The illegal invasions, occupations, and epic failures of Afghanistan and Iraq are tragic testimonies of U.S. disregard for Muslim lands. The obliteration of Libya, Yemen, Somalia, and Syria have fed the war machine as well. The United Nations General Assembly condemned the United States decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. 128 countries voted no, understanding and upholding international law. The United States last Tuesday (1/16/18) decided to punish Palestinians even more. $60 million in aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestine Refugees was abruptly cut. Our reaction to 9/11 gave birth to an unquenchable violence that still shows no sign of letting up.
The U.N. Security Council was clear on Jerusalem when it passed the resolution 478 in 1980, confirming resolution 476 (1980), stating: “Reaffirming again that the acquisition of territory by force is inadmissible.” There is no argument Israel secured Jerusalem by force and violence. The U.S. vote on Jerusalem gave further support and complicity in Israel’s continued ethnic cleansing and military occupation over Palestine.
Decisions made by our elected officials and the Pentagon in reaction to 9/11 have been one catastrophic failure after another. These U.S. policies and strategies have created a combination of irrational fear of Muslims and Islam. They also help generate support for never ending and unfocused military action fighting ISIS. These policies and strategies have also created blowback.
We may want to consider that invading, occupying, destabilizing, murdering innocent babies and children of a country may produce people who want to retaliate. If we take the time to be self-analytical, we would see “why they hate us.” It’s not our freedom and cheeseburgers.
President Trump’s Muslim ban and the pathological dropping of the Mother Of All Bombs (GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast) he ordered on Afghanistan last April 13th. The most powerful non-nuclear weapon ever dropped on a country: for all of the MOAB’s celebrated firepower, our Afghanistan debacle continues.
Trump’s conduct is not much different than his predecessors in the White House. What separates Trump is that he is unpolished, crude, and beyond ignorant. Since 9/11 the U.S. has by direct or indirect military action destabilized the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa. But the brutalization of Muslims is without question bipartisan.
The argument Obama being handed a mess by President George W. Bush is correct. Bush’s administration used the tragedy of 9/11 to terrorize Afghanistan and Iraq as well as to jumpstart a state of war this country see’s no end in sight. Much of the policies under Bush’s administration qualified as war crimes.
But Obama’s adoption of such extremist programs as the drone assassination program and the dropping of 26,171 bombs in 2016 is part of the Nobel Peace Prize winner’s legacy, not George W. Bush’s. And for all the chatter of President Obama not being a big fan of President Netanyahu seemed incidental. Consider Obama handed over $38 billion to Israel over ten years in military aid. Keep in mind Israel’s primary “defense” consists of occupying and colonizing Palestine.
These demented policies are not just limited to our Presidents since 9/11 to the present. The Republicans and Democrats in the Senate and Congress have one true bipartisan issue- war and the military. President Trump’s $696.5 billion Department of Defense Bill passed last year with 60% Democratic support in Congress. 89% of Democrats in the Senate supported it. Our glorious Illinois Senators Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin voted yes.
According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) between September 12, 2001 through November 31, 2016 far-right violent extremist attacks were carried out 62 times. Radical Islamist violence accounted for 23 attacks. In other words, far-right extremist attacks outnumber Islamist attacks by over 2 1/2 times. The Combatting Terrorism Center at West Point agrees, as does The Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security. It states “Law enforcement agencies in the United States consider anti-government violent extremists, not radicalized Muslims, to be the most severe threat of physical violence that they face.”
Why is there virtually no mention of this in the mainstream media? Why are Muslim “terrorists” never depicted as mentally ill but far-right extremists overwhelmingly are? Why are Muslims portrayed as being pre-disposed to violence? Why is Palestine seen as a military threat to Israel’s existence when Palestine has no army-air force-artillery units like Israel does? Those in the media that push anti-Muslim and Islamaphobic propaganda play a big role in answering these questions.
A prime example is Bill Maher on his HBO show Real Time. Maher’s somewhat contentious debate with The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald exposed Maher’s anti-Islamic bigotry and extremist viewpoints. The clip is insightful with MSNBC’s Joy Reid giggling along with every Maher sentence. In the discussion, Maher claims religion is the contributor to Islamic violence and that Muslims are apparently predisposed to violence.
Neither Reid or Maher refused to recognize their own countries undeniable contribution to militarism and violence in the world. Last year anti- Islam extremist Maajid Nawar’s appearance on Real Time gave Maher an opportunity to donate, as well as grovel over, the Islamaphobe extremist.
The amount of negative news towards Muslims is another example. Media Matters found in a 2007-2013 case study that U.S. news portrayals of Muslims were negative. 80% of U.S. news reports were negative. Witness how U.S. television and print media coverage of 16-year-old Palestinian Ahid Tamimi who slapped an Israeli soldier (12/14/17) while hiding Israeli’s history of violence and occupation. An hour earlier her 14-year-old cousin Mohammad was shot in the face point blank by an Israeli soldier.
The fall of the towers [on 9/11] was symbolic as well as actual. We are bringing ourselves down by a willful blindness that is astonishing.
Fr. Daniel Berrigan
Our elected officials and the Pentagon have been responsible for nearly two decades worth of military failure in the Muslim world since 9/11. The economic costs and the cost in lives are staggering. We have entered a catatonic state when it comes to addressing and challenging Washington on these wars and economic sanctions we impose. Flag waving and buzz phrases”I support the troops/Thank you for your service” act as narcotics: numbing the pain from the horror we have helped create. We do this at our peril as we become more isolated and more hated.