The U.S. and the International Community vs. Islam

By Brian Schwartz

Occasionally, politicians spill the beans as to why the U.S.-led “International Community” is continuing its endless war drive against the Muslim world. Columnists like Thomas Friedman are preparing us intellectually to accept the excessive military and police violence inflicted on Muslims who choose militancy rather than submitting like sheep to the U.S.-led coalitions’ aggression and piracy against Muslim people and their natural resources.

Like Paul Wolfowitz some years ago, Australian defense minister Brendan Nelson, speaking extemporaneously and with imperial bravado, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that “the defense update we are releasing today sets out many priorities for Australia’s defense and security, and resource security is one of them.” Nelson explained this to clarify why Australia maintains its troop commitment in Iraq.

Thomas Friedman went an audacious step further, with a racist flair, when he wrote in the St. Paul Press on July 8:

“But it’s widely noted that virtually all suicide terrorists today are Muslims. Angry Norwegians aren’t doing this—nor are starving Africans or unemployed Mexicans. Muslims have got to understand that a death cult has taken root in the bosom of their religion, feeding off it like a tumorous cancer. This cancer is erasing the basic norms of civilization. In Iraq, we’ve seen suicide bombers blow up funerals and schools. In England, seven out of the eight people detained in the latest plot are Muslim doctors or medical students.

“Doctors plotting mass murder? Could that be? If Muslim leaders don’t remove this cancer—and only they can—it will spread, tainting innocent Muslims and poisoning their relations with each other and the world.... Because these incidents are scattered, we’re growing numb to just how crazy they are. In the past few years, hundreds of Muslims have committed suicide amidst innocent civilians without making any concise political demands and without generating sustained condemnation in the Muslim world.”

It is the United States and its accomplices in the International Community that have spilled oceans of innocent civilian blood, in contrast to the gallons shed by Muslim resistance fighters. London’s Mayor Ken Livingston summarized it most eloquently on July 19, 2005, after the July 7 bombing in that city: “You’ve just had 80 years of Western intervention in predominately Arab lands because of the Western need for oil. We’ve propped up unsavory governments; we’ve overthrown ones that we didn’t consider sympathetic.” Addressing the Palestinian situation, he continued, “if you had been under foreign occupation, and denied the right to vote, denied to run your own affairs, often denied the right to work for three generations, I suspect if it happened here in England, we would have produced a lot of suicide bombers ourselves.”

An objective reading of the historical statistics shows it’s the United States and the “International Community” that have inflicted terror on the Muslims. In the early 1980s Israel allowed Lebanese Christian Phalangists to massacre 600 to 800 men, women, and children in the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps. Serbia’s military and irregular forces murdered hundreds and thousands of people in an attempt to cleanse a province of resident Muslims. In 1995 the Serbs overran a “UN Safe Haven” at Srebrenica, massacring over 8,000 Muslim men and boys.

In Iraq, 500,000 children died prematurely of malnutrition and lack of proper healthcare during the UN sanctions period from 1991 until the U.S. invasion of Iraq on March 20, 2003. Between 2000 and 2004, 3,500 Palestinians were killed outright and 52,500 injured. Forty-five hundred homes were demolished by Israel. By comparison, 919 Israelis were killed and 6,709 injured. Iraq Body Count estimates that between 67,265 and 73,611 Iraqis have been killed directly by the U.S. occupation. During 2007, U.S. and NATO forces have killed 600 Afghan civilians.

Afghan and Iraqi lives are valued at $2,500 by American militarism, paid out to the bereaved if they can prove that a civilian death was due to military negligence. It’s the U.S. military that arbitrarily makes the decision whether or not financial restitution will be paid out. Payment is denied to the survivors if the victim was killed during a combat operation between the U.S. and insurgents. The price of $2,500 sends a clear message that Muslim lives are cheap and disposable.

George Bush and other leaders of the coalition say over and over again that they must fight the terrorists over there so that they don’t bring their violence back home. Muslims making up a rainbow of human skin color and living in hard impoverished conditions may resent the idea that the fair-skinned peoples of predominately Christian nations turn Muslim homelands into wastelands of death so as to acquire their natural resources.

George Bush and Thomas Friedman throw us off the track when they try to make us believe that Islamic terrorists hate our democratic commodity-saturated cultures. October 19, 2004, U.S. public enemy number number 1, Osama Bin Laden, sent us a public letter. An excerpt reads:

“Before I begin, I say to you that contrary to Bush’s claim that we hate freedom, security is an indispensable pillar to human life. Free men do not forfeit their security. If we hate freedom, then explain why we did not strike, for example, Sweden. We know that those who hate freedom do not possess the defiant spirit like those of the nineteen [September 11 highjackers]. May God have mercy upon them. No, we fight you because we are free men who do not sleep under oppression.... If you Americans eliminate those causes [America’s Middle East policy] then you will have taken the correct path to restore your pre-September 11 level of security.”

Garrisoning U.S. troops in the custodial lands of Mecca and Medina triggered the worldwide Al Qaeda violence in the 1990s, culminating in the September 11th terror attacks. With the present U.S.-Coalition and NATO violence destroying Muslim lives in Afghanistan and Iraq, an international brotherhood of resistance fighters are willing to lay down their lives with the same honorable and somber commitment that inspired French and Russian partisans to resist the Nazis and forfeit their lives as a consequence of duty.

Islam is practiced by 1.2 billion adherents who on a daily basis face Mecca to pray. Many Muslims live in lands that have been harassed and exploited by the Christianized prosperous West. In their hardscrabble short lives, Islam and its rituals provide a strong anchor of solidarity and equality denied them by their secular governments, which put the interests of the U.S.-led Western countries before the wellbeing of their citizens. This should explain why national borders are not going to prevent a flood of recruits from all classes and educational backgrounds, intent on resisting U.S. and International Community aggression against Islamic nations.

Unfortunately, Islamic fundamentalists are leading the resistance at this time with intentions of replacing secular law with the Sharia. But the reactionary nature of Islamic fundamentalism pales in comparison to the utterly predatory, thieving, regressive intentions and designs that U.S.-led military forces have on Muslim people and resources. Under Sharia, as opposed to the occupation, human beings could start thinking things through and see that a fair and prosperous society can’t be built under a theocracy, that secular methods are necessary to build and maintain societies. They won’t be able to draw these conclusions under the occupier’s boot.

An old Fourth International theoretical document, “The Arab Revolution: Its Character, Present State and Perspectives,” explains clearly why a revolutionary socialist movement didn’t anchor itself in the Arab countries:

“Formed at the height of Stalinism, the Arab Communist Parties were always strictly subordinated to the diplomacy of the Kremlin. They paid a price for this servility, which sometimes caused them mass defections, by periods of total political isolation. Thus in the aftermath of the Comintern shift in 1935 and particularly during the second world war, the Soviet Bureaucracy’s policy of an alliance with Western democracies had the corollary in the Arab region of the communists abandoning struggles for independence directed against the Kremlin’s imperialist allies.

“In 1948, following the footsteps of Moscow, the Communists made an agonizing revision of their former anti-Zionist attitude and all approved the formation of the state of Israel, denouncing the Arab counterattack it provoked. This position wiped out all the prestige that the Soviet victory over Nazism lent to the Arab Communist Movement. In order to defend it, the Arab Stalinist theoreticians developed a series of ultra-sectarian theses on the national question that strongly marked the Communist Parties.

“This sectarianism took on clearly reactionary dimensions in the case of the Maghreb [Western Arab Countries located in North Africa] sections of the French Communist Parties, which on several occasions condemned the national liberation movements in their region. For example, the Algerian Communist Party condemned the armed struggle for independence initiated in 1945.”

Whether or not the liberation and social movements remain fundamentalist or move in a more democratic, secular, socialist direction is in the hands of the workers and farmers of the Islamic nations.

At home here, we cannot rely on the U.S. military and its police forces to protect us from the consequences of a decades-long, murderous, plundering, foreign policy that has taken too many lives in the Muslim world. Our only hope for safety is building a longstanding antiwar movement that remains in the streets, unco-opted by the Democratic Party and its agents. A movement of American people who finally understand the necessity of breaking with the two-party system will play a vital role in moving toward a more peaceful future.

Strengthening this movement, and giving it muscle and a real progressive direction, would be a radicalizing working class, awakened to the need to repel the attacks of corporate America on our standard of living here as profits shrink and the time comes to pay back the costs of war. Otherwise, we will continue to limp blindly along into a barbarous future of racial and resource wars that will bring our species to the brink of extinction.