By Dave Lindorff
I'm not a fan of war or of killing of any kind, but the labeling of the deadly attack by Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez on two US military sites in Chattanooga, Tennessee as an act of terror is absurd.
Maybe Abdulazeez will turn out to have been a nut-case bent on committing "suicide by police." There are plenty of those kinds of psychos in the gun-soaked culture of America. But what we're hearing, increasingly, is that he was somehow linked to Middle East jihad, and ultimately to ISIS, and that he is therefore a "terrorist."
That is ridiculous!
If it turns out that Abdulazeez was in any way linked to ISIS, then his action in attacking US military personnel in the US and killing them has to be seen not as terrorism but as a legitimate retributive act of war. That is no dishonor to those Marines killed. It simply makes it clear that they were killed in a war, not by some crazy person.
US citizens need to start accepting the reality that if the United States is going to go around the world blowing up people with fighter-bombers, special forces actions and drone missile attacks, eventually the targets of those aggressive acts of war will start responding against the US in kind. And they would have a legal right to do this under the rules of war.
If Abdulazeez turns out to have been retaliating against the US for its attacks on ISIS forces in Iraq and Syria, he was a legitimate combatant, not a terrorist. Had he been captured instead of "neutralized" as the police reported in their sterilized lingo, he would properly have been treated as a prisoner of war, at least in any country that actually adheres to the Geneva Conventions to which the US is a signatory. Of course, the US has long since tossed those hoary conventions into the trash bin, considering itself to be an "exceptional" nation not bound by international law, but that's another matter.
The point is, you reap what you sow, and the US, in its Global War on Terror, has sown a lot of death, murder and destruction, which will inevitably return to US shores as the same kind of thing.
Abdulazeez, if he was a combatant, deserves credit really, at least for following the rules of war. He appears to have focused his killing remarkably well on actual military personnel. There were no civilian casualties in his attacks, no children killed or even wounded.
Compare that to the US record. According to most experts outside the government, the US drone war in Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia and other venues has primarily killed civilians, and disproportionately, children. Only a relatively small number of actual enemy fighters have actually been successfully hit.
Authorities in Washington and patriotic yahoos in the media want to call every shooting, including shootings of US military personnel in the US or even abroad, acts of "terrorism," because they don't want to admit that they are acts of war. To do so might well lead even a reflexively patriotic and intellectually challenged American public to start asking how all this US military aggression abroad is actually contributing to their safety here at home.
That would be a dangerous question if people started asking it, since clearly none of America's wars or military adventures since 9-11 has made the.American people any safer.
Calling the killing of American troops like the latest incident in Chattanooga, or even ones in Afghanistan, where everyone knows US forces are engaged in a full-scale war, acts of "terror" fits in with a kind of one-sided story line where we are just a peaceful nation minding our own business, while these "evil ones" out there, and even here in the US, are just out to get us.
Calling such people "terrorists" lends more support to the false argument that we Americans should happily surrender more and more of our precious and hard-won freedoms to the burgeoning police state in hopes that it will protect us.
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