The Most Terroristic Organization in the History of Humanity
Introduction This essay addresses the topic of terrorism. It has been advised not to begin a research study with definitions. But, because of the ubiquitous use of the term, and the elastic application of it to a wide range of activities, a definition becomes useful as a reference point.
In 2013, immediately following the Boston Marathon bombing, President of the United States Barak Obama provided the following definition of terrorism: “Anytime bombs are used to target innocent civilians, it is an act of terror” (Scherer). He expanded on this definition by adding that the purpose of such is to strike fear in the population of one’s political opponents (2013).
International Law (the United Nations) is created in a similar fashion to US law — by precedent. In this connection, there is no clear cut definition, but only resolutions regarding specific conflicts or general recurring phenomena. In 1994, referring to its substance, the United Nations General Assembly stated of terrorism that, “Criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public, a group of persons or particular persons for political purposes are in any circumstance unjustifiable, whatever the considerations of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or any other nature that may be invoked to justify them” (UN General Assembly, 1994).
The International Criminal Court (this body, membered by over 140 countries in the world, is independent of the United Nations) defines terrorism as “willful killing, intentionally attacking the civilian population, and intentionally launching attacks that cause excessive incidental death, injury, or damage…” (Coalition for the International Criminal Court. 2015).
These three definitions are in concert with each other: Terrorism is a form of war which uses the deliberate targeting of civilians, non-combatants, for military attack, for the purpose of instilling fear in the population of one’s political opponents.
This essay will examine the following elements of the current phenomenon of terrorism: that its preponderance in the world today is at an all-time high; the Islamic variety; the pattern and incidences of the US military’s international terroristic activity; and domestic terrorism. Through the evidence presented, this essay will attempt to prove the thesis that the United States military is the most terrorist organization on planet Earth today.
Terrorism at an all-time high According to recent studies, the number of incidences of terrorist attacks, the number of civilians killed, and the number of refugees created by such attacks are each at an all-time high. British newspaper, The Telegraph, reported in 2016 that, “More than 100,000 were killed in conflict in 2014, up from nearly 20,000 in 2008. Syria, where nearly 67,000 people were killed in 2014, accounted for the bulk of the increase…” (Ensor).
One commentator writing for Business Insider (2015), bemoaned the fact that in addition to the loss of life and shelter, terrorism is “bad for business”: “Between 70 and 80 percent of the European economy is based on consumption, and when people’s sense of safety and security ends up being rattled, they might temporarily avoid spending on travel and at malls, cinemas, restaurants and elsewhere” (Holmes).
Islamic terrorism Compiling their list from incidences of terrorist attacks in the year 2016, TheReligionofPeace.com maintains that there were 2,115 Islamic attacks in 59 countries, in which 18,230 people were killed and 22,864 injured. According to sources from western media institutions, the two organizations most responsible for these attacks are Al Qaeda and ISIS.
However, Boko Haram is a political, religious and military organization which has used terrorism in north and east Africa. Western media and intelligence sources link this group to al-Qaeda, in addition to the Islamic State. However, in March 2015, it publicly declared its affiliation with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). According to Western media sources, and Western government officials, this self-stated allegiance makes ISIS the #1 Islamic terrorist organization in the world. However, according to BBC News (2015), Boko Haram is responsible for the deaths of over 20,000 people since 2009, and its warfare has resulted in the displacement of 2.3 million people. Therefore, adjudging by these statistics, by itself Boko Haram is considered by Global Terrorism Index as “the world’s deadliest terror group” (Pisa, 2015).
US global terrorism The ways in which the United States military or its adjuncts, such as local and state police inside the US, resorts to the form of war which deliberately targets civilians for annihilation, include drone attacks by land and through the air; mass executions of villagers committed by US soldiers in Vietnam, Iraq (Crawford, 2011), Colombia (Lazare, 2013), Libya (Nazemroava, 2011), Panama (Uhlig, 1990), Serbia (North, 1999), Somalia (Niedringhaus, 2013), Syria (Cahill, 2016), Sudan (Demolder, 2016), Afghanistan (Shah, 2012) and other countries; “collateral damage” from US warplane bombings, where entire villages are wiped out, men, women, children, elderly and the infirm; and the daily increasing incidence of state and local police gunning down unarmed African American men in the streets of United States cities.
Both the UN and the International Criminal Court regard indiscriminate drone strikes as war crimes (Coalition for the International Criminal Court, 2015). Ignoring this definition, the United States uses “collateral damage” as the principal justification for its terrorist attacks, and the US is in perpetual violation of International Law and ICC treaties (Fang, 2015). The Iraqi city of Fallujah, where drones perpetrated the slaughter of innocent civilians, destroying everything living and non-living, is one example. Tens of thousands of civilians were killed in this terrorist attack (Crawford, 2011). Most recently, US drones perpetrated the outright slaughter of civilians at the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz Afghanistan. 42 people were killed and many dozens injured. US General John Campbell explained the bombing was an accident (Burns, Associated Press, 2015).
In 1996, President Clinton ordered the “humanitarian” bombing of Muslim neighborhoods in Serbia. Wait a minute: The US claimed to want to help … the Muslim civilians who were being ethnically cleansed (genocide) by the fascist Serbian military ruling clique. In the course of this “help” (bombing), the drones wiped out… the Chinese Embassy. Both the civilian deaths and the demolition of the Chinese Embassy were blamed by US military officials on “faulty maps” (North, 1999).
Regarding the wanton slaughter of civilians, two heralded incidents come to mind: one in which a US army sergeant enjoined his unit to oversee his raping of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl in front of her family (Daily Mail, 2010). After thinking it over, the sergeant determined that somewhere this might not be viewed too kindly, so he ordered the entire building and all family members in it burned to death. The other example is that of the Afghani village where a US marine went “berserk,” going house-to-house machine-gunning down villagers inside their homes (Aikins, 2013). In response to the frequent recurrences of such war tactics, a recent letter to the Boston Globe observed:
Psychotherapy for Murderers When Iraqis (or earlier, Vietnamese, Somalis, or Panamanians) respond to a U.S. military invasion with whatever weapons they have at hand, they are labeled terrorists, butchers, savages, extremists.
When U.S. soldiers, participating in an invasion of someone else’s territory, rape women, and massacre children, elderly and the disabled, out come the psychologists and psychotherapists to find out how otherwise fine boys could have become so “stressed out.”
It is no doubt “stressful” to invade a sovereign country, not know why you’re doing it, blanket bomb residential neighborhoods, level entire cities, destroy the ecology of the country, and render the entire population refugees in their own land. However stressful, it’s still murder. (Gabriel, Letters to the Editor, 2009)
US Domestic Terrorism Thus far through 2016, local police in cities across the United States gunned-down 194 unarmed Black people (Cravin, 2016). The police murder of unarmed Black men is five times the number of White men killed by police during the same time period (there are an estimated five times more White men in the country than Black, thus making the proportion of death by police murder 25 Black to 1 White). By International Law these murders constitute terrorism, violation of the human rights of Black Americans, and are a war crime.
In a letter to the editor printed by the Boston Globe, entitled “Anti-Muslim Violence at an All-Time High Inside the US,” Lynn and Amadadeen (Medium.com, 2016) recounted a report from the Boston Globe of a military attack by local police in conjunction with the Tactical Patrol Force, the SWAT Team and other military personnel on a house in a Boston suburb: six Muslim Moroccan immigrant residents of the home were maced, beaten, tear-gassed, their home was demolished, their belongings destroyed, and the men were each arrested. Why? Because an anonymous caller said he heard shots fired inside the house, and claimed that his daughter was inside the house. The caller was never found, no weaponry was found, no little children were found, no wrong-doing of any kind was found, and the six Moroccans were released without charge to go back and piece together the remains of their belongings. The article proceeded to provide figures apropos of the escalating recurrence of such violence against Muslims inside the US.
Conclusion The words of US leaders are in contradiction with the facts. There is a consistent mythology to the presentation of the subject of terrorism by US political representatives in concert with the US media. The reality of terrorism must be judged by facts, not by prejudices regarding the victim’s religion, the color of their skin, or their national origin. President Obama developed his definition conveniently so that he could apply it to the act of a Muslim inside the United States (Boston Marathon bombing). When the perpetrators are White men in the United States military, it is no longer terrorism, but stressed out soldiers. When the women of Fallujah who escaped the initial drone attack returned to collect the remains of their families, the heat-seeking drones wiped them out as well. Could it be that these drones were “stressed out”?
“Collateral damage,” the slaughter of non-combatants, perpetrated by US drones, US machine guns, or US bombs, is terrorism. The United States has killed more people through this form of military activity than any other military organization in the world in the history of humankind.
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