Is it Religion or is it a Blowback of U.S. Foreign Policy?
The Washington Post reports that the second suspect in the Boston bombing, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has told interrogators that the American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan motivated him and his brother to carry out the attack that killed three and injured more than 260 people.
The report comes one day after U.S. officials told the Associated Press that it was the religious beliefs of Tsarnaev and his older brother Tamerlan that fueled their alleged plot.
So, is it religion or is it a blowback of US foreign policy?
When we read through the manifestos of the different groups U.S.A classifies as a “terrorist” entity, most –including Al Qaeda- claim that their motive for attacking U.S. and Western targets is to remove U.S.A and its Western allies from their lands, and for vengeance of their suffering as a result of U.S.A invasions.
It is nothing to do with trying to convert Americans into Islam or to create a caliphate. It is nothing to do with the Western lifestyle. In reality, they despise our way of living, and think we are lost souls without any morality. It is not about trying to change our way of life.
Every terrorist attack in the U.S. by the Muslim groups or individuals has been motivated by the fight against the foreign policy of the U.S. and its military allies in the Middle East.
Because Middle East is predominantly Muslim, meaning there are more Muslim countries and large number of the populations in those countries are Muslims, these “terrorists” are happened to be Muslims as well.
Of course groups like Al Qaeda and Hezbollah use religion as a tool to recruit young men under a common purpose, but not all perpetrators of terrorist attacks are die hard radicals. Basically, the connection is the religion but the reason for attacks is not.
It’s no more about religion than IRA attacks were about Christianity.
As Chalmers Johnson puts it in his new book Blowback:
The one subject beyond discussion… is the fact that, a decade after the end of the Cold War, hundreds of thousands of American troops, supplied with the world’s most advanced weaponry, sometimes including nuclear arms, are stationed on over sixty-one base complexes in nineteen countries worldwide, using the Department of Defense’s narrowest definition of a “major installation”; if one included every kind of installation that houses representatives of the American military, the number would rise to over eight hundred. (p. 4)
According to Centre for Research on Globalization, the main sources of information on these military installations (e.g. C. Johnson, the NATO Watch Committee, the International Network for the Abolition of Foreign Military Bases) reveal that the US now operates and/or controls between 700 and 800 military bases Worldwide.
One obvious and dangerous form of blowback from constant U.S.A intervention of Middle East and elsewhere is terrorism, and despite U.S. policymakers’ denials, the cost of this policy is very high. Johnson argues that the 1988 Pan Am bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland was probably retaliation for the attack on Libya two years before, and to the bombing of New York’s World Trade Center and the attacks on U.S. facilities in Africa and the Mideast. The attack on the USS Cole in Aden, Yemen on October 2000 was likely a response to Washington’s attempt to extend its reach by establishing intelligence facilities in Yemen.
“For any empire, including an unacknowledged one, there is a kind of balance sheet that builds up over time” (p. 5).
The attached video overviews on the reality of all that, which begins with a statement by the leader of the 7/7 attacks in London, England. Notice how many times he mentions religion.
Image credit and info:
This video outlines the strategic logic of suicide terrorism, and it gives an alternative strategy to combat against it, namely Offshore-Balancing. Some of these policies were implemented in the 2011 engagement in Libya.
The video uses a combination of material from martyr videos, and video taken during the CPOST/New America Foundation Conference on Capitol Hill, held in October, 2010. It features Robert A. Pape (University of Chicago) and Admiral Gary Roughead (U.S. Chief of Naval Operations).
This video contains war images.