WASHINGTON, DC -- U.S. foreign policy invites "terrorism." To end it we must end policies that create it.
Graham E. Fuller, former vice chairman of the National Intelligence Council at the CIA, and Charley Reese, self-described "ex-soldier," now a columnist for the Orlando Sentinel are right on target in their recent articles following the U.S. missile strikes on Sudan and Afghanistan in retaliation for the bombing of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
Mr. Fuller writes ("Airstrikes Aren't the Endgame," Los Angeles Times, August 24, 1998), "it is dangerous to divorce terrorism from politics, yet the U.S. media continue to talk about an abstract war against terrorism without mention of the issues or context that lie behind them."
Mr. Reese writes ("Face it: U.S. foreign policy contributes to acts of terrorism," August 18, 1998), "Terrorism is a political act, a response to U.S. foreign policy. It is an act of war waged by people too weak to have a conventional army or one large enough to take on the United States."
Fuller and Reese identify the realities of U.S. foreign policy, Muslim perceptions, and media obfuscation that serve to perpetuate the cycle of violence. Among these are:
"U.S. support for almost any ruler [often against the wishes of his people] willing to protect U.S. interests -- routinely identified in Washington as oil and Israel" says Fuller. And this support usually comes without meaningful input from American Muslims.
Contrary to what U.S. media tell us, U.S. foreign policy doesn't reflect the kind, and charitable nature of the average American.
While Muslims are virtually excluded from high-level policy making and media, "Jewish Americans," says Fuller, "occupy nearly every single senior position relating to U.S. Arab-Israeli policy."
Reese says: "The one-sided support of Israel, even when Israel is clearly an aggressor or an abuser of human rights, creates enemies. When your wife and children are killed with U.S. weapons wielded by a government backed by the United States and protected from U.N. sanctions by the United States, it doesn't sit too well."
Reese adds: "We slapped sanctions on Sudan allegedly because someone in Washington doesn't like its internal human-rights policies that, you can be sure, are far more humane than China's or those of some of the African dictators we so ardently supported. I suspect the real reason is the current government won't cut a deal on the oil discovered in Sudan many years ago."
Terrorism has no place in this world. But distinguishing the freedom fighter from the terrorist is a matter of perspective. And what we call realpolitik, or power politics, is merely a euphemism for terrorism of another kind.
We have a choice: an endless war on terrorism, or following the path to a just and lasting peace. We will have embarked on the path to peace when we routinely include Muslims, of diverse views, in debates at the level that U.S. policy is made.
[Foreign Affairs, May/June 1999, John Mueller and Karl Mueller, "Sanctions of Mass Destruction" -- "On average far fewer Americans are killed each year by terrorists than are killed by lightning, deer accidents, or peanut allergies. To call terrorism a threat to national security is scarcely plausible.
... economic sanctions may well have been a necessary cause of the deaths of more people in Iraq than have been slain by all so-called weapons of mass destruction throughout history."]
[The Clinton administration will not challenge a lawsuit filed by a Saudi
businessman who said the bombing last year of his pharmaceutical plant in Sudan
was a "mistake" based on faulty intelligence data. The administration also
agreed to release $24 million in assets that the businessman, Saleh Idris, had
deposited in U.S. banks. -- "U.S. OKs payout for Sudan bombing 'mistake',"
The Washington Times, May 5, 1999]
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