An Australian perspective on the War on Terror 

An Australian perspective on the War on Terror

Some days I have the impression that most people simply are not aware of the undercurrents of global politics. In particular, I would like to focus now on what the slogan-generators have labelled the "War on Terror".

What is the War on Terror? Supposedly it is an attempt to hunt down and eliminate terrorists. However, there are several problems with this premise:

1) Larg-scale military operations such as demonstrated by the USA against Afghanistan and Iraq target entire nations or areas, rather than the small, mobile, secretive groups supposedly being hunted. Those small groups can be in any nation, even within the USA (as demonstrated by Timothy McVeigh and the 9/11 chaps). They do not have to be in a distant nation, and in fact the dangerous groups are those within the USA, since that is their target and that is where they will act.

2) In this supposed War on Terror, the USA has instead destroyed the social order (good or bad) in two nations. Over 6,000 Iraqi civilians died during the USA's invasion (1). Neither invasion captured terrorist cells within the USA.

Regarding the invasion of Iraq in particular, what must we notice about the politics involved? First the USA claime a link between Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 attacks in America. No evidecne to support this claim was ever produced. Then the USA claimed Iraq supports terrorist groups. No evidence for this claim was produced either. Then the USA claimed Iraq was trying to build nuclear weapons. Again, there was no evidence for the accusation. In fact, one document referring to Saddam Hussein's efforts to purchase uranium from Niger was proven to be a forgery. Likewise, claims that Iraq was preparing chemical and biological weapons were also without evidence. Yet the USA invaded, and killed over 6,000 Iraqi civilians. All this from the nation which boasts the mighty principle of justice "Innocent until proven guilty".

What about the morality of invading Iraq? Was Saddam Hussein a bad guy? Some say he gassed a lot of Kurds in Halabja. Some say he didn't (2). One thing I do know is that the USA is the only nation to have used nuclear weapons against civilians (Nagasaki, Hiroshima), and the USA itself has used chemical and biological weapons both against foreign nations (3) and against its own people (4). The USA has over 300,000 soldiers on foreign soil. George Bush's cabinet is made up of people from large resource companies and such (5). The company Dick Cheney used to head (6) was given the contract to look after Iraq's oil without even having to bid for it.

I do believe that those capable of creating justice and equality should do so. I believe they have a duty to their fellow humans to do so. However, I do not believe this was the motivation for the USA's invasion of Iraq. I do not believe this is the motivation behind their ongoing War on Terror. The people suffering are the civilians of Afghanistan and Iraq. The people profiting are Bush's cabinet and their friends and families. Always, regarding global politics, we must look at two things: who loses something, and who gains something.

Apart from some people gaining money from these acts, what else might be behind it all? Consider the model or example given to us by George Orwel. A state which creates a fictitious enemy which can therefore never be beaten, an enemy which will always be there as the excuse for the state's machinations. So the USA labelled not any person or state or group as its prime adversary, but "terrorism". In indefinite enemy, to be fought over an indefinite time, through any means possible. This provides the state with the reason it needs to do just about anything. President Bush may simply say "We're at war, this is an emergency measure", to affect any changes he wishes within the USA. And in fact he did that very recently (7).

What we have is a nation on the edge of economic implosion. The USA is making spending cuts in health and education and other areas to pay for wars and occupations. This will result in less eduaction for the masses, and a greater number of the poor being willing to enter military service as their only means or earning a wage. More people in the military needs justfication for all that spending, so they need to be active; so they need more wars, more occupations. So far the USA has over 300,000 soldiers on foreign soil. With decreasing spending on health and education, and more of the lower economic classes turning to the military for health care and wages, and with the increasing tensions between the USA and everyone else, this creates a vicious (although intentional) circle.

What about these ill feelings between the USA and others? It seems to me that creating anger and resentment among other nations, particularly those who can't really harm the USA greatly, is the perfect way for the USA to justify its actions. Make them angry, until one or two strike back in some small way, and that strike will provide them with justification for invasions and wars and more. Retaliation against the USA is precisely what Bush wants, as it will perfectly justify everything he has said and done. So, no doubt we will see further off-hand comments from Bush now and then, further trade sanctions, a few more military actions, and eventually there will be a bomb in a USA federal building, and then Bush will say "This is why we're doing it. It needs to be done." And the unfortunate part is that the only real choice some folks have is to perform those retaliatory strikes. It's either that or do nothing and be trampled underfoot.

Does this mean I support terrorism? Absolutely not. To me, terrorism is attacking civilians. To me, this is what the USA did by killing over 6,000 Iraqi civilians. It was terrorism by a state. I do not approve of ANY terrorism, by states or by other groups. I can only hope that all forms of warfare in the future are restricted only to military and government targets, but I doubt this will happen.

Well, I'm almost done now. Some people make assumptions that Iraq had something to do with those 9/11 attacks, even though there is no evidence for it. Some people assume that governments can afford to do things out of altruism. And some of us look at who gains what. Which are you?









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