T. Ali: Bush's War on Terror is a Sick Joke (Counterpunch, 9/21)

Mike Friedman mikedf at amnh.org
Sat Sep 21 10:51:32 MDT 2002


Doing as the Romans Did
Bush's War on Terror is a Sick Joke
by TARIQ ALI

The consequences of 11 September remain visible on several fronts.
Psychologically, the American empire has constructed a new enemy: Islamic
terrorism. Its practitioners were evil, the threat was global and, for that
reason, bombs had to be dropped unilaterally and wherever necessary. The
leaders of the United States wish to be judged by their choice of enemies
rather than the actual state of the world, leave alone the concrete results
of the 'war against terrorism'. Politically, the United States decided to
use the tragedy and re-map the world. Its military bases now cover every
continent. The largest of these is situated in one of the tiniest states:
Qatar in the Persian Gulf. There are 189 member states of the United
Nations. There is a US military presence in 120 countries. Domestically,
the Bush administration sought and obtained extensive new powers to curb
dissent and to detain and deport suspects at will. On the East Coast alone,
over a thousand immigrant workers of South Asian origin were arrested and
deported to their countries of origin, without any outcry in the mainstream
media.

A year on, what is the balance sheet of the war? With the help of its
Pakistani creators, the Taliban regime was overthrown without a serious
struggle, though approximately 3000 innocent Afghan men, women and children
perished under the bombs. For the West, these lives were not even worth
half as much as those of the US citizens who died in New York and
Washington. No memorials honouring innocent victims will be built in Kabul.
The torture and mass execution of prisoners of war leaves many liberal
supporters of 'humanitarian wars' unmoved. However, despite all this, the
central aim of the military operation, which was the capture ('dead or
alive') of Osama Bin Laden and his confederates and the physical
destruction of Al-Qa'eda, has still not been accomplished. On 16 June 2002,
The New York Times reported:

"Classified investigations of the Qa'eda threat now underway at the FBI and
CIA have concluded that the war in Afghanistan failed to diminish the
threat to the United States, the officials said. Instead the war might have
complicated counter-terrorism efforts by dispersing potential attackers
across a wider geographic area."

Nor has the imperialist occupation of Afghanistan led to stability, peace
or prosperity in the region. The character of the Afghan government is
symbolised by the fact that the US-backed leader, Hamid Karzai, asked for
and received bodyguards consisting exclusively of US soldiers.  (...)

The 'wider geographical area' includes neighbouring Pakistan. Washington's
closest ally is the country's newest military dictator. The first Afghan
War (1979-89) required a Pakistan general prepared to play the Islamic
card. Zia-ul-Haq obliged. The result was the creation of the Taliban.  (...)

While the 'war against terror' has destabilised South Asia, it has
buttressed Israel still further. (...)

There is no support for this war anywhere in the Arab world. (...)

Even in Blairland a majority of the population is now opposed to the war. (...)
"There are congressmen today who want to fund the Iraqi Liberation Act, and
let some silk-suited, Rolex-wearing guys in London gin up the expedition.
We'll equip a thousand fighters and arm them with 97 million dollars' worth
of AK- 47s and insert them into Iraq. And what will we have? A Bay of
Goats, most likely."

Nonetheless opinion polls in the US suggest that 60 per cent favour sending
in the daisy-cutters, but the figure drops to 36 per cent at the suggestion
that the US should go in alone.  (...)

The question is: why is the current regime in the United States so
determined to wage this war? (...)

full article: http://www.counterpunch.org/ali0921.html


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