Tuesday, January 5, 2010

accepting national responsibility

Hal Pepinsky, pepinsky@indiana.edu, pepinsky.blogspot.com
January 5, 2010
The difference between the lie that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and the lie that al-Qaeda has become our enemy is that with regard to our escalating war in Afghanistan against “students” (which in my part of the world is rendered in Arabic with a capital T), lies are those of omission, of our own responsibility for a succession of post-WWII mass-media-led propaganda campaigns. “Propaganda” in plain English means “public lies and secrets,”
Wikipedia’s al-Qaeda is my primary source today as it was in yesterday’s blog, I am an amateur at intelligence. That said, I have been obsessed with U.S. global policy since my mama took me to hear Eleanor Roosevelt give a free campaign speech for Adlai Stevenson in 1956, in the 800-seat Vets Auditorium theater at the Capitol riverbank in Columbus, Ohio, where I and 700-plus others wrote the bar exam in bluebooks for 22 hours the summer of 1968, just before I went to grad school. I’m not hard to find, newly retired from almost 40 years as a “criminal justice” professor. I just want any reader who doesn’t know me already to know that I write now as an obsessive-compulsively driven student of international relations from long ago. I grew up with academic parents afraid of being suspected of being involved in overt acts In support of “un-American activities.”
Al-Qaeda is merely a name given to a name Bin Laden and a Palestinian Islamic partner for a private business partnership to do pr and fundraising for the foes of “Communism.” The Soviets eventually recognized that occupation of its Afghan border region was about as successful as US takeover of French claims of control in Vietnam from about 52-54 (see Fletcher Prouty’s books). Even the student regime the US military bombed into hiding in Afghanistan, the Taliban government, only controlled Kabul and Kandahar cities at the height of its reign.
No one, no central government, will ever rule Afghanistan.
US forces are not fighting an organization, they are fighting guerrilla resistance, concentrated in centers of Euro-American occupation. Foreigners rapidly seek safer ground; native resistance mounts to foreign occupation and fire the occupiers drop with all due regard for their own personal safety from nighttime skies.
The enemies US occupies are enemies we create. By whatever means available, in my experience, we dispense as much suffering on the families of those we name our enemies, as our “enemies” (whoever might be sympathetic) can match even by blowing themselves up.
There is no al-Qaeda to surrender to US forces. There are grievances to settle. In my experience, mediation and moderation of violent differences begins with the bigger power owning up to how he/she/they have done their own hurting. That is known as “accepting responsibility.” Let’s own it.
We are only making our own problems worse by denying responsibility for this mess.
I can’t tell you how many times my students have lectured me on the importance of being held responsible for the consequences of one’s actions. I step back from national identity and say whoa! My national government is a master at blaming this, that and the other foreign leader or state or organization to make “our” problems “theirs.” I write especially to fellow criminologists who have responded to my blog entry yesterday. From Euro American slaughter of the inhabitants they encountered in North America, isn’t Euro-American patriotism plain denial of political responsibility for human problems? How can owning up to the reality that the greatness of these United States has rested on lies diminish us in the eyes of those who might bomb or shoot us?
Just a few questions that come to mind. Love and peace--hal

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