Homeland Hypocrisy
How Do We Justify What We Cannot Define?

Our grade school teachers taught us word meanings by asking us to spell, define and use them in sentences. Before more bombs drop, every American must do this exercise with words that are being used by our government and media, starting with: terrorist, terrorism, war, aggression, vengeance and justice

The original reason for a war on terror was to seek out and punish Osama bin Laden and al Qaida. We haven't heard much mention of Osama lately. Nonetheless we have bombed Afghanistan, killing thousands of innocent civilians, and now focus our full sights on Iraq (different from frequent bombings over the last decade).

For more years than not, we deemed the Taliban and Hussein regimes as friends, giving millions in aid that came from tax dollars. None of the 9-11 terrorists were from Afghanistan or Iraq. They were from Saudi Arabia and Egypt; two countries that, despite having repressive governments and terrorist connections, we call friends. Therefore there is no talk of invasion. Perhaps realms that do not renounce terrorist citizenry yet do not openly shelter them are not terrorist nations.

Openly harboring terrorists must be what defines a terrorist nation.

By this definition, the US should be planning strikes against Spain. When recently asked if we were going to invade Spain, Ari Fleischer dismissed the possibility. Why? Spain, after all, is protecting 14 suspects in connection with the September 11 attacks, refusing to extradite them to the U.S.

Apparently we do not define terrorist nations as those that openly harbor terrorists.

The war on terror is ambiguous. We need only look to Georgia to literally bring this point home. The School of the Americas at Ft. Benning has trained 60,000 foreign soldiers in assassination, oppression, torture and terrorism, the most well-known graduate being Manuel Noreiga. No word on bombing the terrorist cell in Georgia or the country that harbors them—for now.

Written October 2002
Posted in Nashville City Paper
Human Rights Interfere With War

There is something very, very wrong with a government that claims to uphold human rights yet intervenes on behalf of a corporation accused of the most severe violation of those rights.

The US has moved to block a lawsuit against Exxon Mobil for human rights abuses in Indonesia. The US is not doing this because it believes Exxon Mobil is not guilty of crimes. Rather, our government says the victims of murder, torture, kidnapping and rape should not be allowed their day in court because such a lawsuit might undermine business interests in Indonesia and the war on terrorism.

The lawsuit alleges security/military guards employed by Exxon Mobil committed violence against the Aceh (indigenous people of Indonesia). Our government wants to stifle this lawsuit, which has been underway for over a year. Does anyone else see the irony here? A foreign entity attacks native people without provocation. Isn’t that what we are calling terrorism?

Whether or not Exxon Mobil is guilty of the charges is for a court to decide, not the US State Department. If our government truly values human rights, shouldn’t it encourage such accusations be investigated and charges be proved or disproved in a court of law? Shouldn't every American?

written 11/2002
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