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Kamala Sarup: US War Terrorism And Justification

US War Terrorism And Justification

By Kamala Sarup

"In the land that is supposed to be run by the 'rule of law' and New Testament morality, it is often politically correct to hide the real reasons behind a cloak of legality and constitutionality. We see that every day on the political scene: The single reason for our waging wars in Iraq, for example, is to protect the vital US oil sources in that region, formerly threatened by Saddam. But US administrations can't give that mundane objective as the reason for the US sacrifices in money, debt and blood. So all this irrelevant talk about threats of WMDs, establishing democracy and freedom, improving civil rights, removing a vicious dictator, etc., etc. If Saddam had not threatened the US supply of oil he would be in power today". Norm Stanly said recently. Stanly has published several articles in international journals.

Norm further said "Anyone who supports terrorists is a terrorist too. I suppose one could define terrorists of the first order, second order, etc., but that gets too fine for me. However, you have to be careful to distinguish people, groups of people and states. I don't think it is the policy of the Egyptian and Saudi governments to support terrorism in Iraq, although people and groups in those countries certainly are terrorists in Iraq and elsewhere. The Pakistan government doesn't seem to support terrorism in Iraq. In all countries you cite, some groups are positively terrorists, but not necessarily the government, meaning its leaders and administrators. It's easy, but illogical, to go from individual actions, to group actions, to government sponsored actions. Ascribing terrorism requires great care". He said.

"The problem I have with explicit or implied definitions of terrorist here and elsewhere is that the definition includes anyone who kills someone the definer likes. Therefore, the definitions of terrorist become contradictory and useless. Terrorist and terrorism then becomes merely pejoratives to sling at each other.

I always liked the definition by Salman Rushdie of terrorism as the "murder of the innocents". Therefore, a terrorist is one who murders innocents. "Innocents" in this context are those who are not actively engaged in warfare, i.e., noncombatants. By contrast, military and police and the politicians who are engaged in warfare are *NOT* the innocents; they are combatants. Terrorists themselves would have to considered combatants for the sake of consistency. Also, we would have to forgive the cases of mistaken identity when honestly but erroneously perceived combatants turn out to the noncombatants.

Using the Rushdie definition, when the military and police and their directors (combatants) of one group (or state) kill those in similar groups (or states), then this is not terrorism. Let's call this kind of murder warfare. Using the Rushdie definition, the only way I can see to define a "terrorist state" would be one in which its government officials direct the killing of innocents (noncombatants). (The state may also kill combatants, in which case it is not practicing terrorism; it is practicing warfare.)" Stanly further added.

Using the Rushie definition, the 9/11 murderers were terrorists. So were their directors. Going back into history, when the USSR under Stalin killed invading Germans, it was not practicing terrorism; it practiced warfare. When it killed potential Russian political rivals or starved Ukranians, it engaged in terrorism. Continuing, the US and Iraqi governments' military and police killing of Iraqi terrorists and vice-versa is warfare, not terrorism. When either of the combatants intentionally kill innocent civilians, it is terrorism. When they inadvertently kill innocent civilians in the process of killing or capturing each other, it is not.

He said "Palestinian attempts to blow him/herself up amidst Israelis civilians. He/she is a terrorist. Palestinian attempts to blow up amidst Israeli military. He/she is not a terrorist. Israeli policeman/woman attempts to kill a wouldbe terrorist. Policeman/woman is not a terrorist. Israeli soldier kills a Palestinian youth throwing rocks. He/she is a terrorist. Palestinian kills Israeli soldier. He/she is not a terrorist. Israeli soldier kills armed Palestinian attempting to cross border. Soldier is not a terrorist. Soldier kills unarmed Palestinian attempting to cross border. Soldier is a terrorist".

It is true, because powerful people all over the world are aggressive, acquisitive, and ignorant, wars will always occur. Best we can do is promote faster communication, more integrated industries, more trade and more education among people of different countries so that they stand to lose economically by warring. In that way, wars may be reduced in number and severity.

Cheaper computers, cell phones and internet connections make them available to more people to extend faster communications so that people have a better understanding of other cultures and values that tend to reduce wars. Manufacturing parts in one country, subassemblies in another country, and assembled products in still another country causes people to cooperative more to reduce the likelihood of war. Buying goods from other countries make people more interdependent and less inclined to war against each other. More education promotes better technical skills, foreign languages, and a deeper understanding of other cultures to reduce misunderstandings and war.

He said "After 140 years, what's the point of discussing constitutionality, legality and morality? They were irreconcilable before the war, during the war, and during Reconstruction. Will 140 years perspective resolve constitutionality, legality and morality that were irreconcilable earlier? No, it will compound the confusion because of the values of the present writers are different from those of the war participants and observers". He said.

"If you want to find the *REAL* justifications for secession in the US or in in any country, you will not find it in the politically correct addresses and writings of politicians, lawyers, political philosophers and academicians who utter irrelevancies about constitutionality, morality, and legality. You will find the justifications by knowing what forms public opinion, whose economic interests are affected, whose moral scruples are being violated, and who wields the power to use these loci of power". He added.


(Kamala Sarup, a PhD scholar has been published in World Security Network (WSN), World Press, Global Politician, Scoop Media,, Crossfire, peacejournalism, and other publications. She has also been invited as a speaker at a number of peace and women conferences. She is also an editor of

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