By Haroon Siddiqui, Toronto Star, August 29, 2010
Baroness Manningham-Buller, former head of M15, the British security agency, said last month that Britain’s “involvement in Iraq radicalized a whole generation of young people . . . who saw our involvement in Iraq, on top of our involvement in Afghanistan, as an attack on Islam.” It led to an “almost overwhelming” increase in homegrown terrorism.
Leon Panetta, director of the CIA, said in June that American authorities are alarmed at the flurry of terrorist plots, by those directed by Al Qaeda and by “self-radicalized” militants.
(Canadian Minister of Public Safety, Vic )Towes, too, talked about the threat posed by “homegrown” and “self-radicalized” terrorists in Canada.
So while Al Qaeda and its offshoots are weaker than they’ve ever been since 2001, says Panetta, the threat of the terrorist next door has increased.
Of course, war provokes retaliation. And, of course, little frightened people, mostly male, forget that when they declare war on behalf of their people, as Bush-Cheney did in 2003 against Saddam Hussein's Iraq. And, yes, Hussein was an evil dictator whose use of poison gas against the Turks living in the Northern part of Iraq was, and is, both heinous and inexcusable. And that's why we have the International Court at the Hague, to try people whose leadership includes crimes against humanity. However, a country like the U.S. with the largest inventory of military hardware, and the attitude, philosophy and mind-set to maintain its world hegemony, no matter the expense, and no matter the dubious consequences (after all it is a matter of national pride that young men and women who seek national honour and respectability through wearing the uniform, enlisting, going through bootcamp, and rising through the ranks, and also fulfilling their commitment to the constitution to "take up arms" when called upon by the country) refuses to sign on to the World Court in the Hague. Their argument has been that to do so might mean that American military personnel might be charged and tried in that venue, for crimes committed in the act of war, under orders from the leaders of the country (which really means that those same leaders would also be subject to the judicial processes of the World Court). And to their argument, the world says, "Nonsense!"
In fact, there are many around the world and in the U.S. itself, (excluding President Obama) who would like to see George W. Bush and Dick Cheney brought before the World Court in the Hague, for having committed war crimes against the humanity in Iraq for their unsupportable war against Hussein. Obama has, apparently, enough on his political plate, without adding the spectre of bring charges against a former president and vice-president within the U.S. judicial system, and the U.S. is not "subject" to the jurisdiction of The Court in the Hague.
And so, unwanted, home-grown insurrectionists, in league with, if not formally trained by radical Islamist jihadists, spring up in many liberal democracies prompting the expenditure of millions, if not billions, "to protect national security" through quasi-military measures like new "border security forces" in uniforms with vehicles, and carrying weapons "to protect against foreign as well as home-grown terrorists." And that group likely includes those trafficking in illicit drugs, also an international marketing underground. So, not only do we grow more terrorists through unprovoked wars, we also significantly expand, and justify, more and more "security forces" feeding on the public purse either directly as employees of government or as contractors, another 'growth industry' justified solely by the cover of a war, making everyone less safe and less secure.
It is little wonder that ordinary people wonder just how much fear, and how many lies we can tolerate, as part of a gigantic political thrust to move the western world to the Right, to increase our dependence on "force" as a principal, if not sole, protection, when a reversal of the official policy of governments to wage unholy wars in the name of God, freedom and security would reduce our need for such security, if not actually eliminate the need entirely.
And the Right calls their form of addressing the situation, "common sense!" That is one of the better examples of Orwell's newspeak, when words mean the precise opposite of their intended meaning. And that same Right has both public purses and private donors to supply their "message war chest" for centuries, while the rest of us watch the tragic drama play out on the lives, families and future generations of innocent children.
We are not seduced by this game, and our grand children need to know, that there were voices protesting this suicidal self-sabotage even if those voices were never listened to. All we can do is hope that eventually our voices will rise to such a chorus that we will have to be heard because we will have drowned out the fear and the manipulation by the terrorist-provocateurs in elected offices in our own coutries.