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What War Against Terrorism?

Short Version: mp3, 3.05 MBs, 3:48
Speech Version:
mp3, 4.20 MBs, 3:47

[Col. Recorded 5/23/04]

[H]e educated the sons of chieftains in the liberal arts and gave higher marks to the talents of the Britons than to the studied skill of the Gauls, with the result that those who recently rejected the Latin language desired eloquence. Then too our manner of dress became stylish and there was widespread use of the toga; and gradually they gave in to the attractions of vices, porticoes and baths and the elegance of banquets. And this was called civilization among those who did not know better, *although it was part of slavery.* — Tacitus, *Agricola, Germany and Dialogue On
Orators* (U. of Okla. Press, 1967/1991).

It is ever so easy for us to talk about the 'War Against Terrorism', and accept it as a given; an obvious truth.

Yet, it is exceedingly difficult to speak on it, if one has but an inkling of the history of the US, in its own regions and neighboring territories, for the last century, or even
50 years.

There, we find a history of US-sanctioned and supported barbarism, against people throughout the length and breadth of Central and South America, who have had to endure (if they survived!) decades under ruthless generals, monsters who wreaked unholy havoc upon their people, or rapine, torture, murder and more; in the name of their masters — the norteamericanos.

For millions of people who live in the countries south of the Rio Grande, US claims to wage a 'war against terrorism', are dismissed with deep cynicism, if not ill humor. For they know that the US has always been the motivating force behind the sheer terror that has ravaged their societies since the 1800s.

They know that the US trained their soldiers, not just in the use of weaponry, but in the techniques of torture, not to be used against neighboring threats, but against their own people, on behalf of the landowners, almost all of whom have themselves sold their souls to the US.

Indeed, they would *love* a 'war against terror', if it meant that the US would cease interfering in their national affairs; stopped supporting coups; or stopped buying off sectors of their middle classes.

Several days ago, I was reading a remarkable book; Clara Nieto's *Masters of War: Latin America and U.S. Aggression* (N.Y.: Seven Stories Press, 2003). In her work, the former diplomat and journalist details US intervention into Mexican, Cuban, Guatemalan, Argentine, Nicaraguan, Panamanian, Uruguayan, Brazilian, ... you name it — virtually all Central and Latin American internal affairs. From the 1823 era of the Monroe Doctrine, to the vicious Reagan years, to the Clinton era, the US wages war against the forces of democracy in the region, fueling the forces that has made the US the place of immigration for millions. Those people leave their homes, not for democracy; not for freedom; but because they understand that the US will rarely do at home what it does abroad. Here, at least, is a semblance of peace. They understand that no place, outside of imperial territory, is safe from the wrath of the Empire.

As for Cuba, its leader was subjected to at least a dozen US attempts to kill him. The CIA enlisted the help of Mafioso like Meyer Lansky, John Roselli and Santo Trafficante in their assassination attempts against Fidel Castro. In one year alone, indeed, in
8 months, the CIA carried out 5,780 acts of "sabotage and terrorism" against Cuba and its leaders, with Mafia help (Nieto, pp. 78-9).

In the 1980s, Ronald Reagan unleashed a right-wing wave against the Sandinistas of Nicaragua. As Nieto argues:

Reagan's "secret war" against Nicaragua became an international grab bag. Criminals, terrorists, mercenaries, paramilitaries, soldiers of fortune, unemployed people of various nationalities, former Green Berets, Cuban veterans of the Bay of Pigs, retired military officers, former CIA agents, Argentine thugs, and Israeli advisers (some 30 in 1983) participated in one way or another [p. 341].

These men unleashed an unholy hell on Nicaragua, of bombings, killings, rapes, tortures, and widespread murder. All because they were 'following orders' of the imperial president (Reagan). Reagan would liken these people, the Contras, to "our Founding Fathers."

Perhaps he had something, at that.

Copyright 2004 Mumia Abu-Jamal


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Text © copyright 2003 by Mumia Abu-Jamal.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of the author.