Friday, November 13, 2015

When our wars come home

The response to the attacks against Charlie Hebdo have been varied, from sympathy for the victims, to journalists promising to publish more, from Wikileaks calling for the release of more cartoons, to racist Islamaphobes calling for the death of all Muslims.  But one question has still not been asked. Why did they do this? Yes they can claim it was about cartoons, and it might be that simple that it is about only blaspheming Muhammad in satirical cartoons, but remember that our Judeo/Christian 10 Commandments teach against blasphemy as well. (See also here where I wrote more about this)
Blasphemy is contrary to the respect due God and his holy name. It is in itself a grave sin.
but if it turns out to be true that they were, or identified with, Al Qaeda in Yemen (as appears to be the case), then we can see a larger picture emerging that is not being talked about here.  Yes this was an attack on a newspaper possibly only over cartoons.  But it was still an attack in the streets of Paris, and while it is a rare event, it is happening more frequently.

Our wars are coming home.

We have been at war for more than a decade in almost a dozen countries.  We no longer fight them in our home countries or on our borders.  We send thousands of troops to the other side of the planet and occupy countries for 10 years, arresting all of the men, raping the women, torturing prisoners, bombing neighborhoods and massacring the population.  We don't hear about the everyday atrocities in the news.  Instead we hear platitudes about "supporting our troops" and how we are "freeing people from dictators and tyranny."  Meanwhile when people condemn the violence our soldiers commit in war this is the response.
We go to work, we do our errands, pay our bills, entertain ourselves, and then Muslim terrorists kill in our streets and we wonder why, and then proceed to unify against our enemy.

While I condemn violence, terrorists attack us for a reason, as I wrote on Twitter
Odd how terrorists and governments both say same thing "stop bombing us and killing innocent civilians or we will attack you in response"
We only seem to respond to terrorism when it occurs where we live, ignoring it when it is us who carry out attacks, or when the killers are not Muslim, for instance school shootings.  Democracy Now! had two great interviews last week discussing Yemen with Jeremy Scahill and terrorism and cable news terrorism "experts" with Glenn Greenwald.

Glenn said about terrorism that
every time there’s an attack where the assailant or the perpetrator is unknown, the media will say it’s unknown whether or not terrorism is involved. And what they really mean by that is: It’s unknown whether or not the perpetrator is Muslim. And as soon as they discover that the perpetrator is a Christian or is American, a white American, they’ll say, "We now have confirmation that this is not a terrorist attack." It’s something else—someone who’s mentally unstable, some extremist, something like that. It really is a term that functionally now means nothing other than Muslims who engage in violence against the West.
I remember there was an individual named Joseph Stack who flew an airplane into a government building in Texas, into the side of the IRS, actually. And for the first several hours of the reporting, it was said that the suspicion is that this is a terrorist attack, because it was on a government facility. And then when it was discovered that he was actually a right-wing, anti-tax, anti-government American, they said, actually, this isn’t a terrorist attack, this is just kind of this crazy person who did this for political ends.

same day as Hebdo was car bomb in Yemen
A large car bomb exploded outside a police academy inYemen’s capital, Sana, early Wednesday, killing or wounding dozens of applicants who were lined up at the building’s gate, according to security officials.
An Interior Ministry official said that at least 38 people had been killed and that more than 90 had been wounded.
Investigators said there was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing. The attack was the deadliest in the capital since October, when a suicide bomber killed nearly 50 people at a protest.
Yemeni activist is republishing the cartoons

shooter ties to Syria fighting probed

2011 response to Charlie Hebdo publishing cartoons

France's own War on Terror in Africa

France has been fighting it's own War on Terror in Africa which has largely been absent from the headlines.

Operation Barkhane began in August 2014, replacing Operation Serval, the French military mission in Mali, and Operation Epervier, the mission in Chad according to the French Ministry of Defense.

As usual those who scream "Liberty, Equality, Brotherhood, Democracy" intervene when these values interfere with their own definition of the words, usually Western governments or their global allies fighting against people they define as "terrorists"

When France was weakened by World War II, the peoples of West Africa organized to regain their independence and it was in this region where there were the loudest calls for the establishment of a United States of Africa- then called Union of Independent African States. Soon after the independence of Ghana in 1957, the leaders of Ghana, Guinea and Mali proclaimed a unity based on Pan-African cooperation. Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana and Sekou Toure started this union that was later joined by Modibo Keïta of Mali. Mark DeLancey in his bibliographical essay on the The Ghana - Guinea - Mali Union: exposed the deep interest in that elementary Union and the deployment of western intellectuals to understand the internal dynamics of that Pan African experiment. [1] After the western intellectuals came the military interventions. First Ghana met the fate of the removal of Nkrumah in 1966 and then in 1968 General Moussa Traoré organized a coup d'état against Modibo Keïta, and sent him to prison in the northern Malian town of Kidal.
In the book, France Soldiers and Africa, Anthony Clayton laid out in graphic detail the military system of France and its impact on both France and Africa. One of the little known aspects of this militarization of Africa was how the French intellectual culture was negatively affected by the history of military engagement and interventions. Between 1960 and 2012 France had undertaken more than one hundred military interventions in Africa. The lowest point of this engagement and its intellectual variant was when France invaded Central Africa to assist those who were carrying out genocide in Rwanda in 1994.
The US and France have increasingly partnered in the war on terror in Africa, launching operations in almost every country as Vice reports (video report Part 1 here)
All of this comes as part of what analysts have dubbed the US military's "pivot to Africa." Although the US has engaged in counterterrorism activities in Africa since 2002, military operations have grown rapidly under the Obama administration. Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti remains the only official, permanent US base in Africa, but over the last decade, a constellation of sites, including "intermediate staging bases," and "cooperative security locations," have spread across the continent. A near-constant rotation of US military personnel, intelligence operatives, and private military contractors who engage in humanitarian missions, civil affairs activities, bilateral training exercises, and covert operations is now underway in almost every country in Africa. (emphasis mine)
"You could call it a fourth front in the war on terror, and it is not very much talked about," Reeve said.
Right.  but it should at least be talked about when once in a while, the war makes it's way back home.

As refugees currently come to Europe by boat from Libya, destroyed by the NATO/US bombing in 2011 that toppled Qadaffi and created a failed state with 2 rival governments, and the more recent refugee crisis from Syria makes headlines, these refugees are supposed to be a reminder that wars abroad have consequences at home.  

Unfortunately for most Europeans and certainly most US politicians, it is just another example of how evil the rest of the world is and how "they" are the ones trying to destroy "our civilization."

Yeah, sure.

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