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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

Why more will hate more and less will understand less

Michael Youlton • 2 April 2004

For the last ten days, media headlines in Ireland about America have been dominated by Richard Clarke and the 9-11 investigation -- most recently, the flap over the White House refusal to allow National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice to testify under oath. Until today that is – they have now bowed to pressure and she will be allowed to testify in public. And already the Net is awash with speeches she was supposed to have made on the very date of September 11. She never made them….she was hiding in a bunker. She would have been arguing that the main threat to the US was coming from missiles…from ‘rogue’ states such as Iraq, North Korea and Libya….on the very day that the United States suffered the most devastating attack since the 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbour. Let us remind ourselves that Condoleezza Rice was Bush Sr.’s “Russian expert”. Before that she was on the Board of Chevron – a company with countless accusations for ‘malpractices’ and human rights violations in Africa. She never saw perestroika and post Gorbachev capitalist restructuring coming…she never saw Al-Qaeda…. so don’t just blame George. He deserves fully the type of advisors his backers recruited – they surround him and he has to live with them.

Remember this moment well, because for the next seven months, as we will be inundated with stories touting the Bush Administration's fine record in preventing terrorism, this scenario says oceans about and outlines well Bush’s actual priorities. As if to underscore how disinterested the White House -- or our tunnel-visioned media -- is in understanding terror, a vast escalation of the threat to America and to Europe occurred last week. Quick -- can you name it? After one day, the threat virtually evaporated from our newscasts; nothing I read or heard has been linked to it or was followed with an analysis as to the efficacy of Bush and Blair’s War on Terror.

That "War" has been and remains less than serious about actually preventing terror or doing anything about the causes underlying it. One proof is the invasion of Iraq, which, whatever its actual motives, had nothing, zip, nada to do with addressing the threat posed by Al-Qaeda and kindred Islamic fundamentalist groups. And now, we have the converse: a reminder of where the source of terror really lies, and how little has been done to address it.

If the United States and the EU is to be serious about stemming fundamentalist hatred of the West, and subsequently the motivation of millions to wage holy war against the ‘infidels’, there is truly only one place to start. That place is Israel, the American client state that has kept Palestinians under an increasingly brutal military occupation for 37 years and counting. And the Sharon government's assassination last week of Hamas founder and spiritual leader Sheik Ahmed Yassin marked a critical escalation in Arab and Islamic bitterness toward not just Israel, but America and the West in general.

The pragmatic effects of the Yassin assassination cannot be in doubt. Israel's policy of assassinating figures it claims are associated with Palestinian suicide bombings is flagrantly illegal, and has drawn the condemnation of every major leader in the world, save one. Even Tony Blair condemned the killing of Yassin; George W. Bush spoke volumes by his solitary refusal to be more than "troubled" by it.

Hamas is a controversial but also extremely popular group in the Arab world, not least because despite the well-publicized activities of its military wing, the group has its roots as a religious and social organization -- providing help to Palestinians impoverished by Israel's occupation in a way that Yassar Arafat's Palestinian Authority never did. But Yassin -– a blind, quadriplegic old man whose power came entirely from his words, not his swagger -- has now been elevated to martyrdom by his death at the hands of Israel. Any qualms about his group's terror tactics are now forgotten in the Arab world where it is taken for granted that such an escalation in Israeli tactics could not have occurred without at least tacit approval from Washington.

With Yassin's death, the gloves have come off. For years, the groups waging a war of terror against Israel have studiously avoided U.S. and European targets. As much as America was hated for its indulgence of Israeli brutality, this ‘moderation’ was recognition that Washington was the only conceivable entity with enough leverage over the Israeli government to bring it to the table for any kind of negotiation to end the bloodshed. Despite its bankrolling of and diplomatic cover for Israel's abuses, America has been one of the Palestinians' only slivers of hope.

That hope is gone, vanished in the same crater as the body of Yassin and the other men and children killed in the attack against him. For the first time, the military wing of Hamas has now vowed to exact revenge against not only Israel, but America. Al-Qaeda and a host of other terror groups also listed the U.S. as a particular target in response to the Yassin assassination. The number of terror groups determined to strike at the United States and Europe has just vastly expanded.

It didn't have to happen, of course. But the peace process that Bill Clinton tried to bring to fruition in his last days in office has been callously punted by George Bush. Under Bush and Colin Powell, the government of Ariel Sharon, the most bellicose in modern Israeli history, has had free license to commit one provocation after another in its response to the current Palestinian intifada. In the wake of 9-11, when Islamic public opinion towards America matters a great deal and the fate of the Palestinians matters to the Islamic public more than any other political issue, it's hard to find anyone in the Islamic world who doesn't consider Bush and Sharon to be a single, two-headed monster.

Had Bush even lifted an occasional finger to restrain Sharon or advance the peace process, the terror threat might not be so great today. Hopefully it won't have to be investigated some day by some other post-tragedy panel. George Bush's failure of diplomacy and common sense is there for all to see. The Spanish understand well now the effects of that failure. As corpses of US marines are thrown to the dogs in Iraq, the British media tell us that London came might close to emulating Madrid. And another unexploded device on the Madrid/Toledo/Seville train line I hear as I write these lines. Who’s next?






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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.
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Index: Current Articles

9 April 2004


Other Articles From This Issue:


Richard McAuley - 'a literary giant of our time'
Barney de Breadbin and Eamon Codswolloper


Hear, Hear!
Brian Mór


How Will Paisley's Rise Play in America?
Sean Mc Manus


Other Shoes

Mick Hall


A Septic Needle
Anthony McIntyre


Why More Will Hate More and Less Will Understand Less
Michael Youlton


Save the Hill of Tara
Seaghán Ó Murchú


5 April 2004


Following the True Tradition
Eamonn McCann


Sinn Fein - Sold a Pup: Martin Cunningham Interviewed
Anthony McIntyre


Going to the Flix
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Reports and Inquiries
George Young


State Department Flip-flop to Offset Cory?

Sean Mc Manus


Updating Capitalist Rule
Liam O'Ruairc


The Rush to Judgement: Binary Thinking in a Digital Age
Michael Youlton


"Poor people can't be engineers" - Free Market Corruption, Neo-Liberal Pretexts
Toni Solo




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