Justitia, Old Bridge of Heidelberg

Justitia, Old Bridge of Heidelberg
Justitia, Old Bridge of Heidelberg © Gernot Keller, 2007
Blinkered Justice articles also appear on CrimeTalk and Government In The Lab

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Fighting freedom or freedom fighting: Newt Gingrich & Palestine

Meagermind (c) DonkeyHotey

Originally published in full here on The Pryer.

Republican frontrunners vying for the Presidential nomination for next year's election, including Cain, Romney, Perry and Bachmann have all dined at the dunce's trough over the last few months. 

The Guardian reports that Newt Gingrich referred to Palestinians as an “invented” people and “terrorists” last weekend. 

Originally populated by Native Americans, then European colonists, the United States of America (USA) of today has been transformed by further migrations of peoples from Latin America, Africa and elsewhere. Borders and boundaries have been redrawn, so that what constitutes the USA now looks different to how it did 200 years ago.

Each nation, and the nationals within it, is/are invented. What Gingrich says is true, but it is the way that he uses this idea that bothers me. Would he also agree that terrorism and the 'war on terror' is invented too?

The notion of a Palestinian homeland has been at the very heart of the 'war on terror' since 9/11. Osama Bin Laden refered to it in the second of his fatwas.

Gingrich's use of an “invented” people, and his association with ideas of terrorism is somehow meant to make the justification for a homeland less deserving. However, it is precisely this issue, still as yet unresolved, and rarely cited as an imperative for bringing the 'war on terror' to an end, that makes Gingrich an ignoramus.

The USA suffered a terrible loss on 9/11. This superpower and (self-appointed) arbiter of international justice since World War II, had an opportunity to reflect, re-imagine and re-construct itself and what it stood for in the 21st Century.

Why had this happened? Had the USA harmed anyone? If so who, and what steps should it take to get it right? What would be the best means of securing justice and a future security?

For many of us, it appears that the USA concluded that that this was the deed of irrational terrorists solely intent on destroying the American freedom and its way of life. The most effective means of dealing with this threat and effecting justice, it seems, was to use its military power.

The 'war on terror' began. In truth, terror was merely being exported.

Montage War on Terror (c) poxnar/US Army/Navy
According to the latest report from the National Counterrorism Center:
  • Over 11,500 terrorist attacks occurred in 72 countries in 2010, resulting in approximately 50,000 victims, including almost 13,200 deaths. Although the number of attacks rose by almost 5 percent over the previous year, the number of deaths declined for a third consecutive year, dropping 12 percent from 2009...
  • Attacks in Afghanistan and Iraq rose in 2010. Almost a quarter of worldwide attacks occurred in Iraq, a slight increase from 2009, although deaths fell for the fourth consecutive year...
  • The fewest incidents in 2010 were reported in the Western Hemisphere, where both attacks and deaths declined by roughly 25 percent. Western Hemisphere attacks fell from 444 in 2009 to 340 in 2010 and deaths fell from 377 in 2009 to 279 in 2010...
  • Muslims continued to bear the brunt of terrorism based on the fact that most terrorist attacks occurred in predominantly Muslim countries.

What is evident is that terrorist incidents are on the increase. By focusing its 'war on terrorism' in Afghanistan and Iraq, the USA has used its military power to enforce a transfer of terror on civilians who previously neither suffered from it, and are less able to withstand it.

They may have had less freedom, if you define freedom in its politico-democracy cloak, but equally, they have less freedom to walk around safely; they have less life security. A by-product of the 'war on terror' is that it has wrought more terror, not less.

Terrorism has not gone away, just because the US government has relocated it, and it will not necessarily remain relocated. Current ideas of western citizenship come with responsibilities, as well as rights. Gingrich's comments are irresponsible.

It is a shame that those in power talk about freedom so vacantly as to mock those that those do not have it. If Islamic Jihadists hate us for our freedom and our way of life, then Gingrich is adding fuel to the fire. 

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