Friday, July 17, 2015

Chattanooga Killings: The motives should be very clear.

By Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

Well we wake up in the US to another multiple killing as four marines were killed in Chattanooga Tennessee by a Muslim American of Palestinian and Kuwaiti background.
  As I read the reports in the papers this morning we get the same carefully crafted analysis of why this occurred. “Officials haven’t determined a motive for the shooting.”, the Wall Street Journal writes adding that, “The case is being handled as a terrorism probe”

Yahoo news reports that, “Investigators seek motive behind Tennessee shooting rampage” and asks in bewilderment what,  “…..led a 24-year-old gunman to open fire at two military offices in Chattanooga, Tennessee, killing four Marines in an attack officials said could be an act of domestic terrorism.”

The "lone wolves" theory that was tossed around when a Canadian soldier was killed while guarding a war memorial last October has been suggested in yesterday’s killing as well, although the Canadian event was eventually labeled a domestic terrorist attack by a sympathizer of the group ISIS.

The FBI agent in charge of the Chattanooga incident informs us that although the case is being handled as “domestic terrorism” it is to early to speculate about motive: “We haven’t determined whether it was an act of terrorism or a criminal act.” He announced.

Peppered throughout reports is the warning to the American public that the Islamic State, many of its leading figures former allies of the CIA and other agencies involved in covert US government activities abroad, “….had threatened to step up violence in the holy fasting month of Ramadan, which ends on Friday evening.” The stage is being set.

We should also recall the brutal hacking to death of British soldier Lee Rigby, on the streets of London in 2013.

One of the assailants in that case spoke to someone videoing the killing explaining why they did it and apologizing to the community that people had to witness such a thing.  He stands there, machete in had as women walks by seemingly unafraid. He clearly isn’t insane and clearly selected a military target as opposed to civilians.

The people of Chattanooga are in a daze this could happen in their community? Who wouldn’t be shocked at such a thing? “Today is a nightmare for the City of Chattanooga”, Mayor Andy Burke tells the media.

The US Navy secretary said, “While we expect our sailors and marines to go in to harm’s way, and they do so without hesitation, an attack at home in our own community, is insidious and unfathomable.”

My comrades, workmates and friends I want to to consider that millions of working class and poor people around the world must shudder at the complete bias and hypocrisy of the US media. We are feeling what millions of people feel every day of their lives as a result of US foreign policy in action.

I am sure this commentary is not going to be popular with many who read it. I am not talking about the usual ignorant racists, right wing or religious fanatics who have found a safe niche for themselves behind a computer screen form where they anonymously spew their venom. I am referring to genuine honest American workers who will rightly be horrified and saddened by this.

This writer and those of us connected to this blog are saddened when working people die. We are saddened when our young men and women, overwhelmingly working class men and women, many form modest backgrounds with limited options, die fighting US capitalism’s predatory wars abroad. We are saddened for the victims of this foreign policy who have died by the millions or have been displaced form their homes in equal numbers.

And in the case of Iraq, we are saddened that individuals calling themselves “Americans” who reside and travel freely in this country, members of what we would call the 1%, are responsible for the disintegration of that country and for the deformed births that have arisen due to their authorization of the use of chemical warfare. These are the people we should be angry at in the aftermath of the  killing of four marines.

The question we have to ask is the same question that we had to ask ourselves after the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001. “Why would someone do this? "What is our government doing abroad that might encourage it?"  And at the very least, why throughout the world, would many ordinary people like us who want a peaceful life actually have some sympathy for the perpetrators?

If we weave our way through the 1%’s mass media’s attempt to portray these acts as the product of “lone wolves” individuals that just hate Americans because, as Bush once said, “we’re free”, or an act of domestic terrorism whatever that means. Or that there is clearly some inherent violent streak that runs through Islam as if global violence and murder hasn’t been committed by people identifying with the Christian religion, the reason these military personnel were attacked by this Muslim man is obvious---the US is at war in Muslim lands and has been for some years.

I say it again: The US is at war.

The war we are told is a “War Against Terrorism.”  This is a very useful description as terrorism is a tactic. So we are in a war against a tactic. A tactic doesn’t have a state with a standing army, navy or air force. The terrorists don’t have uniforms and are of many nationalities like the young man in Chattanooga who was Kuwaiti, Palestinian and a naturalized American. A war against terror is a perpetual war for perpetual peace, the term once used by the US historian Charles Beard and the title of a book by Gore Vidal.

In this corporate sponsored war, the US military has killed, maimed or displaced millions. It has “accidentally” bombed weddings, funerals, community gatherings and then callously offered monetary compensation to the relatives of the dead. It urged the right wing religious fanatics in Afghanistan, forces it funded in its effort to drive the Soviets out of that country, to go round up terrorists after 911 offering them $100 a head or some monetary figure. Naturally, the impoverished backward feudal warlords went and found some. See: The Road to Guantanamo.

US capitalism arms brutal regimes throughout the Muslim world and has orchestrated coups against the emergence of any democratic alternative to its proxies, Mossadegh in Iran is a good example of this. Then there is the arming and funding of the Zionist regime that slaughtered mostly women and children in its last assault on Gaza, 145 Palestinian families lost at least three members in that US financed assault.  And a world renowned US corporation, Caterpillar, provides the heavy machinery that razes Palestinian homes, destroys their olive trees and farms. Also, this week, the Zionists assassinated a leader of Hamas in the West Bank.  Hamas was elected by the Palestinian people in what observers including former US president, Jimmy Carter, called extremely fair and democratic elections. Is it a coincidence yesterday’s killings comes on the heels of that US financed assassination and all this history?

The reader, and all Americans should reflect on that and think about how we would feel.  We know in part, as many of us felt that way after 911.

I was just listening to the Democracy now and caught a few sentences of an interview with a Mother Jones writer about yet another gun massacre. While the issue of access to guns needs some discussion it is not an issue here and should not be used to obscure what is.

No, it is very clear why this attack took place, what the motives of this young Muslim were. It is a direct result of the war the US is engaged in, a war in which the orchestrator's of it in the Pentagon tell us we can legitimately, and with honor, kill people in foreign lands but they can’t kill us at home. In this war, it is accepted that US forces can kill and maim in a foreign land, this is not terrorism, it is legitimate warfare. The US has even taken it upon itself to declare “preemptive” wars on communities it thinks might “harbor” anti-American elements or be thinking about doing so. It uses drones on a regular basis to assassinate or kill people we are told are insurgents, terrorists, enemy combatants, and a threat to our security, and does this in nations whose governments object to it. Who these people are or who the hell was in Guantanamo I don’t know and neither do most Americans, a people by the way who have utter distrust of the politicians who make these decisions. The US arms all sides in these global conflicts and the investors in US arms manufacture make lots of money from it.

That is why, despite all the horror in the 1%'s media, behind the scenes this killing of four marines will be looked upon favorably by the orchestrator's of this War on Terror as it will confirm that we are under siege, that the whole world hates us and will justify their foreign policy that perpetuates it and all the social policies they introduce to protect us, including the undermining of democratic rights and civil liberties and a further tightening of our belts to pay for protecting our “freedom”. It will take our minds off the assault these very same people are waging against living standards at home which is a direct result of their wars on behalf of corporations and profits and nothing whatsoever to do with democracy or individual freedoms.

Our anger at yesterdays killing of four Americans needs to be directed where it belongs at the source of the problem, and that source is in Washington.

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