Bottom line

Sam Smith, December 2001

The curable cause of the present disaster is not to be found in a cave in Afghanistan nor at a military headquarters in Palestine. Rather it is to be found in a half century of abusive American policy towards the Islamic world including a deadly, criminal embargo against Iraq; the permanent suppression of Palestinian statehood; the promotion, assassination and/or manipulation of a string of leaders against the best interests of peace and our own security; the covert employment (to our later regret) of the likes of Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein; and our repeated refusal to listen to the nearly unanimous voice of the United Nations in general assembly. We have wantonly – and at enormous damage to our creditability, safety and honor – pursued the goals of militarists, CIA adventurists, the oil industry, the Israeli lobby, and the Ivy League imperialists of the Council on Foreign Relations – all mindlessly cheered on by a servile and slanted media.

We have absolutely nothing to gain by continuing to follow the self-serving, avaricious, and reckless goals of those who have caused our nation such hurt. By admitting that these policies have been wrong, we have nothing to lose but decades of bad advice and the shame that has accompanied it.

These policies have not been American policies in any indigenous sense; rather they have been the work of greedy corporations, arrogant intellectuals in search of machismo, violent militarists, and a stunningly uncritical press. Nowhere is the defense of Israeli aggression mentioned in the Constitution. Patrick Henry did not say, “Give me a pipeline or give me death.” Nathan Hale did not declared, “I regret have but one life to give for hegemony in Eurasia.”

In fact, no policy by any president has been more alien to American ideals than that now being pursued by George W. Bush. He is destroying our Constitution, bringing disgrace to our history, and endangering the entire planet.

Many say there is no other course, but this is absolutely false. One reason it doesn’t seem so is because the media refuses to give time or space to other than apostles of violence and revenge. The voices of calm, reason, and rational resolution have been blacklisted by almost all the major media – including those supported by tax dollars and public contribution.

If it were otherwise, we might realize that even the far from adequate efforts of the Clinton administration brought a calm to the world that has been abruptly destroyed by the codependent, abusive egos of bin Ladin, Sharon, and Bush. In 1995, by the State Department’s own count, there were 6,400 terrorist casualties around the world, including 70 Americans. By 1999 there were only 939 including 11 Americans. Only seven casualties occurred in North America.

Clinton, in a last burst of self-aggrandizement, attempted to reach a Middle East settlement before leaving office. But he so built up his effort that when it failed, it was seen not merely as his failure but that of all future possibility. Within months, the violence began escalating and the voices of vengeance with it.

We can still stop the madness. All we need is enough humility to admit that our country has been wrong, enough rationality to understand that one does not eradicate evil by compounding it, and enough courage to oppose the evisceration of our liberties and values by those whose words do not reflect patriotism but blasphemy.

Or, on the other hand, we can condemn ourselves and our children to lives of fear, anger, and confusion – and perhaps even worse – all because our leaders were unwilling to act with the honor, decency, and sense of fair play that were once the hallmark of an American.

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