Glen Greenwald points out what SHOULD be obviousBy: submitted by SPTAH On: Sat 16 of June, 2012 09:25 CDT (282 Reads)
Tuesday, Jun 12, 2012 03:06 PM CDT
Today’s defense of President Obama from Andrew Sullivan is devoted to refuting Conor Friedersdorf’s criticism of Obama’s drone program. Says Sullivan:
Just consider what one single, isolated attack on American soil more than a decade ago did to Sullivan, Packer and company: the desire for violence which that one attack 11 years ago unleashed is seemingly boundless by time or intensity. Given the ongoing American quest for violence from that one-day attack, just imagine the impact which continuous attacks over the course of a full decade must have on those whom we’ve been invading, droning, cluster-bombing, occupying, detaining without charges, and indiscriminately shooting.
One of the many reasons I oppose Obama’s ongoing aggression is precisely that I believe the policies Sullivan and Packer cheer will cause another 9/11 (the other reasons include the lawlessness of it, the imperial mindset driving it, the large-scale civilian deaths it causes, the extreme and unaccountable secrecy with which it’s done, the erosion of civil liberties that inevitably accompanies it, the patently criminal applications of these weapons, the precedent it sets, etc.). I realize that screaming “9/11? has been the trite tactic of choice for those seeking to justify the U.S. Government’s militarism over the last decade, but invoking that event strongly militates against the policies it’s invoked to justify, precisely because those policies are the principal cause of such attacks, for obvious reasons.
As soon as he was taken into custody May 3 at John F. Kennedy International Airport, onboard a flight to Dubai, the Pakistani-born Shahzad told agents that he was motivated by opposition to U.S. policy in the Muslim world, officials said.
Najibullah Zazi, one of the first Afghans ever to be accused of Terrorism on U.S. soil when he plotted to detonate bombs in the New York subway system, was radicalized by the U.S. occupation of his country (“This is the payback for the atrocities that you do,” he said). Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) expressly said that the Christmas Day bomb attempt by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was in retaliation for the Obama cluster-bomb airstrike in Yemen that killed dozens of women and children along with U.S. support for the Yemeni dictator. The Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan was motivated by “the killing of Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Even The Washington Post just two weeks ago pointed out that the primary source of strength for AQAP — the Terror group which the U.S. Government insists is the greatest threat to the U.S. — are repeated U.S. drone strikes in Yemen; said The Post: “An escalating campaign of U.S. drone strikes is stirring increasing sympathy for al-Qaeda-linked militants and driving tribesmen to join a network linked to terrorist plots against the United States.” In late 2009 — almost three years ago – The New York Times pointed out exactly the same thing when quoting a Yemeni official after Obama’s civilian-killing cluster bomb attack (“The problem is that the involvement of the United States creates sympathy for Al Qaeda“). Even Sullivan acknowledges: “there does seem a danger, especially in Yemen, that drones may be focusing the Islamists’ attention away from their own government and onto ours.”
In other words, the very policies that Sullivan and Packer adore are exactly the ones that make another 9/11 so likely. Running around screaming “9/11? at Obama critics to justify his ongoing American violence in the Muslim world is like running around screaming “lung cancer” to justify heavy cigarette smoking. It isn’t those of us who oppose American aggression in the Muslim world who need manipulative, exploitative reminders about 9/11; it’s those who cheer for these policies who are making a follow-up attack ever more likely.
Prior to 9/11, of course, the U.S. spent decades propping up dictators in that part of that world, overthrowing their democratically elected leaders, imposing devastating sanctions that killed hundreds of thousands of Muslim children — literally — and then blithely justifying it like it was the most insignificant problem in the world, arming, funding and diplomatically protecting continuous Israeli aggression, and otherwise interfering in and dominating their countries. There’s a reason they decided to attack the U.S. as opposed to, say, Peru, or South Africa, or Finland, or Brazil, or Japan, or Portugal, or China. It isn’t because The Terrorists put the names of all the countries into a hat and — bad luck for us — randomly picked out the piece of paper that said “The United States.”
It’s because the U.S. has been and continues to be guided by the imperial mindset that causes Andrew Sullivan, George Packer and people like them to cheer and cheer and cheer for U.S. violence and other forms of coercion in that part of the world — violence and coercion that they would be the first to denounce and demand war in response to if it were done to the U.S. rather than by the U.S. Indeed, that’s precisely how they reacted — and, a full decade later, are still reacting — to a one-time attack on U.S. soil.
In light of that, I can’t even conceive of the uncontrolled rage, righteous fury and insatiable desire for violence in which they would be drowning if those attacks lasted not a single day but a full decade, if it involved constant video imagery on American television of dead American children and charred American wedding parties and thousands of Americans imprisoned for years in cages in a distant ocean prison without charges and surveillance and weaponized drones flying constantly over American soil and unignited cluster bombs left on American soil that explode when American children find them.
Although I can’t conceive of the rage that would be produced in people like Sullivan and Packer from a decade’s worth of that kind of violence on American soil, they should spend some time trying to imagine it. Then perhaps they’d understand how much they — and the President whose foreign policy they venerate — are doing to bring about “another 9/11? with the non-stop violence they so enthusiastically endorse.
For those who don’t understand or who like purposely to ignore the difference between observations about causation (A causes and arguments about justification (B is justified) — where “B” is “violent attacks on civilians” — see here. To be clear, this analysis is an example of the former (a causal argument), not the latter (an argument about justification).