-- Defoe, Captain Singleton
For the past five hundred years, humanity has witnessed the ascension of a civilization which acclaims the Rights of Man but kills non-white man wherever it finds him. The Western authors of social contracts and constitutions granting freedom and liberty for their kinsmen also granted themselves the freedom to take liberties with the lives and fate of the non-white world. For while it was widely understood that humans have certain inalienable rights, chaining or whipping Black ‘sub-humans’ and expropriating or uprooting Indian ‘savages’ were considered well within these rights. And so, within its own selective borders the glowing attributes of Western civilization shone brightly, but for the untamed darker sections of humanity, rifles and bayonets, later replaced by bombs and missiles, were the preferred methods of enlightenment.
None of this has changed. The victims of extermination, invasion, segregation, settler colonialism, napalm, and apartheid at Wounded Knee, the Philippines, the American South, Algeria, Vietnam, and South Africa share with the new target of Iraq one binding feature: they all received the death kiss of ‘Western values’. Today, the regenerating ranks of colonialism shoulder a slightly revised version of White Man’s Burden, but still never fail to cite Western values when devaluing non-Western life, endearingly termed collateral damage. Instead of brushing aside these sins as mere aberrations or expressing self-indulgent remorse, we can analyze the ideological rationalizations and practical aims of the new ‘war on terror’ in terms of the deep contradiction between proclaimed Western values and practiced Western viciousness towards the racial Other.
Western civilization, now spearheaded by the United States, envisions itself as the harbinger of progress, uplifting heathens everywhere. For centuries, the West has been able to successfully maintain its denial of the havoc it has wrought, the trail of tears and blood it has left trickling across Asia, Africa, and Latin America, precisely because its victims have been so effectively crushed. The indigenous inhabitants of the ‘New World’, long ago decimated and virtually exterminated, pose no threat to Western self-adoration. Resistance to colonialism across the Third World, first mowed down by machine guns, was later mollified by cultivating subservient local bourgeoisies chained to Western capital. Those who dared defy the West, the Lumumbas, Nassers, and Allendes of the world, were targeted, isolated, and destroyed.
America’s mainstream intelligentsia - itself ensconced in material comfort and security - saw little reason to object to its nation’s creative methods of extending freedom: sponsoring dictators, training death squads, carpet bombing, overthrowing democracies, and carrying out massacres. In essence, America could claim to benevolently export freedom and democracy to all four dark corners of the world because the corners were sufficiently far away from the Center and their inhabitants sufficiently weak - and insufficiently white - for this lie of benevolence to maintain its coherence.
On September 11th, that coherence was shattered. The previously remote four corners of the world converged on the citadel of civilization in the form of four hijacked airplanes; in a scene of horrific carnage, two of them crashed into New York’s Twin Towers, causing them to collapse. For a brief moment, the guns were pointed in the opposite direction -West.
But whose guns were they? The Islamic fundamentalists behind September 11th , trained and financed by American intelligence throughout the 1980’s, were bred for the purpose of “giving to the USSR its Vietnam war,” according to Carter’s National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski.  Insofar as these unsavory characters were useful in sowing chaos in Afghanistan, they were, in Reagan’s words, “freedom fighters.” Yet that is only half the equation, as bin Laden had his own grievances against America: US military presence in Saudi Arabia, support for corrupt Middle Eastern regimes and Israel, as well the decimation of Iraq. These grievances resonate strongly with people throughout the region. Thus September 11th was a result of both U.S. sponsoring of fundamentalism and anger at U.S. domination of the region; the attacks were a refracted response to U.S. policy delivered by its own former proxy.
Inevitably, the American political elite were interested in neither of these two concrete links between its behavior in the Middle East and the attacks. Instead of recognizing the attacks as resultant of the darker side of Western civilization’s dual character, American leadership embraced the more comforting dualism of good and evil: all savagery was outsourced and attributed to flaws of the racial Other, all virtue apportioned to the self. In this first stage of the denial process, what the West had practiced exclusively for itself at all others’ expense was falsely propounded as its universal values.
Thus Reagan’s “freedom fighters”, President Bush informed us, attacked America “because they hate our freedom.” There was to be no probing for root causes: “You’re either with us, or you’re with the terrorists.” This Manichean rationalization, neatly removing the record of US state terrorism from the equation, set up the pretext for intensifying it on a world scale: we stand for freedom, and to prove it, we must teach the world a lesson. The lie of benevolence needed to be reasserted, its coherency re-established. As one US official announced, “We will export death and violence to the four corners of the earth in defense of this great nation.” 
The first consumers of this rather familiar American export were the Afghans, who had the unfortunate distinction of being ruled over by the (previously American-supported) Taliban and their bin Laden associates. The US military killed as many as 3,000 Afghan civilians in their campaign to dislodge the Islamists. Not long after American B-52s relieved themselves of 15,000 lb. daisy-cutter bombs, America also relieved itself of any serious commitment to rebuilding the country. Funding for basic national infrastructure has been severely lacking: per capita spending in Afghanistan is less than half of post-conflict Rwanda, Bosnia, Kosovo and East Timor. A veteran observer on the ground said, “The Pentagon and the White House have absolutely no policy on Afghanistan.”  One can already hear the pathetic plea of Afghanistan’s puppet president - “Don’t forget us if Iraq happens” - being drowned out by the roar of American armor prowling the deserts of Iraq.
As America again swivels her guns and realigns her crosshairs, it has become painfully obvious that the more recent war on Iraq has nothing to do with disarmament or al-Qaeda. Recognizing that informed people might catch onto this before the war, Bush invoked higher, nobler aims - the liberation of Iraq’s people and democratization. In an important Feb. 26th, 2003 speech to the influential neoconservative American Enterprise Institute (AEI), Bush issued a remarkable statement: anti-war sentiment was a sort of racist skepticism which posited that Muslims were not capable of learning democracy. Beyond doubt was that Bush represented democracy or that it would be exported at all – only the capacity of the feeble Muslim mind to comprehend the sheer greatness of Western ideals could possibly be in question.
Bush stressed the importance of removing Hussein for the purpose of instilling “democratic values” in Iraq, since “stable and free nations”- like the United States, for instance - “do not breed the ideologies of murder,” and instead prioritize “the peaceful pursuit of a better life.” The sons and daughters of Indonesia, El Salvador, Nicaragua – and now Haiti - may beg to differ, but the American-provided death squads, despots, bombs and missiles once sent to beseech their opinions have yet to return with the poll results.
No doubt these same democratic and humanitarian values deeply moved Saddam Hussein when he found the West eager to supply him with chemical and biological weapons, weapons which he inflicted on Kurds and Iranians throughout the 1980’s with America’s blessings. According to a1994 General Accounting Office report and Senate hearings, the US government and twenty-four private U.S. corporations supplied Saddam with anthrax, sarin gas, VX gas, West Nile virus, bubonic plague, and other chemical and biological weapons from 1980 to 1988.
Equally impressed by Western democracies’ newfound concern for humanity must be Iraq’s civilian population of 24 million, who bore the burden of the West’s propping up of Saddam and whose health, living standards and children were decimated by U.S. and U.K-led sanctions. The post Gulf-war sanctions prevented the importation of basic medicines and civilian equipment, plunging a previously modern society into Third World despair. The New England Journal of Medicine estimates that between January and August of 1991, “an excess” of 46,900 children died, and a 1999 UNICEF report states that over 500,000 Iraqi children under five died as a direct result of sanctions. The last two U.N. oil-for-food program coordinators in Iraq both resigned and described the sanctions as genocidal: a noteworthy accomplishment for the two leading democracies of the Western world.
That Bush’s rhetorical flourishes on freeing Iraq are sharply contradicted by the utter contempt with which America has treated Iraqi life in the past should surprise no one: when the West speaks of extending its values, the rest of the world should run for cover. Yet is had been necessary to invoke the cause of liberation, for as a massive military machine stood poised to unleash the fury of Shock and Awe upon a largely defenseless people, the myth of a virtuous America waging war against evil appeared increasingly ridiculous.
This second phase of the denial process - the application of ‘liberation’ rhetoric - barely conceals the attitude of racist contempt which underscores not only previous American policy but current thought among its policy elite. This is clearly illustrated by prominent neoconservative intellectuals, whose ideology is so entrenched in the administration that at least twenty of its “scholars” are directly involved in Bush’s foreign policy planning.
Michael Ledeen, editor of National Review and AEI analyst, provides the opening chapter of our fairy tale: “We should have no misgivings about our ability to destroy tyrannies. It is what we do best.” Somehow Pinochet, the Shah, and Suharto were spared this ordeal, but Ledeen nevertheless continues, “It comes naturally for us…Creative destruction is our middle name. We do it automatically, and that is precisely why the tyrants hate us and are driven to attack us.” Here we discover the real next step flowing from the self-serving Manichean setup - not “democratization,” but “creative destruction.” This is to be achieved by precipitating “total war”, explained by another neoconservative as “the kind of warfare that…brings the enemy society to an extremely personal point of decision, so that they are willing to accept a reversal of the cultural trends that spawned the war in the first place.” 
Since the West is supremely pure, it is of course “the cultural trends” of the racial Other that bear responsibility for conflict. These trends, according to AEI analyst Joshua Muravchik, are “paranoia, apocalypticism, tyranny, and violence.” To such savagery there is only one solution, we are informed: “permanently force your will onto another people,” pitting “culture against culture.” Neoconservatives like Washington Post writer Charles Krauthammer therefore demand a policy which will inculcate “fear and deep respect for American power” among Arabs. Anything less than waging war, explains fellow ideologue and former Wall Street Journal editor Max Boot, would only “earn the contempt of the Muslim world” as a sign of “weakness.”  One gets the impression that these sages are devising not a foreign policy but methods for breaking slaves into submission.
The sheer absurdity of neoconservative rhetoric signifies the breadth and scope, as well as the psychological neurosis, of this new phase of imperialism. Obsessed with drawing up false distinctions and hammering them out with unparalleled violence, the system desperately seeks to pass off its own savagery as a response to an innate savagery of the Other, who must be brought to Order. This open retreat from universal values - even at the rhetorical level – signifies the first gunshot fired in the battle for recolonization.
It is a battle that has intensified since Iraq came under American occupation. For the war planners, thinking within the ‘second phase of denial’ mindset of ‘liberation’, first imagined Iraqis would greet them with open arms. Needless to say, nothing has gone as planned. Ordinary Iraqis are furious at the utter lack of basic necessities including water and power; they chafe under the same draconian labor laws Saddam once imposed, hardly unaware of the mass privatization schemes being cemented by foreign contractors that will leave them jobless; the Sunni center has mounted a serious armed resistance against both domestic and foreign signs of occupation; and the Shiite south is demanding direct democracy against the wishes of the nascent American-controlled colonial administration
Having uncovered the charade of ‘liberation’, Iraqis are now paying the price. For now that the open ingratitude of the spiteful heathens has become clear, the war planners have tired of this novel ‘second phase of denial’ and have since easily regressed into their more comfortable ‘first phase of denial’ instincts: act barbarously in the name of fighting imagined barbarism. This is epitomized by Operation Iron Hammer (a codename apparently borrowed from the Nazis) in which random raids, mass jailing, overwhelming firepower, and punitive actions have become the norm.
To take a random case, on February 26, 2004 in Kirkuk, US soldiers opened fire on a mother and her four children in a remote village farmland, maiming the mother, killing one daughter and crippling another after a bomb went off near their convoy. A military spokesman offered the absurd justification that “The soldiers perceived the women were a threat based on their evasive action” - in other words, the women were attacked because they were running away.  These and countless similar incidents receive scant attention in the US media, presumably because evidence that Muslims cannot properly absorb Western values and the bullet shells they are encased in would dampen the president’s high hopes for liberation. At least 8,000 Iraqi civilians have died since America’s crusade began.
Noticing increasing militancy in Iraq since their arrival the war planners recently also began bellowing, “It is better to fight and destroy them all here than to face them in our cities!” This assumes a fixed, finite number of ‘terrorists’ roam the world and discounts the idea of backlash against American actions in Iraq among resentful locals – an obvious impossibility since America is supremely good and righteous. Evildoers abroad have also been put on notice that they will be hunted down whatever the cost; that CIA and FBI heads now admit this hunt will likely go on for decades only deepens the faith of neoconservatives like ex-CIA director Jack Woolsey, who sees the current period as “World War IV.”
Let us sum up the result: the occupation of Iraq has been a fulcrum for greater application of brute force and greater acceptance of the desperate ‘clash of civilizations’ thesis required to justify it. No longer is this an exercise in abstract speculation: Hundreds of thousands of American troops now patrol and control a major Arab country that is presenting serious opposition through armed resistance, mass protests, and non-cooperation. Like expendable infantry brought out before the cavalry charge, rhetoric about democratizing Arabs has died under the treads of American tanks and been overtaken by the brute logic of its gun barrel.
The logic of the gun barrel is the logic of colonialism – it is the logic that impels the entire American elite to accept and expand troop presence in Iraq, crush native opposition, and twist, bend, and mangle its own laws guaranteeing the rights of its own citizenry. Many even at the elite level admit that this stance represents a radical break from previous doctrine. The logic of colonialism is more extreme than that of sponsoring dictators, client states or factions, demanding as it does direct and conscious mobilization of an entire society, not to mention hundreds of thousands of its youngest, who must serve in the front lines of war.
As America dusts off and cleans out the old muskets and cannons of colonialism, it is only fitting to ask the crucial question: who is supplying the ammunition? What modern force has post-September 11th America turned to for inspiration, example, and guidance to carry out its colonizing mission? The answer lies with a state whose very inception and constant expansion have been bathed in the blood of its maligned victims; one which has been fighting on the front line of colonialism ever since it was first carved out by dispossessing hundreds of thousands of Arabs; an outpost of imperialism aided, armed, and inserted by Western interests in the land of a people it has occupied and therefore been taught to hate as a matter of colonial-settler survival: Israel.
There are of course, even among so-called ‘progressives’, ears rigged with virtual smoke detectors; when the carefully constructed mythology of Israel as a ‘civilized democracy’ is set aflame by facts and evidence, a repetitive ringing sound reverberates through nervous ‘respectable’ heads, blocking out all reason. But precisely because the idea of Israel as defender of superior Western values against noxious Arab hordes is so entrenched, it must be confronted and exposed if we are indeed to discover the real roots of the ‘clash of civilizations’ justification for this latest phase of imperialism
Israel’s role as an outpost of Western interests against the Arabs was by design. The founder of the Zionist movement, (the European Jewish movement which first advocated the creation of a Jewish state in 1880) Theodore Herzl, declared his goal of establishing “a portion of the rampart of Europe against Asia, an outpost of civilization as opposed to barbarism.”  After making this pitch to the anti-Semitic Russian Count Von Plehve in 1903 and a twin white settler movement, the British colonizers of South Africa, Zionism ultimately struck up a successful deal with British imperialism.  For the Arabs, “most of whom had inhabited the country for many generations, the Jews were European colonizers who tried to settle an Arab land and expropriate it under the protection of imperial powers” – a suspicion “confirmed in 1917 when Britain took the land for the Muslim Ottoman Empire and granted it, via the Balfour Declaration, to the Jews.” 
Zionism’s mission was to carve out a state for European Jews - “a settler minority” - in the heart of the Arab world.  Early Zionists were well aware that “the implementation of Zionism could only be at the expense of the Palestinian Arabs” - hardly an inconvenience because “‘Disappearing’ the Arabs lay at the heart of the Zionist dream, and was also a necessary condition for existence.”  Plans were worked out in a Zionist military document implemented more than a month before Israel’s creation calling for “destruction of villages by fire, explosives, and mining” and for “expelling the [Arab] population beyond the boundaries of the State.” 
Equipped with the understanding that its settlers “have not come to an empty land to inherit it, but…to conquer a country from people inhabiting it,” Zionist leadership prepared “compulsory transfer,” so as to “remove the Arabs from our midst,” in Ben-Gurion’s words.  Thus even before the outside Arab states intervened in 1948 - in which case the Zionist militia still “outnumbered all the Arab forces arrayed against it, and, after the first round of fighting […] outgunned them too” - Palestinians were massacred and expelled en masse, stripped of their property and possessions.  The conquering settlers destroyed some 400 villages, swallowed up half the land, and confiscated “British pounds, jewelry and other over valuables” including hundreds of shops and “truck-loads of property” from each town.  Once the war was over, some 750,000 Palestinians were relegated to the status of expropriated refugees, a position of crushing weakness whose dreadful consequences they have been unable to escape. Israel’s own historians, (the source for most of the above citations and quotes) consulting newly-declassified archives, admit that Israel “has committed the sin of colonialism” through “the dispossession and victimization of a whole people.” 
Israeli leaders, seizing all of historical Palestine by 1967, would come to boast that they are “the generation of colonizers” presiding over a land where “there is not one single place…that did not have a former Arab population.”  Top Israeli government officials freely express their hatred of the native with the pride that comes with being a colonial power, deriding them as “crocodiles”, “beasts walking on two legs”, “grasshoppers…heads smashed against the boulders and walls”, “drugged cockroaches in a bottle,” and a “cancer” requiring “chemotherapy.” 
Using a term coined to describe South African apartheid, Israeli historian Baruch Kimmerling describes his country as an “Herrenvolk democracy,” a regime “in which one group of its subjects (the citizens) enjoy full rights and another group (the non-citizens) enjoys none.” He adds, “The laws of Israel have become the laws of a master people and the morality that of the lords of the land.” 
The Palestinians remain imprisoned in ever-diminishing strips of uncultivable land, surrounded by settlers and soldiers, haunted by increasingly alarming levels of poverty (50%), unemployment (70%), and hunger, now burdened with - in the words of one Israeli policeman - “a different kind of despair, more like the one experienced by the Jews in the European Ghettos.”  Such is the magnanimity of our outpost of ‘civilization’.
Returning to our broader original line of inquiry – what role does Israel play in America’s colonizing mission – we can now see that it is in the perfect position to proffer much ‘advice’ on breaking the back of the Arabs. Unlike previous colonizing missions, there is no ‘exit option’ for Zionism – it fights on the front line of colonialism because it lives on the front line; there is no motherland to retreat to for the colony is the motherland. This adds an additional pressure and incentive to be ruthless. And now that America has committed itself to perpetual war, it is keen to take Israel’s assistance.
The US military, according to the November 22, 2003 LA Times, “has quietly turned to an ally experienced with occupation and uprisings: Israel.” Since resistance began in Iraq, “Army commanders, Pentagon officials, and military trainers have sought advice from Israeli intelligence and security officials” on the best methods for prosecuting their own colonial war. US soldiers train in special Israeli facilities to learn their methods of combat and are diligently using Israeli software programs showcasing the IDF’s actions in Palestinian territories. That the Israeli army has been indicted by every major human rights group as guilty of war crimes is apparently not relevant; as one US commander said, “those who have to deal with like problems tend to share information as best they can.”
Such “information” has clearly been put to good use. Five days prior to the LA Times report the US Army began “leveling houses and buildings used by suspected Iraqi guerrilla fighters,” reported CNN. Pentagon officials of course “rejected any comparison to the tactics employed by the Israeli military” but the results spoke louder; “an Iraqi woman sat among the rubble of houses destroyed by U.S. strikes” complaining, “They destroyed our houses and expelled us.” More recent evidence of Israeli-inspired tactics is found in the March 7, 2004 New York Times, where we learn that more than 10,000 Iraqi men, ranging from 11 to 75 years old have been detained and locked up Israeli-style, “kicked in the head, choked, and put in cold, wet rooms for days at a time,” with no access to lawyers, no visits, and no rights, even though “officials acknowledge that most of the people captured are probably not dangerous” – about 90%, according to cases reviewed by military judges.
None of this is surprising considering the prevalence of pro-Israeli hawks in the highest echelons of the US foreign policy elite. The neoconservatives, some of whom were quoted earlier, are all in broad sympathy with Israel’s far-right and operate at the highest levels of American power. Once Bush came into office prominent neoconservatives were appointed to powerful positions: to name a few, Paul Wolfowitz as Defense Secretary, Douglas Feith as Department of Defense Undersecretary, and Richard Perle as chair of the Defense Policy Board. Feith and Perle both advised Israeli rightist PM Benjamin Netanyahu to destroy the Oslo accords, and serve on the Jewish Institute of National Security Affairs, a pro-Israel think tank in Washington. All are strongly linked to the AEI and advocated the war against Iraq.
It is prudent to ask what consequences America’s tactical and ideological embrace of the world’s last settler-state entails. For it turns out that the state so deeply admired by so-called ‘defenders of civilization’ as a shining symbol of Western greatness is, in fact, falling apart. In an essay titled, “The Zionist Revolution is Dead,” former speaker of Israel’s Knesset Avraham Burg confesses, “The Israeli nation today rests on a scaffolding of corruption, and on foundations of oppression and injustice.” He warns his countrymen that “a structure built on human callousness” has led Israel towards “the destruction of Zionism and its values by the deaf, dumb, and callous.”  Further evidence of panic in Israeli society comes from four former chiefs of Israel’s ruthless security service, the Shin Bet. Attacking the government’s policies towards the Palestinians as “disgraceful, “immoral” and “creating hatred,” they call for unilateral withdrawal due to “serious concern for the condition of the state of Israel,” fearing that “Israel will no longer be a democracy and a home for the Jewish people” and is “going in the direction of decline, nearly a catastrophe.” 
Prestigious Israeli reporter Amira Hass recently condemned the “blatantly immoral logic” of an occupation in which “those arrogant, cynical and ruthless settlements of a privileged fat few” force Palestinians into tightly packed virtual prisons. She opines that Israeli consciousness is not jarred by Palestinian homes being “full of bullet holes…and cannon shells,” their children “shot in the back” in front of UN observers, their orchards turned into “scorched earth,” or their casualty rate of over 1,200 killed compared to 94 Israelis from September 29th to the present.  In a similar vein, notable Israeli commentator Uri Avnery recently wrote that Israel’s media “enlisted as one man in the service of the brain-washing” of Israel in its coverage of the separation wall and in its howling about anti-Semitism just as “the Israeli Deputy Minister of Defense, Ze’ev Boim, declared in the Knesset that all Muslims are murderers from birth, that it is in their genes.” He concludes that his country has failed to become “a normal nation” and is infected with “the mentality of the ghetto.” 
One thing can now be agreed upon: Israel does indeed represent Western civilization – in its ugliest, most ruthless and brutal form, a fact which is now beginning to haunt Israel itself. It is faced with two problems built into its foundations: a serious demographic threat (Palestinian population growth is booming both inside and outside of Israel, threatening the ‘purity’ of the Jewish state), which is why some top officials are calling for unilateral withdrawal from the territories; and retaliation by weaponized desperation – “when [Palestinians] come washed in hatred and blow themselves up in the centers of Israeli escapism” because “their own lives are torture,” to borrow Avraham Burg’s words again.
The root of this “torture” is described bluntly by an Israeli soldier who published a book about his experience in the occupied territories. He writes of the humiliation and beatings Israel metes out to Palestinians on checkpoints on the very front lines of colonialism. In one incident, “Our Arab lay down there and just wept quietly…he bled and made a puddle of blood and saliva, which angered and disgusted me, so I grabbed him by the hair and twisted his head to the side…One of the soldiers approached him and punched him in the stomach. The Arab suffered from pain and grunted, we all giggled, it was funny. I kicked him real hard… [the soldiers] shouted that I am crazy and laughed and I felt great.” Unwittingly summing up the logic of colonialism, he continued, “The prestige of the matter is to be crazy…violent in an unusual way.” 
As Israel sways between moral and material disintegration, we must ask ourselves: will we let our own country continue to hang itself from this pendulum of colonial brutality? Has our capacity for hate, our thirst for revenge, grown so large that we, too, are willing to follow the same path on an even more destructive scale - “for the prestige of the matter,” no less? How far will we go to preserve the ego and arrogance of Western self-adoration, to maintain and reassert the great lie of benevolence that has been building to the point of implosion for five hundred years? Will we continue waging an anti-civilizational war, debasing and endangering ourselves in a crusade to destroy the weak and impoverished so as to hide our own sins, of which their very condition is evidence?
History and humanity await our response.
M. Junaid Alam, 20, Boston, co-editor and web-designer of new leftist journal for American youth, Left Hook (http://www.lefthook.org).
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