Saturday, November 20, 2010

4 Common Myths about the War on Terrorism

by Reese Erlich, CommonDreams.org, Nov 19, 2010
 
I’m finishing up a 25-city book tour that took me from New York and Chicago to Elizabethtown, PA, and Spearfish, SD. I met with college students, farmers and laid-off workers. Most people in the US now oppose the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, but I found a lot of confusion about the War on Terrorism.

Here are four of the more commonly asked questions:

1. Isn’t it true that while not all Muslims are terrorists, all terrorists are Muslims?

Well, just asking the question reveals a lot about how those in power have manipulated our concept of terrorism.

To begin, I point out that plenty of non-Muslims have carried out terrorist acts. Here’s a partial list.
  • Timothy McVeigh was convicted of detonating a truck bomb in front of the Oklahoma City federal building in 1995, which resulted in 168 deaths. He was Catholic.
  • In 1994 Baruch Goldstein, a Jewish-American Israeli settler in the West Bank city of Hebron opened fire on Muslim worshippers, killing 29 and wounding 150. He died at the scene, and his grave later became a pilgrimage site for extremists in Israel.
  • Murderers of abortion doctors in the US frequently carry out their crimes in the name of evangelical Christianity.
  • In 2010, in a protest against federal government policies, Joseph Stack flew a plane into an Austin building housing IRS offices. He came from a Christian background and ranted against all religion.
I understand if you didn’t think of those examples right away. We’ve been conditioned to think of terrorists as foreigners, or people trained by foreigners, preferably dark skinned people with a grudge against the West. But a white guy with a bomb trying to kill civilians for political purposes is still a terrorist.

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