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Applauding the Cycle of Violence

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If applause is an accurate measure of winning, then, Rudy Giuliani won round two of the Republican presidential blather.  But Rudy’s triumph is the American public’s loss. Those in the audience who clapped did so in response to the great umbrage Giuliani took to Texas Representative Ron Paul’s 9/11 truth, blaming the tragedy of that day on U.S. involvement in the Middle East. Paul did not minimize the guilt of al-Qaeda or offer an olive branch to Osama bin Laden.  In fact, Paul supported military action against Afghanistan to apprehend the terror mastermind, a decision I condemn.  I happen to agree with Howard Zinn when he said that if we learned about a terror cell in Boston, we would not bomb the city. But back to Ron Paul who, wisely, didn’t support the invasion of Iraq.  Giuliani seized on Paul’s criticism of our foreign policy. After all, Rudy’s entire platform, one of strength against terrorism, is constructed on his performance as Mayor of New York on the day the Twin Towers mixed steel, bone, blood, and tears to change our lives. Since many view Rudy as a weak Republican, he was and is compelled to demonstrate his ferocity. He challenged Paul with this:

May I make a comment on that?  That’s really an extraordinary statement—an extraordinary statement that we invited the attack because we were attacking Iraq and I’ve heard some pretty absurd explanations for September 11.  (At this point, the crowd roared their approval) And I would ask the Congressman to withdraw that comment and tell me he really didn’t mean that.

We have all heard some pretty absurd explanations for September 11.  The most outrageous and offensive to intelligence are those hurled at our consciousness in almost every speech given by George Bush and Dick Cheney to gain and maintain support for war: “They are jealous of our freedoms.” And: “They hate us because we’re freedom-loving people.” 

If the citizens of this nation don’t examine the role our conquest-driven foreign policy played in bringing terrorism to our shores, then, we will elect politicians who will continue the strategies that inspire terrorists, thus, denying our children and grandchildren a peaceful world.

When Ron Paul was asked if he actually believes we invited the 9/11 attack, he said: “I’m suggesting we listen to the people who attacked us and the reason they did it.” 

Paul is right. 

In 1996, the London-based newspaper Al Quds Al Arabi printed Osama bin Laden’s fatwa, “Declaration of War Against the Americans Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Places.”  In this, bin Laden put forth a litany of grievances against our country.  The piece is long and chilling.  The words emphasize the enormity of our acquisitiveness and the ramifications of sanctions and violence, actions our country’s warmongering leadership and those like Giuliani, who ignore history in their pursuit of ultimate power,  do not want to talk about in a public forum.  They prefer the rhetoric that pumps up patriotism and sends our youth to the recruitment centers to avenge the deaths of civilians with campaigns of “Shock and Awe.” That we do not target civilians is of little consequence.  Collateral damage is a euphemism for the killing and wounding of at least a million Iraqis.


Here are some excerpts from bin Laden’s fatwa:


The people of Islam awakened and realised that they are the main target for the aggression of the Zionist-Crusaders alliance. All false claims and propaganda about "Human Rights" were hammered down and exposed by the massacres that took place against the Muslims in every part of the world.

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Terrorising you, while you are carrying arms on our land, is a legitimate and morally demanded duty. It is a legitimate right well known to all humans and other creatures. Your example and our example is like a snake which entered into a house of a man and got killed by him. The coward is the one who lets you walk, while carrying arms, freely on his land and provides you with peace and security.


Those youths are different from your soldiers. Your problem will be how to convince your troops to fight, while our problem will be how to restrain our youths to wait for their turn in fighting and in operations.


The youths hold you responsible for all of the killings and evictions of the Muslims and the violation of the sanctities, carried out by your Zionist brothers in Lebanon; you openly supplied them with arms and finance. More than 600,000 Iraqi children have died due to lack of food and medicine and as a result of the unjustifiable aggression (sanction) imposed on Iraq and its nation. The children of Iraq are our children. You, the USA, together with the Saudi regime are responsible for the shedding of the blood of these innocent children. Due to all of that, whatever treaty you have with our country is now null and void.


It should not be hidden from you that the people of Islam had suffered from aggression, iniquity and injustice imposed on them by the Zionist-Crusaders alliance and their collaborators; to the extent that the Muslims blood became the cheapest and their wealth as loot in the hands of the enemies.


A few days after September 11, I heard a woman on television asking,  “How could they do this to us when we are so good?”  Clearly, she, like Giuliani, does not know the history of U.S. hostility.

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Rudy and all the candidates should take a good look at our motivations for invading and occupying countries.  We, Earth’s mighty military bullies, are laying claim to interests that aren’t ours and laying waste to our image abroad while our leadership uses fear and patriotism to harness support to commit atrocities.  Atrocities that continue.  In the name of freedom.  In “they’re jealous of our freedoms.”  And everywhere we tread, we leave blood-drenched ground, devastated families, and bombed-out countries, making enemies and inspiring acts of revenge.  If we ignore or deny our past and current brutalities, more acts of barbarism will be planned against us.  Eventually, some plot will not be foiled and we will see another 9/11.  We have the power to prevent this by changing our foreign policy. Fewer people would want to harm us if we offered humanitarian aid instead of carpet bombs and white phosphorous wrapped in liberation oratory. Yes, we have the opportunity to change our foreign policy but not if one of the top-tier contenders, all of whom have war paint on their faces, ascends to the highest office in the land.  Will anyone step forward, someone who has a chance of winning, someone who understands that acts of aggression are answered by greater acts of aggression?  On and on until there’s nothing left to lose. 


Missy Beattie lives in New York City. She's written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. An outspoken critic of the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq, she's a member of Gold Star Families for Peace. She completed a (more...)

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