Behind Bars

Mad in the Middle East

By Mumia Abu-Jamal

Americans may have voted in the last presidential election for an end to war, but wars have multiplied with the advent of the Obama administration.

As I wrote several years ago, the awesome powers granted to the Bush administration now lie in new hands, and presidents’ aggregate power; they don’t willingly give it up.

Perhaps first among these powers, is the power to wage wars.

As of this writing, the United States is engaged in at least four(and maybe five) armed actions: Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Yemen—and as drones slam bombs into homes and villages in Pakistan—it too must be added to the mix.

To be realistic, there is no peace on the horizon, and perhaps more and broader wars await us.

Despite the many justifications raised by politicians—The Taliban, Al Qaeda, terrorism, etc.—these seem more pretexts than reasons, for without the CIA, MI6 (British Secret Intelligence Agency) and Pakistan’s Intelligence agency, ISI, these bodies wouldn’t exist, for they were assembled, trained, armed and activated under their auspices.

They are Western creations—period.

(If you doubt this, read: Crossing Zero: The AfPak War at the Turning Point of American Empire, by Elizabeth Gould and Paul Fitzgerald (San Francisco, CA: City Lights Books/Open Media, 2011.)

But war does far more than excite public passions.

It confuses people. It demands their unthinking allegiance. It feeds on the very lives of young men and women. And those it doesn’t kill, it poisons with the virus of violence, which, unleashed abroad, often returns home, to shatter homes, families, futures and communities.

It would be challenging to count the wives or children who were beaten or abused by returning soldiers. Indeed, the levels of suicide among armed forces shows that war attacks the self.

The clearest explanation for these wars was articulated several years ago by President Carter’s former national security advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski—and the prime architect of the Afghan war against the Soviets by the mujaheddin.

In a 1997 article in Foreign Affairs, Brzezinski gave the following take on the importance of Eurasia:

“Eurasia is home to most of the world’s politically assertive and dynamic states.

“All the historical pretenders to global power originated in Eurasia. The world’s most populous aspirants to regional hegemony, China and India, are in Eurasia, as are all the potential political or economic challengers to American primacy.

“After the United States, the next six largest economies and military spenders are there, as are all but one of the world’s overt nuclear powers. Eurasia accounts for 75 percent of the world’s population, 60 percent of its GNP, and 75 percent of its energy resources.1

That’s it. “Energy resources.”

That’s what it’s all about.

That’s all it’s ever been about.

Prison Radio, June 12, 2011

1 Source: Brzezinski, Z., “A Geostrategy for Eurasia,” Foreign Affairs, 76:5, Sept/Oct. 1997; cited in Gould and Fitzgerald, p. 121.