A Terrorism Reality Check for the New Year
by Paul Donahue
8 January 2002
To quote Arundhati Roy, Nothing can excuse or justify an act of terrorism, whether it is committed by religious fundamentalists, private militia, people's resistance movements, or whether it's dressed up as a war of retribution by a recognized government.
But what exactly is terrorism? Since September 11th there has been plenty of discussion regarding the definition of this word. Here are just a few of the many definitions floating around.
"Terrorism is an act carried out to achieve an inhuman and corrupt objective, and involving a threat to security of any kind, and violation of rights acknowledged by religion and mankind."
"Terrorism is the use of force or the threat of force against civilian populations to achieve political objectives."
"Terrorism is the unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons."
"Terrorism is the systematic use of violence as a means to intimidate or coerce societies or governments."
"Terrorism is the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion."
"Terrorism is the systematic use of terror or unpredictable violence against governments, publics, or individuals to attain a political objective. Terrorism has been used by political organizations with both rightist and leftist objectives, by nationalistic and ethnic groups, by revolutionaries, and by the armies and secret police of governments themselves."
The new definition of terrorism proposed by the European Union reads .(Terrorism) "include(s) intentional acts, by their nature and context, which may be seriously damaging to a country or to an international organisation, as defined under national law, where committed with the aim of: (i) seriously intimidating a population, or (ii) unduly compelling a Government or international organisation to perform or to abstain from performing any act, or (iii) destabilising or destroying the fundamental political, constitutional, economic or social structures of a country or international organisation"
Terrorism is defined in the U.S. by the Code of Federal Regulations as: "..the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives." (28 C.F.R. Section 0.85)
The U.S. Department of Defense definition of terrorism is "the calculated use of violence or the threat of violence to inculcate fear; intended to coerce or to intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious, or ideological."
However, one thing that is strikingly absent from all of these definitions is wording that would exempt activities of governments and nations from being considered terrorism. Consider this statement from Admiral Michael Boyce, Chief of the British Defense Staff. Referring to the bombing campaign in Afghanistan, he said, "The squeeze will carry on until the people of the country themselves recognize that this is going to go on until they get the leadership changed." In other words, we'll terrorize the civilian population until our political objective is achieved. This fits perfectly the official U.S. government definition of terrorism.
With Christmas past and the New Year upon us, and with the inevitable speeches from our leaders about how our recent military adventures in Afghanistan and our war on terrorism have brought greater peace to the world, I thought it might be useful to the flag-wavers and historically-challenged if we stepped back for a reality check of the situation. To that end, I have provided below a test that might help clarify where our country has been, where we stand at present, where we might be headed in the future, and most importantly, which terrorists we should fear the most.
1. What country was the first to develop nuclear weapons, remains the only country to have ever used them, and used them against civilian populations? A) Germany B) Russia C) Japan D) United States
The answer is D, the United States. The U.S. first developed nuclear weapons and then used them on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan in August 1945, causing 210,000 civilian casualties. In announcing to the world that the United States had used the atomic bomb against Japan, President Harry Truman defined the target as having been ''an important Japanese army base.'' The atomic bomb was dropped on the ''base,'' he said, because ''we wished in the first attack to avoid as much as possible the killing of civilians.'' At least 95 percent of the 100,000 killed immediately at that ''base,'' also known as Hiroshima, were civilians, as Truman surely knew. Then, having a reasonably good idea of the first bombs devastating effect, the horrifyingly appalling decision was made to drop a second atomic bomb on Nagasaki. Apparently 95,000 civilian deaths was not enough for our leaders.
2. The International Court of Justice in The Hague has condemned only one country for international terrorism. That country is: A) Iraq B) Libya C) Afghanistan D) United States
The answer is D, the United States. The U.S. chose to reject the orders of the International Court of Justice in The Hague to terminate its "unlawful use of force" against Nicaragua in the 1980s. The U.S. also vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution at the time calling on all states to observe international law.
After the Sandinista government had taken power in the late 1970s, the international development organization Oxfam had stated that Nicaragua was exceptional in the strength of that governments commitment to improving the condition of the people and encouraging their active participation in the development process. In the early 1980s the World Bank called its projects extraordinarily successful in Nicaragua in some sectors, better than anywhere else in the world. In 1983, the Inter-American Development Bank concluded that Nicaragua has made noteworthy progress in the social sector, which is laying the basis for long-term socio-economic development.
Despite all these positive trends under the Sandinista government, Secretary of State George Schultz called the Sandinistas a cancer right here on our land mass, and President Reagan made numerous similar comments. To destroy what Oxfam termed the threat of a good example, the U.S. set out to topple the Sandinista government. First of all, we exerted extreme pressure on the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank to terminate all their projects in Nicaragua. Then, we launched an illegal economic war against Nicaragua in which CIA operatives mined Nicaragua's main harbor. Finally, through the heavily U.S. funded contras, we launched a large-scale terrorist war against the country. The U.S.-funded operations of the contra mercenaries claimed 50,000 lives.
3. Which terrorist nation recently appointed a known terrorist leader as Ambassador to the United Nations? A) Cuba B) Iraq C) Somalia D) United States
The answer is D, the United States. John Negroponte was quietly installed as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations just a week after the September 11th attack. Negroponte, as ambassador to Honduras during the U.S. proxy war against Nicaragua, played a key role in supplying and supervising the CIA-backed contra mercenaries who were based in that country. During the same period, Honduran military death squads, operating with Washington support, assassinated hundreds of opponents of the U.S.-backed regime. The irony of appointing an individual so deeply implicated in savage acts of state-sponsored terror to serve as a principal spokesman for an international war on terrorism passed without notice in the U.S. media.
Similarly, Elliott Abrams, was installed by President Bush to head an office for democracy and human rights, a subsection of the National Security Council. Abrams pleaded guilty in 1991 to lying to Congress over the conduct of the terrorist war against Nicaragua.
4. Which terrorist nation has caused the death of thousands by destroying the sole pharmaceutical factory responsible for producing chloroquine for malaria suppression and other essential drugs desperately needed by a very poor nation? A) Russia B) Syria C) Iran D) United States
The answer is D, the United States. Purportedly in response to Osama bin Ladens involvement in the bombing of U.S. embassies, but more likely linked to the effort by a crooked U.S. President to avoid impeachment, on August 20, 1998 the United States launched a cruise missile attack on Sudan. The Clinton administration claimed the target was a chemical weapons plant, but in fact, it was Sudans most important pharmaceutical factory.
5. What terrorist nation is currently using chemical weapons to destroy the food crops of a peasant population? A) Cuba B) Iraq C) Syria D) United States
The answer is D, the United States. Through Plan Colombia, the U.S. is using herbicides to destroy the food crops of Colombian peasants. The chemicals are being used in an experimental fashion, against manufacturer specifications. Not only is the intensive chemical spraying destroying legal food crops, it is also having a devastating effect on the health of the local people and the environment. Masquerading as part of the U.S. war on drugs, the aerial spraying is purportedly being conducted to destroy coca crops. However, the U.S. government is actually working hand-in-hand with groups in Colombia known to be involved in narco-trafficking. The real object of Plan Colombia is to destroy the FARC guerilla movement and the peasant population that supports them. As in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and elsewhere, oil resources and oil pipelines are at stake.
6. There are ways to terrorize and kill innocent civilians other than through military attacks. What countrys economic sanctions are directly responsible for the deaths of over 500,000 children? A) Russia B) Syria C) Iran D) United States
The answer is D, the United States. Since the economic sanctions against Iraq began August 6, 1990, they have had horrific effects on the civilian population of the country, destroying food and water systems and disrupting that nations economic relations with the outside world. Thomas J. Nagy wrote in the Sept. 2001 issue of The Progressive, "I've discovered documents of the Defense Intelligence Agency proving beyond a doubt that, contrary to the Geneva Convention, the U.S. government intentionally used sanctions against Iraq to degrade the country's water supply after the Gulf War. The United States knew the cost that civilian Iraqis, mostly children, would pay, and it went ahead anyway."
In 1996, Madeleine Albright, then the U.S. Secretary of State, was asked on national television what she felt about the fact that 500,000 Iraqi children had died as a result of U.S. economic sanctions. She replied that, It was a very hard choice', but that, all things considered, we think the price is worth it." The price has grown even steeper since, with estimates of the number of civilians killed now at around 1 million. Most of those are children who died from preventable diseases. Denis Halliday, the former assistant secretary general of the UN, resigned rather than administer what he described as a "genocidal sanctions policy" on Iraq.
7. The United States knows that Iraq has a biological weapons program. We know this because: A) United Nations weapons inspectors found convincing evidence during their checks B) during the Gulf War special Anthrax-sniffing dogs detected Anthrax spores in the desert air of Iraq C) Saddam Hussein communicated this information to President Clinton in a secret memo in 1997 D) the United States and Great Britain constructed a biological weapons facility for Iraq during its war with Iran, and helped Iraq to develop weapons grade Anthrax.
The answer is D, the United States and Great Britain constructed a biological weapons facility for Iraq during its war with Iran, and helped Iraq to develop weapons grade Anthrax. The United States was concerned that Iran, with its larger army, would eventually overpower Iraq, our ally at the time. To provide Iraq with a tactical edge over Iran, the U.S. and Great Britain constructed the biological weapons facility.
8. President Bush has declared war on all countries supporting terrorism. Which country openly operates a government-funded international terrorist training school? A) Cuba B) Iraq C) Syria D) United States
The answer is D, the United States. The U.S. Army School of Americas (SOA), nicknamed the School of Assassins by critics and human rights advocates, is based in Fort Benning, Georgia. The school trains Latin American soldiers in combat, counter-insurgency, and counter-narcotics. Graduates of the SOA are responsible for some of the worst human rights abuses in Latin America. Among the SOA's nearly 60,000 graduates are notorious dictators Manuel Noriega and Omar Torrijos of Panama, Leopoldo Galtieri and Roberto Viola of Argentina, Juan Velasco Alvarado of Peru, Guillermo Rodriguez of Ecuador, and Hugo Banzer Suarez of Bolivia. Lower-level SOA graduates have participated in human rights abuses that include the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero and the El Mozote Massacre of over a thousand civilians in El Salvador.
In September 1996 the Pentagon admitted that torture, execution, payment of bounties for enemy dead, false imprisonment, extortion and other techniques were included in training manuals used at the SOA. Representative Joseph Kennedy (D-MA), a long-time opponent of the SOA, said in a statement, "These manuals taught tactics that come right out of a Soviet gulag and have no place in civilized society."
To silence congressional critics and retain funding, in January 2001 the SOA was renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHISC). In a media interview last year, Georgia Senator and SOA supporter, the late Paul Coverdell, characterized the name change proposal as "cosmetic" changes that would ensure that the SOA could continue its mission and operation. Critics of the SOA concur. Why stop indoctrinating terrorism when you can just rebrand?
9. Which terrorist nation has supported genocide and ethnic cleansing abroad through military assistance and arms shipments? A) Iraq B) Syria C) Libya D) United States?
The answer is D, the United States, numerous times. Following a CIA-sponsored military coup in 1954, Guatemala conducted a genocidal war against the indigenous Mayan population. The war was clandestinely supported by the United States through the 1980's, with a quarter of a million people being killed.
From 1984 to 1999 U.S. military assistance and arms shipments to Turkey allowed the Turkish government to carry out a large-scale counter-insurgency campaign in the Kurdish southeast. Turkey largely suppressed Kurdish resistance by terror and "ethnic cleansing", leaving some 2-3 million refugees, 3,500 villages destroyed, and tens of thousands killed.
10. Over the past 50 years the overall toll that terrorism has taken on innocent civilians is tremendous. Which terrorist nation or group holds the record for the responsibility for causing the most number of civilian deaths during that period? A) Osama bin Ladens al-Qaeda network B) Palestinians C) Iraq D) United States
The answer is D, the United States. The United States doesn't even have any serious competition in this area. The list of countries that the Pentagon has attacked in recent decades is long. The list of governments using American-supplied weapons to repress and massacre is even longer. Here is a list of the countries that the United States has been at war with and bombed since World War II: China (1945-46, 1950-53); Korea (1950-53); Guatemala (1954, 1967-69); Indonesia (1958); Cuba (1959-60); the Belgian Congo (1964); Peru (1965); Laos (1964-73); Vietnam (1961-73); Cambodia (1969-70); Grenada (1983); Libya (1986); El Salvador (1980s); Nicaragua (1980s); Panama (1989), Iraq (1991-99), Bosnia (1995), Sudan (1998); Yugoslavia (1999). And now Afghanistan can be added to the list. In addition, we have supported the murder and torture of civilian populations by our client states in Iran, Guatemala, Haiti, Chile, Turkey, Indonesia, East Timor and other places around the globe.
To elaborate on just a few of the highlights .
In Iran, US operatives in the 1950s helped topple an elected government that was threatening Western oil profits. They then installed the Shah, a dictator who relied on torture to maintain control.
The war in Vietnam from 1964 to 1975 claimed the lives of 1-2 million people, most of them civilians.
In Chile, CIA operatives helped overthrow democratically-elected leftist leader Salvador Allende in the early 1970s, creating the long nightmare of Pinochet's rule. The Chilean judiciary is now investigating Pinochet's crimes, but the CIA is only reluctantly opening its files.
Recently released documents prove conclusively that the U. S. offered full and direct approval to Indonesia's then-president Suharto in his December 1975 invasion of East Timor. According to documents collected by George Washington University's National Security Archive, General Suharto briefed U.S. President Gerald Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger on his plans for the former Portuguese colony hours before the invasion. Not only did Suharto have U.S. diplomatic support, but he was also given secret authorization for the illegal use of U.S. arms shipments. This was despite the fact that Indonesia was ordered to withdraw from East Timor at once by the UN Security Council. Additional U.S. arms shipments were sent to Suharto despite the cover of an official embargo. Within two months of the invasion some 60,000 people had been killed. The numbers reached about 200,000 within a few years, thanks to increasing military support from the U. S. and Britain. U.S. support, including the arming and training of commandos, continued until 1999.
In El Salvador, the United States supported and armed a brutal government linked to death squads. El Salvador's civil war raged from1980 to1992. In October 1980, the new archbishop of El Salvador termed it a "war of extermination and genocide against a defenseless civilian population." It was carried out with the military and financial backing of the U.S. In December 1981, El Salvador's elite, U.S.-trained Atlacatl Battalion, fresh from their U.S. training, took part in a massacre in the village of El Mozote, killing over a thousand civilians, with the vast majority of victims being women, children and the elderly. In all, the civil war left 75,000 people dead.
Around the same time, in Nicaragua the United States was supporting a proxy army of terrorists to rape, torture, and murder innocent peasants. The U.S.-funded contra mercenaries were responsible for 50,000 deaths (see details above).
Named "Operation Just Cause", on December 20, 1989, in blatant violation of international law, the U.S. invaded Panama in pursuit of ex-CIA friend Manuel Noriega. An estimated 4000 innocent civilians were killed in the bombing of lower-class civilian neighborhoods. The U.S. military then bulldozed most of the dead into unmarked mass graves.
In the early 1990s, CIA agents created a right-wing group in Haiti that killed hundreds of civilians.
The U.S. war against Iraq in 1991 killed 200,000 people and the subsequent economic sanctions have spelled death for some 500,000 children (see details above).
11. Right up until five weeks before the attack on the World Trade Center negotiations were going on for an oil pipeline across Afghanistan. BBC news, The Guardian newspaper of London, and authors Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquie in a new book titled Bin Laden, la Verite Interdite (Bin Laden, the Forbidden Truth) have all reported that at one of the last of these meetings the representative of a terrorist nation threatened the Taliban of Afghanistan with military action if a deal could not be reached. This representative was from which country? A) Iraq B) Russia C) Pakistan D) United States
The answer is D, the United States. Pakistan's former foreign minister Niaz Naik has claimed that Tom Simons, the U.S. representative at these oil pipeline negotiations, openly threatened the Taliban and Pakistan. ''Simons said, 'either the Taliban behave as they ought to, or Pakistan convinces them to do so, or we will use another option'. The words Simons used were 'a military operation','' Naik claimed. Brisard and Dasquie state that at one moment during the negotiations, the U.S. representatives told the Taliban, "Either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs."
Naik reports further that in July 2001 three American officials, Tom Simons (former U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan), Karl Inderfurth (former Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian affairs) and Lee Coldren (former State Department expert on South Asia), met with Pakistani and Russian intelligence officers in Berlin and told them that the U.S. was planning military strikes against Afghanistan in October.
12. A top intelligence agent of which terrorist nation met with Osama bin Laden in Dubai in July 2001? A) Cuba B) Iraq C) Somalia D) United States
The answer is D, the United States. The French newspaper Le Figaro has reported that while in a Dubai hospital receiving treatment for a chronic kidney infection last July, Osama bin Laden met with a top CIA official. This meeting, held in bin Ladens private suite, took place at the American hospital in Dubai at a time when bin Laden was a wanted fugitive for the bombings of two U.S. embassies and the attack on the U.S.S. Cole. Yet on July 14th bin Laden was freely allowed to leave Dubai on a private jet for Quetta. The CIA agent in question returned to CIA headquarters on July 15th, the day after bin Ladens departure. In an ironic twist, Le Figaro is owned by the Carlyle Group, the U.S. defense contractor which employs George Bush Sr., and which had as investors until they sold their stake on October 26 - the bin Laden family.
13. Many terrorist acts have had devastating consequences on civilian populations. Which of these recent terrorist acts has been responsible for the most deaths of innocent civilians? A) the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City B) the attack on the World Trade Center in New York C) the bombing of the marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon D) the U.S. bombing of Afghanistan
The answer is D, the U.S. bombing of Afghanistan. Marc Herold, a US economics professor at the University of New Hampshire, has carried out a systematic independent study into civilian casualties in Afghanistan. Based on corroborated reports from aid agencies, the UN, eyewitnesses, TV stations, newspapers and news agencies around the world, Herold estimates that at least 3,767 civilians were killed by US bombs between October 7 and December 10. That is an average of 62 innocent deaths a day - and an even higher figure than the 3,234 now thought to have been killed in New York and Washington on September 11. (from The Innocent Dead in a Coward's War, by Seumas Milne, published on Thursday, December 20, 2001 in the Guardian of London). As the killing has continued since December 10th, the civilian death toll must now surely be up above 5000. That figure does not include the untold numbers of civilians that have died of starvation due to the war (see below).
14. Land-mines and cluster bombs are widely recognized to be responsible for the maiming and killing of thousands of innocent civilians. What country still refuses to sign the international treaty banning land-mines, and continues to allow their manufacture, and what country still employs the use of cluster bombs? A) Russia B) Iraq C) Israel D) United States
The answer is D, the United States. Land mines kill 2,400 people each month. In one year that is more than eight times more people than were killed by the terrorists who destroyed the World Trade Center. The 1997 Ottawa Landmines Convention bans the production, export and use of anti-personnel land mines. One hundred and fifty six nations support the ban and by the end of 1999, forty-five nations had ratified the treaty. The United States was not one of them. Then President Clinton refused to sign the treaty believing land mines serve a useful purpose in some parts of the world.
On October 11 the Pentagon confirmed to The New York Times that it was employing cluster bombs in Afghanistan. The controversial weapon scatters hundreds of fist-sized high-explosive bomblets, some of which explode on impact and some of which lie on the ground like anti-personnel mines. They are considered landmines under the 1997 Ottawa Landmines Convention. Cluster weapons of all sorts are worse than old-fashioned landmines which already litter the Afghan landscape. Traditional mines may remove an arm or a leg; a cluster bomblet is a killing field in a canister. It is designed to massacre anything within 100 feet. In Kosovo alone, NATO is estimated to have dropped 35,000 unexploded and unmapped bomblets. As reported in The Times of London, these weapons are killing one civilian a week in Kosovo. They are still killing one civilian a month is Laos, 30 years after being dropped by the United States along the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
The Red Cross, Human Rights Watch and practically every other human rights organization have called for an end to the use of cluster bombs. If ever a weapon was designed specifically for acts of terrorism, this is it. Approximately 70,000 U.S. cluster bomblets are now estimated to be left unexploded in Afghanistan.
15. As a direct result of its recent actions, which country will be responsible for the death by starvation of millions of innocent civilians this winter? A) Iraq B) Syria C) Russia D) United States
The answer is D, the United States. On September 16 The New York Times reported that our government had demanded from Pakistan "the elimination of truck convoys that provide much of the food and other supplies to Afghanistan's civilian population. This food and supplies were keeping at least some of the starving and suffering people of Afghanistan alive. The UN reported early in the war that it expected that eight million people in Afghanistan would be hungry and in need of food aid this winter, more than a third of the population. Unknown numbers of people who have not the remotest connection to terrorism will die, possibly millions.
When five countries, including Britain and Canada, recently offered to send multinational troops to Afghanistan to provide security to ensure the delivery of humanitarian aid to Afghans, the only thing that stood in their way was the U.S. government. The U.S. unbelievably declared that it would not provide security and not allow anyone else to do so either. So there is now food and other aid on the ground but the U.S. is ensuring that it doesn't reach Afghans.
The even bigger story is the huge dislocation the war has caused to the entire population. The World Food Program estimated that as many as 3-4 million people had fled their homes because of the bombing. Médecins Sans Frontières claims that Maslakh - a name that should be on every newspaper front page - is the biggest refugee camp in the world. The few aid workers there haven't even been able to assess its population, which is believed to be somewhere between 200,000 and 800,000 and growing; new arrivals have recently shot up from 20 a day to 1,200.
16. The nations of the world have tried to establish an international criminal court to try war criminals and those committing crimes against humanity, such as those responsible for the September 11th attack. What terrorist nation refuses to be a party to this court? A) France B) Italy C) Japan D) United States
The answer is D, the United States. All of the United States' allies in NATO strongly support the International Criminal Court, and most have ratified the ICC treaty already. Among the handful of states opposing the treaty are Iraq, Libya, Yemen, and the United States.
Fearful of U.S. military personnel being tried for crimes overseas, both the House of Representatives and the Senate have passed the American Servicemembers Protection Act (ASPA). The ASPA would empower the U.S. president to use "all means necessary and appropriate" to free any American detained by the International Criminal Court, which will prosecute individuals accused of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. It also prohibits cooperation of any kind with the court.
Key U.S. allies have strongly opposed the ASPA. In October, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer warned in a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell that "adopting the ASPA would open a rift between the U.S. and the European Union on this important issue."
17. The terrorists that sent Anthrax through the mail this past fall set off a wave of panic across the United States. The hyper-weaponized grade of Anthrax sent to Senate Judiciary Committee chairperson Patrick Leahy, just before the Senate vote on the controversial Patriot Act of 2001 (the legislation that strips us of many of our civil liberties), has proven to be an exact genetic match with the military Anthrax supplies of which country? A) Iraq B) Cuba C) Libya D) United States
The answer is D, the United States. The U.S. Armys Dugway anthrax proving facility in Utah is where the only virtually identical Ames strain of silica-impregnated "hyper-weaponized" anthrax was found. According to The Washington Post, "Dugway is the only facility known in recent years to have processed anthrax spores into the powdery form that is most easily inhaled. The Battelle Memorial Institute, a contractor for both the CIA and the Pentagon, administers and supplies the Dugway facility. The Battelle Memorial Institute is also a partner with Bioport for the sole production of anthrax vaccine in the United States. Bioport is owned in part by the Carlyle Management Group, the multinational investment firm and defense contractor of which past President George H.W. Bush is a director.
18. Based on the above questions, which country would appear to pose the greatest terrorist threat to the rest of the world? A) Iraq B) Somalia C) Iran D) Russia E) Cuba F) Pakistan G) Libya H) Syria I) United States
The answer is I, the United States. As a terrorist threat to the rest of the world, the U.S. has no equals. By now that should be obvious. But then, what can you expect from a nation built upon the extermination of its own indigenous population, one of the greatest acts of genocide and "ethnic cleansing" in human history? At least we have remained faithful to our roots.
To quote Norman Soloman, "Since September 11, many journalists have commented that the United States is unaccustomed to the role of victim. Left unsaid is how accustomed we are to being victimizers while preening ourselves as a nation of worldly do-gooders. The 3,000 human beings who lost their lives at the World Trade Center are casting an enormous shadow -- as they should. But what about the uncounted people killed, one way or another, by U.S. policies? "
While the rest of the world has no trouble seeing the U.S. in its true light, Americans have an especially difficult time seeing their nation as the bad guy. The self-censorship of the mainstream media does not make this task any easier. However, it is our tax dollars that fund U.S.-sponsored terrorism around the world, and as American citizens we have a duty to inform ourselves on how that money is spent. We must remember that this is our country and we still have the right to decide what is done in our name.