July 07, 2005

 

This must end

I am outraged, partly because of all the misdirected outrage that I saw today. To use an old cliché, I am, yet again, shocked by man’s inhumanity to man. At least seven hundred Iraqis have been killed—just in the last two months. Tens of thousands of Iraqis have been injured—just in the last two months. Overall, because of the American invasion of Iraq, a quarter of a million Iraqis have been killed. Millions of Iraqis have been injured, maimed, or incapacitated. Millions of other Iraqis have suffered unspeakable deprivations and horrors of various kinds, not to mention outright torture, all because of and only because of the invasion.

Had there been any humanity left in this world, the carnage in Iraq would have ended the reign of the American Empire long ago. There would have been such an outcry of morally outraged humanity the like of which would never have been heard before. Yet, there is hardly a peep from anyone. Even the daily toll of the dead has disappeared from newscasts.

Today, 37 people died in bomb blasts in London. 700 others were injured. There has been nothing else in the news today. Is the blood of these 37 people any redder than the blood of the quarter million Iraqi dead? Hotlines have been set up for Canadians and others to call to find out if anyone they knew is among the casualties. Where are the hotlines for Iraqis to call to find out the fate of their loved ones? Am I being unsympathetic to the plight of the British dead and injured? Are you being sympathetic to the plight of the Iraqi dead and injured?

All that a sane and rational person can hope for is that this attack will have the same kind of effect on the British people as the similar series of bombings in Madrid last year had on the Spanish people. The Madrid bombings incited the Spanish people to throw out the Bushite government of Aznar, and elect a new government that put a quick end to Spain’s complicity in the Iraqi genocide. Will the British people finally say a loud and clear No to the government of the ignominy whose name is Blair?

Comments:
Thank you. I whole-heartedly agree, and said the same on my blog today.

This 'war' is never going to end. And only deaths Americans care about are Americans (with a 50 percent discount on Canadians, Mexicans and Brits). It's disturbing.
 
I agree as well. It makes no sense. I guess white people just matter more to the news especially white missing women.
 
You neglect to mention the 25 million Iraqis who are no longer living under the boot of the Saddam regime. No more prisons filled with children. No more rape rooms. No more torture chambers. Where's your outrage about that? But it's not like they deserve our sacrifice of blood and wealth. I mean, they're only brown people.
 
People grow accustomed to war, and expect casualties. They don't expect the shock of a terrorist bombing against our most enduring ally, so they're far more likely to feel some kind of personal empathy toward the victims of the horror. It makes sense that Canada, so tied to Great Britain, would set up lines of communication to that country.

We all seem to realize the sad hypocrisy of war, but media anchors seem to report everything like a sporting event. It's as if London were a major league player, and Iraq is just some kid on a junior varsity team unworthy of coverage. We don't know that kid... so why do we care what happens to him?
 
OH MY GOD, I want to congratulate you for thinking like that, Al.
I´m from Mexico and almost all the english speaking blogs I visit are all outraged with the events in London and don´t even think about what happens in the Middle esatern countries everyday.
I feel outraged that there are people who still think Saddam Hussein was behind all of this, and that imposing their way of life without asking is the right thing to do. (I´m not in favor of stoning women, I´m not in favor of rape rooms)
I hate it when people think they have the absolute truth about something.
 
I would like to ask for permission to recommend your blog to some people I know and put a link to it on my own blog.
This is, by far, the best blog I´ve visited.
 
Thanks for your kind words, Angie. Please do spread the word.
 
Hi, I´m from Portugal
Your blog is cool
I don´t like Bush...
 
I'm not sure what Lone Ranger is talking about exactly...there still is torture and rape going on, it's just that we're behind it now. Saddam was a bad dude for sure, but I don't know if the Iraqis would trade that regime for the current mess. Plus the entire war is based on one lie after another...is that the way you graciously liberate someone? With lies, deceit and profiteering? Haliburton has receieved more money than the Iraqi government. That's not the way to build an autonomous government.
 
To Lone Ranger and others who write comments opposing the view expressed in this post: Please read the blog's rules at the top of the page. We are here to discuss ideas, and perhaps try to enlighten each other, not to insult and degrade each other. Thank you.
 
You have put it so beautifully, LeftoverJoe, that I am hesitant to add anything. You most likely agree with what I am about to say, anyway, but I have to add that no country has a right to try to "liberate" another country: (1) People have to liberate themsleves, not be "liberated" by others; (2) When country A tries to liberate country B, it does so to promote the interests of country A (as in the case of the company you mentioned). In every case where the US government has tried to "liberate" another country, the motive has been the promotion of US interests. The President of Uzbekistan has been boiling his opponents alive for years, while maintaining excellent relations with Washington. Recently, the US government was finally forced to show some mild disapprobation towards the savage suppression of the demonstrations in that country.
 
Al, there is only one difficulty I can see in your proposal.

The present Blair government is (ostensibly) left wing. The present Conservative Party (which is supposed to form the foundation stone of the right in Britain) could not find the paper bag it was supposed to fight its way out of in the last elections.

That in itself holds little hope for a change soon in British politics.

I confess to being two-faced about Iraq.

There is no question that Saddam was ripe for removal. The big problem is, has always been, that it was done for all of the wrong reasons. It was (in my mind at least) a job that should have been finished in Iraq1 but history has this strange way of not being easy to change.

No, what concerns me the most and far greater than Iraq, is the response that comes from the combination of "Christians" and fundamentalist "political far right".
 
What I'm getting here from the original posts and most of the comments is that there is some kind of moral equivalency between Saddam as merely a 'bad dude' and the West as the Evil Empire. The other thing I noticed are some figures I've never seen before. I'm quoting here,

"Overall, because of the American invasion of Iraq, a quarter of a million Iraqis have been killed. Millions of Iraqis have been injured, maimed, or incapacitated. Millions of other Iraqis have suffered unspeakable deprivations and horrors of various kinds, not to mention outright torture, all because of and only because of the invasion."

"Haliburton has receieved more money than the Iraqi government. That's not the way to build an autonomous government."

Where did these numbers come from? Where might I go to verify them? I ask, assuming you found them somewhere and could direct me to them quicker. I honestly want to know.

I don't think anyone would deny that collateral damage from warfare is nonexistent. Of course it will happen, and each casualty should be considered tragic in and of itself. But to say anything thats happened collaterally as part of an effort to liberate and democratize a country that at the very least was providing safe haven to terrorists is no better than purposeful killing in the form of beheadings and multiple bombings of innocent people is untenable at best. I have yet to see anything on the net anywhere that shows Americans or Brits beheading innocent people and putting out video to boot. If you do, get back with me.

To me, it is a matter of perspective. If one assumes that countries like America and England are inherently evil and wrong, then I guess the discussion ends here. If we can criticize the wrong things (and there's plenty to go around) without elevating cold blooded killers to the level of civilized societies, then maybe we can talk.
 
Let me get this straight, radical Islamic terrorists plant bombs on various London trains, killing scores of innocent civilians of various ethnic backgrounds.

You, however, want to string up Tony Blair, who, at the time of the bombings, was committing the crime of fighting for more first world aid to the poor of Africa.

The Bastard.
 
you condemn the US for what is happening in Iraq. I am curious, the opportunity that the first truly free elections presented were not worth the cost in lives (American and Iraqi) and money?
 
Probligo, the way I see it, Tony Blair represents the simultaneous final triumph and defeat of Eduard Bernstein’s version of social democracy. Blair (and the Third Way in general) is and has been, regrettably but perhaps inevitably, a major problem for the Left, and not only for the Left. In the last few UK general elections, people have been holding their noses and voting Labour—because as Thatcher used to say, in a very different context, “There is no alternative” (an ironic triumph for the Iron Lady, perhaps?!). I think the best that one can hope for is for Labour to return to, or at least recall, its roots, which is impossible under Blair’s leadership. In other words, I don’t hope for an alternative to Labour, but for a new New Labour.

You are perfectly correct that the radical fusion of religion and politics within the world’s only superpower is a far greater danger than Islamist terrorism. During the 2004 US Presidential Election campaign, the Bush camp reversed the meaning of John Kerry’s promise to reduce terrorism to the point where it is a mere nuisance, and they used that promise as a propaganda weapon against him. But terrorism is a mere nuisance even now. I believe that I, living in Canada’s largest metropolis, am far less likely to be injured by a terrorist attack than I am by lightning. And, despite the multi-coloured alerts, I have no doubt that this is true of every major metropolis in North America. Yet terrorism has provided a perfect pretext for the extreme Right/Christian fundamentalist monstrosity to implement every aspect of its agenda to the full, from environmental destruction to the gutting of civil and even human rights, from the promotion of military over civilian spending to the rollback of every sort of social progress achieved over the last hundred years.
 
Al, if there does happen to be a god then when I meet him (in about 20 years if averages mean anything) I shall be sure to thank him for giving me the best that mankind ever achieved.

For surely, if the end that I think we both see does happen it will be the end of the "common man" as we have known him.

How sad that is.

How sad that we have witnessed the end of the promise of humanity.
 
I am right in the middle of this, cuz, i hate it when people go all "it's so sad" on smaller death tolls, but who cares about people in Iraqi, when it comes to them it just like "sucks to be them" next subject, and just care about US causilites, i do care about all causulities, no matter the side, cuz that is someones loved one, and we should respect most human life(my only exeption is Terrists)
 
Amen. The invaders of iraq need to be taken to trail for war crimes.
 
Hi, Al... I check in with your blog from time to time, as a fellow Torontonian. Yours is one of several blogs I've seen, here and abroad, that make this same point. At first I thought it was only me, and that everyone would cry out for justice at the death of fellow Westerners without following the logic through to its inevitable conclusion. It's good to see people like you asking the hard question -- why aren't we crying out just as loudly for the thousands and thousands of Iraqis, killed by the officially-sanctioned terrorism of the Western world? It's much more common for people to make exceptionalist excuses and try to justify what's become known by that most repulsive of euphemisms, "collateral damage" (formerly known as murder), as being somehow for the Iraqis' own good. Bravo to you for seeing otherwise and saying so.
 
I'm a Londoner - just made my first journey on the tube today after last Thursday. It was a bit strange - the woman sitting opposite me had tears in her eyes, from fear I presume although it could have been something entirely different - but using the tube is such a necessary part of London living that we all just have to get on with it.

I can understand the argument that London is more of a target because of our involvement in Iraq, but what I don't understand is the apparent confusion as to who is behind the atrocities in Iraq. Lone Primate talks about the "thousands and thousands of Iraqis killed by the officially sanctioned terrorism of the western world". Who exactly are you talking about? The same ideology fuels the attacks in Iraq as those in London (and Madrid, Bali, New York, etc.) That ideology is against democracy, against reason. The UK and the US have done some unsavoury things in the conduct of this war, but the rationale behind it is the installation of democracy in Iraq, something which is, at the very least, a damn sight better than the alternative.

I am no cheerleader for the war in Iraq, but I think that when the decision was made, the choice was between letting Saddam get away with flouting the UN yet again (and giving the green light for any other despot to do the same), due to the UN's inability to take tough decisions, and the paradox of undermining the UN by taking action to enforce its resolutions. I have heard many and cogent arguments against the war from people on the left (of whom I count myself one), but I have not heard a convincing argument as to what the international community would have done to enforce UN resolutions and making the UN anything more than a talking shop. Convince me!
 
I promise to try to convince you, John Edwards, as soon as US troops land in Israel to enforce the many UN resolutions that Israel has simply ignored. We can keep arguing about the motivation for the Iraq invasion till the cows come home. The very fact that the US Government keeps changing its story is positive proof, to me, that they are lying. You know, first it was WMDs, then it was this, and then it was that. The Left, on the other hand, has been consistent. The war was about oil.
 
Lovely post! Very well written and i could not agree with you more. The very fact that the United Kingdom is a frontline nation of the world, in many aspects, has evoked so much reaction to this event! But this in no way makes the lives of Iraqis less important! I really feel sad for the state of affairs in the Middle East...
PS: In your blog intro, u had mentioned about non english speakin ppl, well i donno if u'll include me in that bracket. I'm from India... Happy to be here, first time at ur blog. Pls overlook any mistakes in language! :)
 
Al - yes, the US's aupport for Israel is undoubtedly the cause of a lot the problems in the Middle East. But just a factual correction - the UN resolutions on Israel are not Security Council ones (admittedly because the US would use its veto to stop security council resolutions being made that it doesn't like) and so are not as likely to be implemented as the ones on Iraq.

The left (or at least the anti-war majority on the left) has been consistent in saying it is about oil, but consistency is not the same as persuasiveness. Yes Iraq has loads of oil, yes the west needs lots of oil to sate its greedy appetite, but that doesn;t add up to prrof that we went to war for oil. Surely if that was our only interest in Iraq it would have been immensely cheaper to cut a deal with Saddam and keep the oil flowing?
 
My wife & I lost our son when he was very young. It hurt worse than anything most people will ever know, and going through it gave me a perspective that I wish everyone could share but I wish they could experience it without the pain. Every parent hurts this bad when their child dies and it happens all the time. To call it "Collateral damage" sickens me.
I read somewhere once that world leaders should have codes hidden in compartments next to the hearts of their loved ones. Whenever they desired to start a war resulting in "collateral damage" they would have to kill the loved ones themselves in order to get the codes to do so. Maybe then they'd take it seriously enough?

I think you're out of luck, Al, regarding US troops landing in Israel until they become an OPEC member and then exile themselves under the direction of a narcicistic & ultra violent sadistic lunatic. As bad as that situation seems the Israelis still have plently of international support. Maybe if Hitler slowly moved Germans into Poland and put up a big cement wall instead of marching in noone would have complained?
I don't think you need to point to their lies for proof that the Americans are in Iraq for selfish reasons. According to Bush's beliefs the US is on the verge of huge energy price increases in the next 10 years, giving OPEC the power to hold the American economy for randsom. Having a physical & political foothold in the Middle Eastern oil fields is an important strategic move economically in order to secure American autonomy/dominance. It amazes me sometimes that these "Muslim fundamentalists" (no more Muslim than "Christian fundamentalists" are Christian) are undermining the very silent economic Jihad that is being staged by middle eastern countries as we speak.
 
As I said, John Edwards, I won't pursue the issue of the motivation for the war. Just to prevent any misunderstanding, though, I should mention that the difference between UN General Assembly Resoultions and UN Security Council Resolutions is well-known. Israel has ignored Security Council Resolutions 242, 338, 446, 726, 1322, 1397, 1515, and probably a few others I missed. I won't pursue this topic any further, either, as this post's subject is Iraq.
 
someone above said"you condemn the US for what is happening in Iraq. I am curious, the opportunity that the first truly free elections presented were not worth the cost in lives (American and Iraqi) and money?"


25,000 inocent Iraqi's killed so far .. not soldiers not insurgents , not "terrorists" just inocent people going about their lives ..

I often wonder .. where is the "war on terror" 3d logo's for them . where is the hour long special's on Fox or the BBC

48 inocent's killed in iraq yesterday . only a little below the horrific attack in london

why doesnt that get the same coverage ?

I get on those trains everyday in london .. and often pray thanks that I dont have to work in baghdad

is your country of birth really what count's as to the value of your life ??

H in London
 
Thanks for your comment, Lone Primate. It reminded me of a lot of things.

Your mention of "collateral damage" reminded me of people who have condemned the Spanish government for pulling out of Iraq. According to this logic, it would have been quite acceptable for Spanish troops to stay in Iraq, and to continue killing Iraqi people just because Dubya said so. The thousands of Iraqi bodies would have been just "collateral damage." But it is not acceptable for Spain to have exposed white people to the risk that the pullout may in some way encourage the terrorists. As if the terrorists were sitting there waiting for encouragement, anyway!

Your mention of officially-sanctioned terrorism is, of course, reminiscent of Israeli state terrorism against the Palestinian people that has been going on for more years that I want to think of, with the wholehearted sanction of Washington.
 
You know, I wasn't really surprised about what happened here in London. I was worried for my son who was travelling into central London that morning. I was already in central London at work. I think many of us here in London were waiting for something like this to happen. As you may have seen in the news, a lot of us don't agree about our country's involvement in Iraq. War is simply greed, anger and ignorance. I'm ashamed to be a western white person, when it's our (i.e. American, British, European) soldiers who are killing and being killed. It's all total nonsense.
 
To all who have read this post:

Simply put. Information is lacking in your posts. Before you begin to yell, attack and rant about foreign issues I suggest you first do your research. The invasion of Iraq was done rightfully so. Many of you mention hatred for Bush. I myself am not fond of the man. But, what you lack to mention is that Clinton also tried to do this and failed. Moving away from the presidential issue and onto the moral views...People have been freed by an oppressive dictator who allowed none of these people to think for themselves. In his country, you wouldn't have been able to make a post like this one without you and your family being dead the next morning. Certainly there are deaths on both sides. However, you must remember this is war. Its America fighting to help free the people of Iraq from those there that still support Saddam. Secondly, many of these Iraqi casualties you mention came from Saddam's supporters killing other Iraqis. Why are the death tolls slowly dissapearing from the news? Because the deaths are decreasing and because people are sick of hearing one sided news which does not explain the deaths clearly. Should the war end soon. Absolutely. But it should not end until we're sure the Iraqi people are safe.

-B
 
Just because someone disagrees with you doesnt mean they are degrading you.

I good point is made when one ask another of your political standing..Why are you outraged at iraqis dieing now but not then?? Its a really good question. People are going to die for freedom, during our own revolutionary war hundreds of thousands of people died. But for a cause you can not deny iraqis the same opportunity that you hold so dear. Are they not worthy of freedom as well?? And dont say we had to ask. THey wanted to be free of saddam, look back to the uprisings that failed so misserably.

War is hard and it will never be pretty, but it is a nessesity when overthrowing dictators. Soon Iraq will have a republican govt much like the rest of the world and they will be very thankful for it. It will take time and sacrafice. When it is all said and done millions of muslims in iraq and afganistan will have freedom and be much better off, and because of that it is a worthy cause!
 
I agree but you also forgot to menchon the number of americans killed and the number of iraqis no longer under saddams rejime
 
To Bryanmagic - you say that people should do their research yet you also say this:

"The invasion of Iraq was done rightfully so."

Funny last I heard it was illegal according to International Law. Guess your a better researcher then the Attorney General Lord Goldsmith...

Or maybe "Rightfully so" now means Illegal.

Get your facts straight before you criticize others.
 
I think "Regime Change" is such a wonderful term. It's such a warm and cuddly way to denote invading and imposing your values on another nation of people.

If only the Soviet Union had thought up this term back in the cold war... they could have "liberated" so many poor capitalist countries and brought them around to their "freedom" under communist rule. We would have been powerless to stop them since everyone thinks "regime change" is such a good thing!

Wake up people, fancy words don't change whats being done. You can dress things up anyway you like but the fact remains that a country has been invaded and our values (Western Capitalism and Deomocracy) are now being forced onto people in said country.

Think about this from a different perspective... what if China decided that the US would be better off as a communist state. They then invade and crush the American Military, then happily begin reeducating the American population about the wonders of communism.

I guess the bottom line is that "Regime Change" is good when its not happening to you.
 
Welcome to a new kind of warfare, people. What happened in London was small potatoes. It will happen here, and there, and everywhere for as long as any of us are on this earth. We removed a horrible man from power. He was no different than Hitler. And we did help millions and millions of Iraqi's. But now we need to get the hell out. These people will never be free unless they act for themselves. Give the country back and see where it goes. I have a cousin in the Marines that is over there right now. I don't want him, or anyone else, dying while we play big brother to the world.
 
This is exactly how I feel about animal shelters that put pets to sleep. I'd very much like to encourage you to read "Shelter Dogs: Amazing Stories of Adopted Strays."

Because deep down, aren't these Iraqi soldiers just like animals?
 
Thanks, Eklipz, for your comments. I want to add another analogy to the ones you have drawn. One of the commenters faulted me for not mentioning the number of American soldiers killed. The fact that about two thousand American soldiers have given their lives for Halliburton only makes the Iraqi holocaust just that much larger and that much more senseless. It does not in any way justify it. In any case, the fact is that it is not for conquered nations and their sympathizers to mourn dead conquerors. I have read quite a bit of history. I remember reading rough estimates of how many millions of people the Mongols killed, raped, and so on. I have not seen any figures on how many Mongol soldiers got killed in the process. I am sure many thousands of them did. I am sure many Mongol soldiers even believed they were liberating the conquered nations from the yoke of medieval tyranny.
 
If something constructive must come of this the worlds leaders egos must stand down. I dont see that comming anytime soon. More diplomats will have to resume there work once the U.S. resources are too costly to continue. The fighting does not seem to be productive. It will take too long and cost too much to continue this occupation. Ultimately more of the people of Iraq will have to join the process. I dont really know what is meant by free elections. If I had armed foreign soldiers around my polling places I would have to wonder what is free about it ? If I had car bombings going off in my neighborhood I may not even risk venturing out to vote for a government I have no prior knowledge of. I think we Americans make the presumption the rest of the world wants to live like us.
We associate our life style with cheap energy, dependable electricity, clean water, a standard of living higher than the rest of most countries.
If any one of those items were missing in my city of Dallas , Texas we would express extreme reactions. Even know with all of those things and a 'free' society we have very violent crime. Only the most gruesome make the news.
Pardon my rant. To sum up we are not the only ones to decide what is good for another country. The military is a very poor option and only delays real progress. It will take at least as long as as most past historical re-construction efforts (50 years+). Armed soldiers can easily form resentment among those they occupy and are not a valid substitue for policemen.

Publicly admitting mistakes may be a political stength, rather than making exucses for invading Iraq for WMD's, violating a UN section of a rule, removing their government,imposing our version of government, 'saving' them , or what ever political dribble comes from one who chose not to experience conflict reminiscent to Iraq.
 
People have been freed by an oppressive dictator who allowed none of these people to think for themselves.

Yeah, and tens of thousands have been "freed" from their bodies in the process, and hundreds of thousands can now think for themselves how horrible life is in the absence of their loved ones. Instead of an overlord who largely preyed on political opponents and separatists, they now have an overlord who largely preys on anything that moves in a land where electricty and clean water are now scarce commodities. Things are so much better now. Oh, thank you, America! Thank you so bloody much!
 
I think the one item the bombing in London highlights is Bush's short attention span. Instead of (rightly) going after Al Quada and extinguishing this treat, he goes after another, totally unrelated country. He should have stayed in Afganistan and hunted down the terrorists. He should have set up a proper court system, instituted democratic reforms, create a sustaining infrastructure in Afganistan. Instead he has now fucked up two countries instead of fixing one.
 
Time for you to do some research on why the spanish voted a new government in. It was not a anti-iraq war statement.
 
To Hofzinser: The Spanish vote against the Aznar government was very much a vote against the war on Iraq. The overwhelming majority of the Spanish people had consistently expressed opposition to their country's involvemnt in the war, without getting any response from the Aznar government. The bombing, and Aznar's subsequent lies attributing it to the ETA so as to detract people's attention from the real reason, was the last straw. Or, to use another saying, it was adding insult to injury. The Spanish people punished Aznar for playing politics with the lives of the Spanish people, both in Spain itself and in Iraq, and for getting involved in Iraq against the will of the nation.
 
Hi everyone! I really enjoyed reading all your comments. I would like to add a few quick points. I am terribly sorry for all the people that lost their loved ones and/or were hurt on the tube in London. It was sad to see what happened.

On this point - please put yourselves in the shoes of the poor iraqi people that deal with this on an every day basis. They say goodbye to their loved ones sending them out to earn a living so they can live and survive and each day they face death. Not by choice, but by force. Since we don't see English speaking people getting hurt, that doesn't mean these people are any less human than we are.

While we are living in our comfortable homes and are afforded a comfortable life, the iraqi's don't have this. As a result, this creates more hatred between the muslims and non-muslims. Therefore, this may result in more attacks in more cities all around the world.

Please be aware that for each person's life being lost in an arab country, there is a new family that becomes a martyr's family there and what we are doing will cause further harm to ourselves. The reprecautions we will see in decades to come.

From a muslim woman that lived through war...
 
And people wonder why I'm an anarchist??? It takes a government to fight a war... Ya want to end war; end governments.

http://governmentsuck.blogspot.com
 
I agree with Sabrina, particularly her comment about "English-speaking people". It seems to me that we feel some sympathy for any human... at least, those we don't see as diametrically opposed to us... and we feel a large amount of sympathy for people whose government and economic philosophies closely parallel our own (say, France, Germany, Japan, etc.)... but that our deepest, most-heartfelt sympathies are reserved for the people who, when they come on TV, aren't just seen to be blubbering and jabbering, but are crying out words we understand. It's sad that that's still the measure of humanity; that you're only fully human to 'me' if you're using the same set of symbols 'I' am. That attitude makes all kinds of atrocities so much easier for people to plan, undertake, and excuse. :(
 
Yes, Lone Primate, sympathy has a lot to do with it, and so does hatred. We sympathize with people who are like ourselves, and we have a propensity to hate people who are not like ourselves, that is, we tend to be xenophobic. In countries like Canada, the tendency towards xenophobia is strongest among that segment of the population whose political inclinations are toward the extreme right. To them, everything is about Us and Them. Or, rather, they perceive everything unpleasant as a fresh opportunity to blame and vilify "Them," that is, immigrants and people of other races. They enjoy nothing better than venting their rage against the evils of "the terrorists," by which term they really mean the immigrants and people of other races that they have always railed against anyway. The difference now is that they enjoy the advantage of railing against them openly. That is why we hear so much talk about “tightening up” the immigration process as soon as there is any unpleasant news, from environmental degradation to unemployment, from the supposed deterioration in the quality of education to … terrorism. As if immigration had anything to do with it. As if “tightening up” the immigration process can stop a determined and highly trained terrorist. Yet the extreme Right prefers not to see the real causes of what happens in their society and in the world at large, because any revelation of the real causes would tend to expose extremely uncomfortable and inconvenient facts. It would reveal the root cases of environmental destruction, economic stagnation, social disharmony, and … terrorism. They would do everything in their power to obscure the fact that the causes of these problems are the institutions and practices that they revere and profit from.
 
"To them, everything is about Us and Them"

I disagree that there's a definable line between "us" and "them".
I think the root of this entire problem is the systematic despiritualization of Western society. I'm not saying we all have to be christian or muslim, but that we'd lessen the risk of alienating people who disagree with uber-capitalism (that western society has seemingly transformed into) if we placed some limits on the capitalism in our society. Historically these limits were based on religious beliefs and now I fear the "progressives" (your words, not mine) have stripped society of these limits. I don't necessarily disagree personally with, for example, the platform of the NDP. However I do see that imposing it on a population that hasn't naturally evolved to that point will cause many people stress, often more people than will be benefitted by the changes.
A good recent example I think is the Gay Marriage Bill by the Canadian government. Polls clearly show that ~ 40% to 50% of Canadians feel at odds with this policy. You or I might be on the other side of that statistic because we're aware that gays love just like we do and have existed throughout history, aren't paedophiles, etc. etc. , but the fact is that 40% of the population will be alientated by this change. We benefit 2%-10% of the population that is gay, at the cost of 40% of Canadians becoming alienated. Maybe if the government had waited a few more years the general public view would have changed in its own time and that alientation wouldn't exist.
It's not just Coke, McDonald's, and Shell that's offending people, it's our whole neo-capitalist society in which spirituality is shoved aside for the diversion of watching some hot chick sell us a burger on television or conditioning us to want an ipod.

I'm a centrist, I think in order for peace to exist you have got to consider everyone, not just those that are sure they're right, neo-conservative, or neo-liberal. I don't think any solution exists wherein everybody agrees to anything, everything's a comprimise.

The American arguments about Iraqis being kept warm by the warm blanket of freedom whilst being constantly bombed really worries me as I live in Vancouver, and having someone that ignorant with access to guns & ammo just a few miles from me is scary. I hope to god they don't get the idea to come & liberate me & my family.
 
I agree with you. As an American, i am horrified that when 150 iraqi civilians and 2 marines die that no one seems to care about all the innocents who are being slaughtered. No one thinks Sadam is a good guy and yes it is good that he is gone...but at what cost to Iraqi people? Most could live their daily lives and never visit torture rooms or become a victim of his nasty policies. Now, people cant go shopping or send kids to schools without the threat of being blown to bits by a suicide bomber. I dont need to go on and on about how Iraq isnt even linked to Osama bin Laden...we all know the facts. Just know that there are 40+ mil U.S. citizens doing everything we can to make things right!
 
AL - I totally agree with your comments on the said issue. Muslims has been labelled as Terrorist for the known reasons, eventhough we are a non-extremist or fundementalist or an 'average' Muslims. Israel occupation on Palestine land has never been tackled seriously by the 'big brothers', Iraq is still turbulating, Bosnian genocide killers are still out there freely. So, what do they expect from us, the Muslims? to keep quiet and do nothing, and just watching our brothers and sisters slaughtered by their 'puppet troops'? Im extremely sympathize to these soldiers. They represents their countries to Iraq for the sake of democracy and peace but what they dont know is Bush and Blair dont send them for that angelic reason. Democracy? Show me if there is a 'real' democracy in New York or London. The meaning of 'Democracy' in the dictionary of Bush & Blair is so different from what have been taught in school, at least in my country and my religion. Malaysian.
 
as a muslims, i honestly think that muslims are being unfairly blamed for the terrorist acts. the media kept saying "islamic terorrism", when in fact most muslims worldwide, who lives daily life just like anyone else, is just as clueless to who the terrorist are. belive it or not, we don't know who they are as much as you do.

what's worse, after the attack, muslims are reportedly being attacked; as far as being murdered. these hate crimes is especially serious for muslim women, as women are more visible as muslims in the public eye because we wear the head scarves.

so please, as a muslim, i'm telling you, i don't know anything about the terrorists. i hope people can see that, muslims are as much affected. if we're on the same bus to be hit, we'll be bombed as well. & the worse part is, we're more likely to might be accused as the perpetrator, the suicide bomber itself. because it fits the alqaeda image. true?

i do hope people will understand our situation.

as for the iraqis etc, i pray for them peace & safety. May God Help them, amen.
 
I am not a big fan of Gwynne Dyer, but occasionally he exposes aspects of world events that everyone else seems to have missed, as he does here. He first makes the fairly obvious point that only the countries that have participated in the Iraqi genocide (my term!) have suffered terrorist attacks (including, by the way, the US government, which has been a perpetrator of the Iraqi genocide since many years before the official beginning of the current war). Dyer goes on to make the more subtle point that home-grown terrorists, as in the British case, have a different set of motivations than foreign terrorists. Home-grown terrorists are deeply alienated young people who feel abandoned and betrayed by their own government. Their actions have little to do with religion or culture. Rather, they are a pathological response to political situations. As a point of comparison, I would cite the case of Timothy McVeigh and his fellow American terrorists. The reason McVeigh’s group attacked a US government building was that they felt deeply betrayed and abandoned by the US government. According the Dyer’s argument, many British youth feel the same way about their government.

These facts about home-grown terrorism, by the way, debunk the Right’s knee-jerk association of terrorism with immigration policy. Terrorism arises from the way that some Western governments treat some of their own people, and the way they act in the world at large. It has nothing to do with immigration policy.
 
Interesting article by Dyer. One or more of the London bombers had apparently visited Palestine before this.
I would more readily believe that they were more affected by the juxtaposition of Muslim suffering there against the relatively trivial and meaningless lives in the western world (that shows clear support for & turns a blind eye to Israel) than he was by the consiracy theories of the US & UK invading Iraq. Wasn't it a British plan to create the state of Israel there in the first place?

I don't think the effect of neo-liberal & neo-capitalist policies can be discounted as it moulds our perception in Western cultures so that we have difficulty seeing things from the perspective of these people who have been raised in a society whose laws are based in religious faith. It's bad enough going there with western liberal ideas that they find offensive, but then imposing them with violence? We've truly made our own bed when it comes to terrorism. It makes me wonder if the only way to solve the problem is to give them a pile of money or resources and let the Islamic countries deal with it themselves, then leave them alone unless absolutlely necessary. However that's not an option until they run out of oil is it?

With regard to immigration, I don't get it either. My views are definitley to the right of yours but believe me I have no idea where these arguments come from, and frankly I haven't heard any lately, but to me it stinks of racism.
 
Hey Al. This is a great post.

You have taken me off your blogroll? Was it something I said?
 
Thanks for the compliment, L-Girl. For that, but also mainly because you run a great blog, you have been re-added to the roll.
 
Blame Bush, blame the Iraqi's, blame Saddam, white's, blacks, Blair, and yada yada yada. Everyone is pointing fingers at each other. It is not a question as who is to blame. It's a question of, Who would do this? Why innocent people? Why children? Because they want us all so mad at each other that we will point at each other in blame. And WE ARE NOT TO BLAME. We will never end this because we can never end the thoughts of a person that can no longer see right from wrong, the way we preceive it. Just as we can not stop a person from killing themselves nor can we control where and the time he decides. If their reasons are to get us to hate each other, then we must say it is NOT WORKING!! Just like we say WE ARE NOT AFRAID. Come on people get it together. Voice your opinion not for their pleasures but for what we will not let them get away with and for what we will not let them ever do. They won't make us hate and we are not afraid!
 
Yet another interesting topic, with a nicely written article from Al. I have not read all comments yet, but just want to thank Al and many of the commenters for good reading.

I think it is very important to keep perspective here. I personally have very big problems when taking an oppinion to the Iraq conflict. Blood always run during wars. Also during liberation wars, etc. This does not however give USA carte blanche to start a revolution everywhere they feel like, or profit from. I would undoubtly be a strong supporter of an uprising against Saddam started by rebelis from Iraq. It might even be acceptable for the world to intervene the Saddam opposition requested aid in their fight for freedom...

On the other hand, we are rid of Saddam now anyway...

I think this boils down to the question: Does the end justify the means?(assuming the end is democracy and peace)
 
Excelent comment, dear Al! I am happy to know there are people with a critical point of view as you! I will definitely continue reading your articles.
The great point is unfortunately that we are not worth the same, in practice... do anyone care about all children dying of hunger each day, for example? Almost no one... That´s why we have to get some sort of perspective to what´s going on in the world. Of course it is terrible with a suicide attack in the middle of Europe, ok, I agree on that, but it is nevertheless unacceptable that we aren´t doing anything to stop the war that is the main cause of the attack...
The only thing we can do is write articles, try to create conscience about this...
/Patricia
 
You are right Patricia... there is so damd little we can do. I signed the "make powerty history campaing petition" but it did not help much. I can choose who I want to vote for in the coming Norwegian elections, but that won't help much either (Norway is one of the countries giving the most effort (economical) per capita, but since we're so small, it does not matter that much). I guess we might be able to do small things like buying fair trade coffee and fruits, but this is not very effective unless millions are doing it. There is currently an initiative in Norway to cut sales tax on free trade products to stimulate sales. A nice proposal indeed...
 
sometimes for freedom you do what you have to , now the iraci people want us there ... they want their freedom just as much as we have ours .. what did our fore fathers do for it , I do not think they were passing out diasies ...
 
Well, apart from the fact that not everyone in the U.K. supported the Iraq situation, I think your statement of millions of Iraqis dead and millions tortured is quite an exagerration. Yes we do have some compassion but you know little of U.K. history if you think this will move us. Suicide bombers will not change anything. You can't blame policies for terrorist attacks, this smacks of Cherie Blairs previous comments that suicide bombers are 'understandable'. What is fueling this action is radical and twisted teachings. If you oppose policies there is a political forum in which to fight, otherwise you can justify anything, including the actions of such like Hitler. To change your policies in the face of violence is cowardice. there will always be violent, manipulative individuals. Remember Aesops donkey. You can't make everyone happy, you must fight for what is right. Whether or not something is is right is up for debate, but don't give the terrorists sympathy, they would kill you in 2 seconds if they could.
 
In response to eklipz:

Thats odd. I assume you enjoy freedoms here in America. But yet, you agree with international laws? International laws are a violation of our freedoms and rights. The UN no longer protects individual nations. Its simply attempting to establish a globalist nation and we're one of its pawns.

Attempting to refuse a nation from helping another (as the UN was supposed to be doing) is an immoral act and a violation of what America stands for. You say get my facts straight. I say open your eyes and see the truth.

-Bryan
 
unno what? i couldn't agree with u more
 
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