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Blaming the Muslims

Scapegoat

Would you like your endless war with Coke or Pepsi?

As most of us grow eager for the deluge of campaign ads to finally come to an end, Philip Giraldi’s timely article strikes at the root of America’s misguided policies of bullying, preemption, scapegoating, and denial, all of which are likely to continue no matter who is elected this November.

Blaming the Muslims

It is perhaps human nature to seek to blame someone else for one’s own personal failings. But what is possibly only a misdemeanor in personal interactions becomes rather more serious when entire nations and races are systematically and comprehensively blamed for the failures of other nations to comprehend simple truths. I am, of course, referring to the disastrous foreign policy that we Americans have endured for the past 11 years, which is coming home to roost now in places such as Libya and Syria.

Consider what we have been hearing repeated over and over again about the Middle East and other trouble spots. American bullying, preemption, and a policy of might makes right have not been the problem; some ignorant folks just dislike us because of our freedom. The United States is “exceptional,” which means that it should set the standards for the “free world” and even the not-so-free world, whether they all like it or not. Washington has the right to intervene militarily anywhere in the world if there is even the slightest chance that there is some kind of threat lurking.

Neither President Barack Obama nor Gov. Mitt Romney has dared to say the truth, which is that the past 11 years have been disastrous for the United States because of a gross overreaction to a terrorism problem that we helped create. That overreaction has led to one unnecessary major war in Iraq that has helped bankrupt the country while also killing more than 100,000 people who had nothing to do with any threat against the United States. We have even punished the children of those we have killed: witness the stunning rise in birth defects caused by depleted uranium in parts of Iraq where the fighting was most intense.

America’s lashing out has also led to a prolonged slaughter in Afghanistan, which will be worse off when Washington leaves than it was when the U.S. military and CIA arrived. Elsewhere, the U.S. footprint is heavier than ever, with drone operations becoming the warmaking du jour in Africa and Asia. This week we have learned that the CIA is seeking more drones to extend its operations. It seems that the poor folks at Langley actually had to shift some drones from Pakistan to Yemen because they just did not have enough to go around. For those who care, it marks the beginning of the end of the CIA as an intelligence organization and its transition into an international outside-the-Geneva-Conventions killing machine under Director David Petraeus.

At home, the foreign wars have also had an impact. Drones have arrived in America while whole sections of the U.S. Constitution have been abandoned by “temporary” legislation to fight terrorists. Mitt and Barack are both intelligent men and they know perfectly well what is happening, but they will not say anything about it, as it would ruin the narrative that the United States is always good and noble. If only those damned Muslims just didn’t hate our freedom so much.

Make no mistakes that Muslims are the target of American wrath, even if it is largely unstated. The Republican Party is obsessed with bigger defense budgets to fight more wars in Muslim lands and, domestically, making illegal the greatly feared spread of Shariah law. Shariah, for what it’s worth, is the criminal code in only two Islamic countries: Saudi Arabia and Iran. Most other majority-Muslim states use a version of British common law or Roman law. In the United States the threat of any state adopting Shariah is nonexistent, unless one believes the content of the GOP platform.

Opinion polls suggest that Americans do not like Muslims very much. No surprise there, considering the steady diet of negative commentary. On the New York City subway one can learn from posters that Palestinians are savages while Israelis are civilized. For many years, the word “Islamic” has been used in much of the media as an obligatory prefix to the word “terrorist.”

No other group in the U.S. since the Communist purges of the 1950s has been singled out as much as Muslims as the enemy within. Congressman Peter King of New York has held a number of hearings on “The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and That Community’s Response.” Muslims have been targeted as a group by the New York Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The young Muslims who suddenly find themselves with a new friend in the form of an FBI informant eventually are entrapped into a confession or plea bargain and sent off to jail, with each arrest heralded as a major terrorism case. That many of those cases relied on an informant who offered the suspect a phony gun or bomb and then provided encouragement to commit a terrorist act is eminently clear if one reads the news accounts of the arrest and trial. If there is any evidence that American Muslims are not law-abiding, I have not seen it, and I suspect that if such a statistic were actually compiled it would demonstrate the opposite.

More recently, some Republicans have called for eliminating foreign aid for countries that don’t like us very much and appear reluctant to support our policies. All those countries are, of course, Islamic, and the emails circulating to make the case show burning cars and buildings. All that is needed is cameos of angry-looking men in beards to seal the case. The what-have-you-done-for-me-lately argument fails to take into account what exactly the U.S. has been playing at in those countries for the past 50 years, supporting dictators and turning a blind eye to egregious violations of human rights.

And when the countries in question shake off the shackles of dictatorship and elect a government that takes its religion seriously, there is dismay in the post-Enlightenment West. The development is referred to as a problem that has to be closely monitored by the wise leaders in Washington and Brussels. What is wrong with those people? Don’t they want our freedom? For a Muslim, one’s religion shapes the relationship with the state. It is not firewalled from it and conditions how one behaves when in office, but the distinction apparently escapes those who are shaping our policies in the White House.

There are, of course, a number of political objectives to the Muslim bashing. A large, undifferentiated threat keeps the military industrial complex happy. For the friends of Israel, since Muslims are savages and terrorists, it means that negotiating with them in any serious way or treating them as human beings is a waste of time. For the politicians who spout an anti-Muslim agenda, it keeps them in the limelight and they see an opportunity to become a player in foreign policy. The real lesson should be that the turning on Muslims is not necessarily a problem with those who practice Islam but rather a problem with us. We are the ones who have created the enemy and we are the ones who should have the sense to realize that it is our policies and actions that have poisoned relationships all around the world, and not just in Islamic countries. Will Mitt Romney or Barack Obama someday express that reality? Somehow I don’t think so.

Philip Giraldi is a former counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). His recent interview debunking claims that Muslims are stuck in medieval times and have no yearning for democratic governance and commenting on recent events in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan can be found here

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  • Al

    Again, read these two articles:
    http://www.cjr.org/feature/covering_obamas_secret_war.php?page=all
    http://www.policymic.com/articles/15340/drone-strikes-in-pakistan-have-killed-thousands-of-civilians
    These two support your claims, yet look at the alliances as well as mission statement of these groups, they’re pretty much aligned with the self proclaimed enemies of Islam
    http://counterterrorism.newamerica.net/drones
    http://www.longwarjournal.org/pakistan-strikes.php

    So tell me AJ- it is quite obvious that the majority of posters in this thread disagree with you regarding Barry Sotero and the policies of his administration, so why do you keep trying? People are presenting you with facts yet you choose to ignore them. “oh, Glenn Greenwald…cult following….blah blah blah” Greenwald is a respected author and constitutional lawyer as well as a political pundit. He’s an EXPAT too, so he, like you has a unique world view…UNLIKE you though, he has credentials that give credence to his statements. If your hang-ups are more to do with his lifestyle choices, then I suggest you look to your fellow Saudis and work to right their wrongs: http://voices.yahoo.com/homosexuality-rise-saudi-arabia-317331.html On top of that, Greenwald isn’t Muslim, so our laws don’t apply to him; you should be glad that a large profile figure such as Greenwald is an advocate for the Muslimeen, we have enough enemies internally and otherwise. Finally, you left this country (USA) to reside in wahabbi Disneyland; you traded in democracy for a repressive, fake Islamic state, do you even have the right anymore to comment on the political state of the American Union?

  • Deva

    I just wanted to ask, and please answer honestly. If you as Obama, what would you do? You know a lot of hungry wolves around. You should have a strategy to beat the wolves without being bitten, but it seems they are getting suspicious.

  • AJ

    @AI,

    Facts please? I don’t do well with mumbo jumbo.

  • Al

    so AJ-

    you wanted data and accounts for Barry Sotero’s robot murder spree… I deliver not only data that supports your skewed sense of justice, but I also supply accounts of journalists that speak in contrary to you assessment of the situation on the ground; You can try your “Barry Sotero the Kenyan Marxist loves everyone” crap here, fine. But you won’t pull the wool over anyone’s eyes in the process. Could it be that you are just plain wrong, yet too full of pride to see so?

  • AJ

    @AI,

    “I guess neocons come in all stripes- including Saudi salafi!”

    Fight on brother (or sister)! Fight on!

  • Al

    For AJ:

    “The War Prayer” by Mark Twain
    It was a time of great and exalting excitement. The country was up in arms, the war was on, in every breast burned the holy fire of patriotism; the drums were beating, the bands playing, the toy pistols popping, the bunched firecrackers hissing and sputtering; on every hand and far down the receding and fading spreads of roofs and balconies a fluttering wilderness of flags flashed in the sun; daily the young volunteers marched down the wide avenue gay and fine in their new uniforms, the proud fathers and mothers and sisters and sweethearts cheering them with voices choked with happy emotion as they swung by; nightly the packed mass meetings listened, panting, to patriot oratory which stirred the deepest deeps of their hearts and which they interrupted at briefest intervals with cyclones of applause, the tears running down their cheeks the while; in the churches the pastors preached devotion to flag and country and invoked the God of Battles, beseeching His aid in our good cause in outpouring of fervid eloquence which moved every listener.

    It was indeed a glad and gracious time, and the half dozen rash spirits that ventured to disapprove of the war and cast a doubt upon its righteousness straightway got such a stern and angry warning that for their personal safety’s sake they quickly shrank out of sight and offended no more in that way.

    Sunday morning came – next day the battalions would leave for the front; the church was filled; the volunteers were there, their faces alight with material dreams – visions of a stern advance, the gathering momentum, the rushing charge, the flashing sabers, the flight of the foe, the tumult, the enveloping smoke, the fierce pursuit, the surrender! – then home from the war, bronzed heros, welcomed, adored, submerged in golden seas of glory! With the volunteers sat their dear ones, proud, happy, and envied by the neighbors and friends who had no sons and brothers to send forth to the field of honor, there to win for the flag or, failing, die the noblest of noble deaths. The service proceeded; a war chapter from the Old Testament was read; the first prayer was said; it was followed by an organ burst that shook the building, and with one impulse the house rose, with glowing eyes and beating hearts, and poured out that tremendous invocation – “God the all-terrible! Thou who ordainest, Thunder thy clarion and lightning thy sword!”

    Then came the “long” prayer. None could remember the like of it for passionate pleading and moving and beautiful language. The burden of its supplication was that an ever-merciful and benignant Father of us all would watch over our noble young soldiers and aid, comfort, and encourage them in their patriotic work; bless them, shield them in His mighty hand, make them strong and confident, invincible in the bloody onset; help them to crush the foe, grant to them and to their flag and country imperishable honor and glory.

    An aged stranger entered and moved with slow and noiseless step up the main aisle, his eyes fixed upon the minister, his long body clothed in a robe that reached to his feet, his head bare, his white hair descending in a frothy cataract to his shoulders, his seamy face unnaturally pale, pale even to ghastliness. With all eyes following him and wondering, he made his silent way; without pausing, he ascended to the preacher’s side and stood there, waiting.

    With shut lids the preacher, unconscious of his presence, continued his moving prayer, and at last finished it with the words, uttered in fervent appeal,” Bless our arms, grant us the victory, O Lord our God, Father and Protector of our land and flag!”

    The stranger touched his arm, motioned him to step aside – which the startled minister did – and took his place. During some moments he surveyed the spellbound audience with solemn eyes in which burned an uncanny light; then in a deep voice he said

    “I come from the Throne – bearing a message from Almighty God!” The words smote the house with a shock; if the stranger perceived it he gave no attention. “He has heard the prayer of His servant your shepherd and grant it if such shall be your desire after I, His messenger, shall have explained to you its import – that is to say, its full import. For it is like unto many of the prayers of men, in that it asks for more than he who utters it is aware of – except he pause and think.

    “God’s servant and yours has prayed his prayer. Has he paused and taken thought? Is it one prayer? No, it is two – one uttered, the other not. Both have reached the ear of His Who hearth all supplications, the spoken and the unspoken. Ponder this – keep it in mind. If you beseech a blessing upon yourself, beware! lest without intent you invoke a curse upon a neighbor at the same time. If you pray for the blessing of rain upon your crop which needs it, by that act you are possibly praying for a curse upon some neighbor’s crop which may not need rain and can be injured by it.

    “You have heard your servant’s prayer – the uttered part of it. I am commissioned by God to put into words the other part of it – that part which the pastor, and also you in your hearts, fervently prayed silently. And ignorantly and unthinkingly? God grant that it was so! You heard these words: ‘Grant us the victory, O Lord our God!’ That is sufficient. The whole of the uttered prayer is compact into those pregnant words. Elaborations were not necessary. When you have prayed for victory you have prayed for many unmentioned results which follow victory – must follow it, cannot help but follow it. Upon the listening spirit of God the Father fell also the unspoken part of the prayer. He commandeth me to put it into words. Listen!

    “O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle – be Thou near them! With them, in spirit, we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it – for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.

    (After a pause)

    “Ye have prayed it; if ye still desire it, speak! The messenger of the Most High waits.”

    It was believed afterward that the man was a lunatic, because there was no sense in what he said.

  • Al

    Salaams Y’all!
    I found where AJ gets her source material from: http://www.longwarjournal.org/pakistan-strikes.php I guess neocons come in all stripes- including Saudi salafi!

    here’s more lies from neoliberal machinations of empire: http://counterterrorism.newamerica.net/drones

    Yet, in case I’m mistaken, salafis don’t vote anyways as they believe it is their Islamic duty to persevere through the reign of corrupt officials, as Allaah wills it… LOL!

    I (and most others) don’t solely rely on hadith to dictate our lives though: “‘Oh you who believe, stand up firmly for justice, as witnesses to God, even if it be against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be against rich or poor; for God can best protect both. Do not follow any passion, lest you not be just. And if you distort or decline to do justice, verily God is well-acquainted with all that you do.’” (Quran 4:135)”

    As far as the compassionate nature of the drone strikes , I’ll just put this here: http://www.policymic.com/articles/15340/drone-strikes-in-pakistan-have-killed-thousands-of-civilians
    and this too, just for good measure: http://www.cjr.org/feature/covering_obamas_secret_war.php?page=all

  • @AJ the Obama administration has been caught lying before on the issue of drone strikes which is also a fact

  • AJ

    @raza,

    I think we have been that route. Facts are facts and accusations are accusations. They should not be used interchangeably.

  • AJ

    @Ilisha,

    If you have time, study the story of this guy:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syed_Ahmad_Khan

    Pakistanis and Indians would recognize him. Before he came, Muslims in the subcontinent would boycott English, English type educations or anything modern because they thought that they were aiding the British. Eventually, Hindus started getting ahead of them in politics, education, business, etc. Sir Syed asked Muslims to start participating if they wanted change and if they didn’t want to be left behind. I feel that the Muslims in America now situation is very similar to the Muslims in the sub-continent situation then. Anyway, that was one more tidbit I wanted to share with you and other readers.

  • @AJ well according to Scott Atran Pakistan is becoming more destabilized due to our activities there

  • @AJ like I said do you have evidence the NY Times made it all up and also like I said the Obama administration has been caught lying about about civilian casualties before do I would side with the NY Times article and what’s your evidence of malice

  • Michael Elwood

    @Jai

    “Your two main comments above were excellent. For the record, I agree with you 100%.”

    Thanks, Jai. I had your article where you compared Robert Spencer to Julius Streicher in the back of my mind when I wrote them:

    http://www.loonwatch.com/2012/10/sioasionafdi-jihadwatchs-robert-spencer-exposed-the-facts/

    It raises an interesting question. If Julius Streicher and Anwar al-Awlaki weren’t executed for killing anyone, but for incitement to violence, why are Islamophobes allowed to incite people with impunity?

  • AJ

    @Ilisha,

    Just trying to be a little snarky here…sorry. But in any case, we can’t afford to have Muslims in America not vote for anyone. Just do your math (plenty of googling) with no emotions and no outside opinions other than yours and vote! Again sorry for sounding a little patronizing! You do know I like you 🙂

  • AJ

    @Ilisha,

    “Drone strikes kill mostly innocent civilians and increase terrorism.”

    Says Greenwald?

    There is a very clear way to judge that. Study the number of suicide activities! If suicide activities go down as drones work that means drones are working. If there is no correlation of if drones fail to prevent suicide bombings, droning is a waste. As far as I know, terrorism in Pakistan has gone down in the past year or so but let an investigative team with NO political leanings do that. Those are the reports that we are waiting for.

  • AJ

    “In order to see if Obama from point #3 is malicious re:Muslims..” should read “In order to see if Obama from point #2 is malicious re:Muslims..”

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