to secret facilities, carried out by the US government as an extrajudicial practice, to be interrogated and tortured. The sites of these interrogations are in third-party countries, not in American soil. This preserves the fiction of American justice and adherence to the rule of law. Some successes resulted in the eventual capture and killing of Osama Bin Ladin — the mastermind of 9/11 and founder of al-Qaida. In all these cases, the much-revered moral concept of the the end justifying the means is reduced to mere petty verbiage.

Global assassination campaign
As an offshoot of these protracted wars and the desire to eliminate the ghost-like leadership of al-Qaida, IS and the insurgency that mushroomed in their aftermath, the use of advanced and sophisticated drone technologies was promoted. “The worst terrorist campaign in the world right now by far is the one that is being orchestrated in Washington — the global assassination campaign,” says Noam Chomsky, the eminent US theoretical linguist, philosopher, social critic and political activist. This has permitted the murder of America’s enemies, sanctioned by government, into an impersonal endeavor, detaching the act of killing and all the moral baggage it carries with it into simple acts of technicalities.

Drone strikes are deadly as the unmanned combat aerial vehicles are employed even in heavily populated civilian areas among whom the terrorist leadership purposely hide. The drone operators are safely snuggled with their video consoles perhaps a thousand kilometers from the targets, thus lessening the number of American lives lost. On the other hand, the collateral damage produced by this type of warfare is substantial. The United Nations Human Rights Council has declared that such strikes may have violated international humanitarian laws as civilian casualties are immensely disproportional to the targeted terrorist lives. According to the same study “…during one five-month period of the operation… nearly 90 percent of the people killed in airstrikes were not the intended targets.”

Brown University’s Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs reports that more than 801,000 people have died as a direct result of the fighting, 335,000 of whom have been civilians. The US is currently conducting counter-terror activities in 76 countries, or about 39 percent of the world’s nations vastly expanding its mission across the globe.

The US Code of Federal Regulations defines terrorism as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.”

It seems to me that after 9/11, American leadership has inexorably plunged the country into state terrorism. Chomsky may have been right after all when he proclaimed that “the United States is the world’s biggest terrorist.”000
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