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Commentary Last Updated: Jan 14th, 2010 - 01:05:31

Do they hate us for something other than our freedoms?
By Nick Egnatz
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Jan 14, 2010, 00:31

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The Obama administration follows the policy of U.S. Empire by continuing the Iraq war, escalating the Afghan war, increasing drone bombings in Pakistan, starting bombings and military operations in Yemen and Somalia, and building new military bases in Columbia to add to our total of 700-plus military installations overseas. Perhaps it�s time for citizens to question the Empire.

We have spent more than eight years with the Bush doctrine of preventive wars, now continued and endorsed by Obama. After the 9/11 attacks President Bush declared a �war on terror� stating that al Qaeda attacked us because they hated us for our freedoms.

The results of this policy and worldview:

  • 5,321 U.S. service members dead

  • 35,000 with serious physical wounds

  • Hundreds of thousands with serious mental wounds

  • More than one million dead Iraqi and Afghan civilians

  • Infrastructure, homes and economies of both countries destroyed

  • Total cost in excess of $3 trillion for Iraq alone ($10,000 for each man, woman and child in the U.S.) --Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Prize-winning economist

Saying nothing about whatever freedoms American citizens may believe they possess, bin Laden in 1996 declared his jihad against the U.S. based on the following three foreign policy initiatives of U.S. Empire:

  1. The U.S.�s lockstep support of Israel in denying the Palestinian people an independent state and reparations for al Nakba (The Great Catastrophe) when an estimated 700,000 were forced to flee their homes in 1948 as Israeli fighters claimed their lands for the present state of Israel.

  2. The U.N. estimated 500,000 Iraqi children under the age of five who died as a direct result of the U.S. led economic sanctions against Iraq during the Clinton years.

  3. The permanent garrisoning of U.S. troops in the Muslim holy-land of Saudi Arabia.

If al Qaeda attacked us on 9/11, it was for the above reasons and the American people certainly should know the truth. In no way do I condone terrorist attacks, whether committed by Muslim sects or my own government. As we are a self-proclaimed democracy, how can �we the people� direct our elected representatives to the right course of action if they refuse to tell us what�s really going on?

Is it possible that an informed American populace might actually want to change the way our government conducts its foreign policy? Is it possible that justice for the Palestinian people and the lives of Iraqi children would be causes that the American people would champion if fully informed? Is it possible that placing our troops in another culture�s holy land is not as important to our people as it is to our oil companies? Is it possible that an informed American populace might actually choose peace over endless war?

Is it possible that changing our policies of empire (economic exploitation and military dominance) might actually stop people from wanting to kill us?

Or are we, as American citizens, content to sit back and allow our government to continue the policies of empire at the expense of the rights and well-being of all the peoples of the world, U.S. included?

Nick Egnatz is a Vietnam veteran and member of Veterans For Peace. He has been actively protesting our government�s crimes of empire in both person and print for some years now and was named �Citizen of the Year� for Northwest Indiana in 2006 for his peace activism by the National Association of Social Workers.

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