Real, Imperialist Wars and Phony Excuses
BY RENE GONZALEZ SEHWERERT
The following essay by Rene Gonzales, one of the Cuban 5, was written as a response to a rather typical pro-imperialist, pro-war, anti-muslim article by a retired U.S. general, Vernon Chong.
In answering to friend’s invitation to comment on “This WAR is for REAL!”, by Dr Vernon Chong, Maj Gen, USAF, Retired, I’d like to start by saying that I’m not opposed to “wars in general”. I would say that, for example, the American War of Independence was a just war, as were the Vietnamese wars against Japanese occupation, French colonization and, finally, American aggression. Being a Cuban imprisoned in the United States for fighting terrorism I have to say, of course, that I’m proud of the popular war fought by my people, 50 years ago, against the US backed criminal dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista.
To be honest, I don’t understand the difference between “real” and “unreal” wars. I’m sure that the Vietnam war is still very real to both the Vietnamese and Americans who are today suffering from exposure to Agent Orange. For the thousands of Iraqis buried and dehumanized under the generic term of “collateral damage”, the suffering is as real as it is for the American soldiers sent to kill and to be killed, in the name of greed, under sorry, phony excuses.
Maybe the difference between just and unjust wars lies there, on the excuses. If it is true that every war is real, the same can’t be said about the excuses for imperialist, expansionist wars. One of those is the one defended by General Chong, now under the sorry excuse of fighting terrorism.
Phony excuses need to be backed by selective memory. So the author starts, very conveniently, on 1979, as if out of the blue a mob of crazy Iranians had decided to take a bunch of hostages from an unknown, oblivious place somewhere on earth.
Without having to go back as far as to Genesis, Mr Chong could have gone back a little bit to 1953 when an elected, secular government under Prime Minister Mohamed Mossadegh, was in charge there. Mr Mossadegh wasn’t a terrorist and was even at odds with the Communists -at those times the bogy that was labeled, as today Mr Chong does with the Muslims, “the most serious threat to the existence of our country…in your life time and mine”.. The crime of Mr Mossadegh was to believe that Iranian oil -yes, that which lies below the surface of Iran-, belonged to the Iranians. So he was swiftly taken away by the CIA in complicity with Mohamed Reza Phalevi, whose brutal reign of 25 years pushed Islam into the political vacuum created on Iranian civil society.
Many things happened between 1953 and 1979 -both with some Muslim connection or otherwise. By the first year the US government had already installed bloody dictators Somoza, Stroessner, Trujillo and Duvalier on Nicaragua, Paraguay, Dominican Republic and Haiti, respectively. In 1954 the Iranian scheme was repeated against elected Guatemalan president Arbenz, overthrown by Castillo Armas with the support of the CIA, which by the early sixties would send some anti Castro mercenaries to help Mobutto in Zaire while applying “regime changes” against elected governments in Brazil and Uruguay. Closely would follow the support for the genocide committed by Suharto in Indo¬nesia against -as Mr Bush likes to say today- “his own people”. By 1973 Augusto Pinochet, another US friend, would, go as far as to killing elected Chilean president Allende, and one year later Suharto would extend his genocide towards Timor. No problem.
By the time Muslim friend Suharto was committing his genocide in Asia, Christian friends in the West were applying their training from The School of the Americas on their own people through “Operation Condor”, an international scheme of state terrorism designed to -it can be assumed by its viciousness-, find the “final solution” to the proliferation of leftist ideas in Latin America. Meanwhile, in Africa, the white supremacist troops of the South African regime found support in the US government to invade Angola, plunging the country in a war that went well beyond 1979, the year in which -according to General Chong-, the phenomena of terrorism seems to have been discovered.
Of course, we can also follow the lead and discover the world in 1979. After all, history didn’t stop there either. We can remember that, by the early 80’s, those same Muslims that today seem so evil were Reagan’s “freedom fighters” while committing the same crimes in Afghanistan. Anti terrorist scruples were also set aside while the Iran Contra scheme was taking place, circumventing US laws to impose terrorism on Nicaragua while, alas!!!, John Negroponte was running a murdering cartel of death squadrons in neighboring Honduras. Well, at least we can’t complain about the qualifications of one of our top bullies when it comes to this phony war on terrorism.
So, lets face it. The plutocracy which runs this country has been picking up on other people, without regards to religion, since well before the first American saw a Muslim face to face. There is one unique, common link between all and every act of aggression by the US government throughout its entire history: To defend corporate greed, and to expand the control of both human and natural resources by US capital all over the planet.
Playing the same old motto of “either them or us” has been very effective through centuries. Be it the Indians, the Mexicans, the Filipinos, the Hawaiians, the Haitians, the Dominicans, the Koreans or the Vietnamese; one has to wonder a- to-how many of them cared for or about the United States before an American soldier stormed into their village or an American bomb blew any of them apart; but playing the scare game always works, and by attributing to the victims their own expansionist, violent, conquering mentality the aggressor always finds justification. Now it is time for the Muslims. Muslim scare time!!!
And phony excuses call for funny explanations: They envy our position, our success, and our freedoms!!!. Nice and easy!. It must be very rewarding to be told that you are superior and better just by having been born someplace. It doesn’t take too much thinking to accept it.
Something like that was told by Hitler to the German people, in those years when American and English capital were helping him to rearm with the hopes of throwing him against, the Soviets in an adventure that ended up costing fifty million human lives. Mr Chong fails to mention that before focusing the world on the Jews his primary focus was against Communists whom he accused -another phony excuse- of having burned the Reichstag.
Mr Chong also fails to notice that -like the German people of the 30’s- the Americans of today are predominantly peaceful Christians subjected to a barrage of chauvinism, militarism, scare tactics and lies. The overwhelming trash thrown at their faces every day in the form of commercials, “entertainment”, violence, biased news reports, video games, americanism and stupid movies would be the envy of Goebbels. It’s all designed to isolate them from reality, to distort the world in their eyes, hinder their capacity for analysis, obliterate any intellectual curiosity, make them fearful of each other and sow distrust toward other peoples. The ultimate goal is to make them easy to manipulate, so when the time comes they would accept any excuse for the next war. And, of course, they would put up the cannon fodder.
Needless to say, terrorism is evil and criminal. It is a social and political ailment to be faced, but I don’t find any serious solution on the article by Mr Chong.
First of all, the article is T00000 self serving. I don’t see how a government which has sponsored so much terrorism -including some under Muslim guise-, can lead any war against terrorism. Either you are against EVERY SORT OF TERRORISM or a hypocrite; which disqualifies anybody to be “the last bastion of defense” against terrorism.
You can’t support the massive state terrorism by Israel and condemn the desperate actions by a Palestinian terrorist. You can’t condemn Al-Qaeda now for committing the crimes you helped them to commit before. You can’t help a handful of military dictators disappear thousands of human beings throughout Latin America and claim to be against terrorism. You can’t “discover” now the crimes committed by Hussein twenty years ago, at the time he was your ally, and claim to be offended by such crimes. You can’t protect and harbor anti-Castro terrorists, allowing them to live peacefully in Miami, having them even on an occasional TV show, sometimes in the company of -FBI officials, and claim to be fighting terrorism.
The fight against terrorism requires principles. You can’t stimulate a criminal behavior because, in your eyes, it helps achieve some short term goal, and later expect restraint from the criminal you unleashed before. That’s a receipt for tragedy from Hitler to Al-Qaeda.
By reading Mr Chong’s words one might be tempted to accept that Islamic civilization has been the most violent in history if it wasn’t because they are only second to….Christians!!!, who have killed more people per square foot than anybody else. But the truth is that neither Islam nor Christianity are intrinsically evil or violent. Well before Jesus the Middle East and Europe had been inter¬acting violently and changing blows between each other; and every religion was used as a tool in the hands of other, more earthly interests.
And there is where the problem lies. On the petty interests of powerful minorities being imposed on humanity through centuries. Slave owners, emperors, kings and now a bunch of corporate capitalists have used religion, race or nationality to push peoples against each other at will. Every enterprise of conquer has come with its God, always superior to the God of the conquered; and the trick has worked so well that humanity still has to put up with it.
The notion of “either them or us” won’t solve any global problem. The planet is too small and the only way for a peaceful future lies on the notion of “either all or none”. No good will come from narrow internationalism either. To be what Mr Chong calls the “premier country of the world” has been the dream of every empire, turned later into a nightmarish demise. The implosion of such experiments comes from the demoralization of having to impose, by force, their own narrow interests, to so many peoples, for so long.
Sincerely speaking, to expect for the American plutocracy to be “the last line of defense” for a better world, and to cling my hopes on their success over other brands of terrorism, is having to chose between two equal evils. Every sinister design out of the ones attributed by Mr Chong to the Muslims -“they will pick off the other nations, one at a time”…”the attacks will npt subside, but rather will increase”…”we would of course have no future support from other nations, for fear of reprisals”..and so on-, can perfectly be applied if General Chong’s side has it its own way.
The best line of defense against terrorism lies, in my opinion,on the factor which Mr Chong diminishes as “peaceful people”. Peaceful people are in the majority be it in Germany, in the United States or in Iraq. Peaceful Christians, Muslims or Jews have more in common than what they have with the privileged of their own brand who manipulate them. Americans are as poorly represented by the gang of billionaires that runs this country for their own profits, as poorly represented the Muslims are by Bin Laden.
When peaceful people start to relate to each other as equals, accepting their differences and recognizing each other in their common humanity; Muslims, Christians, Jews or Atheists will be able to live in peace side by side; but before that all of them have to get rid of some powerful, selfish, ruthless, greedy warmonger intermediaries. That would be a war worth fighting.
I hope some day the American people will open their eyes and join in. When they start relating to the rest of the world as they really are, they won’t have to worry about looking arrogant. They’ll have no problem to win hearts and minds by their humanity, humbleness, hard working spirit and virtues. They will also laugh when remembering the culture of fear imposed on them nowadays.
As to those who honestly worry about terrorism, I have good news. Terrorism will never win be it American, anti-American, Zionist, Muslim or otherwise. Terrorism is too brutal and will always alienate most of the people. It is too short sighted, irrational and criminal as to withstand the test of history.
And if any proof is needed there is Latin America, rising up again for its sovereignty, justice and dignity after a whole generation was decimated by more than a decade of US sponsored state terrorism.
There is also Cuba, a tiny island facing the longest war of attrition by the most formidable empire and whose courageous, peace loving people, all as one regardless of religion or race, has been able to build the society of its choosing through more than four decades of aggression and terrorism.
As I said before, all it takes is principles.
July 13, 2006
René González Sehwerert
P.O. Box 7007
Marianna, FL 32447-7007