Merry Terror Christmas
by Kim Petersen
December 8, 2003

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When will it ever stop? On 6 December an American A-10 attack jet swooped in on the house of a "suspected member of the Taliban" in the southeastern province of Ghazni. This mere suspicion was justification enough for the a US jet to attack a civilian residence and in the end wind up killing nine children. The New York Times sought to diffuse the blame by entitling the article "Coalition Strike in Afghanistan Kills 9 Children." It wouldn't do to have the title more precisely read "American Strike in Afghanistan Kills 9 Children." Hey, but at least the Times had the balls to publish the story.

The article revealed more of the usual. Of course the US initially denied the report but it is hard to stay in denial when there are the slaughtered corpses of nine children and one adult. Later the "headquarters of the American-led military forces" issued a statement that read: "Coalition forces regret the loss of any innocent life." Don't the US forces even have the gumption to state "US forces" instead of spreading responsibility for the slayings to the rest of the coalition? Of course by being in Afghanistan the rest of this coalition is complicit in the terrorism meted out by the occupiers. Not only are they complicit in the barbarity committed in Afghanistan but also by logical extension to the occupation of Iraq. The presence of coalition forces in Afghanistan frees up the US military to enforce its aggression elsewhere. For all the bluster of the German and Canadian governments, they are aiding and abetting the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq.

The statement went on to state that there will be "every effort to assist the families of the innocent casualties and determine the cause of the civilian deaths." It seems a commission is to be struck to carry out an investigation. The munitions of an A-10 jet scattered across the area should make that determination abundantly easy.

This was nothing less than an act of terrorism. In President Bush's perpetual war on terror it appears that there are no qualms about fighting terror with terror.

One has to wonder also about the morality of an attack on someone for being a "suspected member of the Taliban." Is merely being a member of the Taliban justification for recklessly attacking a residence? The United States military did purport that the target, identified as Mullah Wazir, had been "involved" in the highway killings of two contractors. It smacks of madness. The Times reports that there were no killings of contractors.

The Times notes that the US puppet Afghan leader Hamid Karzai has repeatedly pleaded with the US to be more careful with its intelligence and bombing of civilian areas. Mistakes are too commonplace. The attack, according to the statement, was executed "after developing extensive intelligence over an extended period of time." This speaks volumes to the sophistication of the US intelligence in Afghanistan.

Iraqi resistance

This same vaunted US intelligence has recently been credited with a recent reduction in the number of deadly attacks on US troops in Iraq. Likeliest this only represents the lull before the storm. It is typical guerrilla warfare tactics: lay low while the militarily superior side attacks and hit back later when the opportunity presents itself. In this asymmetric war the guerrillas must be prepared for a long, low-intensity confrontation.

To stymie the guerrilla forays, the US forces have gone the tough love route in Iraq. The forces commanded by Mr. Bush are getting tough in their quest to ram US-style freedom down the resisting throats of Iraqis. The impunity with which the American military flouts Geneva Conventions has rendered it almost dangerously passť to mention the fact. The Times reports on the barbed-wired jungle erected in Iraqi cities, where the movement of the citizens is severely curtailed, illegal detentions are commonplace as are the demolitions of civilian homes. The US military is mimicking the failed Israeli occupation of Palestine. The Times though views the Israeli strategy as successful. One can infer success from the fact that the occupation is still in place after 37 brutal years. It ignores, however, that the al-Aqsa Intifada has seen the rapid slide of the Israeli economy and a populace grown fearful of the next terrorist suicide bombing. How can any rational person construe such a policy as a success?

This is the ignominious strategy that the US now employs. It is a transparent surrender of US attempts to win the hearts of the Iraqis, as if there was much chance of that following the Shock and Awe bombing campaign. This is rather a vain attempt to subdue the Iraqis through oppression.

This strategy stems from the pompous claim of insight into the Arab psyche. Capt. Todd Brown, an infantry company commander  declares, "You have to understand the Arab mind. The only thing they understand is force -- force, pride and saving face." It belies a racist excuse for the humiliation and abuse heaped on the beleaguered Iraqi people.

The pleasure in administering the US tough love is manifest in Maj. Darron Wright's "We really hammered the place" quip. It conjures up the image of Commander-in-Chief Bush's fist-pumping "Feels good" utterance shortly after launching the aggression of Iraq.

Mr. Bush recast

Op-ed columnist Thomas Friedman sees the fist-pumping president in a different light now. He has lately taken to gushing over the remade-by-war Mr. Bush. According to Mr. Friedman, the book-shunning Mr. Bush has entered the pantheon of such supposed presidential luminaries as Abraham Lincoln and Woodrow Wilson.

Mr. Friedman's thesis is predicated on Mr. Bush's "new emphasis on the freedom and democracy." That the iconic Mr. Bush lied about the reason for aggressing Iraq doesn't really seem to matter.

Well two years down the road there is still no democracy in Afghanistan and rhetoric aside it doesn't look that it will come any day soon in Iraq. There was an initial flowering of freedom in Afghanistan but that quickly wilted when the warlords grabbed their fiefdoms outside the capital Kabul. Relatively liberated under the despotic Saddam Hussein, women in Iraq have seen a diminishment of their freedoms and security in occupied Iraq.

It would be fairer though to examine Mr. Bush based on the moment that has defined him: his "War on Terrorism."

It seems that to buttress any claim to be winning the "War on Terrorism" that terrorism itself must be on the wane. Contrastingly, this is not the case. The world has seen terrorism rear its ugly head in myriad locales such as Bali, Iraq, Kenya, Pakistan, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. The rest of the world cannot rest too easy as an alleged warning from al Qaeda shows: "We tell the criminal Bush and his Arab and Western tails -- especially Britain, Italy, Australia and Japan -- that cars of death will not stop at Baghdad ...."

Clearly terrorism is not subsiding but remains virulent. The logical conclusion is that the perpetual "War on Terrorism" is so far a bust -- a failure that looks to compound itself in the future as Iraq spirals further into chaos and the Taliban regroups in Afghanistan.

In the season of peace on Earth and good tidings to all, Mr. Bush, the born-again moral crusader continues to sleigh into the Muslim world and to unleashed more terror -- the terror without holiday.

Kim Petersen lives in Nova Scotia and is a regular contributor to Dissident Voice newsletter. He can be reached at: kimpetersen@gyxi.dk

Other Recent Articles by Kim Petersen


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* Dispelling the Orwellian Spin: The Real Foreign Terrorists

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