The Biggest Lie in the War on Terrorism

The Crime of Making Americans Aware of Their Own History

By William Blum

Is history getting too close for comfort for the
fragile little American heart and mind? Their schools and their favorite
media have done an excellent job of keeping them ignorant of what their
favorite country has done to the rest of the world, but lately some
discomforting points of view have managed to find their way into this
well-defended American consciousness.

First, Congressman Ron Paul during a presidential
debate last month expressed the belief that those who carried out the
September 11 attack were retaliating for the many abuses perpetrated
against Arab countries by the United States over the years. The audience
booed him, loudly.

Then, popular-song icon Tony Bennett, in a radio
interview, said the United States caused the 9/11 attacks because of its
actions in the Persian Gulf, adding that President George W. Bush had
told him in 2005 that the Iraq war was a mistake. Bennett of course came
under some nasty fire. FOX News (September 24), carefully choosing its
comments charmingly as usual, used words like �insane�, �twisted mind�,
and �absurdities�. Bennett felt obliged to post a statement on Facebook
saying that his experience in World War II had taught him that �war is
the lowest form of human behavior.� He said there�s no excuse for
terrorism, and he added, �I�m sorry if my statements suggested anything
other than an expression of love for my country.� (NBC September 21)

Then came the Islamic cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki, an
American citizen, who for some time had been blaming US foreign policy
in the Middle East as the cause of anti-American hatred and terrorist
acts. So we killed him.

Ron Paul and Tony Bennett can count themselves lucky.

What, then, is the basis of all this? What has the United States actually been doing in the Middle East in the recent past?

The shooting down of two Libyan planes in 1981 the
bombing of Lebanon in 1983 and 1984 the bombing of Libya in 1986 the
bombing and sinking of an Iranian ship in 1987 the shooting down of an
Iranian passenger plane in 1988 the shooting down of two more Libyan
planes in 1989 the massive bombing of the Iraqi people in 1991 the
continuing bombings and draconian sanctions against Iraq for the next 12
years the bombing of Afghanistan and Sudan in 1998 the habitual support
of Israel despite the routine devastation and torture it inflicts upon
the Palestinian people the habitual condemnation of Palestinian
resistance to this the abduction of �suspected terrorists� from Muslim
countries, such as Malaysia, Pakistan, Lebanon and Albania, who were
then taken to places like Egypt and Saudi Arabia, where they were
tortured the large military and hi-tech presence in Islam�s holiest
land, Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere in the Persian Gulf region the support
of numerous undemocratic, authoritarian Middle East governments from
the Shah of Iran to Mubarak of Egypt to the Saudi royal family the
invasion, bombing and occupation of Afghanistan, 2001 to the present,
and Iraq, 2003 to the present the bombings and continuous firing of
missiles to assassinate individuals in Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan, and
Libya during the period of 2006-2011.

It can�t be repeated or emphasized enough. The
biggest lie of the �war on terrorism�, although weakening, is that the
targets of America�s attacks have an irrational hatred of the United
States and its way of life, based on religious and cultural
misunderstandings and envy. The large body of evidence to the contrary
includes a 2004 report from the Defense Science Board, �a Federal
advisory committee established to provide independent advice to the
Secretary of Defense.� The report states:

�Muslims do not hate our freedom, but rather they hate our policies.

The overwhelming majority voice their objections to
what they see as one-sided support in favor of Israel and against
Palestinian rights, and the long-standing, even increasing, support for
what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi
Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan and the Gulf states. Thus, when American public
diplomacy talks about bringing democracy to Islamic societies, this is
seen as no more than self-serving hypocrisy.�

The report concludes: �No public relations campaign
can save America from flawed policies.� (Christian Science Monitor,
November 29, 2004)

The Pentagon released the study after the New York
Times ran a story about it on November 24, 2004. TheTimes reported that
although the board�s report does not constitute official government
policy, it captures �the essential themes of a debate that is now
roiling not just the Defense Department but the entire United States
government.�

William Blum is the author of Killing Hope: U.S.
Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, Rogue State: a guide
to the World�s Only Super Power and West-Bloc Dissident: a Cold War
Political Memoir.

He can be reached at: BBlum6@aol.com

The Biggest Lie in the War on Terrorism

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