"There are 10^11 stars in the galaxy. That used to be a huge number. But it's only a hundred billion. It's less than the national deficit! We used to call them astronomical numbers. Now we should call them economical numbers." ~ Richard Feynman
Is It Islamic Fundamentalist Terrorism or Something Else?
Oh, GWOT, where have thou gone? From the world-shaking, reality-bending, history altering 'Global War on Terror' that terrified and stupefied, to the demoted and whitewashed 'global struggle against violent extremism,' what has become of you? You were supposed to lead us into sunnier days, full of rose petals and cakewalks. Now, you are no more. These are days full of woe, I say. Wake me when it's over. After all, what grasping for stirring Churchillian metaphors and rhetoric can two war criminals like Furious George W. Bush and the Sinister Minister of Great Britain, Tony Blair, expectorate on a mere 'global struggle'? Maybe that is the key. Leaving aside the absolute failure of their War on Terror, (even their own studies announce that acts of terrorism have quadrupled since it began); there is the growing reality of the commission of numerous war crimes.
Maybe one impetus for this name change is the obvious conclusion that in a 'War on Terror' people who are captured in that war and imprisoned would logically be 'prisoners of war,' not bizarrely named 'enemy combatants' created at the presidential whim. And those who commit crimes during that war would obviously be 'war criminals.'
But a 'global struggle against violent extremism'? That's more like a war on smoking.
But then again, maybe something else is at work here.
Contrary to the concentrated, undiluted evil that constitutes the Bush and Blair regimes and their rhetoric against a supposed 'extremist interpretation of Islam' maybe they are slowly beginning to comprehend that the terrorists are not motivated solely by Islam, although that is a deciding cultural factor, that they are not 'Islamic extremists.' Rather, they appear to me to be extreme Arab nationalists.
The claim that these terrorists hate freedom is too stupid to believe. How stupid, but typical considering the original source of this idea. Yet many believe it. And many continue to believe him. About 40% of Americans, if polls can be believed.
Funny how this wasn't the reason cited by bin Laden for his pre-9/11 attacks around the world. Pre-9/11, bin Laden claimed he was motivated by the U.S. occupation of Arabia, later expanded to the embargo against Iraq and the permanent Palestinian crisis, i.e., U.S. imperialism. Funny how if bin Laden was motivated by hatred of American culture, he never says so.
Did Timothy McVeigh bomb the building in Oklahoma City because he hated America? No, he did it in revenge for the Waco massacre.
If these bombers are motivated by hatred of Western freedoms, then why are terrorist acts increasing when Western liberties are collapsing in the wake of 9/11?
I think focusing on the fact that these people are Muslim will not lead to understanding the root causes, which they repeatedly state yet are ignored by partisans of a renewed imperialism. But let's take a closer look. Are they really bombing countries because they hate the West and fear for the future of Islam?
When the Irish and Polish struggled against foreign imperialism, didn't they expropriate their common religious and cultural traditions to better root themselves in their national identity against the culture and religious traditions of their occupiers and oppressors? Yet were the Irish and Poles 'Catholic Terrorists'?
Count Klaus von Stauffenberg, the would-be assassin of Adolf Hitler, on the morning before he bombed Hitler's conference room, sought and received the blessing of his local Catholic priest, and set out secure in the thought that his religion approved of tyrannicide. Does this make him a 'Catholic assassin'?
A Jewish student named Kannegiesser assassinated Moses Uritzki, the founder of the Tshe-Ka, because he considered him a stain on the holy name of Moses. (Uritski was succeeded by Felix Dzierzyzsky, who formed it into the infamous 'Chekas,' the Soviet secret police). Another Jewish man, Fanya Kaplan, attempted to assassinate Lenin. Were these Jews 'Jewish fanatics'?
I think what we see with the recent round of terrorist bombings by Arab and Muslim men is not Muslim fundamentalism, no matter the claims of Bush and Blair, Robertson, Falwell and Graham, but is rather the expressions of a renewed Arabic nationalism focused against both the corrupt regimes that oppress Arab and Muslim societies, and their chief military backer and supporter, the U.S.A., and its satraps, like the U.K.
All these bombers share a similar trait, including bin Laden and his cohorts, and that is hostility to the current political situation in their countries. And they seek to tap into the likeminded disaffected masses who they believe share their opposition to these regimes.
Muslims prefer their inherited religion and culture, the same as the majority of Americans do. Why is this a shock?
The global war on terror, now a global struggle against violent extremism (interestingly, jihad supposedly means not holy war, but struggle) was proclaimed as an eternal war against an enemy that had as its goal the total erasure of American culture and society. And yet, the only way terrorist organizations have ever succeeded is by becoming an army and conquering territory (like the Chinese Communists and the Mujahideen in Afghanistan), by becoming a mass political movement, (like in French Algeria and other colonies), by trying to kill everyone in power and take over (which is very unlikely to ever succeed) and lastly, by turning to politics and renouncing armed struggle (like the IRA has done).
The entire premise of the GWOT was and is still based on a false and stupid basis: that a band of fanatics are trying to conquer the United States to install an Islamic regime. Al'Qaeda will never conquer the U.S. or abolish the liberties of Americans. But the fear that Americans have allowed the Bush administration to stoke have allowed a feeble band of neo-fascists to conquer America and erase American liberties in the guise of protection and freedom. And now, as the Bush regime's poll numbers plumb the depths of ever deeper craters of public opinion, we are entering a more dangerous period. As his poll numbers decline, Bush will no doubt look for a return to the conditions that produced his highest approval ratings: by invading some other country and inviting the public to rally around him. When politicians see their glory receding, their instinct is to kill.