Apr 25, 2013 - Issue 514

BlackCommentator.com: Getting To The Roots Of Terror - Understanding How The Boston Marathon Turned Into The Boston Massacre - A View from the Battlefield By Jamala Rogers, BC Editorial Board

This country faces terrorist threats from home and abroad. I suggest that Americans pull themselves from the bowels of reality TV, from the drowning waters of excessive consumerism and other distractions to pay attention to U.S. foreign policies. Civilians in other countries are paying very close attention.
The world knows that the U.S. military invaded Iraq under false pretenses. According to the Costs of War Project, nearly 200,000 Iraqis died and the country’s infrastructure was decimated. The invasion costs U.S. taxpayers about $2 trillion adding to the financial crises we are still drowning in. The costs of taking care of veterans from the Iraq War and rebuilding Iraq will take additional billions over the next several years. From all accounts, the war invigorated Islamic radicals and created fertile ground for new recruits who experienced first hand the death and destruction around them caused by the U.S. military.
The existence of Guantanamo Bay remains a thorny policy. Despite President Obama’s promise to close it, Gitmo remains open, housing 166 men who have never been charged with anything and therefore have never been given a day in court. Many of the detainees have been held at Gitmo for a decade despite a call by the United Nations to shut it down. Amnesty International has documented torture and abuse at the camp which has now been met with a hunger strike by half of the detainees. What do they have to lose?

The world is acutely aware of the deadly havoc that U.S. drones are creating. Just like in the tragedy of Newtown where innocent children were killed and maimed, U.S. drones are doing the same thing in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen. Our sensibilities about these deaths seem to be tempered by the notion that drones are justified in the war on terror. Some experts on terrorism are arguing that the policy is creating more terrorists than the U.S. military can ever kill.
Add to all of the above the U.S. forked-tongue policy that financially and politically supports Israel while at the same time mouthing the right of Palestinians to self-determination. Then there’s rendition. There’s U.S.financing of mercenaries and other rogue forces around the globe whose main goal is to undermine legitimate, democratically elected governments.
Stir in the racial profiling of black, brown and Muslim citizens. CNN has not issued an apology for John King’s report that the FBI was looking for a “dark-skinned man.”
Yes, the peoples of the world are taking notes.
The cumulative impact of these acts of violence continues to take its toll in different ways. We must demand the transparency the Obama Administration promised. We must know what’s being done in our name in other countries where U.S. military and U.S. corporations are destroying the lives, culture and land of sovereign nations. Where those acts are illegal, the American people must rise up to end them; where they are immoral, we must at least have an open and honest discussion about it. I believe both of these would go a long ways in turning off the spigot of violence in the world.
While we mourn the families and loved ones touched by the Boston bombings, it’s high-time that U.S. citizens stop asking rhetorical questions and start asking pointed questions that get us to the root causes of terrorism and other forms of violence. It is equally important that we stand firm on democratic principles regardless of who is the victim and who is the perpetrator.
“How could this happen here?” is a dead end question to the acts of violence that are happening with more frequency and with more intensity. “Why does this happen?” will at least get us to looking at root causes. Then would come the difficult part - doing something about the conditions that nurture and promote violence.

I encourage progressive activists and organizers to come out of the blogosphere and educate their communities about why domestic attacks are likely to persist. We must help our communities grasp the interconnection between violence and injustice. “If you want peace, you must fight for justice” is more than a slogan on a tee shirt being worn by the chickens coming home to roost. It’s a starting point for understanding the human response to enduring inequities and merciless repression.

BlackCommentator.com Editorial Board member and Columnist, Jamala Rogers, is the leader of the Organization for Black Struggle in St. Louis and the Black Radical Congress National Organizer. Additionally, she is an Alston-Bannerman Fellow. She is the author of The Best of the Way I See It – A Chronicle of Struggle. Click here to contact Ms. Rogers.