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Why The Surprise?: "I Want To Be A Pilot So That One Day I Can Bomb Americans!"

by Rick Giombetti Thursday, Sep. 13, 2001 at 9:30 AM
rickjgio@speakeasy.org Seattle

Who saw it coming?

There is nothing more ridiculous than listening to people express "shock" and "surprise" at the multiple airplane hijackings and terror attacks on September 11. I'm surprised an attack against the U.S. of this magnitude hasn't happened sooner. One nation can only treat the world as a slave plantation and its peoples as slaves for so long, before the slaves finally rise up. There isn't a region of the world the U.S. hasn't pillaged and raped to some degree over the past 150 years. In a world with 6 billion people, there are always going to be a few who resort to individual and group terrorism to protest the policies of a global empire like the U.S.

Could there have been a better selection of targets to protest U.S. financial hegemony and military violence? First, it was Scam Central: The two 110-story World Trade Center towers, the most prominent symbols of U.S. multinational corporate capitalism. Then it was Violence Central: The Pentagon, home of the badly misnamed Department of "Defense." These attacks are being called "cowardly" by U.S. politicians and media pundits. Cowardly? Compared to the U.S. pilots who dropped bombs from over 15,000 ft. above Serbia for 78 days in 1999, safely out of the range of Serb gunners on the ground and against a nation with no air force to counter the U.S.? I don't think so.

"What balls," is all I have to say. These terror attackers risked being caught and possibly beaten and tortured while in custody. They sacrificed themselves in what may have been the boldest terror attacks in history. And who has ever turned airplanes into bombs for taking out office towers and government buildings? Yeah, it was a group of mean fuckers who did what they did on September 11, but they sure as hell weren't cowards.

Don't get me wrong. I despise individual and group terrorism not only because it causes loss of life. It also represents the ultimate rejection of mass struggle. Now the job of well-meaning U.S. activists just got a whole hell of a lot harder. We can expect some more Bill of Rights shredding legislation and more violent crackdowns on protest because of the terror attacks. We can also expect people to not want to hear peace activist's demands for an end to the destructive and violent policies of the U.S. all over the world. "Show some respect for the victims and victim's families," some people will tell us. If now isn't the time to demand an end to U.S.-backed violence around the world, then when will it be a good time to do so? With the U.S. government preparing(and most likely already carrying out) a fresh round of bombings around the world in retaliation for the terror attacks, now isn't time to be quiet about U.S. violence against defenseless people. The eleven year U.S.-led war of bombs from the air and

draconian sanctions via the U.N. against the people or Iraq is just one example of the kinds of policies we shouldn't back down from denouncing.

When I was still living Fort Collins, Colorado two years ago I attended a talk by the wonderful peace activist Kathy Kelly of Voices In The Wilderness(VITW). VITW has been campaigning against the bombing and U.S. imposed sanctions regime against the people of Iraq for about a decade now. VITW has courageously and openly defied U.S. government enforcement of the unjust U.N. sanctions by smuggling badly needed humanitarian aid into Iraq over the past decade. Kelly offered the small audience who came to see her speak that October evening a chilling anecdote about an Iraqi boy she met while making one of her many humanitarian tours of Iraq. The single digit aged boy described to a crowd at a gathering what he wanted to be when he grew up. He said, "I want to be a pilot so that one day I can bomb Americans!"

That anecdote has haunted me ever since and I knew it was only a matter of time before that angry Iraqi boy's apocalyptic wish would come true. It's a chilling sentiment but it's completely understandable. The only world that poor Iraqi boy and countless other children his age have ever known, if said boy is even alive today, is one of U.S. bombings and sanction's imposed misery. Yet this pre-adolescent boy is(was?) sophisticated enough to figure out that it's the U.S. government that is ordering the bombings and imposing the devastating sanctions against his country, not Saddam Husein. Perhaps it's time for the majority of the U.S. adult population to match this Iraqi boy's sophistication and start demanding that their government end the bombings and the sanctions regime.

The combination of bombings and sanctions has led to a death toll in Iraq over the past decade that easily tops 1 million. I haven't seen much, if any, concern in the mass media about this horrible U.S. caused suffering in Iraq. This is the same mass media that treated the intense six week bombing campaign against Iraq at the begining of 1991 like it was a video game where no Iraqis were being injured or killed(talk about disrepecting the victims of massive military violence!). The bombings have never stopped. Yet about the only time the media covers new bombings is when the president is looking for a boost in his poll numbers and holds a press conference after the fresh round of bombing begins.

The sanctions aren't even a topic of debate in the mass media. Try to find some commentary anywhere about Thomas Nagy's September Progressive article, which demonstrates how the U.S. government intentionally used the U.N. sanctions against Iraq to degrade the country's water supply. Meanwhile, peace activists like Kathy Kelly are hardly mainstays in the media pundit circus. However, every time a U.S. president orders bombings of countries like Iraq or Serbia the mass media gives plenty of airtime to retired military officers for the purpose of fanning the flames of war.

Now peace activists are going to be asked to shut their mouths about U.S. violence around the world out of respect for the thousands of victims of the September 11 terror attacks. What a bunch of bullshit. I say, honor the memory of the victims of September 11: Denounce and oppose U.S. violence everywhere.

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LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 5 posted about this article.
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TITLE AUTHOR DATE
feeling numb Michael Thursday, Sep. 13, 2001 at 9:49 AM
Stop The Cheering Tanya Thursday, Sep. 13, 2001 at 10:26 AM
The day that the CIA killed Americans Anti-capitalism Thursday, Sep. 13, 2001 at 3:44 PM
the art of war Hold bush responsible Thursday, Sep. 13, 2001 at 3:49 PM
Bush's poor media spin Michael Thursday, Sep. 13, 2001 at 8:31 PM

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