The Boston Bombings Gave Americans a Taste of the Terrorism the U.S. Inflicts Abroad Every Day
By Noam Chomsky / truth-out.org
May 3, 2013

April is usually a cheerful month in New England, with the first signs of spring, and the harsh winter at last receding. Not this year.

There are few in Boston who were not touched in some way by the marathon bombings on April 15 and the tense week that followed. Several friends of mine were at the finish line when the bombs went off. Others live close to where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the second suspect, was captured. The young police officer Sean Collier was murdered right outside my office building.

It's rare for privileged Westerners to see, graphically, what many others experience daily - for example, in a remote village in Yemen, the same week as the marathon bombings.

On April 23, Yemeni activist and journalist Farea Al-Muslimi, who had studied at an American high school, testified before a US Senate committee that right after the marathon bombings, a drone strike in his home village in Yemen killed its target.

The strike terrorized the villagers, turning them into enemies of the United States - something that years of jihadi propaganda had failed to accomplish.

His neighbors had admired the US, Al-Muslimi told the committee, but "Now, however, when they think of America, they think of the fear they feel at the drones over their heads. What radicals had previously failed to achieve in my village, one drone strike accomplished in an instant."

Rack up another triumph for President Obama's global assassination program, which creates hatred of the United States and threats to its citizens more rapidly than it kills people who are suspected of posing a possible danger to us someday.

The target of the Yemeni village assassination, which was carried out to induce maximum terror in the population, was well-known and could easily have been apprehended, Al-Muslimi said. This is another familiar feature of the global terror operations.

There was no direct way to prevent the Boston murders. There are some easy ways to prevent likely future ones: by not inciting them. That's also true of another case of a suspect murdered, his body disposed of without autopsy, when he could easily have been apprehended and brought to trial: Osama bin Laden.

This murder too had consequences. To locate bin Laden, the CIA launched a fraudulent vaccination campaign in a poor neighborhood, then switched it, uncompleted, to a richer area where the suspect was thought to be.

The CIA operation violated fundamental principles as old as the Hippocratic oath. It also endangered health workers associated with a polio vaccination program in Pakistan, several of whom were abducted and killed, prompting the UN to withdraw its anti-polio team.

The CIA ruse also will lead to the deaths of unknown numbers of Pakistanis who have been deprived of protection from polio because they fear that foreign killers may still be exploiting vaccination programs.

Columbia University health scientist Leslie Roberts estimated that 100,000 cases of polio may follow this incident; he told Scientific American that "people would say this disease, this crippled child is because the US was so crazy to get Osama bin Laden."

And they may choose to react, as aggrieved people sometimes do, in ways that will cause their tormentors consternation and outrage.

Even more severe consequences were narrowly averted. The US Navy SEALs were under orders to fight their way out if necessary. Pakistan has a well-trained army, committed to defending the state. Had the invaders been confronted, Washington would not have left them to their fate. Rather, the full force of the US killing machine might have been used to extricate them, quite possibly leading to nuclear war.

There is a long and highly instructive history showing the willingness of state authorities to risk the fate of their populations, sometimes severely, for the sake of their policy objectives, not least the most powerful state in the world. We ignore it at our peril.

There is no need to ignore it right now. A remedy is investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill's just-published Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battleground.

In chilling detail, Scahill describes the effects on the ground of US military operations, terror strikes from the air (drones), and the exploits of the secret army of the executive branch, the Joint Special Operations Command, which rapidly expanded under President George W. Bush, then became a weapon of choice for President Obama.

We should bear in mind an astute observation by the author and activist Fred Branfman, who almost single-handedly exposed the true horrors of the US "secret wars" in Laos in the 1960s, and their extensions beyond.

Considering today's JSOC-CIA-drones/killing machines, Branfman reminds us about the Senate testimony in 1969 of Monteagle Stearns, US deputy chief of mission in Laos from 1969 to 1972.

Asked why the US rapidly escalated its bombing after President Johnson had ordered a halt over North Vietnam in November 1968, Stearns said, "Well, we had all those planes sitting around and couldn't just let them stay there with nothing to do." So we can use them to drive poor peasants in remote villages of northern Laos into caves to survive, even penetrating within the caves with our advanced technology.

JSOC and the drones are a self-generating terror machine that will grow and expand, meanwhile creating new potential targets as they sweep much of the world. And the executive won't want them just "sitting around."

It wouldn't hurt to contemplate another slice of history, at the dawn of the 20th century.

In his book "Policing America's Empire: The United States, the Philippines and the Rise of the Surveillance State," the historian Alfred McCoy explores in depth the US pacification of the Philippines after an invasion that killed hundreds of thousands through savagery and torture.

The conquerors established a sophisticated surveillance and control system, using the most advanced technology of the day to ensure obedience, with consequences for the Philippines that reach to the present.

And as McCoy demonstrates, it wasn't long before the successes found their way home, where such methods were employed to control the domestic population - in softer ways to be sure, but not very attractive ones.

We can expect the same. The dangers of unexamined and unregulated monopoly power, particularly in the state executive, are hardly news. The right reaction is not passive acquiescence.

 

© 2012 The New York Times Company. Truthout has licensed this content.

Noam Chomsky's new book is ''Power Systems: Conversations on Global Democratic Uprisings and the New Challenges to US Empire. Conversations with David Barsamian.''

 

3.5 ·
1
Trending Today
How Norway Avoided Becoming a Fascist State
George Lakey · 18,823 views today · Instead of falling to the Nazi party, Norway broke through to a social democracy. Their history shows us polarization is nothing to despair over.
Stunning Small Homes Form Part of a Communal Compound for Best Friends
Lighter Side · 13,500 views today · If you’re lucky enough to have longtime friends even as an adult, then you know probably already know how much it means to be able to spend time together. Maybe you even have a...
Where the Term "Redneck" Came From
15 min · 10,132 views today · If you don't know this story, you'll never look at the word the same again.  This is just a window into the sometimes shocking, subversive and untold history of the United...
Without Saying a Word This 6 Minute Clip From Samsara Will Make You Speechless
6 min · 6,654 views today · Can you put this video into words? It's a clip from the phenomenal documentary Samsara, directed by Ron Fricke, who also made Baraka.  If you're interested in watching...
Redneck Revolt Presents: A Message to the Patriot Movement
6 min · 5,746 views today · Over the past few weeks, Redneck Revolt has been communicating with a former member of a III% Patriot Militia based out of Ohio. Peter made contact with our organization after...
The Fire Within
Words by Sophie Scholl - Illustrations by Gavin Aung Than · 5,507 views today · Sophie Scholl (1921-1943) was a German activist who is famous for speaking out against the Nazi regime. Scholl was a member of a protest group called The White Rose, which...
Voices of Standing Rock
49 min · 5,309 views today · Short stories told by water protectors at Standing Rock, North Dakota. Part 1 - Introduction: Since mid-August 2016, thousands have set up camp near the Standing Rock Sioux...
The London Anarchist Group Squatting Mansions to Fight Homelessness
6 min · 4,024 views today · London squatting activists ANAL (Autonomous Nation of Anarchist Libertarians) are squatting empty multi-million pound buildings and opening them up to the homeless.
The Most Astounding Fact about the Universe
3 min · 3,754 views today · This is Neil Degrasse Tyson's response when asked to describe the most astounding fact about the universe. Background music is the cinematic orchestra - To build a home.
Globalization Makes No Sense
Chris Agnos · 3,580 views today · When I lived in San Francisco, I often would marvel at the movement of goods through the ports across the bay in Oakland. Full container ships would enter the bay one after...
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain · 2,647 views today · Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months...
10 Words Every Girl Should Learn
Soraya Chemaly · 2,616 views today · "Stop interrupting me."  "I just said that." "No explanation needed." In fifth grade, I won the school courtesy prize. In other words, I won an award for being polite. My...
The Lessons of Standing Rock
Michael Emero · 2,583 views today · In mid-November of 2016, I was a Water Protector at Standing Rock. At first my goal was to play investigative journalist; documenting then writing about every detail for my...
The Foiled Bomb Plot in Kansas That Didn't Make Trump's Terror List
5 min · 2,456 views today · When a plot by a pro-white militia to bomb a Somali mosque in Kansas was foiled by the FBI last October, the aborted conspiracy received little national coverage - nor did it...
Charles Eisenstein: The Two Great Stories That Give Meaning to Our Lives
6 min · 1,514 views today · What matters in life? Who are we? Every culture has answers to these questions. And the way we answer them has profound effects on the health of people and planet. This is a...
How a Lack of Touch Is Destroying Men
Mark Green · 1,300 views today · Why Men Need More Platonic Touch in their Lives
What Happens When You Rebel Against the Herd
Sofo Archon · 1,159 views today · Are You Truly Living Your Life? You live, but are you living the way you want to live, or the way others want you to live? You choose, but are your choices based on...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 1,024 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
To Change Everything, Start Everywhere
8 min · 921 views today · To Change Everything, Start Everywhere! The case for complete self-determination—a guide for the furious, the curious, and the pure of heart. To Change Everything: An...
A Hauntingly Beautiful Short Film About Life and Death
5 min · 884 views today · The Life of Death is a touching handdrawn animation about the day Death fell in love with Life.
Load More
What's Next
Like us on Facebook?
The Boston Bombings Gave Americans a Taste of the Terrorism the U.S. Inflicts Abroad Every Day