Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Don't U.S. & Israeli Military Actions Amount to Terrorism?


The unmitigated aggression of recent Israeli attacks in Gaza and Lebanon, in civilian environments and targeted to inspire fear and inflict maximum disruption to the population and their economic well being, cannot be easily distinguished from calculated acts of terror.

Likewise, recent revelations of U.S. military conduct in Iraq involving mass murder and rape are terrorist acts, prima facie. But consider the everyday aspects…the intimidation, the bullying, the bombs in the middle of the night. And then there are those “special” operations, always given such innovative names like Tombstone Piledriver or Grizzly Forced Entry, (over 130 of them so far) similar to those that occurred in Fallujah and Tall Afar that can arguably be described as special purpose neo-pogroms.

How do we define terrorism? We decry “state-sponsored” terrorism and accuse Iran, Syria and other countries of participating in it. Yet, using our own standards of assessment about what constitutes terrorism, it would be hard not to characterize the US and Israeli behavior in the Middle Eastern theater as anything but the best financed, the best equipped, the most sophisticated and the most unconstrained state-conducted terrorism in the world.

What many Americans apparently don’t realize is that every one of these forays - each and every outrage - is yet another stone upon which we are building the structure for future acts of retribution. Every child, mother, father, brother or sister that dies contributes to the cauldron of human will that intensifies the hatred towards those responsible. Everyone who suffers humiliation by an outside oppressor - individually and collectively - seethes with each experience of being diminished and violated. Every scar and disability that is inflicted remain visible reminders of needless suffering and the misuse of power.

The dividends of these “investments” are long term. How long do we remember how our loved ones died? Or why they are in a wheel chair or walking with a limp? What are the lasting impressions of 10-year-olds and 12-year-olds in Iraq, Palestine and Lebanon that are being built right now? What will they teach their children? How will they tell their stories?

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What would you do if you were President and some Cuban militants lobbed a few missles at Miami? Then, you found out those militants were OKed by their home country and sponsored/supplied by the Soviet bloc - what would you do then?

Personally, I'd clean their clocks and made sure the sponsoring country, in no uncertain terms, understood that they were next if they persisted. You can call that terrorism or whatever you want, but I'd call it survival. I believe JFK would call it that too.

11:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What are they supposed to do(Israel)? Just carry on with normal life. Sit and wait for another suicide bomber to come into another cafe, or mall, and blow himself up?

Its time hezbollah was dealt with, and frankly lebanon was dealt with for harboring such people. You know, the people that go into nightclubs, malls, cafes, with c4 and hundreds of marble sized bullets strapped to there waist. With the intention of killing as many civilians as possible, or as you put it, unmitigated aggression in civilian environments and targeted to inspire fear and inflict maximum disruption to the population and their economic well being.

In my opinion there is no moral comparison between what Israel is doing to defend its people, and what hezbollah has done to wipe the Israeli people out.

I would just like to finish by saying I truly respect your opinion and the fact you have the guts to stand up and speak out for what you believe in. I look forward to seeing your next sign.

3:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Comparing our actions to those of pure hate and violence carried out by true terrorists? Shame on you.

4:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your passage was beautiful. Everytime I see your signs I am relieved that there are at least some people here willing to criticize the acts of their own country (such criticism is literally the foundation of our nation).

"Anti-Terror" campaigns such as those led by the US and Israel are leading to the opposite result: They are breeding more resentment, contempt and hate; which as above mentioned is what leads to "terrorism" in the first place.

7:06 AM  
Anonymous ims said...

I’m placing this final paragraph up here as well in case people won’t take the time to read my whole rant:

The next time the Sign Man asks a question, rather than writing some patriotic sounding response that lacks substance, I would love if the people commenting on this site will clearly and fully address his questions. If you are so right and we are so wrong, then convince me, don’t get angry and yell at us with meaningless remarks that don’t address his question. I and other people will respond, and maybe we can all help each other see a bit more clearly. That’s what democracy is about. It’s not about blindly following a leader or government because you are too afraid, tired, busy, or unwilling to spend some time looking a little bit deeper for the truth.




I cannot express how truly scared I am by some of the comments on this site, the actions of some local community members who destroy this man’s signs, and the writings that appear on this issue, such as the opinion piece in the July 21st Ithaca Journal. If you disagree with these signs, please consider the following points.

Every person who criticizes the “Sign Man” seems to have very similar arguments.

First, they do not seem to have a very thorough understanding of history. I wish there was a more polite way to put this, but that’s just how it is. Ask yourself, have you ever really sat down and learned about how your country formed or how it operates? And not from television or one HS textbook. Have you ever sat down and poured through government documents that are available that show the true details of what has gone on behind the scenes?

If there is someone, Republican, Democrat, or anything else, that thinks it is “unpatriotic” to question their government and to do it as loudly as possible, then I argue that this person has a very limited knowledge of US History.

You can go all the way back to the founding of this country and remember why in the hell the US exists in the first place. Our ancestors stood up to a tyrannical government. Now, most of what that government was doing at the time was technically legal. But it was immoral, unethical, and against the principles of freedom and democracy. So we stood up, and fought, despite all the critics and challenges, and the United States of America was the result.

But let’s take a more recent case. The 60’s are typically associated with millions of long haired hippies running around yelling about peace and the corruption of government. To this day they are chastised and mocked. These people were made fun of; they were ripped apart by politicians and the media for being psychotic and divorced from reality and not having a true understanding of international affairs. However, in the end, they were 100% correct in their statements.

Those “crazy peace-loving hippies” claimed at the time that Vietnam was a sham, that our government was lying, that our gov’t didn’t know what it was doing and that they got us caught up in a mess that they didn’t know how to get out of. Now, unless you are in complete denial about those years, you know that all of these claims have proven true. You can read the Pentagon Papers, you can listen to the now-released audio tapes of past Presidents discussing these issues with their top advisors, or you can just listen to or read anything by then Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. All of this will show you that no matter how much people hate to admit it, the protesters were right.

The US government was lying about a war. They lied about the initial reasons that started that war. They lied about how it was going and how many troops were getting slaughtered. They lied about their publicly stated plans to pull back troops and their intentions to end the war. They LIED, over and over again. Over 50 thousand US troops and millions of other civilians died. How many more would have died if people didn’t stand up, in the face of all the criticism, and the government went on lying and prolonging that disastrous war?


So I don’t want to hear one thing from people who pretend to love this country by telling anyone who speaks up about our government that they are unpatriotic or to leave the country. That “USA Love it or Leave it” argument is a joke, as can easily be seen when you apply it to any other situation. If you raise a child, and they sadly turn down a dangerous path, start using drugs or fall in with a bad crowd, what do you do? Do you just accept them and love them or totally renounce them and leave them? No, life is more complicated than that. You fight for something you care about and you work and speak up and argue and struggle no matter how hard it is if you want to take something or someone you love and make it better. Similarly, you fight, as Americans always have, to make this country the nation it should be, to help it reach its full potential.

So don’t give me this nonsense about moving to Canada if I don’t like my President. The people that make this argument are usually the ones that have all those wonderful yellow ribbon stickers on their cars to let us know they “Support our Troops.” But when I ask those people how else they support the troops, they go blank and give some lame answer like they “support” the president.

Are you pressing our government to make sure those troops have the body armor they should have had 3 years ago? Does it bother you that over 80% of the troops believe they are in Iraq because of Saddam’s role in 9/11? Do you finally accept that he had nothing to do with 9/11? Do you know that a common trigger of PTSD is when troops return home and start to question the purpose of their mission? What do you think will happen when that over 80% returns to the US and eventually finds out the truth, that Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11? Are you going to “support the troops” when they come home to a country where many of them cannot find employment, cannot find a place to live, cannot find peace of mind when they discover their whole mission was a sham? We already have veterans of this war who are homeless throughout the country. How is your ribbon helping them? I’m trying to get them money and more government support and trying to make their situation known to the public, but the media won’t cover this pathetic and disgusting fact. What are you doing?

Finally, I would love to know, when thousands of troops were getting slaughtered in Vietnam as our government lied about why they were there, who was “supporting the troops”? Was it the people protesting to get them home, or the people who remained ignorant of our government’s faults and screamed for them to stay in Vietnam and for the silly hippies to go home and get jobs?

There is much more to address but now I just want to say something about the people who have posted here about the use of force and how the Sign Man looks at US actions. At what point will you accept that military force is not the only answer, and that there are smarter and more powerful ways to deal with these situations. You might not understand this, but other methods such as economic sanctions can be much more devastating to countries and organizations than brute force. And while we’re on that note, at what point do you accept that military attacks and violence may not be the best way to deal with these issues?

Let’s take 9/11. Despite what Bush said about Al Qaeda attacking us because they are “freedom haters”, there were actually very clearly stated reasons why he planned 9/11. Now, these aren’t my crazy hippie views, these are the conclusions of our own government’s research. BinLaden specifically cited our previous support of Israel’s invasion of Lebanon as the trigger for planning the 9/11 attacks. He also cited our well documented intervention in other Middle Eastern countries and political systems as a source of his rage.

Now you can think like a 10 year old all you want and believe that, like in video games, if we blow the bad guys up, all this will go away. But terrorism and the psychotic mindset that exists within terrorists has very real causes, causes that we unfortunately are a part of. You can kill every “terrorist” and insurgent” but that will NOT get rid of the causes that lead to their behavior.

So talk all you want about Israel defending itself and military force being the only answer. Then when the US once again gets attacked because of our support of Israel’s invasion of Lebanon, I’ll ask you again if that’s the best thing they could have done.

In short, our government lies. Our government has in the past and today taken actions that violate both its own laws and well established international laws. Our wealth and military power prevent us from being challenged on these issues by any other country. Our government has openly lied about why wars have started, why they continue, and when they will end. So what makes this time different than any other in history? If you can’t accept that these things have happened, and that there is a good chance they are happening again, then you are a danger to this country!


If this Sign Man is so wrong all the time, why not attach a post-it note or a few sheets of paper to his sign addressing his question and destroying his point of view. If he is so wrong, why not make him right so that you’d have another ally? Why is it that when people don’t like what this man writes on signs, they tear it down or smash it? Once again, the masses who pay more attention to shows like American Idol than world affairs, or get their “news” from television rather than legitimate sources, are yelling at the “crazy liberal hippies” for questioning their government about a war.

So let me ask you, how often does a person or a group have to be correct before you stop mocking them? The “unpatriotic liberal” protesters have been right over and over again throughout history. How many more people have to die before someone will open their mind just a little bit, or do a little more research, or look a little bit further into the actual statements made by people questioning their government, or think a little bit harder about a different point of view?

The next time the Sign Man asks a question, rather than writing some patriotic sounding response that lacks substance, I would love if the people commenting on this site will clearly and fully address his questions. If you are so right and we are so wrong, then convince me, don’t get angry and yell at us with meaningless remarks that don’t address his question. I and other people will respond, and maybe we can all help each other see a bit more clearly. That’s what democracy is about. It’s not about blindly following a leader or government because you are too afraid, tired, busy, or unwilling to spend some time looking a little bit deeper for the truth.

6:17 AM  
Blogger mike said...

I posted a response to this. I'm not going to reproduce it here. The sign itslef is very provacative and politically charged. The content of the post asks a much more important question than the sign does...which is what my response is mostly about. I don't claim to have an answer, just an idea.

please read it here

10:46 AM  

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