If the lives of 500,000 Iraqi children were worth sacrificing to fulfil American interests according to the former US Secretary of State, Madeline Albright, the same argument can also be applied to the recent incident in Russia from the Chechens point of view, where few hundred children perished. Either both cases are wrong or both are right. If human life has the same value, both cases should generate similar reaction.
Americans may claim that they did not intentionally target the Iraqi children, which is difficult to justify, considering the unprecedented economic sanctions coupled with the routine bombing of civilian installations applied over the last decade and the military tactics deployed in the recent war. Numerous independent reports and eyewitness accounts have confirmed that Iraqi and Afghani children were imprisoned, tortured, raped and sodomised. If this is civilisation, we would prefer to remain uncivilised!
The Chechens can make similar claims like the Americans. Furthermore, also attribute the bloodshed to the Russians for storming the school. Lets not forget, had the Russians not broken the treaty signed by General Lebed coupled with the killing of so many Chechens, including children, over the years, the Chechens would not have resorted to such desperate measures.
This is not an attempt to justify or condone the killing of children, if that was really the case in the first place as the events are still not clear; the Russian government was furious when the EU asked for an explanation. But we do need to remember the hypocrisy that exists in this world. Many of the so-called moderates, neo-cons and the pro-war camps will seize this opportunity to justify the barbaric behaviour of the US forces in Iraq.
As usual, the compliant mass media will waste no time in blaming only the ‘terrorism’ of the ‘terrorists’. Which is highlighted and amplified, only when it aligns with the Western interests, represented primarily by the US, UK and Israel. There are very few people that raise the question as to why the ‘terrorists’ have not attacked other Western countries like Luxemburg, Switzerland, Finland, etc. Perhaps, such countries are appeasing or colluding with the terrorists!
The rightwing orientated newspaper editors and columnists with a disproportionate level of Zionists representation and influence have insidiously transformed the term ‘terrorism’ with Islam and therefore, the perpetrators (terrorists) are Muslims. It seems that ‘terrorism’ have been even given a date of birth i.e. 9/11.
Since, the term ‘terrorism’ is used by the various nation states of the West, therefore, it is not a coincidence that it is exclusively identified with the actions of non-State actors. Hence, State-terrorism is never a key feature of any discourse on the subject. The use of organised violence by states, delivering much larger quantity of terror to attain political objectives carries descriptions like war but never terrorism.
This is why we see the disparity; terrorism is automatically attributed to the killing of any Westerner but not the murder of civilians en masse in Iraq, Palestine and Afghanistan. This even included the torture and execution of prisoners including women and children. We saw pictures from Mazar-e-Sherif; prisoners shot with hands tied behind their backs and more recently the horrifying pictures from Abu-Ghraib, which only gave us a small glimpse of the horror perpetrated in the name of freedom and democracy. Perhaps many will see the irony of the phrase “war on terror” coined by the US, which effectively translates into: “war of terror”.
The West in fact has a long history of executing prisoners including innocent civilians. Richard the Lionheart executed the Muslim captives during the crusades but the ‘terrorist’ of the time, Salahuddin and his men never repaid this debt in a similar manner after they had recaptured Jerusalem! Henry V did the same before the battle in Agincourt, as did Napoleon in Egypt and Acre. Such actions are the pinnacle of cowardice and terms like ‘terrorism’ is inadequate to describe such behaviour. Not surprisingly there are no terms to describe such gratuitous organised violence dispensed by western countries.
There is a general consensus that terrorism is the use of violence to attain certain political objective(s). It is the politics of the terrorist that is real source of contention. Therefore, the contention of ‘terrorism’ is not so much in its definition but its application to the real events in the world. The subjective nature of this notion is pithily described by the old clichÃ© “one mans terrorists is another mans freedom fighter”. Hence, ‘terrorists’ and ‘freedom fighters’ seems to be the two sides of the same coin and part of the battle is to contest the label of terrorist.
It is the politics, known as the ‘root causes’, which gives the violence a context. Naturally, marginalising and distorting the ‘root causes’ of the non-State actors leaves them standing exposed as a terrorist, who is: irrational, violent, fanatical and incapable of dialogue. Such construction of the non-state actors legitimises and overshadows all the violence that is dispensed by the State, which exceeds many folds. But who is keeping a score!
As an example, Hollywood over the years has constructed the violent image of the Native Americans whilst portraying the European occupiers as peaceful and civilised. The usual scenario portrayed in the various films is: the Native Americans launch ferocious attacks on horseback waving an axe, at every opportunity, without provocation: killing, raping and plundering. No explanation or any rational reasons are given as to why they attack the peaceful European convoys stealing more of their lands! As if such acts are part of their genetics!
Despite, the cowboys shooting many of the Native Americans dead from a distance they still approach the gun like the Dodo’s. The implication here is that they are not just violent savages but also an inferior race lacking in intelligence. Then to gloss over this image of good and evil, the regular diet of “The Little House on the Prairie”, “The Waltons” and “Bonanza” depicting the faultless virtues of the ‘peaceful’ European hordes.
The radical preachers like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson of that time had no problem in authorising the use of force or all means necessary, in the name of Jesus. So they sent blankets with chicken pox to the Native Americans – to – using dynamites, cannons and guns. In relation to bows and arrows of the Native Americans those weapons were like weapons of mass destruction. Therefore, the final result after couple of hundred years was the genocide of 70 million Native Americans.
Naturally, the Native Americans resisted with whatever they can. When they launched their attack, at that point a snapshot of that image was taken and the violent nature of those people projected. The Native Americans were not able to communicate their point of view, i.e. the politics of the ‘terrorists’. The end result is that you got yourself violent ‘terrorists’ not freedom fighters defending their lands.
A similar construction of terrorism is taking place in the Middle East. The ‘savage’ Native Americans are replaced with the ‘terrorist’ Muslims. Their violence is projected without their politics (root causes), whilst the politics of the States are projected without its violence. Therefore, the victims of the non-State actors receive maximum media coverage whilst the victims of the states remain almost invisible in the mass media.
Even after three years the root causes of 9/11 has not been addressed in depth, under the pretext that to do so, would appear to give justification to the violence. This sounds like a medieval society, operating in fear of the possible self-recrimination that may arise as a result of objectively examining the causes. Is this not very unscientific for a civilisation that claims to be scientific and rational? Otherwise, the reality is this, no human being wants to sacrifice his or her life unless compelled by circumstances or driven by certain convictions. No, it is not the desire for virgins, as often hyped-up by the Zionist inspired spins, because unlike the West the virgins exist in abundance in the Islamic world! Where such a quality is an honour and rather than a liability or a disgrace!
States like the US have argued that they do not intentionally target civilians in order to distinguish their violence with the violence of the non-state actors. Hence, the infamous term ‘collateral damages’ was coined and injected into the recent political vocabulary.
Intention has to be proven with evidence; after all we do not take the “innocent” plea of a murderer at face value, otherwise manslaughter would be the only outcome of all homicides. If the US forces are using “overwhelming force” in civilian areas then surely the intention is self-evident. What do we make of the activities in Abu-Ghraib, was that unintentional too? What about the bombing of wedding parties to shooting at unarmed protestors and civilians at check points. John Pilger’s televised documentary revealed that farmers in desolate places were bombed and even the farm animals were not spared. So claims of innocence have to be matched with deeds.
The US has a long history of targeting civilians. After the short civil war in 1865, the list of victims continued to increase rapidly, which now includes the bombing of civilian cities using the Atom bombs in 1945. This was done when Japan was clearly on her knees ready to surrender. No Islamic ‘terrorist’ could ever match such a track record, in the same manner that Salahuddin failed to match the track record of Richard the Lionheart in massacring civilians and prisoners of war!
Despite the constant claims of Jihad as being simply crazed fundamentalist annihilating infidels, in reality there is not a single example in history where the Muslims have systematically annihilated a defenceless civilian population as a matter of policy.
Furthermore, the targeting of civilians has to be examined in the context of the disparity between the non-state actors and the state. The non-state actors have little choice other than to attack non-military targets. How else can they resist against a well-equipped army? It was strange to observe the Americans frowning at the Iraqis for waging a war in civilian clothes when they were engaging in the same manner against the British imperialists in the 18th century that resulted in attaining their independence in 1776.
Similarly, the Israelis constantly frown at the Palestinians for using suicide bombers but the Zionist Irgun used similar methods in Palestine prior to 1948. Perhaps they were inspired by the Bible, followed the example of Samson. Will the Bible be treated as a source of terrorism now? Why not end the argument by arming the Iraqis and Palestinians with similar weapons and taking the fight into the dessert away from the cities? In the same way the West have argued that they are not interested in Iraq’s oil resources. Why not also end the argument by preventing the US and UK companies from participating or tendering for any of the contracts in Iraq. Don’t forget to return all the ‘missing’ oil revenues and all the money pocketed by the US soldiers whilst raiding Iraqi homes. It is not very dignified when the richest nation steals from the poorest.!
The final piece of the jigsaw of terrorism is that the State actors always claim the channels of negotiation and political participation as a means is always open. This is very easy when you are in a position of strength. Just like lecturing about the evil of using “an eye for an eye” policy to deter a response after launching an unprovoked aggression.
It is doubtful if the African National Congress (ANC) resorted to political negotiations the Afrikaners would have entertained any of their demands. For those who point to non-violent struggle of Ghandi against the British rule, tend to forget it was the war with Germany that sapped the energy of the British Empire for furthre direct confrontation. Similarly, the Native Americans signed numerous peace treaties, each one was torn apart, until they became museum pieces like the other Aboriginal population who have suffered a similar fate at the hands of other Western imperialist nations.
Whenever any political settlement was achieved between the state and non-State actors, it was only after an enduring period of violence because the stronger party has very little incentive to strike a fair settlement. Otherwise, for the non-state actors being the weaker party, the route of negotiation really represents a choice of an instant death or a slow death.