Rational Fears and “Gut Feelings:” U.S. Policy, the Middle East and the Privileging of Hegemony Over Survival

U.S. actions and policies since 9/11 have only further fanned the flames of Muslim and Middle Eastern rage, creating countless new recruits for terrible actions against U.S. citizens.

The sanctions against Iraq have disappeared (a country “liberated” for Western corporate-neoliberal exploitation no longer requires such “economic” punishment) and few U.S. troops remain in the Saudi kingdom. But Israel’s vicious U.S.-sponsored oppression of the Palestinians lives on and the U.S. supported a massive Israeli bombing assault on Muslim (and other) civilians in southern Lebanon during the summer of 2006.

Muslim Afghanistan is occupied and effectively ruled by “Christian” America and its messianic “crusader” president, thanks to an illegal invasion than both ruling U.S. political parties strongly support. Thousands of Afghan civilians have lost their lives in this brutal occupation.

The biggest ongoing incitement to renewed “anti-American” terror, however, is the continuing mass-murderous U.S. invasion of oil-rich Iraq. The United States made a bipartisan decision to commit the supreme crime (under Nuremburg principles) against Iraq and international law: the launching of an unprovoked war of aggression and occupation. Widely understood around the world to have been a brazenly imperialist effort to increase U.S. control over strategic Persian Gulf energy resources, Operation Iraqi Freedom has resulted in the death of more than 700,000 Iraqis, the exodus of millions more, and in a general crisis and collapse of Iraqi society and infrastructure.

It has been conducted with shocking racist and imperial violence before, during and since the terrible Abu Ghraib revelations of 2004. As Chris Hedges and Laila Al-Arian report in the July 30th edition of The Nation, the occupation is a “a dark and depraved enterprise, one that bears a powerful resemblance to other misguided and brutal colonial wars and occupations, from the French occupation of Algeria to the American war in Vietnam and the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory.”

In a fact sheet handed out to antiwar activists in his Cedar Rapids office earlier this month, U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), praises “our brave men and women” for “having brilliantly completed the task for which they were sent to Iraq.” But many of fifty U.S. occupation veterans interviewed by Hedges and Al-Arian have “returned home deeply disturbed by the disparity between the reality of the war and the way it is portrayed by the U.S. government and media.” By returning GIs’ account, the war on the ground includes the gratuitous killing and torture of Iraqi civilians, including children. The invasion involves the routine “indiscriminate” application of U.S. force and numerous “disturbing patterns of behavior by American troops.”

“I guess while I was there [in Iraq],” one returning occupation soldier (Jeff Englehart, former Specialist, Third Brigade, First U.S. Army Infantry Division) told Hedges and Al-Arian, ” the general attitude was ‘ a dead Iraqi is just another dead Iraqi. You know, so what?” read more

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