" Universal Community of Friends - Why Do They Hate Us? by Joseph Jenkins

Why Do They Hate Us?

Joseph C. Jenkins
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A lady emailed me recently from New York City saying she now lives in terror, frustration, and anger, and cries every day after the tragic and ruthless bombings that occurred there. Perhaps she may now be able to empathize with the women of Baghdad, where the United States did not drop two bombs on two buildings. In 1991, under George Bush, it bombed the city relentlessly for six weeks, raining more bombs on Iraq than were dropped in all of World War II. The Bush administration bombed their military installations. It also blew up their factories, their bridges, their roads, their power plants, their fallout shelters crowded with innocent women and children, even their schools, day and night, hour after hour, for a month and a half. While the Iraqis were dying, many Americans sat in chairs waving flags and watching the bombings on TV like watching a football game. The estimated million Iraqis, half of them children, who died of malnutrition and disease as a direct result of the subsequent sanctions against Iraq, are still dying like flies there today, but are of no concern to the Bush administration, which is proposing that the sanctions be further tightened. Such a colossal tragedy of human suffering is not even on the radar screen of the very people responsible for it. This does not swell my chest with patriotic pride.

I have to wonder how the citizens of New York City would have fared if their entire infrastructure had been bombed — their electricity gone, drinking water gone, communications gone, bridges gone, roads destroyed, many more thousands dead; polluted water, no food, no medicines or medical supplies — and then have to try to heal and rebuild without assistance, under the crippling weight of economic sanctions. But I don’t have to wonder long — under such circumstances, the citizens of New York would die like flies as well. Relative to our population, the million Iraqi Gulf War deaths would be equivalent to 12 million American deaths — the populations of New York City, Newark, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Baltimore, and San Francisco combined. And now, incredibly, we’re repeating the same scenario in Afghanistan.

I'll never forget the image of the fallout shelter in Baghdad I saw on TV — the one bombed by US warplanes. I saw weeping men carrying out the charred bodies of hundreds of dead wives and children. Our government simply dismissed the killings as the fault of Saddam Hussein. I’m an “army brat” and a former ROTC student. I grew up in a military family and I know that any man who had to carry out his dead family in such a situation would vow until his death to strike back at the people who were responsible for these senseless mass murders.

Now, sadly, we are carrying the charred bodies of our own loved ones from bombed buildings as the cycle continues. The United States, in retaliation, is terrorizing Afghanistan, and, once again, some Americans cheer and wave flags as US bombs rain down. The people of Afghanistan are being punished for crimes committed by people who are already dead — people, ironically, not from Afghanistan. The right-wing spokespeople and talk radio hosts are demanding that no one think about this and certainly not talk publicly about the insanity, inhumanity, and brutality of the Bush administration’s foreign policies. To do so would be “unpatriotic,” they say. Under the cover of this smoke screen, right-wing politicians are shamefully exploiting our national tragedy in order to further their own anti-human rights, anti-environment, pro-militarism agenda — an agenda with its eye on mideast oil. This is patriotism? No, this is an unconscionable insult to America and to those who died in the Trade Center bombings.

The bombings of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were not insane acts committed by cowardly terrorists against an innocent country, as our president would like you to believe. They were, instead, carefully timed, well thought out acts of retaliation against the cruel policies of the former Bush administration, policies that were continued by the Clinton administration. This in no way justifies these crimes, but it does shed light on the root cause of our current predicament. It should also reveal that more violence against innocent people is not an appropriate response. More violence will lead to further retaliation and continue the gruesome and utterly stupid cycle of hatred and vengeance.

Bush’s cry for war has been met with loud applause in the United States, but has anyone realized that the last Bush administration's cries for war have led us into this nightmare in which we now find ourselves? Has America lost its intelligence, its wisdom, and its conscience? Has anyone noticed that the perpetrators of the crimes in New York City and Washington D.C. are already dead? In a civilized society, the rule of law is used to achieve justice. Suspects are indicted, tried, and punished according to the evidence against them. Our president has now appointed himself to be the world’s judge, jury, and executioner, with the declared right to assassinate foreigners at will. He has chosen the blunt instrument of war to conduct what should be the surgical removal of a suspect from a foreign country. He has now expanded this into yet another wholesale bombing of a nation, with the stated option to bomb additional nations at whim. This insanity is tantamount to bombing Montana after Timothy McVeigh’s crime, with Nevada next in line. Has it occurred to anyone that the bombing of a foreign country is a gross and flagrant violation of international law? Or has the incredible pro-Bush propaganda campaign convinced Americans that they can thumb their nose at international law so long as they invoke God and wave a flag? Is it a fact of life that Americans love war and love to bomb other nations? Some obviously do, but most do not.

Americans, generally speaking, are good people with great talents. We are a wonderful depository of human accomplishment and ability, but our political system is flawed — we have placed too much power in the hands of too few people. With intelligent discourse, discussion and debate, open dialog, a free and objective press, the rule of law, and courage, we can make the right choices to deal with difficult situations. Yet, our democracy is now being threatened — not by Arabs, Muslims, or foreigners, but by our own tunnel vision, our own refusal to admit to our short-comings and our unwillingness to see the faults of our government and its foreign policies. As a so-called “patriotism” now attempts to stifle our free speech and ram a murderous and misguided prolonged war down our throats, we Americans who really do love our country must band together and demand a positive and constructive future for our nation as well as for the world. We must demand that our tax dollars be used to better our society and our planet — to improve our roads, bridges, schools, and medical care, to establish a true and wise defense against real threats, to establish a living wage for all Americans, to protect and preserve our environment. Otherwise, the politicians and corporations that control our government will dump our tax dollars, our natural resources, and the lives of our military personnel, once again, down the rat-hole of war; a rat-hole that funnels huge amounts of money, by the way, directly into the pockets of a few wealthy Americans.

Now that we have been brushed by the nightmare of hatred that leveled the twin towers, our mouths have been soured by our own medicine. Perhaps we will begin to understand that the cycle of destruction, death, and vengeance must end. More killings and bombings by Americans will inevitably ratchet up the cycle of violence yet another notch. We do not need more of the same — instead, now more than ever, we need to employ a new manner of thinking. We, the citizens of the United States, must demand it. Otherwise, we start to look a lot like terrorists ouselves.

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