America’s Terror

by Margaret Kimberley  

The U.S. assigns to itself the right to slaughter civilians and children wherever it chooses on the planet, yet howls in outrage when its protégés on the other side assert the same murderous privileges. “In the same week that Americans wrung their hands over Mutallab’s holiday season threat, soldiers from their country murdered Afghan children.”
There are many unanswered questions regarding would be terrorist Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab. Mutallab, a Nigerian national, attempted to detonate an explosive substance on a flight preparing to land in Detroit, Michigan on Christmas day.
He succeeded only in setting himself on fire before he was subdued by fellow passengers and a flight crew armed with a fire extinguisher. The thankfully hapless man nonetheless succeeded in providing the corporate media and the ruling political class with a golden opportunity to keep us uninformed, hysterical and primed for more war.
It had been a long time since the press engaged in a feeding frenzy over a foiled terrorist attack. Now “terrorism experts” hold court on cable news channels and yet say nothing of substance. Republicans try to score political points by excoriating the war monger Obama for being “soft” on terrorand demand profiling of Muslims and body scans at airports. The right wing scrutinize every word uttered by Obama administration officials for signs of insufficient hysteria and pro-war fanaticism.
Lost in the fog of charge and counter charge is this simple fact. The United States government engages in acts of terror every day and kills many more people than Mutallab would have had he been successful in bringing down the plane.
Just one year earlier, on Christmas day in 2008, America’s proxy, Israel, began a month long slaughter of thousands of people in Gaza. As always, they could not have carried out their atrocities without American arms and money from the United States treasury. Just days after his inauguration, Barack Obama ordered drone attacks in Pakistan which caused the first of over 700 deaths in 2009. Right on the heels of the underwear bomber incident, an American court threw out the convictions of Xe (Black Water) mercenaries who killed 17 Iraqis in 2007.
The victims of the United States are rarely mentioned by the corporate media, who usually t
ranscribe the party line word for word. According to the opinion makers, there are terror victims deserving of sympathy and victims who deserve none. The passengers on Delta flight 253 are all deserving. Iraqis, Afghans, Pakistanis and anyone else targeted for death by the United States are not.
In the same week that Americans wrung their hands over Mutallab’s holiday season threat, soldiers from their country murdered Afghan children. Even Hamid Karzai, the puppet president who depends on the United States military for his very life, confirmed that reports of the killing of children were true.
The findings by the delegation concluded that a unit of international forces descended from a plane Sunday night into Ghazi Khan Village in Narang district of the eastern province of Kunar and took 10 people from three homes, eight of them school students in grades six, nine and 10, one of them a guest, the rest from the same family, and shot them dead. Eight of those shot dead were confirmed as school students by the village school principle.” It is not surprising that a suicide bomber targeted CIA agents and Xe mercenaries in Afghanistan with the same extra judicial justice they had meted out to others.
The story of the murdered Afghan school children remains largely hidden by the media which instead of reporting real news, convinces us that we should want to be strip searched in airports. This country is now waging wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan yet most of its citizens still claim confusion about the cause of anger, and specifically Muslim anger, directed towards the United States.
Mutallab is no worse than the Xe mercenaries, CIA agents or soldiers who drag children from their beds and kill them. If the indiscriminate killing of civilians in one country generates no outrage, it shouldn’t generate any if it happens in the sky over Detroit. Americans do not have a greater right to live than do people in other parts of the world. Yet they scream and cry the loudest when they are threatened and bristle at any suggestion that there are explanations for hostility directed towards them and their government.
The new year is not getting off to a very promising start. The media tell us nothing in their countless hours of coverage. Politicians make hay to achieve corrupt ends at every opportunity. Our government continues on its killing spree and most Americans are either blithely ignorant of that fact or are knowledgeable and support their government’s terror whole heartedly.
Perhaps it is time to start holding our fellow citizens more accountable. Ignorance is not bliss, it is complicity. Americans are now complicit in committing human rights violations along with their political leaders. They applauded a Nobel Peace Prize speech which made the case for more war. Like their president they think that killing is acceptable if the perpetrators get a paycheck from the United States government and if the scene of the crime is somewhere else on this earth.
The rest of the world doesn’t agree with this convenient assessment. There are more Mutallabs out there, and some of them will succeed at doing more than setting themselves on fire.
Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)
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World Can't Wait mobilizes people living in the United States to stand up and stop war on the world, repression and torture carried out by the US government. We take action, regardless of which political party holds power, to expose the crimes of our government, from war crimes to systematic mass incarceration, and to put humanity and the planet first.