Give Donald Trump credit. With his call to ban all Muslims from coming into the United States, he has drawn President Obama into the political fray.
Trump’s position is that the anti-American terrorist problem lies with all Muslims, insinuating that deep down they are all enemies of America and the West and, therefore, should be barred from coming into the country.
While Trump hasn’t specifically addressed the fact that the Orlando shooter was an American citizen, the inference one can easily draw from his position is that every Muslim living here in the United States, citizen or not, is a potential Fifth Columnist who is hell-bent on initiating a terrorist attack against Americans. My hunch is that Trump is quietly studying President Franklin Roosevelt’s incarceration of Japanese-Americans and intends to apply FDR’s model to Muslim-Americans.
Obama, on the other hand, takes the same position that Hillary Clinton takes and, for that matter, that George W. Bush and the neocons took: That the problem lies not with regular Muslims but rather with Muslims who “hate America for its freedom and values” or who have become “radicalized.”
Actually, the Obama-Clinton-Bush position is just as ludicrous as the Trump position. That’s because the problem is not with Muslims, either regular or radicalized. Instead, the problem is U.S. interventionism in the Middle East, specifically the fact that for some 25 years the U.S. national-security establishment’s death machine has been killing and maiming people in the Middle East and destroying their homes, businesses, and countries in regime-change operations.
The thing is that many, if not most, of the death machine’s victims have been Muslims. Thus, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that when some of the intended victims decided to retaliate for what the death machine was doing to them and their families over there, most of the retaliators were Muslims.
When some of them did retaliate — such as with the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, the attack on the USS Cole, the attacks on the U.S. Embassies in East Africa, and the 9/11 attacks, U.S. officials immediately hopped to and declared that the attacks were motivated by hatred for America’s “freedom and values.”
Later, that position gradually evolved into the notion that the problem lay with “self-radicalized” Muslims who hate us for our “freedom and values” and who are engaging in a centuries-old religious war against Western civilization.
It is all a cover to avoid responsibility for the horrific consequences, including terrorist blowback in Orlando and elsewhere in the United States — from U.S. interventionism in the Middle East. It’s all a cover to avoid addressing the fundamental issue: Is it finally time for U.S. forces to withdraw from the Middle East and Afghanistan (and other parts of the world as well) before we get even more Orlandos?
Hatred for our freedom and values never had anything to do with any of the anti-American terrorism and neither did the principles of Islam. The fact is that when the U.S. government went abroad and started killing Muslims, it was a foregone conclusion that at some point in the death and mayhem operations, people who would be retaliating would be Muslims.
The noted historian and analyst Chalmers Johnson described the retaliatory phenomenon as “blowback.” The U.S. government goes abroad and intervenes in the affairs of other countries with coups, assassinations, invasions, occupations, sanctions, embargoes, and other measures to effect regime change. People living in the targeted countries get angry, especially when the measures are bringing massive death and destruction to the country, as the U.S. intervention in the Persian Gulf War and the subsequent sanctions on Iraq did prior to 9/11 and as the invasion and occupation of Iraq have done after 9/11.
And so people retaliate with acts of terrorism.
But here’s the kicker. After the 9/11 attacks, U.S. officials bamboozled the American people (and the troops) into believing that the terrorist attacks made it necessary for the U.S. government to go abroad in self-defense—in order to kill the terrorists (and the Muslims or the radicalized Muslims) before they could come to America and commit more acts of terrorism.
The strategy was ingenious because the average American had no idea that the terrorists were retaliating for what the U.S. death machine had done to them over in their countries.
Why are Clinton, Obama, and Trump being so disingenuous on this point? Why were George W. Bush and the neocons the same way?
Because the last thing the U.S. national-security establishment wants is for Americans to figure out that terrorist attacks on Americans have been committed in retaliation for what the U.S. death machine has done in the Middle East. If American were to figure that out, they might well decide that the cost of interventionism in terms of terrorism blowback, such as what just happened in Orlando, just isn’t worth it anymore.
The national security establishment knows full well what that would mean. If Americans demand that the U.S. government withdraw all U.S. troops and refrain from killing any more people in the Middle East, that would obviously constitute a severe threat to the gigantic income stream that funds the national-security establishment or what President Eisenhower referred to as “the military-industrial complex.”
Moreover, it’s not just a problem of killing people over there and the occasional deadly terrorist blowback over here that kills Americans. It’s also a matter of losing our liberty and privacy here at home. The threat of terrorist blowback propels people like Obama and Clinton to call for gun control, which is what totalitarian regimes have. It also propels people like Trump to call for travel bans, another characteristic of totalitarian regimes. Is that what Americans want our country to become?
And then there is the financial cost of the U.S. death machine. No one can dispute that it is a major factor in the out-of-control federal spending and enormous mountain of soaring federal debt that is heading America in the direction of bankruptcy, just like Greece and Puerto Rico.
Americans have a choice: (1) Keep the U.S. death machine in the Middle East and continue paying the price in terms of terrorist blowback, loss of liberty and privacy, federal bankruptcy, and economic chaos; or (2) Leave the Middle East alone, bring the U.S. death machine home, and embark on the road to freedom, peace, prosperity, and harmony.