July War and Its Repercussions
few observations on terror and terrorism
know why they are against terror. It may be years ago when the Rainbow
Warrior (the boat sent by GREENPEACE to the Pacific to protest and attempt
to obstruct French nuclear tests) was blown up by the secret service of
the French government. It was a so-called Socialist president, Mitterrand,
who was responsible for this act of terrorism which resulted in the death
of an innocent civilian, a journalist still on board during the night the
of civil rights, pacifists, and those who criticize the powerful have no
reason to be quiet about this. Do not our Italian friends remember all
too well all those victims of bombs that were killed because the US government
wanted to discredit the peace movement and the looming 'compromesso storico'?
Patriot or Pershing II missiles were about to be stationed in Sicily. Public
opinion was against it. It had to be swayed. When hundreds of commuters
were killed in trains or waiting on the platforms of train stations (as
in the Bologna incident), graffiti appeared on the walls of houses. "The
bombs are red!" they said. More than a decade later, the truth was revealed.
Neo-fascists and the Italian military secret service had workedhand in
hand while the C.I.A. remained in the background. But the goal had been
achieved. Public opinion was swayed. Though the terrorist attacks were
not the work of leftists as the media had insinuated at the time, the coalition
of Christian Democrats and PCI was aborted. The PCI, nonetheless, moved
towards more social-democratic positions. This is a different story. The
terror was insane, it ended so many lives so abruptly. But it achieved
the ends of the dominant social forces. In that sense, it was "rational."
Hellishly "rational." Shame on it. Shame on them. That the facts were revealed,
later on, has not kept them from pursuing their ends by doubtful and, "if
necessary," brutally cruel means.
the last two years, the Americans have fought two wars on Iraqi soil and
in the skies above Iraq. Their supposed goal during the first war was to
deny the Iraqi regime any right to occupy Kuwait; during the second, it
was to topple a dictator. We have every reason to doubt whether these were
genuine motivations of the respective US governments. Each time, the population
paid a heavy price. Power plants water works, schools, hospitals were destroyed.
Clean drinking water became precious. Electricity was lacking when operations
had to be performed. The equipment of hospitals was destroyed. School children
were left without classrooms. Many of those who were not harmed in the
first US-Iraq war suffered gravely from the subsequent embargo imposed.
Food became scarce. Pharmaceutical products became scarce. While Iraq had
been a country of the so-called Second World (with a very good infrastructure
and an acceptable standard of life for a large part of the population),
it fell back to the level of a so-called Third World country as a consequence
of this war and the damage it brought. UN sources reporting on the effects
of the embargo spoke of hundreds of thousands of victims. People dying
of avoidable illness, of malnourishment and what not. Perhaps it is not
illogical to call the American embargo (which was supported by US allies
and others, in the UN, and thus seemed legitimate) a case of terror?
second US-Iraq war, provoked no doubt by the Bush administration and called
an illegal war by UN secretary general Kofi Annan as well as several members
of the European Parliament, was fought as a "hyper-modern" war testing
the latest generation of US weapons. White phosphorus, cluster bombs and
other weapons among them that have effects on civilian and military "targets"
which prompted critics to speak of war crimes and of terror. The use of
such weapons was, in part, continued during the subsequent campaings to
put down "rebels," that is to say, armed resistance against occupation,
as in the case of Falluja.
is the mighty of the Western world who have always, in the last 150 years
or so, denounced terror. The population wherever it became a target of
terror cannot but agree that terror is horrible.
do we not sense the hypocrisy of the mighty? Does not their denunciation
of terror ring hollow when they have been and still are prepared to use
terror themselves, for their own selfish goals?
is us, the people, who pay the price. In Iraq. In Lebanon. In the West
Bank and in Israel. And, to be sure, in so many other parts of the world.
should not be astounded in the West if terror reaches our shores; we should
not be perplexed if people are killed in what appear to be peaceful cities
of Europe or the US. We should ask ourselves why. TheSpanish population,
by a clear majority, only a short while ago sacked a prime minister when
bombs were exploded, killing a large number of people traveling on commuter
trains in the Madrid metropolitan area. They had an inkling that the insane
attacks had happened in response to the auxialiary role of Spanish troops
sent to Iraq to strengthen the occupation forces. They had a clear feeling
the Spanish presence in Iraq was wrong. An overwhelming majority of them
had opposed the war in the first place. The anti-war protests had not kept
their Conservative government from supporting the Bush administration.
When that government lied about the bombs of Madrid, trying to attribute
them to ETA, the said "Enough is enough." They voted for change, opting
for a different government.
only a slight step in the right direction, we know. But will not more follow,
sooner or later? We are still learning hard lessons. One of them is that
insane terror is not stopped by self-righteous and hardened governments
who scrap civil rights and pursue an aggressive course abroad, A policy
that often has not refrained from terror.