OK, now let’s turn to the most dominant countries in the world – and their finessed, widespread, extreme tactics used against people, some evidently fanatic and dangerous, others totally innocent. This is state-sponsored, state-activated, state-engineered terrorism which we are just meant to accept as a proportionate response to the evil above. More people are victimised by the unaccountable, secretive actions of the western nations – the US and UK most notably – than all those victimised by Islamicists. Most brainwashed and genuinely frightened westerners just accept what their governments do in fighting a nebulous “war on terror”. Hundreds of thousands are killed, physically and psychologically maimed and shocked and awed by western weaponry. It is fair enough and sensible to use intelligence and prevent plots home and abroad, but what is happening and has been since 9/11 is not defensible, moral, right, just or sane.
The war on Iraq was the most obvious manifestation of this illegitimate bullying and killing. At least then good people objected to the foul ambitions of Bush and Blair. But now there is hardly any scrutiny or interrogation of policies, and only terrifying complacency that murdering Muslims is always justifiable.
Obama, with his image of a cool, black, nice-guy President, is able to get away with stuff Bush never did. The coalition government is also less watched and criticised than Blair’s cabinet. It hurts to write this sentence but Obama is showing himself to be a truly ugly American, too fond of extra-judicial killings, still keeping men incarcerated in Guantanamo Bay, tacitly condoning the torture of suspects in foreign prisons and ordering secret drone attacks without any conscience. Drone warfare is now used routinely in Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere. The bombs are casually dropped on, yes, terrorists, but also wedding parties, homes and schools, bursting open the bodies of babies, old people, women. Imagine what it feels like after an attack. These lives matter just as much as those of Bostonians and Londoners.
Recently American Senators, from left to right, have expressed disquiet about their President’s enthusiastic use of drones. Obama defended himself by saying, “This is not Dick Cheney we are talking about.” But as journalist Michael Crowley wrote in Time magazine this month, “in political terms it is hard to tell the difference” between the NeoCons of yore and Obama’s strategies. The dissenting politicians are worried that the drone war is creating more anger against America and also that it is legally suspect. The Independent this week published a moving testimony by the Yemeni writer Farea-Al-Muslimi who went to Washington and described the devastation caused by drone strikes in his country. Senators were shocked and awed by his testimony and analysis.
Britain is deeply implicated too. Anti-war protestors this weekend claimed that RAF pilots operate drones dropped on Pakistan and Afghanistan. Our country makes efficient ultra-modern killing tools which can obliterate humans and destroy habitats in an instant. These are proudly displayed at trade fairs and sold to blackguards until the US and Europe decides the purchaser is an enemy and turns against them, as with Libya, now Syria.
Britain has not raised its voice against the continued internment of men in Guantanamo Bay, where more than 160 are on hunger strike and some being force-fed. Shaker Aamer, a British resident, has been there for 11 years. He was cleared of all charges six years ago. Are these two civilised nations going to simply let such men rot and die in the gulag? Obviously.
Western leaders are blindingly proud of their democracies and human rights but how much better are they today than the Muslim terrorists they are trying to defeat? In fact, in terms of numbers of innocent dead, they are a good deal worse.
(Source: The Independent, April 28, 2013)