Terrorist and Terrorism

When one hears the word terrorist one usually conjures the images of Osama bin Laden or Al-Qaeda Islamic Jihad extremists suicide bombers blowing them selves up and killing many Americans such as at the Twin Towers on 9/11/2001.  By definition

A terrorist is a person who uses violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims. – dictionary definition

The problem with our view of terrorist is that we have been brainwashed by our government and media (news, TV, and film) to think only one dimensionally about this subject.  As a matter of fact Arab Islamic extremest such as the Taliban and Al-Qaeda are not the only ones to employ terrorism.  Looking at this through the eyes of many Arabs the U.S. is the terrorist.  We are bombing and killing Arabs at a far greater rate than they are killing us in order to further our political and economic aims.  The war in Iraq killed more than 4 time the number of Arab civilians as Americans who died in 9/11.  For every American killed since then far more Arabs, mostly innocent civilians men, women, and children, have been killed as a result of U.S. collateral damage.  Thus from the viewpoint of many intimidated and terrorized Arab civilians who fear and hate us for shooting and bombing them we are the terrorist.  They have as much right and perhaps more so to consider us terrorist than we to consider them terrorist in terms of sheer numbers killed.  Al-Qaeda has not attacked us on our soil since 9/11.  But we continue to occupy their soil and hunt them down where they live.

The primary difference between the two forms of terrorism is that the Islamic extremists target both military and civilian targets for terrorist intimidation and the U.S. primarily targets military and political targets.  But in fact innocent civilians meet violent deaths and are intimidated on both sides, especially in the Middle East where by far most of the civilians continue to be killed.  When the U.S. engages in a major attack on a targets it usually estimates the number of civilians casualties there will be as part of the decision-making process.  It is not uncommon that 90% of casualties are non-combatant civilians and 50% is quite common.  So we know ahead of time that civilian casualties will result from our actions, little consolation to the many civilians who become casualties of our weapons.  For them it is no different than if they were the intended targets.

 I think that if we would just take a step back to think about what we are doing and the real consequences of our actions perhaps we will stop our intimidation and terrorism of others.  Our terrorism intimidating our intended targets as well as unintended victims only serves to reinforce more resentment and hatred against us.  They equate the U.S. government with troops, guns, bombs, and violence of the worst kind, not peace, freedom, liberty and stability as we imagine.  Our view of ourselves as their salvation as opposed to their view of us as occupiers and the murderers of their children is the exact opposite of how the overwhelming majority of everyday Arabs likely view us.  We feel they should be grateful to us but they show their disdain for us by electing leaders in Iraq who do not march to the beat of our drum.  In Afghanistan Karzai would like to see U.S. troops leave.  So we are not welcomed.

Put the shoe on the other foot.  What if we were a poor country and some rich Muslim country decided to sent troops onto our soil to try to civilize us and used powerful high-tech weapons to try to root out our Minutemen, who were resisting these foreigners, and in the process killed our mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, relatives, and friends whether as intended or collateral casualties.  How would you feel about such foreign invaders setting foot on our own soil and killing family members?  Would you not consider them terrorists?  After all they are using violent intimidation to impose their form of government and Islam upon us which fits the definition of terrorism to a T.  I would feel extreme insult and hatred towards these foreign invaders, perhaps strong enough to strap on some explosives and blow myself up in their midst if they had killed my family?

No matter who is doing it, terrorism is wrong!  We need to take ownership of our role as terrorist so we can put a stop to it.  Two wrongs do not make a right.  Being the more advanced society we should know better.

Inspiration: Interviewer gets fucked by Noam Chomsk

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