[NEW UPDATE. The Guardian has just published the letter below, so I've edited the intro here.] As the ersatz angst over Jeremy Corbyn’s links to Stop the War UK flares up once more in the endless plotting of Labour factionalists, my post-Paris blog post about “reaping the whirlwind” has raised its “disreputable” head again. With the latest mentions continuing the universal misrepresentation of the post, I wrote the letter below to the Guardian, in yet another wan attempt to set the record straight:
Look, here’s how it is: a white man dressed in Klan robes and a Nazi armband could shoot up a kindergarten shouting, “I’m a racist fascist terrorist deliberately committing terrorist acts to terrorize society!!!”, and the New York Times would still characterize him as “troubled soul, struggling with personal issues, an imperfect but a good man.” That’s just how it is. There is literally nothing — nothing — that a white killer can do in America that will cause him to be labelled a “terrorist.” Even if, like Dylann Roof, he explicitly states that he is committing an overt act of terror in order to instigate a race war and overthrow American society as it is now constituted. Even then, he’s not a “terrorist;" he's troubled young man, a "lone wolf" who wandered down the wrong path. It is simply impossible in the current American political discourse — even in “sophisticated” up-market media outlets like the New York Times —for a white man to be a terrorist.
The debate over bombing ISIS in Syria rests on what one can only assume is a deliberate misapprehension. The imputation of this "debate" is that we "must do something" to quell and defeat ISIS; and the essential, imperative thing we must do to accomplish this vital goal is to bomb Syria. But of course the UK is already bombing ISIS. It bombs ISIS nearly every day -- in the group's heartland, Iraq. It has flown "thousands of missions" against ISIS, dropped tons of bombs, killed many people. Has this quelled or defeated ISIS, or curtailed its reach? Obviously not.
(UPDATED BELOW) (UPDATED AGAIN) For the past few days, I’ve had the curious experience of being — peripherally, indirectly — a political football. The original piece I wrote on the Paris bombing got picked up by StopTheWar UK, an organization associated with Jeremy Corbyn, and was then used by Labour Blairites and Tory twits to bash Corbyn for the “sickening” article, which showed what an ungodly radical he really was. He was later asked about it by the BBC.
People see the carnage in Paris, and cry, “When will this end?” The hard answer is that it is not going to end, not any time soon. We are living through the horrific consequences of decisions and actions taken long ago, as well as those of being taken right now. The currents and movements set in motion by these actions cannot be quelled in an instant — not by wishing, not by hashtags of solidarity or light shows on iconic buildings … and certainly not by more bombing, destruction, repression and lies, which are the main drivers of our present-day hell.
We, the West, overthrew Saddam by violence. We overthrew Gadafy by violence. We are trying to overthrow Assad by violence. Harsh regimes all — but far less draconian than our Saudi allies, and other tyrannies around the world. What has been the result of these interventions? A hell on earth, one that grows wider and more virulent year after year.
This is my latest column for CounterPunch Magazine, written earlier this month: When I heard of the deadly U.S. strike on the Médecins Sans Frontières facility in Kunduz on October 3, I thought of this fragment of ancient history, written by a lowly scribe years ago:
While we're all going back in time to talk about bigwigs who supported and/or collaborated with the Nazis, let's take a look at this smoking gun that recently appeared in the London Review of Books: documentary proof of the former King of England's treason with the Nazis, supplying them with top-secret info from high-level war strategy meetings. (Of course, I suppose the Mufti of Jerusalem talked the Duke of Windsor into this treachery; as we all know, thanks to Benjamin Netanyahu, the Mufti had magical powers that could make even a good guy like Hitler do bad things.)
Deep State is a Terror State, Torture State,Tyrant State — and it’s OK with that.
The shooting in Roseburg, Oregon, is turning into a David Lynch movie. First, there's the sheriff who's a Sandy Hook "truther," now there's the shooter's mother who was stockpiling weapons and taking her troubled son to remote shooting ranges. She believed the government was about to confiscate guns, so she kept buying them. But here's the truth: it is now far easier to buy weapons, and much harder to trace who owns them, than at ANY TIME IN US HISTORY. So where do so many people get the idea that the 'guvmint' is coming to take their weapons -- when the 'guvmint' can't even pass a single law regulating gun sales, and when there has NEVER been a single 'guvmint' proposal to "confiscate" guns? These hysterical lies stem directly from the rightwing echo chamber: Murdoch, Limbaugh, the NRA, etc. So how much responsibility do these deliberate liars bear for the actions of those who believe their base falsehoods? Plenty.
"Lone nut" gunmen: natural fruit of the system. Hypercapitalism destroys social, family, community and economic bonds; it sews division, isolation, competition, greed; lauds force and violence and war as supreme values; turns rape and murder into nightly entertainment; dehumanizes and commodifies human beings at every turn ... and then we wonder why our society produces so many troubled, isolated, violent souls out there. A system set up on dehumanization and moral insanity is bound to produce the kind of damaged psyches we see falling prey to the hate that fills the nightmind of the internet -- and the broad daylight of Establishment violence and brutality -- and who then go walking into schools and churches and workplaces to act out the destructive chaos they hear in their heads ... and see in the world.