“Obama literally will not utter the words ‘radical Islamic terrorism’ and as a matter policy, nobody in the administration will say the words ‘radical Islamic Terrorism’” – Ted Cruz
“We are not at war with Islam. We are at war with people who have perverted Islam.”
– Barack Obama
“How can you laugh when people are dying in Palestine?” – Marwan al-Shehhi, 9/11 pilot
is little connection between suicide terrorism and Islamic
fundamentalism, or any one of the world’s religions…. Rather, what
nearly all suicide terrorist attacks have in common is a specific
secular and strategic goal: to compel modern democracies to withdraw
military forces from territory that the terrorists consider to be
– Robert Pape, University of Chicago Sociologist, Dying to Win, 2005
Robert Pape’s team’s exhaustive study of suicide terrorism further noted that the majority of suicide terrorists have middle class origins and significant levels of education.
Osama bin Laden, the founder and leader of al-Qeada, was a son of billionaire Mohammed bin Laden, owner of the largest construction firm in the world. Osama’s parents were divorced shortly after his birth and he was raised by another wealthy Saudi, Muhammad al-Attas. He married a Syrian cousin when she was 14 and he was 17 and studied at university in Saudi Arabia until age 22, when he joined Mujaheddin forces in Pakistan fighting against Soviet forces occupying Afghanistan. He did this because he wanted foreign troops out of the Middle East. When, in 1991, Osama bin Laden spoke out against half a million US troops in northern Saudi Arabia in preparation for the Gulf War and, eventually, the invasion and destabilization of Iraq, bin Laden was stripped of his citizenship and disowned by some of his family, but many Arabs were privately proud of him. He eventually had 5 wives and 25 children, two of whom were killed by US forces in the Middle East. Whether or not you deplore his political stance, he put himself on our “most wanted” list for political reasons, not religion. On 2 May, 2011, bin Laden was killed by US Special Forces teams in Pakistan. In the mean time, we invaded Iraq instead, a totally uninvolved third party.
Mohamed Atta was born in Egypt along the Nile delta. He grew up in Cairo and studied architecture at Cairo University and got a Masters Degree in Hamburg, Germany. Atta took trips to Afghanistan where he met Osama bin Laden and other top al-Qaeda leaders. At 8:46 am on September 11, 2001, Atta was at the controls of a Boeing 767 as it crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. No radical Islamic terrorist would ever drink alcohol, but Mohamed and his cohorts did. Again, this man sacrificed the rest of his successful life for a political cause he believed in.
Marwan Yousef al-Shehhi was from the United Arab Emirates, a small country on the Arabian Peninsula. He met Mohamad Atta in Germany and they became close friends and co-conspirators in their plan to alert America to their cause. He and Atta both received their commericial pilot’s licenses in December 2000. Seventeen minutes after his friend committed suicide by flying into the North Tower of the World Trade Center, Marwan flew the plane he and associates had hijacked into the South Tower. Just under an hour later, the skyscraper collapsed. In all, just under 3,000 people were killed in this effort to alert Americans to injustices in the Middle East. America didn’t hear them.
Instead of using the international courts and the international solidarity these events caused, America chose unilateral and unsanctioned action against a completely uninvolved third party: Iraq.
We escalated the violence and, in doing so, planted more seeds of Islamic terrorism. We invaded and more-or-less destroyed a country completely innocent of any involvement in 9/111. We kept up the charade so long that we eventually created an enemy that approximates our imaginary profile: ISIL.
I believe we provoked and continue to provoke these attacks. War is far more profitable than peace. Therefore, in a society where profit is the primary motivator (corporate capitalism), war is desirable to those in charge. The people who select the leaders of this country behind closed doors got to where they are by being single-minded in their pursuit of profit and (because it is excessively profitable)war.
Meanwhile, these people want you to buy the canard that this was caused by irrational religious beliefs. They want you to be angry, afraid and irrational. Any calls for fairness, any calls for justice, any attempt to hold the United States accountable for causing this catastrophe will be met with ostracism and derision, just as it was during the Vietnam War.
I first learned about the connection between fundamental Christianity and racism at the age of eight when I came forward in my mother’s Baptist church one Sunday. I asked the man tasked with “converting” me why I should believe that the Bible was the word of God. His answer, in essence, was that it was in my own best interests to believe it. I think he was right; our Mideast policies certainly got us lower gasoline prices and the difference between “believing” and “doubting” was clear in the social higherarchy of my Sunday School. This wasn’t enough for me – even at age eight.
I already knew a number of Arabs quite well and they didn’t fit the ancient descriptions in my mother’s Bible or the modern descriptions coming from the pulpit in her church.
The first Middle Eastern terrorists were members of the Stern Gang and the Irgun in the late 1940s, Zionist radicals who terrorized Arab neighborhoods to create affordable housing for the Jewish immigrants flooding into the newly established state of Israel.
My mother was a proud member of “Friends of Israel.” She supported this European/American incursion into the Arab world and its racist policies on religious grounds … it was supported by God Himself!
So, is ISIL a surprise after 100 years of Christians and Jews bullying Arabs in the Middle East?
And, if we buy into this racial/religious distinction, what will happen to our polyglot, multiracial, religiously free society?
1Baghdad Burning is an internet blog and a book by a young Iraqi college student who lived through these events.
©David N. Dodson, December, 2015, Phoenix, AZ