So we’re trying to get angry Arab fundamentalists (i.e. alQaeda) off our back…

So is this really the way to go?

Study: 1 in 3 US Drone Victims in Pakistan is a Civilian

A new report says nearly one in three people killed by US drone attacks in Pakistan is a civilian. The New America Foundation analyzed 114 drone attacks, in which more than 1,200 people died, going back to 2004. The report says at least 32 percent of the victims were civilians. With at least fifty-one drone attacks under his watch, President Obama has already exceeded the forty-five carried out under President George W. Bush’s two terms.

http://www.democracynow.org/2010/3/5/headlines#5

Let’s notice that, given all the rhetoric of change and progressive values, Obama in the realm of foreign policy has been nothing more than an intensification of Bush’s policies. There are more troops abroad not less, more bombings, more civilian deaths, withdrawal from anywhere is still not on the horizon.

As the celebrated journalist Nir Rosen pointed out in a recent interview, if alQaeda was out to get us, it was not for no reason. AlQaeda isn’t the Lex Luther of the world – they have a version of the story in which they are the good guys, and their complaints seem legitimate to huge swathes of the world’s population. The main points their story would make involve the US propping up India’s occupation of (the Muslim state of) Kashmir; the US propping up of the Israeli occupation of (the Muslim state of) Palestine; the US propping up of the intensely repressive dictatorship in Egypt (keeping its Muslim population in check); and, currently, the US’s direct violent occupation of two Muslim states in the heart of the Middle East; not to mention a recent history of torture targeting specifically Muslim individuals, trashing specifically Muslim values as a form of degrading psychological torture (from forced nudity (before women) and sexual actions (such as forced masturbation) to degrading the Qur’an or forcing contact with unclean things (dogs excrement etc)). So one doesn’t have to be a crazed conspiracy theorist to draw conclusions about an antiMuslim agenda, considering that all of the above are historically factual events. My point is hardly to legitimate any of alQaeda’s tactics, which are as reprehensible and despicable as any targeting of civilians for political ends (though need I point out that this is reproduced daily in our own tactics?); I am only pointing out that there is a certain legitimacy to their complaints. Chomsky points out that any time a marginalized group is desperate enough to resort to terrorism, there is usually some legitimacy to their issues, notwithstanding the execrable nature of their methods. Until the US addresses these issues and stops reinforcing by its foreign policy every stereotype in the antiMuslim conspiracy handbook, there will never be any shortage of new recruits for alQaeda and its subsidiaries.

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One Response to So we’re trying to get angry Arab fundamentalists (i.e. alQaeda) off our back…

  1. andreakente says:

    Well said. If the government were really interested in protecting the safety of the American people, the most effective way to do so would be to target the root of the problem and address the legitimate complaints of the world Muslim population, furthering mutual respect and peaceful cooperation, and not to exacerbate those complaints with flamboyant aggression. Makes any government rhetoric claiming that its foreign policy is motivated by “homeland security” seem very suspicious.

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