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Some People Push Back

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    Text of Professor s article Saturday, February 5, 2005 Ward Churchill Boulder, Colorado January 31, 2005 [Globalization] Some People Push Back On the Justice
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 3, 2005
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      Text of Professor's article
      Saturday, February 5, 2005

      Ward Churchill
      Boulder, Colorado
      January 31, 2005


      [Globalization] "Some People Push Back" On the Justice of Roosting
      Chickens written by Ward Churchill 9-11-2001

      When queried by reporters concerning his views on the assassination
      of John F. Kennedy in November 1963, Malcolm X famously - and quite
      charitably, all things considered - replied that it was merely a
      case of "chickens coming home to roost."

      On the morning of September 11, 2001, a few more chickens - along
      with some half-million dead Iraqi children - came home to roost in a
      very big way at the twin towers of New York's World Trade Center.
      Well, actually, a few of them seem to have nestled in at the
      Pentagon as well.

      The Iraqi youngsters, all of them under 12, died as a predictable -
      in fact, widely predicted - result of the 1991 US "surgical" bombing
      of their country's water purification and sewage facilities, as well
      as other "infrastructural" targets upon which Iraq's civilian
      population depends for its very survival.

      If the nature of the bombing were not already bad enough - and it
      should be noted that this sort of "aerial warfare" constitutes a
      Class I Crime Against humanity, entailing myriad gross violations of
      international law, as well as every conceivable standard
      of "civilized" behavior - the death toll has been steadily ratcheted
      up by US-imposed sanctions for a full decade now. Enforced all the
      while by a massive military presence and periodic bombing raids, the
      embargo has greatly impaired the victims' ability to import the
      nutrients, medicines and other materials necessary to saving the
      lives of even their toddlers.

      All told, Iraq has a population of about 18 million. The 500,000
      kids lost to date thus represent something on the order of 25
      percent of their age group. Indisputably, the rest have suffered -
      are still suffering - a combination of physical debilitation and
      psychological trauma severe enough to prevent their ever fully
      recovering. In effect, an entire generation has been obliterated.

      The reason for this holocaust was/is rather simple, and stated quite
      straightforwardly by President George Bush, the 41st "freedom-
      loving" father of the freedom-lover currently filling the Oval
      Office, George the 43rd: "The world must learn that what we say,
      goes," intoned George the Elder to the enthusiastic applause of
      freedom-loving Americans everywhere.

      How Old George conveyed his message was certainly no mystery to the
      US public. One need only recall the 24-hour-per-day dissemination of
      bombardment videos on every available TV channel, and the
      exceedingly high ratings of these telecasts, to gain a sense of how
      much they knew.

      In trying to affix a meaning to such things, we would do well to
      remember the wave of elation that swept America at reports of what
      was happening along the so-called Highway of Death: perhaps
      100,000 "towel-heads" and "camel jockeys" - or was it "sand niggers"
      that week? - in full retreat, routed and effectively defenseless,
      many of them conscripted civilian laborers, slaughtered in a single
      day by jets firing the most hyper-lethal types of ordnance.

      It was a performance worthy of the nazis during the early months of
      their drive into Russia. And it should be borne in mind that Good
      Germans gleefully cheered that butchery, too. Indeed, support for
      Hitler suffered no serious erosion among Germany's "innocent
      civilians" until the defeat at Stalingrad in 1943.

      There may be a real utility to reflecting further, this time upon
      the fact that it was pious Americans who led the way in assigning
      the onus of collective guilt to the German people as a whole, not
      for things they as individuals had done, but for what they had
      allowed - nay, empowered - their leaders and their soldiers to do in
      their name.

      If the principle was valid then, it remains so now, as applicable to
      Good Americans as it was the Good Germans. And the price exacted
      from the Germans for the faultiness of their moral fiber was truly
      ghastly.

      Returning now to the children, and to the effects of the post-Gulf
      War embargo - continued full force by Bush the Elder's successors in
      the Clinton administration as a gesture of its "resolve" to finalize
      what George himself had dubbed the "New World Order" of American
      military/economic domination - it should be noted that not one but
      two high United Nations officials attempting to coordinate delivery
      of humanitarian aid to Iraq resigned in succession as protests
      against US policy.

      One of them, former U.N. Assistant Secretary General Denis Halladay,
      repeatedly denounced what was happening as "a systematic
      program . . . of deliberate genocide." His statements appeared in
      the New York Times and other papers during the fall of 1998, so it
      can hardly be contended that the American public was "unaware" of
      them.

      Shortly thereafter, Secretary of State Madeline Albright openly
      confirmed Halladay's assessment. Asked during the widely-viewed TV
      program Meet the Press to respond to his "allegations," she calmly
      announced that she'd decided it was "worth the price" to see that
      U.S. objectives were achieved.

      The Politics of a Perpetrator Population

      As a whole, the American public greeted these revelations with
      yawns..

      There were, after all, far more pressing things than the unrelenting
      misery/death of a few hundred thousand Iraqi tikes to be concerned
      with. Getting "Jeremy" and "Ellington" to their weekly soccer game,
      for instance, or seeing to it that little "Tiffany" an "Ashley" had
      just the right roll-neck sweaters to go with their new cords. And,
      to be sure, there was the yuppie holy war against ashtrays -
      for "our kids," no less - as an all-absorbing point of political
      focus.

      In fairness, it must be admitted that there was an infinitesimally
      small segment of the body politic who expressed opposition to what
      was/is being done to the children of Iraq. It must also be conceded,
      however, that those involved by-and-large contented themselves with
      signing petitions and conducting candle-lit prayer vigils,
      bearing "moral witness" as vast legions of brown-skinned five-year-
      olds sat shivering in the dark, wide-eyed in horror, whimpering as
      they expired in the most agonizing ways imaginable.

      Be it said as well, and this is really the crux of it, that
      the "resistance" expended the bulk of its time and energy harnessed
      to the systemically-useful task of trying to ensure, as "a principle
      of moral virtue" that nobody went further than waving signs as a
      means of "challenging" the patently exterminatory pursuit of Pax
      Americana. So pure of principle were these "dissidents," in fact,
      that they began literally to supplant the police in protecting
      corporations profiting by the carnage against suffering such
      retaliatory "violence" as having their windows broken by persons
      less "enlightened" - or perhaps more outraged - than the self-
      anointed "peacekeepers."

      Property before people, it seems - or at least the equation of
      property to people - is a value by no means restricted to America's
      boardrooms. And the sanctimony with which such putrid sentiments are
      enunciated turns out to be nauseatingly similar, whether mouthed by
      the CEO of Standard Oil or any of the swarm of comfort
      zone "pacifists" queuing up to condemn the black block after it ever
      so slightly disturbed the functioning of business-as-usual in
      Seattle.

      Small wonder, all-in-all, that people elsewhere in the world - the
      Mideast, for instance - began to wonder where, exactly, aside from
      the streets of the US itself, one was to find the peace America's
      purportedly oppositional peacekeepers claimed they were keeping.

      The answer, surely, was plain enough to anyone unblinded by the kind
      of delusions engendered by sheer vanity and self-absorption.

      So, too, were the implications in terms of anything changing, out
      there, in America's free-fire zones.

      Tellingly, it was at precisely this point - with the genocide in
      Iraq officially admitted and a public response demonstrating beyond
      a shadow of a doubt that there were virtually no Americans,
      including most of those professing otherwise, doing anything
      tangible to stop it - that the combat teams which eventually
      commandeered the aircraft used on September 11 began to infiltrate
      the United States.

      Meet the "Terrorists"

      Of the men who came, there are a few things demanding to be said in
      the face of the unending torrent of disinformational drivel
      unleashed by George Junior and the corporate "news" media
      immediately following their successful operation on September 11.

      They did not, for starters, "initiate" a war with the US, much less
      commit "the first acts of war of the new millennium."

      A good case could be made that the war in which they were combatants
      has been waged more-or-less continuously by the "Christian West" -
      now proudly emblematized by the United States - against the "Islamic
      East" since the time of the First Crusade, about 1,000 years ago.
      More recently, one could argue that the war began when Lyndon
      Johnson first lent significant support to Israel's
      dispossession/displacement of Palestinians during the 1960s, or when
      George the Elder ordered "Desert Shield" in 1990, or at any of
      several points in between. Any way you slice it, however, if what
      the combat teams did to the WTC and the Pentagon can be understood
      as acts of war - and they can - then the same is true of every
      US "overflight' of Iraqi territory since day one. The first acts of
      war during the current millennium thus occurred on its very first
      day, and were carried out by U.S. aviators acting under orders from
      their then-commander-in-chief, Bill Clinton. The most that can
      honestly be said of those involved on September 11 is that they
      finally responded in kind to some of what this country has dispensed
      to their people as a matter of course. That they waited so long to
      do so is, notwithstanding the 1993 action at the WTC, more than
      anything a testament to their patience and restraint.

      They did not license themselves to "target innocent civilians."

      There is simply no argument to be made that the Pentagon personnel
      killed on September 11 fill that bill. The building and those inside
      comprised military targets, pure and simple. As to those in the
      World Trade Center . . . Well, really. Let's get a grip here, shall
      we? True enough, they were civilians of a sort. But innocent? Gimme
      a break. They formed a technocratic corps at the very heart of
      America's global financial empire - the "mighty engine of profit" to
      which the military dimension of U.S. policy has always been enslaved
      â€" and they did so both willingly and knowingly. Recourse
      to "ignorance" - a derivative, after all, of the word "ignore" -
      counts as less than an excuse among this relatively well-educated
      elite. To the extent that any of them were unaware of the costs and
      consequences to others of what they were involved in - and in many
      cases excelling at - it was because of their absolute refusal to
      see. More likely, it was because they were too busy braying,
      incessantly and self-importantly, into their cell phones, arranging
      power lunches and stock transactions, each of which translated,
      conveniently out of sight, mind and smelling distance, into the
      starved and rotting flesh of infants. If there was a better, more
      effective, or in fact any other way of visiting some penalty
      befitting their participation upon the little Eichmanns inhabiting
      the sterile sanctuary of the twin towers, I'd really be interested
      in hearing about it.

      The men who flew the missions against the WTC and Pentagon were
      not "cowards."

      That distinction properly belongs to the "firm-jawed lads" who
      delighted in flying stealth aircraft through the undefended airspace
      of Baghdad, dropping payload after payload of bombs on anyone
      unfortunate enough to be below - including tens of thousands of
      genuinely innocent civilians - while themselves incurring all the
      risk one might expect during a visit to the local video arcade.
      Still more, the word describes all those "fighting men and women"
      who sat at computer consoles aboard ships in the Persian Gulf,
      enjoying air-conditioned comfort while launching cruise missiles
      into neighborhoods filled with random human beings. Whatever else
      can be said of them, the men who struck on September 11 manifested
      the courage of their convictions, willingly expending their own
      lives in attaining their objectives.

      Nor were they "fanatics" devoted to "Islamic fundamentalism."

      One might rightly describe their actions as "desperate." Feelings of
      desperation, however, are a perfectly reasonable - one is tempted to
      say "normal" - emotional response among persons confronted by the
      mass murder of their children, particularly when it appears that
      nobody else really gives a damn (ask a Jewish survivor about this
      one, or, even more poignantly, for all the attention paid them, a
      Gypsy). That desperate circumstances generate desperate responses is
      no mysterious or irrational principle, of the sort motivating
      fanatics. Less is it one peculiar to Islam. Indeed, even the FBI's
      investigative reports on the combat teams' activities during the
      months leading up to September 11 make it clear that the members
      were not fundamentalist Muslims. Rather, it's pretty obvious at this
      point that they were secular activists - soldiers, really - who,
      while undoubtedly enjoying cordial relations with the clerics of
      their countries, were motivated far more by the grisly realities of
      the U.S. war against them than by a set of religious beliefs.

      And still less were they/their acts "insane."

      Insanity is a condition readily associable with the very American
      idea that one - or one's country - holds what amounts to a "divine
      right" to commit genocide, and thus to forever do so with impunity.
      The term might also be reasonably applied to anyone suffering
      genocide without attempting in some material way to bring the
      process to a halt. Sanity itself, in this frame of reference, might
      be defined by a willingness to try and destroy the perpetrators
      and/or the sources of their ability to commit their crimes. (Shall
      we now discuss the US "strategic bombing campaign" against Germany
      during World War II, and the mental health of those involved in it?)

      Which takes us to official characterizations of the combat teams as
      an embodiment of "evil."

      Evil - for those inclined to embrace the banality of such a concept -
      was perfectly incarnated in that malignant toad known as Madeline
      Albright, squatting in her studio chair like Jaba the Hutt, blandly
      spewing the news that she'd imposed a collective death sentence upon
      the unoffending youth of Iraq. Evil was to be heard in that great
      American hero "Stormin' Norman" Schwartzkopf's utterly dehumanizing
      dismissal of their systematic torture and annihilation as
      mere "collateral damage." Evil, moreover, is a term appropriate to
      describing the mentality of a public that finds such perspectives
      and the policies attending them acceptable, or even momentarily
      tolerable.

      Had it not been for these evils, the counterattacks of September 11
      would never have occurred. And unless "the world is rid of such
      evil," to lift a line from George Junior, September 11 may well end
      up looking like a lark. There is no reason, after all, to believe
      that the teams deployed in the assaults on the WTC and the Pentagon
      were the only such, that the others are composed of "Arabic-looking
      individuals" â€" America's indiscriminately lethal arrogance and
      psychotic sense of self-entitlement have long since given the great
      majority of the world's peoples ample cause to be at war with it â€"
      or that they are in any way dependent upon the seizure of civilian
      airliners to complete their missions.

      To the contrary, there is every reason to expect that there are many
      other teams in place, tasked to employ altogether different tactics
      in executing operational plans at least as well-crafted as those
      evident on September 11, and very well equipped for their jobs. This
      is to say that, since the assaults on the WTC and Pentagon were act
      of war - not "terrorist incidents" - they must be understood as
      components in a much broader strategy designed to achieve specific
      results. From this, it can only be adduced that there are plenty of
      other components ready to go, and that they will be used, should
      this become necessary in the eyes of the strategists. It also seems
      a safe bet that each component is calibrated to inflict damage at a
      level incrementally higher than the one before (during the 1960s,
      the Johnson administration employed a similar policy against
      Vietnam, referred to as "escalation").

      Since implementation of the overall plan began with the WTC/Pentagon
      assaults, it takes no rocket scientist to decipher what is likely to
      happen next, should the U.S. attempt a response of the inexcusable
      variety to which it has long entitled itself.

      About Those Boys (and Girls) in the Bureau

      There's another matter begging for comment at this point. The idea
      that the FBI's "counterterrorism task forces" can do a thing to
      prevent what will happen is yet another dimension of America's
      delusional pathology.. The fact is that, for all its publicly-
      financed "image-building" exercises, the Bureau has never shown the
      least aptitude for anything of the sort.

      Oh, yeah, FBI counterintelligence personnel have proven quite adept
      at framing anarchists, communists and Black Panthers, sometimes
      murdering them in their beds or the electric chair. The Bureau's
      SWAT units have displayed their ability to combat child abuse in
      Waco by burning babies alive, and its vaunted Crime Lab has been
      shown to pad its "crime-fighting' statistics by fabricating evidence
      against many an alleged car thief. But actual "heavy-duty bad guys"
      of the sort at issue now?

      This isn't a Bruce Willis/Chuck Norris/Sly Stallone movie, after
      all.. And J. Edgar Hoover doesn't get to approve either the script
      or the casting.

      The number of spies, saboteurs and bona fide terrorists apprehended,
      or even detected by the FBI in the course of its long and slimy
      history could be counted on one's fingers and toes. On occasion, its
      agents have even turned out to be the spies, and, in many instances,
      the terrorists as well.

      To be fair once again, if the Bureau functions as at best a carnival
      of clowns where its "domestic security responsibilities" are
      concerned, this is because - regardless of official hype - it has
      none. It is now, as it's always been, the national political police
      force, and instrument created and perfected to ensure that all
      Americans, not just the consenting mass, are "free" to do exactly as
      they're told.

      The FBI and "cooperating agencies" can be thus relied upon to set
      about "protecting freedom" by destroying whatever rights and
      liberties were left to U.S. citizens before September 11 (in fact,
      they've already received authorization to begin). Sheeplike, the
      great majority of Americans can also be counted upon to bleat their
      approval, at least in the short run, believing as they always do
      that the nasty implications of what they're doing will pertain only
      to others.

      Oh Yeah, and "The Company," Too

      A possibly even sicker joke is the notion, suddenly in vogue, that
      the CIA will be able to pinpoint "terrorist threats," "rooting out
      their infrastructure" where it exists and/or "terminating" it before
      it can materialize, if only it's allowed to beef up its "human
      intelligence gathering capacity" in an unrestrained manner
      (including full-bore operations inside the US, of course).

      Yeah. Right.

      Since America has a collective attention-span of about 15 minutes, a
      little refresher seems in order: "The Company" had something like a
      quarter-million people serving as "intelligence assets" by feeding
      it information in Vietnam in 1968, and it couldn't even predict the
      Tet Offensive. God knows how many spies it was fielding against the
      USSR at the height of Ronald Reagan's version of the Cold War, and
      it was still caught flatfooted by the collapse of the Soviet Union.

      As to destroying "terrorist infrastructures," one would do well to
      remember Operation Phoenix, another product of its open season in
      Vietnam. In that one, the CIA enlisted elite US units like the Navy
      Seals and Army Special Forces, as well as those of friendly
      countries - the south Vietnamese Rangers, for example, and
      Australian SAS - to run around "neutralizing" folks targeted by The
      Company's legion of snitches as "guerrillas" (as those now known
      as "terrorists" were then called).

      Sound familiar?

      Upwards of 40,000 people - mostly bystanders, as it turns out - were
      murdered by Phoenix hit teams before the guerrillas, stronger than
      ever, ran the US and its collaborators out of their country
      altogether.

      And these are the guys who are gonna save the day, if unleashed to
      do their thing in North America?

      The net impact of all this "counterterrorism" activity upon the
      combat teams' ability to do what they came to do, of course, will be
      nil. Instead, it's likely to make it easier for them to operate
      (it's worked that way in places like Northern Ireland). And, since
      denying Americans the luxury of reaping the benefits of genocide in
      comfort was self-evidently a key objective of the WTC/Pentagon
      assaults, it can be stated unequivocally that a more overt display
      of the police state mentality already pervading this country simply
      confirms the magnitude of their victory.

      On Matters of Proportion and Intent

      As things stand, including the 1993 detonation at the WTC, "Arab
      terrorists" have responded to the massive and sustained American
      terror bombing of Iraq with a total of four assaults by explosives
      inside the US. That's about 1% of the 50,000 bombs the Pentagon
      announced were rained on Baghdad alone during the Gulf War (add in
      Oklahoma City and you'll get something nearer an actual 1%). They've
      managed in the process to kill about 5,000 Americans, or roughly 1%
      of the dead Iraqi children (the percentage is far smaller if you
      factor in the killing of adult Iraqi civilians, not to mention
      troops butchered as/after they'd surrendered and/or after the "war-
      ending" ceasefire had been announced).

      In terms undoubtedly more meaningful to the property/profit-minded
      American mainstream, they've knocked down a half-dozen buildings -
      albeit some very well-chosen ones - as opposed to the "strategic
      devastation" visited upon the whole of Iraq, and punched a $100
      billion hole in the earnings outlook of major corporate
      shareholders, as opposed to the U.S. obliteration of Iraq's entire
      economy.

      With that, they've given Americans a tiny dose of their own
      medicine..

      This might be seen as merely a matter of "vengeance"
      or "retribution," and, unquestionably, America has earned it, even
      if it were to add up only to something so ultimately petty.

      The problem is that vengeance is usually framed in terms of "getting
      even," a concept which is plainly inapplicable in this instance. As
      the above data indicate, it would require another 49,996 detonations
      killing 495,000 more Americans, for the "terrorists" to "break even"
      for the bombing of Baghdad/extermination of Iraqi children alone.
      And that's to achieve "real number" parity. To attain an actual
      proportional parity of damage - the US is about 15 times as large as
      Iraq in terms of population, even more in terms of territory - they
      would, at a minimum, have to blow up about 300,000 more buildings
      and kill something on the order of 7.5 million people.

      Were this the intent of those who've entered the US to wage war
      against it, it would remain no less true that America and Americans
      were only receiving the bill for what they'd already done.

      Payback, as they say, can be a real motherfucker (ask the Germans).

      There is, however, no reason to believe that retributive parity is
      necessarily an item on the agenda of those who planned the
      WTC/Pentagon operation. If it were, given the virtual certainty that
      they possessed the capacity to have inflicted far more damage than
      they did, there would be a lot more American bodies lying about
      right now.

      Hence, it can be concluded that ravings carried by the "news" media
      since September 11 have contained at least one grain of truth: The
      peoples of the Mideast "aren't like" Americans, not least because
      they don't "value life' in the same way. By this, it should be
      understood that Middle-Easterners, unlike Americans, have no history
      of exterminating others purely for profit, or on the basis of racial
      animus. Thus, we can appreciate the fact that they value life - all
      lives, not just their own - far more highly than do their U.S.
      counterparts.

      The Makings of a Humanitarian Strategy

      In sum one can discern a certain optimism - it might even be call
      humanitarianism - imbedded in the thinking of those who presided
      over the very limited actions conducted on September 11.

      Their logic seems to have devolved upon the notion that the American
      people have condoned what has been/is being done in their name -
      indeed, are to a significant extent actively complicit in it -
      mainly because they have no idea what it feels like to be on the
      receiving end.

      Now they do.

      That was the "medicinal" aspect of the attacks.

      To all appearances, the idea is now to give the tonic a little time
      to take effect, jolting Americans into the realization that the sort
      of pain they're now experiencing first-hand is no different from -
      or the least bit more excruciating than - that which they've been so
      cavalier in causing others, and thus to respond appropriately.

      More bluntly, the hope was - and maybe still is - that Americans,
      stripped of their presumed immunity from incurring any real
      consequences for their behavior, would comprehend and act upon a
      formulation as uncomplicated as "stop killing our kids, if you want
      your own to be safe."

      Either way, it's a kind of "reality therapy" approach, designed to
      afford the American people a chance to finally "do the right thing"
      on their own, without further coaxing.

      Were the opportunity acted upon in some reasonably good faith
      fashion - a sufficiently large number of Americans rising up and
      doing whatever is necessary to force an immediate lifting of the
      sanctions on Iraq, for instance, or maybe hanging a few of America's
      abundant supply of major war criminals (Henry Kissinger comes
      quickly to mind, as do Madeline Albright, Colin Powell, Bill Clinton
      and George the Elder) - there is every reason to expect that
      military operations against the US on its domestic front would be
      immediately suspended.

      Whether they would remain so would of course be contingent upon
      follow-up. By that, it may be assumed that American acceptance of
      onsite inspections by international observers to verify destruction
      of its weapons of mass destruction (as well as dismantlement of all
      facilities in which more might be manufactured), Nuremberg-style
      trials in which a few thousand US military/corporate personnel could
      be properly adjudicated and punished for their Crimes Against
      humanity, and payment of reparations to the array of nations/peoples
      whose assets the US has plundered over the years, would suffice.

      Since they've shown no sign of being unreasonable or vindictive, it
      may even be anticipated that, after a suitable period of adjustment
      and reeducation (mainly to allow them to acquire the skills
      necessary to living within their means), those restored to control
      over their own destinies by the gallant sacrifices of the combat
      teams the WTC and Pentagon will eventually (re)admit Americans to
      the global circle of civilized societies. Stranger things have
      happened.

      In the Alternative

      Unfortunately, noble as they may have been, such humanitarian
      aspirations were always doomed to remain unfulfilled. For it to have
      been otherwise, a far higher quality of character and intellect
      would have to prevail among average Americans than is actually the
      case.

      Perhaps the strategists underestimated the impact a couple of
      generations-worth of media indoctrination can produce in terms of
      demolishing the capacity of human beings to form coherent thoughts.
      Maybe they forgot to factor in the mind-numbing effects of the
      indoctrination passed off as education in the US.

      Then, again, it's entirely possible they were aware that a decisive
      majority of American adults have been reduced by this point to a
      level much closer to the kind of immediate self-gratification
      entailed in Pavlovian stimulus/response patterns than anything
      accessible by appeals to higher logic, and still felt morally
      obliged to offer the dolts an option to quit while they were ahead.

      What the hell? It was worth a try.

      But it's becoming increasingly apparent that the dosage of medicine
      administered was entirely insufficient to accomplish its purpose.

      Although there are undoubtedly exceptions, Americans for the most
      part still don't get it.

      Already, they've desecrated the temporary tomb of those killed in
      the WTC, staging a veritable pep rally atop the mangled remains of
      those they profess to honor, treating the whole affair as if it were
      some bizarre breed of contact sport. And, of course, there are the
      inevitable pom-poms shaped like American flags, the school colors
      worn as little red-white-and-blue ribbons affixed to labels,
      sportscasters in the form of "counterterrorism experts" drooling
      mindless color commentary during the pregame warm-up.

      Refusing the realization that the world has suddenly shifted its
      axis, and that they are therefore no longer "in charge," they have
      by-and-large reverted instantly to type, working themselves into
      their usual bloodlust on the now obsolete premise that the
      bloodletting will "naturally" occur elsewhere and to someone else.

      "Patriotism," a wise man once observed, "is the last refuge of
      scoundrels."

      And the braided, he might of added.

      Braided Scoundrel-in-Chief, George Junior, lacking even the sense to
      be careful what he wished for, has teamed up with a gaggle of
      fundamentalist Christian clerics like Billy Graham to proclaim
      a "New Crusade" called "Infinite Justice" aimed at "ridding the
      world of evil."

      One could easily make light of such rhetoric, remarking upon how
      unseemly it is for a son to threaten his father in such fashion - or
      a president to so publicly contemplate the murder/suicide of himself
      and his cabinet - but the matter is deadly serious.

      They are preparing once again to sally forth for the purpose of
      roasting brown-skinned children by the scores of thousands. Already,
      the B-1 bombers and the aircraft carriers and the missile frigates
      are en route, the airborne divisions are gearing up to go.

      To where? Afghanistan?

      The Sudan?

      Iraq, again (or still)?

      How about Grenada (that was fun)?

      Any of them or all. It doesn't matter.


      The desire to pummel the helpless runs rabid as ever.

      Only, this time it's different.

      The time the helpless aren't, or at least are not so helpless as
      they were.

      This time, somewhere, perhaps in an Afghani mountain cave, possibly
      in a Brooklyn basement, maybe another local altogether - but
      somewhere, all the same - there's a grim-visaged (wo)man wearing a
      Clint Eastwood smile.

      "Go ahead, punks," s/he's saying, "Make my day."

      And when they do, when they launch these airstrikes abroad - or may
      a little later; it will be at a time conforming to the "terrorists"'
      own schedule, and at a place of their choosing - the next more
      intensive dose of medicine administered here "at home."

      Of what will it consist this time? Anthrax? Mustard gas? Sarin? A
      tactical nuclear device?

      That, too, is their choice to make.

      Looking back, it will seem to future generations inexplicable why
      Americans were unable on their own, and in time to save themselves,
      to accept a rule of nature so basic that it could be mouthed by an
      actor, Lawrence Fishburn, in a movie, The Cotton Club.

      "You've got to learn, " the line went, "that when you push people
      around, some people push back."

      As they should.

      As they must.

      And as they undoubtedly will.

      There is justice in such symmetry.

      ADDENDUM

      The preceding was a "first take" reading, more a stream-of-
      consciousness interpretive reaction to the September 11
      counterattack than a finished piece on the topic. Hence, I'll
      readily admit that I've been far less than thorough, and quite
      likely wrong about a number of things.

      For instance, it may not have been (only) the ghosts of Iraqi
      children who made their appearance that day. It could as easily have
      been some or all of their butchered Palestinian cousins.

      Or maybe it was some or all of the at least 3.2 million Indochinese
      who perished as a result of America's sustained and genocidal
      assault on Southeast Asia (1959-1975), not to mention the millions
      more who've died because of the sanctions imposed thereafter.

      Perhaps there were a few of the Korean civilians massacred by US
      troops at places like No Gun Ri during the early -50s, or the
      hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians ruthlessly incinerated
      in the ghastly fire raids of World War II (only at Dresden did
      America bomb Germany in a similar manner).

      And, of course, it could have been those vaporized in the militarily
      pointless nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

      There are others, as well, a vast and silent queue of faceless
      victims, stretching from the million-odd Filipinos slaughtered
      during America's "Indian War" in their islands at the beginning of
      the twentieth century, through the real Indians, America's own,
      massacred wholesale at places like Horseshoe Bend and the Bad Axe,
      Sand Creek and Wounded Knee, the Washita, Bear River, and the
      Marias.

      Was it those who expired along the Cherokee Trial of Tears of the
      Long Walk of the Navajo?

      Those murdered by smallpox at Fort Clark in 1836?

      Starved to death in the concentration camp at Bosque Redondo during
      the 1860s?

      Maybe those native people claimed for scalp bounty in all 48 of the
      continental US states? Or the Raritans whose severed heads were
      kicked for sport along the streets of what was then called New
      Amsterdam, at the very site where the WTC once stood?

      One hears, too, the whispers of those lost on the Middle Passage,
      and of those whose very flesh was sold in the slave market outside
      the human kennel from whence Wall Street takes its name.

      And of coolie laborers, imported by the gross-dozen to lay the
      tracks of empire across scorching desert sands, none of them
      allotted "a Chinaman's chance" of surviving.

      The list is too long, too awful to go on.

      No matter what its eventual fate, America will have gotten off very,
      very cheap.

      The full measure of its guilt can never be fully balanced or atoned
      for.


      Ward Churchill is professor of American Indian Studies with the
      Department of Ethnic studies, University of Colorado at Boulder.


      Political Gateway Special Report

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