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Sunday, February 23, 2003

Well, duh...
The possibility of war with Iraq could unleash acts of anti-American violence in the United States or overseas by individual extremists who do not belong to Al Qaeda or other Middle Eastern terrorist groups but sympathize with their grievances, intelligence and law enforcement officials say. -- NY Times.

The ridiculous notion behind the "war on terrorism" is that there is a finite number of terrorists (thousands, maybe tens of thousands) out there, and once they've all been killed or captured, it's done--no more "terrorism." This ignores at least two points that should be obvious to reasonably intelligent people, provided their minds haven't been incapacitated by a state run media.

The first point is that "terrorist" is an arbitrary and self-serving definition; countries like the US and Britain honor their soldiers who sacrifice their lives defending their people, while they label Palestinians who sacrifice their lives defending their people as terrorists worthy of scorn or worse. The US backing of the Nicaraugan Contras and the Mujahadeen of Afghanistan (proto-al Qaeda) in the 1980's shows that there is no consistency in applying the "terrorist" definition. If attacking civilians and governments to create fear and cause political change within a country is terrorism, then these two groups were every bit as much terrorist as any group on the State Department's list.

The second point is that "terrorists" are made, not born. People become "terrorists" when their brothers are killed, or their villages destroyed, or they are trapped in completely humiliating circumstances and there are no peaceful political means available to bring about change. They become "terrorists" when it appears that life offers no hope of becoming bearable without violence. There is little that would be more likely to spread "terrorism" further throughout the world than declaring and executing a worldwide "war on terrorism," with the possible exception of launching a pre-emptive strike on a largely defenseless Muslim nation.

Perhaps the scariest thought is that it seems almost certain that there are many in the Bush administration who know all this (probably not W, but probably Cheney, Powell, Wolfowitz), and are proceeding anyway because "terrorism" is a useful tool in their goal of world domination. As this country so shamefully demonstrated after 9/11, all it takes is a little fear to get people to support the supression of their own liberties and the indiscriminate bombing of other people. As long as a bus blows up or a skyscraper comes down occasionally, the neocons controlling our government believe that they will be able to continue their wars of repression and conquest. This may be the most important reason for opposing war in Iraq with all of our energy right now. Without the war, there will be less terrorism, and less excuse for the continuation of the neocon agenda. Saving the million or so lives likely to be lost in an Iraq war is extremely important, but many times that number are at stake if the agenda is allowed to proceed.