Jacob Hornberger’s Commentary 7/2/2007
An interesting part of the Jose Padilla trial failed to garner much publicity, not surprisingly. Certainly U.S. officials, including President Bush and Vice President Cheney, ignored it. It involved a statement by Osama bin Laden that was contained in a videotape that was shown the Padilla jury. In the videotape, bin Laden tells the interviewer, Peter Arnett: “We declared a jihad, a holy war, against the United States government because it is unjust, criminal and tyrannical.”
Notice the operative word in that sentence — government, the U.S. government to be exact. That’s right — no talk about hating America because of its “freedom and values.” No talk against the First Amendment, rock and roll, or religious freedom. Bin Laden is directly his words against the U.S. government and its foreign policy.
Of course, this is what we have been saying here at FFF since the 1990s, that is long before the 9/11 attacks. The U.S. government went into the Middle East with its bombs, missiles, sanctions, embargoes, no-fly zones, invasions, occupations, and foreign aid to Israel and other Middle East regimes, including that of Saddam Hussein. All those things produced massive death and destruction, which produced the anger and rage, which produced the terrorist blowback.
As we have long pointed out, the reason that the president and vice president and their minions cited hatred for America’s “freedom and values” immediately after the 9/11 attacks is that they did not want Americans to question the pro-empire, pro-interventionist foreign policy that the U.S. government had been pursuing and intended to continue pursuing. If Americans figured out that the real reason for the 9/11 attacks, along with the previous terrorist attacks (i.e., the 1993 attack on the WTC in 1993, the 1998 attacks on the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and the 2000 terrorist attack on the USS Cole) was U.S. foreign policy, then they might demand that such policy be changed, a terrifying prospect for imperial Washington, D.C.
As I was recently going through security at the airport, I reflected on this as I watched people take off their shoes and display their plastic bag containing their tiny containers of toothpaste, shaving cream, and deodorant. I thought to myself: Look at all of us going through this nonsensical, childish humiliation, not to mention loss of critical liberties, ahd all for the sake of maintaining the U.S. government’s pro-empire, pro-intervention foreign policy.
So, there you have it: a foreign policy that produces terrorist blowback that is then used to take away the liberties of the American people and subject them to ever-growing petty humiliations. It’s not surprising that federal officials, with their ever-growing thirst for more power, would favor such a policy. What’s disappointing is that the American people would choose such a policy, especially knowing the consequences.
Mr. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.