Jason Miller: Lamentations for Sacrificial Pawns
Imperial Rulers and the Deadly Games They Play:
Lamentations for the Sacrificial Pawns
By Jason Miller
As Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz recently boasted of “changing the reality on the northern border,” the citizens of Israel became the subjects of a serious reality change.
Appearing in a video-taped monologue aired on Al-Jazeera, Al Qaeda’s deputy leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, called for a Muslim holy war against Israel and its Neocon enablers cowering behind their ramparts on Turtle Island:
"The shells and rockets ripping apart Muslim bodies in Gaza and Lebanon are not only Israeli (weapons), but are supplied by all the countries of the crusader coalition. Therefore, every participant in the crime will pay the price."
Make-shift morgues are amassing corpses of the civilian victims of the American Empire, its combative proxy in the Middle East, and Great Britain. Aside from these direct victims (the anonymous Islamic denizens of the Middle East slaughtered by the United States and British militaries and the IDF), there is another group of human beings who have died as a result of the predatory and rapacious actions of the “leaders of the free world”. While the unjust, grossly disproportionate, and murderous acts committed by the West in Iraq, Gaza, the West Bank, and Lebanon have resulted in unspeakable horrors which sometimes draw an overwhelming pathos from people with a social conscience, the innocent Israeli, British, Spanish, American and other Western non-combatant victims of this miserable conflict are equally worthy of our grief.
Annihilated, maimed, or psychologically devastated because of the actions of their own governments, Western casualties of the “War on Terror” suffer insult upon death or injury as their mainstream media exploit their misfortune to motivate their fellow citizens to demand vengeance. Those whose blood lubricates the ruthless machinery of capitalist imperialism are indeed deserving of our deep sympathy.
Why Would They Want to Hurt Us?
Self-defense is the only truly moral justification for taking the life of another human being. If one accepts this assertion, then neither the United States/Israeli/British alliance nor the enemies they have created in the Middle East are morally justified in the taking of human lives in the “clash of civilizations” which is escalating to frightening proportions.
Yet considering the staggering imbalance of military and economic power, the imperialistic behaviors of the United States and its proxies, and the fact that most of the blood has been shed in the backyard of Arabs and Persians because of their large reserves of oil, it is small wonder that we are mourning the loss of Western civilians.
Thanks to foreign policy blunders, gross miscalculations, monumental arrogance, and avarice that stretches the human imagination to its limits, Israel and the United States have drawn the ire of much of the Arab, Persian, and Muslim world. Both nations have now exposed their people to the wrath and enmity of Hezbollah, Hamas, Al Qaeda, the Iraqi Resistance, the Taliban, and the government of Iran.
The fates of Israel and the United States are inextricably linked by their incestuous relationship. American and Israeli ruling elites have joined forces to gravely jeopardize the security and welfare of virtually all of humanity by further destabilizing a world already teetering on the brink of chaos.
Boundless Capacity to Inflict Cruelty
Evidence has now come to light indicating that Israel’s latest invasion of Lebanon was planned over a year ago. Some have concluded that the incursion was intended to ignite a war with Iran. Not content with limiting their transgressions to Apartheid and ethnic cleansing, invading and occupying Iraq and Afghanistan, holding suspected terrorists indefinitely without trial (even the Nazis received the “luxury” of a trial), committing torture and abuse against suspected terrorists, and massacring civilians, the amoral regimes in Tel Aviv and DC determined they needed to invade Gaza and Lebanon to push Iran to the brink of war.
Crushing much of the civilian infrastructure of the fragile democratic state of Lebanon and thrusting the Palestinians further into the depths of poverty and misery are two more ingredients in the Neocon/Zionist recipe for creating an enemy from scratch. An enemy they need to justify their preemptive wars.
Exploring the Roots of “Terrorism”
Western governments and their compliant corporate media entities would have us believe that we are warring against barbaric savages whose goal is to rape, pillage, plunder, and enslave. However, the reality is that our militaries are committing blatant war crimes in Iraq, Gaza and Palestine against the propagandistically dehumanized Muslim, Persian and Arab populations to advance the cause of United States global hegemony (as outlined in the PNAC), to crush opposition to Palestinian genocide, and to advance US and Israeli geopolitical interests in the oil-rich Middle East.
Like the millions of Black males in the United States who spend their lives shuttling between the hopelessness of inner-city ghettos and the barbaric prison industrial complex, suicide bombers, kidnappers, car bombers, and guerilla fighters who comprise our “foes” in the “War on Terror” are the creations of the ruthless political, social, and economic machinations of an oppressive imperialist power-house that keeps them impoverished, disempowered, and uneducated.
As evidenced by numerous sociological studies and analyses in America’s predominately Black and impoverished ghettos and decaying urban cores, heavy concentrations of people experiencing poverty, inadequate education, isolation, racism, and unemployment are crucibles for violence and self-destructive behaviors. While many inner city Black males turn to drug, gang, and prison cultures to find meaning and connection, many young, impoverished and angry males in the Middle East naturally embrace the empowerment and affirmation offered by Islamic Fundamentalism.
Desperate, abused human beings often resort to desperate behaviors. Here in the United States, our profoundly inhumane leaders have responded to their “negro problem” in an almost exclusively punitive fashion. Rather than directing significant resources toward social programs to address the causes of criminal behavior, they perpetuate a vicious cycle of violence through legislation which ensures that ghettos endure and that the United States continues to maintain the largest prison population on the planet, half of which is comprised of Blacks, who comprise a mere 13% of our population.
Acting in a similar punitive fashion in the Middle East, the United States and its counterpart in Israel have brutalized, exploited, and extinguished the life force of many amongst the indigenous population. Conveniently, the sickeningly faithful corporate media and textbook industry provide revisionist versions of the truth in which they reverse cause and effect and distort the chronology of events. Believers of their nonsense are convinced that it is the “mongrel hordes” of “ragheads” who are the evil aggressors against the “morally upright Christian and Jewish capitalists” who are simply trying to “mind their own business and earn an honest dollar”.
We’re Not Gonna’ Take It….
Unbelievable as it may sound, there are actually human beings not content to passively succumb to the jackboot of the American Empire crushing their windpipes. These people refuse to wear manacles, to submit to cultural genocide, to stand idly by while their resources are plundered, to acquiesce to ethnic cleansing, or to live in abject poverty so that the ruling elite in the West can skim off the cream for themselves, sustain their indispensable working class with the milk, and allow the world’s impoverished the “benefit” of their urine “trickling down” upon them.
Ravaged by the Cancers of Capitalism and Neoliberalism
Dysfunctional and malevolent as it is, the murder of innocent civilians by individuals or autonomous groups to gain political or economic advantage is simply another glaring symptom of the devastating cancers plaguing humanity and the Earth. Acts which the Western media and governments label as terrorism are desperate reactions to malignant political, economic, and social systems which exploit and abuse people and our planet.
The prevailing paradigms of capitalism and neoliberalism (both religiously maintained by the heavily militarized United States and its close allies) ensure that major corporate share-holders, high level politicians, corporate executives, members of plutocratic dynasties, oligarchs, and their attendant sycophants arise each morning sheltered by an insanely powerful military and satiated by a massive cornucopia overflowing with abundance. Leading privileged lives, they groom their children for succession by educating them at private institutions, limit their social contact to others of their exalted standing, and insulate themselves from the world in their trophy homes within gated communities or behind Apartheid Walls.
The guardians of capitalism further endear themselves to those they have impoverished to create their own prosperity by slaughtering millions of innocent civilians in imperial conquests disguised as noble endeavors to “spread freedom and democracy”. In their cowardice, most hide behind expansive arsenals of technologically advanced weaponry, armies of the poor and working class, and rules of war which they make and apply to suit their needs.
From within their moated castles, these de facto rulers of the world order their minions to mow down the enemies they have manufactured like a Lawn Boy felling blades of grass in July. But since their fighters wear uniforms, represent “moral nations”, make “precision strikes”, and express regret at causing “collateral damage”, their acts do not constitute “terrorism” or war crimes.
Adding to Middle Eastern antipathy toward the West is the United States government’s unwavering support for dictatorships, oligarchies and monarchies friendly to Western corporate interests, often to the extreme detriment of their own people. Examples include the Shah, Saddam Hussein, Hosni Mubarek, and the House of Saud. Time and again the self-proclaimed standard bearer of human rights has turned a blind eye to flagrant abuses perpetrated by their proxies in the Arab and Persian world.
How Dare You Get Rough With Your Rapist!
In the delusion with which the ubiquitous Western corporate media floods our psyches, beheading an American civilian contractor is an act of terrorism while dropping a bomb and obliterating an apartment building occupied by twenty Iraqi women and children is a morally justifiable act of war. When they kill one of “us”, it is an act of terror. When we kill twenty of “them”, it is an unfortunate consequence of the war we “must wage” to “protect our freedoms”.
In the warped logic of Western imperialists, the burden of achieving peace in the region lies squarely on the shoulders of the oppressed and invaded. Justice does not enter into the equation. Being the “lesser beings” that they are, Arabs and Persians are expected to neuter themselves and unconditionally surrender to their Occidental Overlords.
According to pathologically twisted policy makers and pundits like Daniel Pipes, Charles Krauthammer, and Dick Cheney, Israel is entitled to help itself to as much Palestinian land and water as it wishes and to inflict as much collective punishment on the Palestinians as tickles its fancy. Their rhetoric and policies also support the utterly irrational belief that the United States has the unconditional right to brutally impose its will upon nations throughout the Middle East to achieve its goals of protecting Israel and sustaining the flow of precious oil.
In the Neocons’ and Zionists’ perverse view of humanity, the “cockroaches” inhabiting the Middle East have no right to resist or defend themselves. Those who do so are branded terrorists and the nation (allegedly) hosting them becomes a target of preemptive war. Even if that war jeopardizes the lives of citizens of Western nations too.
We Don’t Care Who Gets Hurt….As Long as it isn’t us….
Our depraved leaders do not care who lives or dies as long as they advance their twisted agenda. Need evidence? Look no further than Bush’s decree that a cessation of the hostilities in Lebanon is contingent on the unilateral disarmament of Hezbollah.
Also consider that despite its technological superiority and military might, the United States has been unable to quell the Resistance since it invaded Iraq in 2003. Now Israel has opened a second front in the War on Islamic People in the Middle East Who Have the Oil We Want and Oppose Palestinian Ethnic Cleansing (Western propagandists call it the War on Terror). Seemingly, our ruling elite learned little from Vietnam (or our own Revolutionary War for that matter). Brute military force is no match for a large indigenous population determined to expel imperial invaders. And our ruling elites have now challenged multiple adversaries in the Middle East who fit that description.
Applaud their Resistance and Loathe their Tactics
While the ruling elite of the Western capitalist war machine are proving to be slow learners, their oppressed have been quick studies. Realizing they faced overwhelming odds and had limited resources, the Middle Eastern Resistance began employing the advantages at their disposal, including superior manpower, an inhospitable climate, rugged terrain, a willingness by many of their fighters to commit suicide for their cause, and stealth. Given the odds against them, they have done well in fending off their usurpers.
Ideally, the Middle Eastern Resistance would have chosen the non-violent paths of Gandhi, Martin Luther King, or the increasingly powerful Socialist movements in Latin America to overcome their imperial oppressors. Unfortunately for civilians in Western imperialist nations, their governments’ myriad crimes and provocations have driven many young Middle Eastern men into the arms of Islamic extremists and left the people of the Middle East with little choice but to resort to violence in the form of “terrorism”.
The hostile actions and murder committed by the various Middle Eastern opposition groups and Islamic Fundamentalists are deplorable and abhorrent. However, the ultimate responsibility for the deaths of non-combatant citizens of Western nations lies on the doorsteps of ruling elites like Bush, Blair, and Olmert.
Perpetual War is not Inevitable in the Middle East
If humanity is to experience a semblance of peace in the Middle East, the United States needs to withdraw its troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, close its permanent military bases in the region, pay reparations to Iraq and Afghanistan (with no strings attached), and end its support of autocratic states like Egypt.
Israel needs to pay war reparations to Lebanon and the Palestinians and allow the creation of a fully sovereign Palestinian state in Gaza and the West Bank.
The United States needs to end Israel’s parasitism by eliminating the $3 billion per year in military and foreign aid payments to this relatively wealthy and extremely well-armed nation, eliminate Israel’s undue influence on American foreign policy, and severely curtail its own obscene devotion of resources to military pursuits.
Middle Eastern nations need to follow the lead of Latin American nations like Venezuela and implement political and social structures that benefit a broad spectrum of the population rather than a corrupt few in the oligarchy at the top. Secular governments need to replace those guided by radical Islamic principles. A significant reduction or end to Western intervention would facilitate this evolution by pulling the rug out from under the oligarchs and diminishing the opportunity for reactionary forces to seize power.
Western and Middle Eastern parties to the conflict need to surrender their war criminals to the International Criminal Court for prosecution and life imprisonment.
Estamos en la Lucha
As Martin Luther King once said:
Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism.
While justice remains as scarce as water in the arid lands of the Middle East, rivers of blood and tears will continue to fill the streets. Western hubris, avarice, and belligerence will continue to beget mayhem, suffering, and the fetid stench of death.
The militant Neocon and Zionist leaders in the United States and Israel are deaf to lamentations and blind to scenes of carnage. As long as they remain in power and have pawns to sacrifice, the “War on Terror” will continue to escalate.
May the Higher Power rest the souls of the innocent men, women and children who have perished as a result of the Middle Eastern conflict, regardless of their religion, ethnicity, or nation of origin.
And may the rest of us find the strength and the means to expel the numerous despicable human beings who have hijacked our political, economic, and social institutions.
Jason Miller is a 39 year old sociopolitical essayist with a degree in liberal arts and an extensive self-education (derived from an insatiable appetite for reading). He is a member of Amnesty International and an avid supporter of Oxfam International and Human Rights Watch. He welcomes responses at firstname.lastname@example.org or comments on his blog, Thomas Paine's Corner, at http://civillibertarian.blogspot.com/.