Online Journal
Front Page 
 Special Reports
 News Media
 Elections & Voting
 Social Security
 Editors' Blog
 Reclaiming America
 The Splendid Failure of Occupation
 The Lighter Side
 The Mailbag
 Online Journal Stores
 Official Merchandise
 Progressive Press
 Barnes and Noble
 Join Mailing List

Commentary Last Updated: Sep 12th, 2006 - 01:22:14

The "War on Terror"
By Michael Samstein
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Sep 12, 2006, 01:17

Email this article
 Printer friendly page

As we mark the 5th anniversary of the tragic events of September 11 we are still at war, our war, the war the Bush administration coined, the �War on Terror.� A war that both Republicans and Democrats believe in and continue to declare, to the public, that they are the better party in continuing the �War on Terror.� There isn�t a day that goes by that this headline is not splashed across every newspaper, magazine, and news channel. We are constantly reminded that our country is at war. At war against a great evil Islamofascist enemy that wishes to destroy us because they hate our freedom and democracy.

As an adversary, this Islamofascist regime has been extremely impotent. When Donald Rumsfeld gives speeches of the great threat of this Islamofascist enemy, if left unchecked, will spread and establish an Islamic Caliphate empire from Asia to Spain. Eventually, I assume, it would end up knocking on our doorsteps here in the U.S. and you are left to imagine a powerful enemy sweeping across Europe. Our allies putting up a strong defense, but alas succumbing to this evil regime. NATO being equally defeated and each European country simply toppling over as it is over run by the Islamofascist regime. The regime that the Neoconservatives of this country so frequently cite as the reason our �War on Terror� is something we cannot stop and is a war that will last a very, very long time.

But we have been given no evidence to support the government�s claims other than the occasional terror threat and, in most cases, dubious claims of thwarting terror strikes aimed at �mass murder.� We have not witnessed anything remotely resembling an Islamic Caliphate on the move. Does anyone even know what it�s supposed to look like other than the notion Bush, Rumsfeld and company provide, that it would send us back to the �dark ages�? That statement unto itself is historically inaccurate. If anyone has studied history, they would know that it was the Islamic empire that ushered in the age of enlightenment that took Europe out of the Dark Ages. Bending and shaping history to its liking is nothing new for this government.

Let us look at the reasons our government waged war against terror. First it was allegedly in response to 9/11 to seek justice for the 2,752 people that were murdered that day and secondly to destroy the evil Islamic terrorist network to prevent a further 9/11 from ever occurring.

Now let us look at this in terms of raw facts and body count:

  1. The attack on 9/11 allegedly by 19 �Muslim� men murdered 2,752 innocent people.
  2. Despite the 9/11 commission report and the government�s claims that Al Qaeda was responsible, little evidence has been presented to substantiate the case. Al Qaeda emphatically denied they had anything to do with it. Why would you need to deny the biggest terrorist strike in the history of the world? If you spent months, years, planning the greatest attack in history, as we are told by our government, don�t you think these people would have known what the repercussions would be and that they would turn the world against them? So why lie and claim no responsibility? Why? Because it was not a lie. No evidence other than some videotape conveniently discovered afterwards shows Osama bin Laden condoning the attacks. Condoning an attack and pulling the trigger are two different crimes. We should be focusing on who has a powerful enough finger to pull the trigger; instead our government has conveniently and manipulatively focused our attention on those who condoned the attack.
  3. Many European news agencies, including the BBC on September 23, 2001, reported several of the named hijackers as being alive and well in the Middle East after 9/11. To date, at least seven of the 19 are still alive. Yet despite this obvious mistake by the FBI in its release of the information of the 19 suspects, to date, they have NOT changed their list of suspects. How can the FBI continue to claim the 19 suspects as those that hijacked the airlines despite facts proving otherwise? Because the government does NOT care nor does it need to justify the war on terror to the American public. The only official story of 9/11 is the 9/11 Commission Report and that is the gospel, end of story, no more questions, period!
  4. Our government's response was to wage war on the Taliban. The reason submitted was that they harbored terrorists and would not hand bin Laden over to the U.S. authorities. Yet bin Laden�s whereabouts on September 10 through September 12 were already known to the U.S. Dan Rather on CBS had reported that bin Laden was in a military hospital in Pakistan. What you were not told by the American media is that our government went to war in Afghanistan over a pipeline deal. There are many articles about this fact, including one from Ted Rall, whom I admire for his courageous writing. His article, titled: The Complete Truth About the U.S. Attack on Afghanistan, is a lighthearted way to reveal the truth about that war.
  5. Our attack against Afghanistan resulted in around 3,500 civilian deaths, 6,200 serious injuries, 319 U.S. troops killed, 957 seriously injured, 8,587 Afghan troops killed and 25,761 seriously injured, 166 coalition troops killed and 498 seriously injured, according to official U.S. reports. That means in our war in Afghanistan to avenge the murder of 2, 752 Americans, we killed 12,572 people and injured 33,416.
  6. Next came the spin on Iraq. The government sold the story that Al Qaeda and Iraq were co-conspirators in the war on terror. That Saddam had weapons of mass destruction (WMD), that he could launch them within minutes and that he could pass WMD to terrorist operatives to strike at the heart of our free and democratic societies. The corporate media bought it without even negotiating a discount. With the media having a field day tying together Saddam, WMD, Al Qaeda and the War on Terror, the majority of the American people bought into it as well.
  7. Despite the fact that we now know our government systematically lied about the ENTIRE war on Iraq, we have nonetheless continued to allow this mafia organization to chart the course of our nation and lead us to even more global destruction. In Iraq, our war on terror has cost 216,676 civilian deaths and 390,017 serious injures. Thirty thousand Iraqi troops killed, 90,000 seriously injured, 2592 U.S. troops killed and 40,002 seriously injured. Two hundred-thirty coalition troops killed and 690 seriously injured. One hundred-thirty-three U.S. civilians killed, 240 seriously injured, 209 coalition civilians killed and 376 seriously injured. That�s 249,840 deaths and 521,503 serious injuries.
  8. Let�s now add the mounting casualties of both wars, that�s an astronomical 262,397 dead and 554,814 seriously injured as a result of our actions to bring justice to the deaths of 2,572 Americans who died on September 11, 2001. That�s 102 people killed for every one who died that day.
  9. Now our government is embarking on a war against Iran on the grounds that they too support terrorism and are developing WMD. This war, which is inevitable, will ultimately yield as many deaths as we have seen in Iraq, if not more . . .
  10. But hold on? If our government lied about 9/11, lied about Afghanistan and lied about Iraq, how can they fool us again with phony evidence about Iran? I think Bush summed this up with this intelligent quote �There's an old saying in Tennessee -- I know it's in Texas, it's probably in Tennessee -- that says, fool me once, shame on . . . shame on you. Fool me -- you can't get fooled again.� What in fact he was trying to say was �Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.� We the American people have been fooled many times since the 2000 elections. Shame on us that we let these fools continue to hijack our Bill of Rights, our constitution and our country.

Getting the right perspective of the terror threat is the most important part of breaking the FEAR the government is using to terrorize the American public and the world! Endless fake terror alerts to which the media acts with hysteria, resulting in a form of fear-based mind control that zombifies the general public to act without the ability to THINK for itself. This fear has been used to keep neoconservatives in power, to continue to erode our civil liberties, to continue to wage wars based on lies and to continue the plans that were developed by the Project for the New American Century (PNAC).

During the Clinton administration in the '90s, the PNAC neoconservatives were busy drafting a document called the Rebuilding America�s Defenses. Some of those key persons drafting that document are now in the highest offices in the country. They include Dick Cheney; I. Lewis Libby; Donald Rumsfeld; Paul Wolfowitz; Eliot Abrams; John Bolton; Richard Perle; Randy Scheunemann; Bruce Jackson; William Kristol and Jeb Bush.

The document outlines the plan for a great Imperial America. Many people have compared this document to Hitler�s Mein Kampf. I believe that people need to read this to truly understand the madness behind this government and their plan for endless wars. The document is proudly published on their website. To get a general outline of what this blueprint contains, I recommend reading Bette Stockbauer�s summary. One of the most profound statements in this publication is the one that explains that the changes outlined in the blueprint would be extremely slow to implement due to the resistance of the citizens of the United States, absence a defining moment such as a �new Pearl Harbor.�

September 11 was their �new Pear Harbor.� Whether the government orchestrated the attacks or knowingly allowed them to occur, just like they allowed Pearl Harbor to occur, they found their defining moment to rapidly execute this blueprint and having been doing so ever since.

How serious is this terror threat? I know the government has that kindergarten color chart to tell us uninformed civilians how fast our heart needs to beat in anxiety by the color for the day. But really, how serious is this terror threat to us and the world? Let�s examine how likely we are to die from a terrorist attack.

How many terrorist attacks have occurred in the U.S. pre-9/11?

  1. 1920 Sept. 16, New York City: TNT bomb planted in unattended horse-drawn wagon exploded on Wall Street, opposite the House of Morgan, killing 35 people and injuring hundreds more. Bolshevik or anarchist terrorists believed responsible, but crime never solved.
  2. 1954 March 1: Four Puerto Rican nationalists, using automatic pistols, fired 30 rounds from the balcony of the House of Representatives at the House floor, wounding five representatives, one seriously.
  3. 1975 Jan. 24, New York City: bomb set off in historic Fraunces Tavern killed four and injured more than 50 people. Puerto Rican nationalist group (FALN) claimed responsibility, and police tied 13 other bombings to the group.
  4. 1993 Feb. 26, New York City: bomb exploded in basement garage of World Trade Center, killing six and injuring at least 1,040 others. In 1995, militant Islamist Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman and nine others were convicted of conspiracy charges, and in 1998, Ramzi Yousef, believed to have been the mastermind, was convicted of the bombing. The government claimed that Al Qaeda involvement was suspected. But from mounting evidence that has come to light we now know that this was an INSIDE job and the government allowed this bombing to happen as reported in the New York Times on October 28, 1993.
  5. 1995 April 19, Oklahoma City: car bomb exploded outside federal office building, collapsing wall and floors. 168 people were killed, including 19 children and 1 person who died in rescue effort. Over 220 buildings sustained damage. Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols later convicted in the antigovernment plot to avenge the Branch Davidian standoff in Waco TX. Even this bombing is QUESTIONABLE at best according to William F. Jasper in Proof of Bombs and Cover-up.

So in nearly 100 years, there have been six terrorist attacks of any significance in the U.S. including the most serious one on 9/11. The government claims as to the identity of the perpetrators in the last three attacks have been extremely questionable as the facts are slowly revealed to the general public. Yet the casualty toll of terror attacks in the U.S. pre-9/11 stood at just 213 deaths. 2,752 on 9/11 and none since 9/11, does this mean we are winning the war on terror? Not according to our government, which continues to remind us daily that the enemy is adapting and that the government needs to conduct more covert measures and surveillance against its own citizens in this most serious threat to our survival.

The reality is that your chances of dying from a terror attack are so slim, that you have a greater chance of dying from a lightning strike. There are approximately 300 deaths a year worldwide from terrorist attacks. There are approximately 400 deaths a year from people struck by lightning.

If you really want terror, one need only look domestically to see what government-sponsored terror looks like. More than 12,000 Americans die EACH year from firearms, did we create tighter controls on their sale or take up more effective measures to combat these senseless deaths? No. In fact, when the federal assault weapons ban came up for renewal last year, the Bush administration let it expire. After all any measure to protect human life would cost the gun industry too much money and the lobbyists ensured the government took no action. I am not advocating taking guns away from citizens or banning guns, but there are ways to control guns so that they don�t get in the wrong hands. . . . hands of criminals or hands of children. For many years now some have shown that you can fingerprint guns so that they can only be used by the owner, such technology is simple and very effective to prevent accidental shootings. In 2001 alone, there were 29,573 deaths from firearms and over 200,000 injuries. Surely this is a more urgent issue than random terrorists strikes that kill 300 people worldwide a year?

How about the more than 18,000 Americans who die EACH year because they don�t have medical insurance? Have we tackled this issue by providing health coverage for those who cannot afford insurance or forced the insurance companies to stop gouging the public and reaping these huge profits? No. In fact, in to the run to the 2004 elections, insurance companies were bracing themselves for trouble if the Democrats won, as that would have caused a slight dip in their profits. After the cooked election, insurance companies celebrated as they knew they would get a free hand in price gouging, benefit cuts and simple downright abuse of the American public. The results are that more people are continuing to die unnecessarily each year and more people are suddenly finding themselves in the uninsured bracket because of unjustified skyrocketing insurance premiums. And don�t think those with medical insurance get away easily. Upwards of 70,000 Americans die each year through medical errors and malpractice.

These death by firearms and death due to lack of medical insurance kill upwards of 30,000 American�s a year. That means in the five years we have spent pursuing the war on terror, as a result of 2,752 deaths, over 150,000 American have died needlessly in the U.S. at the hands of Americans.

Some will argue that dying from a bomb is very different form dying without medical insurance. Death is death no matter how it�s dealt. Death that can be avoided, but is not, as a result of inaction, is and should be recognized as MURDER.

Furthermore, we are not the first nation to face terror attacks nor shall we be the last. However, since Hitler�s Germany, we are the first nation to decide to use an alleged terror strike to curb civil rights and launch preemptive attacks on other sovereign nations. We now wage war not on facts, but unsubstantiated beliefs.

There have been more terrorist attacks in the United Kingdom in the past 40 years from the IRA than there have been terror attacks in the entire history of the U.S. Did the English bomb Ireland and apply collective punishment to the nation?

ETA has been terrorizing the Spanish for 40 years and has killed 800 people in Spain. Did the government bomb the entire Basque Catalan regions?

The acts of preemptive strikes, especially ones that are conducted on fabricated claims are the gravest threat to the world today. The U.S is setting precedents on the world stage that it can act unilaterally, with or without UN support. That it can strike at any target it deems a threat, with or without evidence. That it can kidnap, detain, torture and execute any suspect anywhere in the world, without habeas corpus.

All these actions are contrary to International Law and the Geneva Conventions. By acting in this lawless manner, the United States is giving justification for other countries to act in the same dangerous, and in most cases disproportionate, manner. Last month�s war in Lebanon was a perfect example of this lawless behavior that states seem to now justify. Israel�s actions in Lebanon last month have been labeled by the UN and Human Rights organizations as War Crimes.

Yet throughout the conflict and to this day, the United States condones the actions of Israel, why? There are two simple reasons why. First is the power of the lobby, most notably AIPAC (American- Israel Public Affairs Committee), its influence on the U.S. government is second to none. Secondly, how can the United States condemn Israel�s actions, when our own country�s actions are no better?

Whether we like it or not, our government is so manipulated by corporations and lobby groups, such as AIPAC, that it�s hard to see any bill or policy that is not geared to benefit them.

No, the war on terror is really as Bush�s Freudian slip stated very early on in the campaign, a �Crusade.� The war on terror is really about creating �a New Middle East� that Condoleezza Rice spoke of last month. A New Middle East where Israel is the sole major powerbroker and where the U.S. controls the region�s resources through the installation of puppet regimes and permanent military bases.

In August of this year, an article printed in the U.S. Armed Forces Journal by Major Ralph Peters, who was formerly assigned to the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, candidly revealed the major redrawing plans of the Middle East, adding cynically �Oh, and one other dirty little secret from 5,000 years of history: Ethnic cleansing works.

A decade earlier he wrote in the U.S. Army War College journal, "Those of us who can sort, digest, synthesize, and apply relevant knowledge soar -- professionally, financially, politically, militarily, and socially. We, the winners, are a minority." This minority will inevitably conflict with the vast majority of the world's population. "For the world masses, devastated by information they cannot manage or effectively interpret, life is 'nasty, brutish . . . and short-circuited.'" In "every country and region," these masses who can neither "understand the new world," nor "profit from its uncertainties . . . will become the violent enemies of their inadequate governments, of their more fortunate neighbors, and ultimately of the United States."

His words are not delusional or unique, there is strong evidence that shows this is where we are heading, where the New World Order is taking us. A world in where �you are either with us or you are with the terrorists,� as Bush stated in his address to the Joint Session of Congress and the American People on September 20, 2001. In such a world, those who speak out against their governments will be labeled terrorists. Only last week�s stark reminder of such a fact was Rumsfeld�s speech to the American Legion, telling them and us that those who question the government today have �moral or intellectual confusion.� That�s quite amusing coming from a government that�s got nearly everything wrong so far, yet refuses to acknowledge any mistake or take any blame.

For every country we invade, occupy and kill its people, we only increase the popularity of extremists groups and make their recruiting efforts that much easier. At a time when we are having problems recruiting within our own army, our policies in the Middle East and lack of foresight of this fact seem incomprehensible. Our government�s actions today are simply turning the Islamofascist figments of their imaginations that they use to intimidate us and make us fearful into real threats for future generations.

What can we do to stop this disastrous cycle of violence, corruption and deceit? What can we do to win our country back from those who seek nothing but power and destruction? Unfortunately the answer does not lie in the Democratic Party. As much as we hope and pray for them to be our saviors in ending this nightmare, they are very much the same as the Republicans: corrupted by power, influenced by money, there to appease corporations and lobbyists and with little regard for the general hard-working population that wishes to live much as the rest of the world would like, in peace and prosperity. The terrorists are not attacking our way of life; they�re not attacking our freedoms and they could care less about the way we shop. In fact we�re not even being attacked nor have we ever been threatened with attacks. Did the Taliban threaten to strike the U.S.? Did Saddam ever threaten the U.S.? Has Iran threatened the U.S.?

There has always been terrorism and fundamentalism in our world and today is no different. However, in the history of terrorism, it has never been defeated militarily. To defeat terrorism, you must first try to understand the underlying causes and its purpose. In a recent book, titled �Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism,� by University of Chicago political scientist Robert Pape, a clear association and underlying motive was discovered based on data collected from 315 suicide terrorist campaigns, from 1980 to 2003, involving 462 individuals. Terrorism has little to do with fundamentalism or religion and all to do with nationalism. In 95 percent of the attacks that occurred, the purpose was to expel military forces from the �terrorists� homeland.

Take for example Irgun, the Israeli terror organization that bombed the King David Hotel in Jerusalem that killed 92 British officials and 15 Jews. Its members included former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin. Irgun�s purpose was to end British rule in Palestine that was blocking further immigration of Jews and their means was to conduct terrorist actions because they could not match the British military�s power. Irgun dissolved in 1948 and its members were integrated into the Israeli Defense Forces. Why did it dissolve? It dissolved because its entire reason for existence was no longer valid. The British were gone from Palestine. With no cause, there was no need for such an organization. The same applies everywhere else. Look at the IRA that conducted more terror campaigns against the British than Al Qaeda has conducted against the world. When the right approach was taken to actually try to understand their cause and to attempt to address their grievances, they put their weapons down, the terror attacks stopped and their leaders became ministers and members of Parliament.

This does not mean we should condone terrorist actions or negotiate with them. On the contrary, terrorist actions rarely represent the will or desires of the majority. But we need to realize that the majority of those who commit terrorist actions are not people who are uneducated, poor, mentally unstable or fanatically religious. On the contrary, demographic profiles have shown these people to be exactly the opposite. These people are motivated by a belief that their actions are in the interests of their nation, culture and their freedom from occupation. Take away the underlying factors as to why a terror organization formed to begin with and you pull the rug from under its feet. To fight terror, you must first understand why it occurred in the first place. What makes a 17-year-old female medical student strap explosives to her body and commit suicide.

Here in the U.S, when the Columbine kids decided to conduct their own terrorist action at Columbine High School and go into a frenzied shooting spree, nobody labeled the shooters as just some crazed high school terrorists. Deep questions were raised and a thorough analysis was conducted to try to understand what made them commit such murderous crimes. And herein lays the biggest problem. When we hear about some Palestinian kids blowing themselves up, we simply close the book and label them terrorists. No need to ask questions, and no effort made to understand why. When 19 alleged hijackers turn planes into missiles, the government comes out to tell us they did it because they hate freedom and our way of life. Are we supposed to buy that line?

These people are not attacking us because they hate freedom; they are doing so because they want THEIR freedom. Freedom from occupation, freedom from exploitation, freedom from corruption and freedom from repressive regimes which we blindly support.

What if our country were to stop its foreign policy of self-interest, and its exploiting of those people, their resources and their lands, such as our actions in Iraq? Stop our blind support for Israel by condemning the occupation and apartheid in Palestine. Demand true democracy and political freedoms in countries we claim are our allies, such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt. One would see that the road to peace in the Middle East would be easier to travel than our rush hour commute every morning.

If we wish to understand the reasons for terrorism, then we must accept the fact that we must examine the cause. To believe in the consistent fantasy that our government and the media, that simply acts as its mouthpiece, that these people wish to take our freedom and hate our way of life is to submit to the policy of �see nothing, hear nothing and say nothing.�

We can win the war on terror, not with the barrel of a gun but with our voices, our minds and our hearts. If we truly were to take the time to understand the history of the past 100 years of the Middle East, the way it has been shaped, occupied and treated by foreign powers, we would understand that there is deep injustice and exploitation that we ourselves would never accept in our lands. We must stand united, we must hold those who have led our nation through lies accountable for their actions and we must punish those who have committed treason against our country. Each one of them pledged to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Today our Constitution and the Bill of Rights our founding fathers endowed this great nation with are under attack. We must not and cannot afford to remain silent.

Our silence will be our downfall and that of our great nation.

I will end this article by quoting a poem attributed to Pastor Martin Niem�ller (1892-1984) about the quiescence of German intellectuals following the Nazi rise to power and the purging of their chosen targets, group after group. The poem has had many variations and has been printed and inscribed on various memorials in the world:

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.
When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.
When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.
When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

Copyright © 1998-2006 Online Journal
Email Online Journal Editor

Top of Page

Latest Headlines
Skilling: An epitaph
The politics of delusion and crisis denial
American voters must not reward failure
Foreclosure USA
Degradation of democracy
Will Rogers delivers the Gettysburg Address
Chickenhawks in chief
Charnel house
Selling Satan: Iraqi war dead and the collateral damage to America's soul
What arrogance and stupidity?
Hitchens hitches his future to the Death Star
Political prestidigitation: The Illusion of a two-party system
The woman who would be speaker says, "Impeachment is off the table"
Putin gets mugged in Finland
Israel, Palestine and Canada
Godzilla vs. the Condoleezzard (Celebrating Halloween in the United States of Anxiety)
America is no longer free
The nuclear arms race and national sovereignty
One crime too many
Iraq's Orwellian calamity