[sixties-l] SNAFU

From: Ron Jacobs (rjacobs@zoo.uvm.edu)
Date: Fri Jan 18 2002 - 08:12:58 EST

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    Situation Normal, All F**ked Up

    I don't know where to begin. The US is floundering around in Central Asia,
    Africa, the Philippines, and the Middle East trying to justify its war on
    terror, with plenty of help from world-power-wannabes and paranoid
    nation-states like India and Israel. Rumors abound that the Bush
    administration actually curtailed FBI investigations into the Afghanistan
    terror cells last summer in the hope that it could reach a deal with the
    Taliban government on an oil and natural gas pipeline for its buddies at
    Unocal. Meanwhile, the Enron collapse threatens to reach into the
    innermost depths of the Bush White House, while Pappy Bush gets rich from
    the incredible profits that The Carlyle investment group is making on the
    increase in weapons industry profits since September 11, 2001.
            The recent suspension of peace talks in Colombia by the Colombian
    government had the terrible potential to bring US forces openly into a war
    in that country that can only truly be resolved when the rich no longer rob
    the poor. This turn of events seemed closely linked not only to a renewed
    confidence in the ranks of the Colombian military thanks to the funding
    provided it by Plan Colombia, but also to the new warmongering in
    Washington. As even a casual reader of the news probably knows, both the
    Colombian military and certain elements in the US national security
    apparatus have wanted to destroy the revolutionary elements in Colombia for
    years. These same elements had hoped that this was their time.
            Up to this point in the civil war, much of the government's dirty work
    against the popular movements has been undertaken by the various
    paramilitary organizations. These organizations are comparable to the
    death squads that ran rampant in El Salvador during the 1980s and the
    various "counterterror" teams that killed thousands in southern Vietnam
    during America's war there. Although they receive surreptitious funding
    from various US and Colombian government agencies, these groups are not
    officially part of any government-sponsored military. This arrangement
    works out nicely for the official militaries in that they can keep their
    hands relatively clean by leaving the massacres of farmers and laborers (as
    well as their leaders) to the paramilitaries. In turn, once the massacres
    are complete in a particular area, the regular military can come in and
    take the territory, all the while denying any knowledge of the bloodshed
    that preceded them.
    This deniability is possible primarily because the United States overseers
    conspire with the military in the pretense that there is no coordination
    between the military and the paramilitary groups-a coordination that is not
    merely due to circumstance, but is part of the government's battle plans.
    This coordination is further served by the fact that many members of the
    paramilitaries are members of the regular military as well, much like many
    Klansmen in the United States are also members of police forces. It is
    very likely that the lines between the paramilitaries and the regular
    military will become blurred even further as the battle between the
    Colombian government and its opposition intensifies.
            As for the rest of the world, it doesn't look much better. As I write,
    India and Pakistan continue to dance their dance of death-a dance that
    India has learned from the world's greatest two-steppers, Israel and the
    United States. Like a friend of mine said over the holidays as we watched
    the news: the United States attack on Afghanistan has made it okay for any
    country that the US supports to forgo long bouts of diplomacy and go
    straight to war as long as that attacking government says they are fighting
    terrorism. It's even handier if they can throw in a phrase or two that
    speaks of defending democracy. Indeed, the Washington Post editorialized
    on January 14th, 2002, that the US should no longer distinguish between its
    counternarcotics and counterinsurgency efforts in Colombia, since its war
    against the revolutionary forces in Colombia is being waged to protect
    Colombia's democracy-a democracy that is just as difficult for the poor
    Colombian to see as the democracy in Israel is for a Palestinian to see
    from the Occupied Territories. Of course, the wars this strategy will
    cause will bring even greater terror to those populations under attack, as
    well as the world at large. In addition, with the nuclear sword hanging
    over South Asia (and by default, the rest of the planet), the possibility
    of war on any Muslim nation and the tenuous situation in Colombia and
    Palestine, we are reminded daily of the terror that the perpetual threat of
    the violence of war brings. While this terror is not as damaging
    physically, the psychological wounds are just as deep.
            Try imagining yourself in one of the villages along one of Pakistan's
    borders. If you live on the border with Afghanistan, you wonder every
    night as you watch your children fall asleep if US bombers are going to
    come that night and drop their death on your home and children. If you
    live on that country's border with India, you wonder if this night is the
    night when the sporadic shelling you have heard in the distance almost
    every day will make your family its next target. If that happens, you
    wonder even further, will that be the beginning of the final battle between
    your country and its neighbor? No matter which border you live near, you
    wonder should you leave everything you've built-your fields, your home,
    your herds, your well-and head to one of the refugee camps further inland?
    Or will those camps just be easy targets should the American or Indian
    militaries run out of other things to attack? Now try the same scenario
    (with different geographic locations and with a surrogate military other
    than that of India, of course) in Somalia, Iraq, Sudan, Colombia,
    Palestine, or one of the other potential targets being bandied about by the
    warmongers in the U. S.. Even if that bomber or missile never does come,
    the fear of it coming is enough to make daily life tense and uncertain, to
    say the least. If it does come, the tragedy of your life is intensified a
    hundredfold. Indeed, part of the purpose of aerial bombardment is the
    spreading of terror and fear amongst the civilian population.
            I don't care what anyone says, whether it's the president of the United
    States after a bout with a pretzel, a general with four shiny stars on his
    shoulders, a senator from Connecticut, or the parent of a dead GI, this is
    not the way to achieve a peaceful world. Unless, of course, the peace the
    warmakers are attempting to achieve is the peace of the dead.

    -ron jacobs
    burlington, vt

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