There are two aspects of the Orlando massacre that are predictable.
One, the massacre has generated the customary calls for gun control. That always happens after every terrorist attack.
Note something important about the Orlando attack: It took place in a gun-free zone. Under Florida law, it is illegal to possess guns in places that sell alcohol. The nightclub where the attack took place sells alcohol.
Why is this important? Because it shows that the attacker didn’t care that it was illegal for him to carry a gun into the nightclub. That is, he clearly did not say to himself, “Golly, I really would like to kill those people but since the law prohibits me from carrying a gun in there, I’m not going to be able to kill them.”
As I have been pointing out for umpteen years, if a person doesn’t give a hoot about violating a law against murder, he’s not going to give a hoot about violating a gun-control law. Duh!
Note something else important about the Orlando attack: Not one single person in the nightclub, from accounts I’ve read, was carrying a concealed weapon. The likely reason for that is that Florida law prohibits people with concealed-carry licenses to possess a concealed weapon in a place where alcohol is served.
So, what the Florida concealed-carry law does is disarm the law-abiding citizen. It made the nightclub a gun-free zone.
Not surprisingly, the killer chose that particular gun-free zone to unleash his killing spree rather than, say, the hundreds of attendees at a gun show. He knew that owing to Florida law, it was a virtual certainty that none of his intended victims would be firing back at him.
Two, officials and the mainstream press refrain from addressing the obvious big elephant in the room — blowback from U.S. interventionism in the Middle East. It’s just a topic they always avoid at all costs after every terrorist attack.
Why is that?
Because to talk about blowback might call into question the U.S. government’s interventionist death machine in the Middle East. It’s the death machine that has unleashed the violence and mayhem all over the Middle East. And it’s the death machine that has brought into existence ISIS, which is the organization that the Orlando killer, Omar Mateen, said he was representing just prior to launching his killing spree.
Ever since the invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, one of the main features of American society has become to thank the troops. “Thank you for your service in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Americans have told the troops. “Thank you for your sacrifice.”
I wonder how many American actually think about what they are actually thanking the troops for. The fact is that they’re being thanked for killing and maiming people in the Middle East and for causing destruction and mayhem through violence in that part of the world.
Contrary to popular opinion here in the United States, an invasion is not like open borders, where people peacefully cross borders in search of a better way of life. An invasion is violent. It involves shooting people, bombing people, tearing them to bits. It also involves massive destruction of people’s homes and businesses. It destroys a nation’s economy, leaving death, destitution, bodies, limbs, and poverty in its wake.
Thus, it’s not difficult to understand the mainstream media’s reluctance to discuss the big elephant in the room — that all that killing and maiming that Americans are grateful for ends up producing the blowback that manifests itself in the form of terrorist attacks that involve death and injuries for innocent people in Orlando (or San Bernardino, Detroit, Boston, Ft. Hood, or wherever the next terrorist attack may be).
And discussing the blowback link between the U.S. government’s interventionist death machine in the Middle East, which necessarily involves the troops, obviously puts Americans who thank the troops for their “service” in an awkward position, given that there is a direct line between what they’re thanking the troops for and the blowback that occurs in Orlando and elsewhere.
It’s important to bear in mind that Iraq was a country that never attacked the United States or even threatened to do so. Most political figures who supported the invasion now say it was a “mistake,” sort of like a person who makes a wrong turn at an intersection. But that’s only because the Iraq intervention has obviously turned out to be a catastrophe. You rarely see the “Iraq was a mistake” crowd expressing genuine remorse for all the death, destruction, and mayhem that the U.S. invasion and occupation unleashed in Iraq and the rest of the Middle East, including the civil wars that have engulfed the region as well as the massive refugee crisis in Europe, in which people are fleeing the lands of death and destruction in a desperate attempt to save their lives.
Through it all, many Americans have continued to thank the troops for their service in Iraq, which “service” has necessarily consisted of killing and maiming hundreds of thousands of people who never intended to do any harm to the United States, destroying their entire country, and inciting a horrific civil war that has engulfed the country and the region. Why would anyone be surprised that that would incite some people with such rage that they’re even willing to commit murder-suicide against Americans through acts of horrific terrorism? Who needs a government study of self-radicalization to understand that type or deep-seated anger and rage?
The same applies to the killings and mayhem unleashed in Libya, Syria, Pakistan, and the rest of the Middle East as a result of U.S. interventionism. Even Afghanistan, which some people call a “good” war, was waged not because the Afghan government was complicit in the 9/11 attacks but simply because the Afghan government refused to comply with President Bush’s unconditional extradition demand for Osama bin Laden, notwithstanding the fact that there was no extradition treaty between the two countries.
I’d venture to say that 99 percent of the people who have been killed in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S. invasion and occupation of that country, including the many people in wedding parties that have been bombed, had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. Yet, even after bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces, U.S. troops have continued to kill and maim Afghans who had nothing to do with 9/11, and Americans have continued to thank them for doing so.
How can the ongoing killings, maiming, and destruction of people who never intended to do harm to Americans not incite anger among friends, relatives, and countrymen of the victims or among people who share their same religious beliefs? How can such expressions of gratitude among the American populace not be noticed by people who sympathize with the victims?
On Memorial Day I wrote an article entitled “The Troops Are Destroying our Country,” which generated the predictable emails attacking me for “blaming the troops.” But if you carefully read that article, you’ll see that it didn’t blame the troops or even delve into their intentions and mindsets for participating in the U.S. interventionist death machine in the Middle East. People who have long supported the troops obviously get defensive whenever someone questions what the troops are doing, regardless of their intentions and mindsets.
The title of my article was just a declaratory sentence that set forth the theme of article: The troops are taking our country down. Whether they are the best-intentioned people in the whole world is irrelevant. It just doesn’t matter if they mean well. All that matters is that they are part of a welfare-warfare machinery that is bankrupting our nation financially and, even worse, unleashing death and destruction that is the root cause of terrorist blowback here at home, followed by inevitably calls for suppressing the freedom of the American people, such as with the predictable support for gun control, assassination programs, indefinite detention, torture, and secret surveillance schemes.
The most predictable part of all this is that after each terrorist attack, many Americans will continue to call for more of the same and expect different results. In other words, when the next terrorist attack comes — and it will come so long as the U.S. death machine is still operating in the Middle East — we will see the same predictable response among many Americans: Express shock over the horror, call for even more killing in the Middle East, thank the troops for their service and sacrifice, and advocate more suppression of freedom here at home to “keep us safe.”
When enough Americans finally question whether the death and mayhem from terrorist blowback is worth what they are supporting and thanking the troops for, that will be the day when U.S. troops are withdrawn from the Middle East and anti-American terrorist blowback will come to an end. And that will be the day when every American can be really thankful, especially given that no more Americans will be the victims of terrorist blowback from U.S. interventionism.