|America: a Beacon, not a Policeman||
U.S. Policies Cause Foreign Terrorism
|Americans Against World Empire Homepage
Published inThe Orlando Sentinel, August 18, 1998
Contrary to the rhetoric of the Clinton administration and the Beltway Babblers, terrorism is not a criminal act in the ordinary sense. Terrorism is a political act, a response to U.S. foreign policy. It is an act of war waged by people too weak to have a conventional army or one large enough to take on the United States. Therefore, capturing an individual terrorist does not even address the problem. People who execute terrorist actions are expendable, replaceable soldiers. Catch one, kill one, and two will take his place.
Because the terrorism is political, so, too, is the solution. One ends terrorism by ending the policies that create it.
Yes, I know, many Americans believe that we and our government are so good, so beneficent, so kind, so idealistic that it is an absolute mystery why anyone in the world would dislike us, much less hate us enough to kill.
The Clinton administration perpetuates this wrong evaluation of reality by implying that terrorists are evil and mad, like some demons, who, for no rational reason, strike out at the innocent. They like to say, as if they were heroic defenders en route to liberate France, ``We will not be deterred.'' Notice, however, that they never say what we will not be deterred from doing.
Maintaining cruel sanctions on Iraq that already have cost half a million innocent lives? Those sanctions alone are enough to spawn terrorism for the next 40 years. The sanctions are unjust, injuring and killing people who are innocent of any wrong doing. They are stupid, because they only strengthen Saddam Hussein's government. The sanctions have enraged not only Iraqis but also Arabs throughout the Middle East who are sick of the U.S. double standards, lies and hypocrisy.
For example, the United Nations nuclear inspectors recently gave Iraq a clean bill of health, certifying they have no nuclear weapons and no physical plants to produce them. They recommended closing the book on the nuclear issue. The United States said, ``No.'' So many U.S. officials have said publicly that the United States will not agree to lift the sanctions no matter what Iraq does that I don't know why they even maintain the pretense of looking for weapons.
Actual U.S. foreign policy is far from idealistic. We arbitrarily sided with former Nazi allies in the Balkan civil war and bombed Serbs who fought with us in two wars. We slapped sanctions on Sudan allegedly because someone in Washington doesn't like its internal human-rights policies that, you can be sure, are far more humane than China's or those of some of the African dictators we so ardently supported. I suspect the real reason is the current government won't cut a deal on the oil discovered in Sudan many years ago.
Why do Iranians hate Americans? We overthrew their government in the 1950s and installed a dictator whom we backed for decades while he executed and tortured his opponents. Why does anyone expect the survivors of a U.S.-imposed tyrant to like the United States?
The one-sided support of Israel, even when Israel is clearly an aggressor or an abuser of human rights, creates enemies. When your wife and children are killed with U.S. weapons wielded by a government backed by the United States and protected from U.N. sanctions by the United States, it doesn't sit too well.
What I hope people will get from this column is this: Foreign policy does affect your life. It can get you or your children killed. It can make it unsafe for you to travel. Don't tell the parents of those Americans who died on Pan Am Flight 103 that foreign policy has no effect on Americans.
A U.S. government that actually lived up to our ideals and treated people justly would eliminate terrorism. All the security measures and macho rhetoric in the world can't and won't eliminate it.
Nothing to Do with Weapons, Everything to do With Oil
By Charley Reese
of The Sentinel Staff
Published in The Orlando Sentinel, November 9, 1997
It's about the price of oil. It's not about terrorism or weapons of mass destruction.
The Iraqis are right. The United States and Great Britain have unjustly prolonged the embargo against Iraq, which has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of children and the elderly. United Nations officials and humanitarian organizations say that, not just the Iraqis.
The power structures in both countries have large economic interests in Kuwait and in other places where there is oil. Iraq has more known oil reserves than any other country in the world except Saudi Arabia. Some oilmen even think that Iraq's reserves are bigger than those of the Saudis. If Iraq's oil is allowed to come back on the world's markets, the price of oil will go down. That's what it's all about.
Hans Blix, director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which for six years has been
overseeing and inspecting the destruction of Iraq's nuclear capability, has stated publicly that the IAEA is ``sure Iraq has no remaining infrastructure for nuclear weapons production.''
But, Blix said, he can't certify that, because the United States and Great Britain disagree with other U.N. Security Council members on the definition of ``capability.'' Presumably, the U.S. position is that Iraq should execute all its engineers and scientists and destroy all its computers. That's all that's left of Iraq's nuclear program, according to Blix.
Use common sense. Iraq is a small country. Do you think that on-the-ground inspectors working for six years could not find a large store of weapons if such existed? Do you really think that the Iraqi government doesn't want the embargo lifted? The U.N. resolution doesn't authorize prying into every aspect of Iraq's military -- only into its weapons of mass destruction.
The United States and Great Britain have just employed the Orwellian technique of double-speak to keep the sanctions on Iraq. They keep demanding that the inspectors prove a negative, which is impossible. Can I swear to you that Martians don't exist? No. I can only tell you that I can't find any evidence that they do.
The legitimate question is: Is Iraq a threat? If the United States did not consider it a threat before the Gulf War, with its war machine intact, why does it now consider it a threat with its infrastructure destroyed, its people ill and hungry, its middle class destroyed, its weapons capability destroyed and continuously monitored?
No, it's oil. That's probably what's behind President Clinton's latest foreign-policy fiasco, slapping sanctions on Sudan. There is oil in Sudan, but apparently the current government will not honor the deal made with an American oil company by the previous government.
This is really interesting. The previous government was run by a dictator. It was engaged in the same civil war the current government is engaged in. The previous dictator was said by human-rights organizations to be about as bad a chap can be. But there was one difference.
The U.S. government loved the previous dictator. They didn't think that his conduct of the civil war warranted sanctions. In fact, the United States would rush warplanes to the area any time someone looked cross-eyed at its favorite dictator. When its favorite dictator was in power, a friend of mine lived in the country and reported that Standard Oil of California had found what appeared to be large oil deposits. This was later acknowledged by the company.
But after he was deposed, the United States began to say Sudan was a terrorist state and that its conduct of the civil war was terrible. Funny, the United States had never previously shown much interest in the human rights of Sudanese (as it now shows no interest in the human rights of Chinese and Tibetans, not to mention Palestinians).
Posted 11/08/97 (c) 1997 Orlando Sentinel Online http://www.orlandosentinel.com/opinion