The late Chalmers Johnson wrote a great and timely as hell book entitled Blowback ( 2000). In it he discussed how our American Empire (I call it the Military industrial Empire) has seen its sins come back to repeatedly haunt us all. Interesting how one year after his book was published 9/11 occurred. This was a ‘dual blowback’ to our empire because A) we supported the Mujahedeen fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan who then created the repressive Taliban while simultaneously spreading a fanatical Islamic mindset throughout East Asia and the Middle East; and B) By propping up a myriad of dictatorships in those regions for generations. Our country has had the blood of innocents on our hands. The Shah of Iran and his secret police (Savak, Saddam Hussein who our CIA nurtured into power, the House of Saud and their repressive non democratic Saudi Arabia… need I go on? And then our ‘idiot emperor’ Bush Jr. had the nerve to ask why they hate us!
Fanatical Islamists are such a tiny percentage of the one billion Muslims in this world. Most people of all nations outside of our borders get up in the morning and do their chores, go to work, raise children and are good neighbors, regardless of religion! Likewise, here in our great nation, the overwhelming majority of our citizenry are in that same category. Sadly, many of us have become hypnotized by the false rhetoric of our media, politicians and corporations. Fascism takes hold many times when things are bleak both economically and otherwise. Students of history like yours truly use the example of Germany in the late 1920s and early 30s to understand this phenomena. Greed, exploitation and government cow towing to the super rich (sound familiar?) allowed the Nazi Party to overtake the Communists as the radical chic of that era. You see, the Nazis went a step further than the Communists (who were very popular at that time) by introducing the scapegoat, the Jew, into the mix. So much for demagogue Trump’s rhetoric on Muslims.
This movement called ISIL plays the religious card for their form of fascism. Non believers become the evil ones who they propagandize will ‘threaten’ Islam. They even divide their own religion into good guys and bad guys (Sunni vs. Shia). Regardless, their Nazi like mindset of destroying the enemy of their proposed caliphate is out and out fascistic. Isn’t that similar to the ‘Muslim bating’ of the far right in our nation? Sadly, what we call the far right has become, through media propaganda, more of the mainstream thinking by many Americans. Did anyone ever ask the average American or average Israeli to remember what was done, in their name, to the citizens of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and of course Gaza, Jerusalem and the West Bank? No one in the mainstream media is allowed to interview and give airtime to those who know the answer to that question.
Here is the kicker to what Chalmers Johnson meant by blowback: If our country never invaded and occupied Afghanistan and Iraq, and never bombed the **** out of Libya, this thing called ISIL would never have happened. Period! On the subject of ‘bringing democracy’ to those countries, duh, do we really have the ideal of true democracy here? We have private money controlling politics, with a Two Party/One Party con job running things. We have increased surveillance of our citizenry. We have the beginnings of a police state that stifles all dissent. We have a mainstream media that is controlled by the same super rich who control our politics. Free Speech Zones are the new way to keep the public from confronting our leaders. Don’t you think that many throughout the world know that the 2000 Presidential Election was a farce… as was the repeat in 2004? Don’t you think that many overseas knew that Colin Powell was lying through his teeth at the United Nations in 2003?
Sadly, the greatest recruiting tool for the fanatics out there has been our empire’s lies, deceptions, illegal invasions, illegal occupations, massive airstrikes on civilians, and of course Torture! If we truly wish to have those who hate us overseas counteract ISIL, let us pull out of our almost 100 bases worldwide, go to the UN and apologize with reparations to all those nations that we have destroyed and savaged in the Middle East… for starters! Then, at the same time drastically cut our obscene military spending (which is now over half of our federal tax revenue) and use that money to save our own economy!
Philip A Farruggio is a semi retired baby boomer born and bred in blue collar Brooklyn NYC. He is the son and grandson of Brooklyn longshoremen, and educated at ‘ free tuition ‘ Brooklyn College, class of ‘ 74. Philip has written over 300 columns since 2001 and his work is found on many fine progressive sites like World News Trust, Nation of Change, Information Clearinghouse, Intrepid Report, Sleuth Journal, Dandelion Salad, Counterpunch and Dissident Voice. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org