How is Osama bin Laden any different from the Fundamentalist "Christian" organization called "the Army of God" which sends out terrorists to kill because the rest of America will not accept their demands that abortions be criminalized? Cliff Schecter points out how one of "the Army of God's" anointed terrorists taunts his victims from his federal prison cell. Several points need to be made to counter the propaganda and misinformation put out by the Bush administration, by the conservatives, and by the Republican political media led by FOX TV "news."
America is not involved in "World War IV." The "West" is not fighting a unified Islamic enemy. There is no "unified Terrorist enemy!" And terrorism is a tactic used by small groups who are trying to disrupt a state, but it is a tactic used by bandit forces rather than by armies.
Fighting bandits and pirates has been a constant problem for nations for centuries, but it is not war. When the early American government put down Shays Rebellion and the Whiskey Rebellion, they were not fighting against armies. They were using the military to dispatch rioters or their equivalent.
OK. Eric Rudolph set bombs to support the Army of God in its fight against abortion. He was a terrorist, but he was not a soldier. Of course, Rudolph was not as successful by the standards of body count as another American terrorist, Timothy McVeigh, either. Both were terrorists, however, and neither was Islamic. Neither were soldiers, and neither was involved in a real war. Mohammed Atta was a terrorist, and when evaluated by body count, he was a lot more successful than either Eric Rudolph or Timothy McVeigh. Atta was not a soldier either, however. He was just another terrorist - a violent bandit - who happened onto a tactic that was unusually successful in killing a large number of people.
There are terrorist organizations around the world. In fact there are quite a few. The U.S. State Department puts out a list of known terrorist organizations by country which can be reviewed here. There are also National Liberation organizations that use terrorist tactics. They range from Communist to right-wing organizations, and would include the liberation fighters in Nicaragua, which were supported by Ronald Reagan and Oliver North.
Wikipedia offers a much more comprehensive (but less reliable) "List of non-governmental organizations accused of using terrorism." The list of categories of such organizations is interesting.
- Religious terrorists
- Nationalistic terrorist organizations
- Leftist, Communist, Leninist, Trotskyst, Maoist and Marxist
- Ethnic terrorists (including neo-Nazis and white-supremacists)
- Cuban exile groups
- See also
So why are the American right-wing propagandists (including the Bush administration and FOX "News") working so hard to emphasize the religious aspects of Middle East terrorism? I have to conclude that it is much easier to justify a preemptive war started by America on religious grounds than on political ones.
Armies are not very good at chasing down bandits. Ask Black Jack Pershing after he came back from his fruitless effort to chase down Pancho Villa in Mexico before WW I. But increased Intelligence and Special Operations efforts are covered by classification and don't get much Press, except when they fail. Successes remain classified. So how does a right-wing politician look tough without sending in another division? He doesn't.
Defining the battle against those who attacked America as Islamo-fascist terrorists allows the right-wingers to blame all Muslims. That fits their racial prejudices as well as making the problem into a religious one. It justifies turning America into an Armed Camp and making everyone afraid, so that those who fear can elect the right-wingers.
The fact is Eric Rudolph and the conservative right-wingers like Rudolph Gulianni are very similar. They need each other, and they react to social problems similarly. Pass a law against what they oppose and set up a police force to enforce that law without exceptions. Remove all limitations on how the people being investigates are treated, and don't worry too much if a few innocents get hurt in the process. Both Eric Rudolph and Rudolph Gulianni sell themselves as being tough on the "bad guys." The real difference is that Eric Rudolph was using violence to try to change the law, while Rudolph Gulianni would prefer to change the law first, then use it to justify violence.
Those of us on the outside of this system need to remember - just don't ask either Eric or Rudy who the "bad guys" are. You'll quickly find yourself on their list, just for questioning them. The "bad guys" are their enemies, not our enemies. Remember that and watch your back - and watch for abandoned packs in public places.