Available Now! (click cover)

America's Counter-Revolution
The Constitution Revisited

From the back cover:

This book challenges the assumption that the Constitution was a landmark in the struggle for liberty. Instead, Sheldon Richman argues, it was the product of a counter-revolution, a setback for the radicalism represented by America’s break with the British empire. Drawing on careful, credible historical scholarship and contemporary political analysis, Richman suggests that this counter-revolution was the work of conservatives who sought a nation of “power, consequence, and grandeur.” America’s Counter-Revolution makes a persuasive case that the Constitution was a victory not for liberty but for the agendas and interests of a militaristic, aristocratic, privilege-seeking ruling class.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

How to Endanger the American People

"President Bush asserted yesterday that Hezbollah was defeated in its month-long conflict with Israel, casting the fighting that killed hundreds of Lebanese and Israeli civilians as part of a wider struggle 'between freedom and terrorism,'" reported the Washington Post today. If that's what George II really thinks, then he's talking nonsense when he says his administration is doing "everything in our power to protect" the American people. The worst way to protect the American people is to acquire everyone else's enemies in the world.

Hezbollah's beef is with Israel, which it sees (correctly) as an occupying power in parts of Lebanon and other Arab-owned lands. It's not a "terrorist organization," a designation designed solely to prevent understanding. It's a defensive organization, having emerged when Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982, that, to be sure, has used terrorist methods. (So has Israel, only on a far larger scale with much deadlier weapons.) Hezbollah's dispute with the United States arises completely out of the U.S. role as facilitator of Israel. It is rank hypocrisy for people to complain about Iran sending weapons to Hezbollah and to defend the billions of dollars Israel gets every year in American arms and money.

Defining every political dispute as America's fight is precisely the way to endanger the American people. In this connection see Ivan Eland's latest.

The Bush admininstration can't acknowledge this, however. It would undercut its agenda.


Jim Lippard said...

I'm not sure I follow your distinction between a "defensive organization ... that ... has used terrorist methods" and a "terrorist organization." (Unless the defensive organization has given up such methods, in which case it's a "former terrorist organization.")

If an organization intentionally targets civilians with violence in order to generate terror among the population, it's a terrorist organization, isn't it?

Sheldon Richman said...

It's goal is not to instill terror, but to achieve a particular aim, the end to the occupation. That could have been pursued without using terrorist tactics.

Clint said...


I think, according to definitions of terrorism I've seen, that Hezbollah qualify as terrorists. Their goal is surely to end the occupation, but their means are also important.

That said, it's a propaganda term. The US is the worst "terrorist" state in the world according to it's own definition of the word. It's a wonderful hypocrisy.

Good post.

Sheldon Richman said...

According to the prevailing definition of "terrorism" nothing the U.S. or Israel does can be terrorism. By any reasonable definition, Israel has terrorized the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank for 40 years. The U.S. goverrnment's various bombing campaigns have done the same for an array of populations.

"Terrorism" is a political term defined to suit the interests of the ruling elites.

Jim Bovard said...

"Terrorism is what the bad guys do," as the old saying goes.

Thus, the US government can never terrorize.

At least as long as Bush is president.