The U.S. government declared a global “War on Terror” shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the pentagon and world trade center. I was only in middle school when this happened so I grew up with the media repeating the “terrorist threat” and “they hate us for our freedoms” justification for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. As I got older I began to have a dreadful thought. I thought to myself “What if the U.S. was the real aggressor and these attacks were just retaliation?”
The U.S. was meddling in the affairs of the Middle East long before the 9/11 attacks, as I came to learn through studying the history of past conflicts between the U.S. and the Middle East. The U.S. interventions in the region, according to Noam Chomsky, “…have helped to spread jihadism from a corner of Afghanistan to a large part of the world.” The U.S. government’s continuous involvement in the Middle East has inadvertently fueled the extremism of the terrorist organization, the Islamic State and has propelled them into a global terrorist threat, as we saw in the attacks on France in November of 2015.
The “War on Terror” has only served to create more terrorists. With this endless supply of enemies to combat and a civilian population ever fearful of the next terrorist attack, Western governments have curtailed civil liberties in the name of “national security”. Example legislation includes: the USA Patriot Act of 2001 under the Bush administration and the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 under the Obama Administration. These two pieces of legislation have transformed the United States, a nation that was once a world leader in setting the example for free and open societies, into a global leader in the suppression of political dissent through surveillance and harassment of citizens groups, such as the Occupy Wall Street movement.
This culture of fear has given rise to the popularity of Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, who runs his campaign on the promise of shutting down Mosques, placing American Muslims into internment camps, as well as forcing Muslims to wear identification badges. These proposals bear striking resemblance to what Japanese Americans were forced to endure during World War II. It is unfortunate that these proposals are even being considered by a presidential candidate, let alone one as popular as Donald Trump. It is unfortunate because these proposals, if enacted, would play right into the hands of the Islamic State and serve as a basis for recruiting American Muslims.
The “War on Terrorism” is a self-defeating concept as American historian, Howard Zinn, put it, “How can you have a war on terrorism when war itself is terrorism?” The idea of a “terrorist threat” could easily be applied to the U.S. government when we look at the actions it has taken at home and abroad. It is my hope that in the future, the U.S. government will be held accountable for its own acts of terrorism and citizens learn the true price of freedom.
Reproduced with explicit permission from author Dylan Yoki. Copyright January 2016. All rights reserved. To contact the author, contact us and we’ll connect you.