What I'm saying is that, for instance, driving a bus into a crowd of people, terrible as it is, is small potatoes compared to the horrors regularly inflicted on the world by the wealthy and powerful nations. If we are really concerned about combating terrorism, we should perhaps turn our attention to those terrorist acts committed by our own governments, and by those that our governments support. If you want to feel superior, by all means focus on the crimes of others. You probably can't do much about any of it, but at least your heart will be swelling with patriotic ferver. If you want to actually do something constructive, you could focus on those crimes that you might actually be able to do something about: those committed in your name by your government.
In the case of the USA, we could consider for instance the testimony of John Stockwell, a 13-year veteran of the CIA and former U.S. Marine Corps major, describing the Nicaraguaguan "freedom fighters" that the US had been training, arming and financing throughout the period of Sandanista rule:
"Systematically, the Contras have been assassinating religious workers, teachers, health workers, elected officials, government administrators. Remember the 'Assassination Manual' that surfaced in 1984? It caused such a stir that President Reagan had to address it himself in the presidential debates with Walter Mondale. They use terror to traumatize society so that it cannot function.
"I don't mean to abuse you with verbal violence, but you have to understand what your Government and its agents are doing.
"They go into villages. They haul out families. With the children forced to watch, they castrate the father. They peel the skin off his face. They put a grenade in his mouth, and pull the pin. With the children forced to watch, they gang-rape the mother, and slash her breasts off. And sometimes, for variety, they make the parents watch while they do these things to the children.
"This is nobody's propaganda!
"There have been over a hundred thousand American "Witnesses for Peace " who've gone down there, and they have filmed and photographed and witnessed these atrocities immediately after they've happened, and documented thirteen thousand people killed this way.
Similar techniques are have been employed throughout Latin America, the scale of the atrocities roughly proportional to the amount of US benevelolence bestowed upon the ungrateful people of the region. There's no shortage of evidence of US complicity and even active participation in these horrors. I'd recommend Noam Chomsky's "Deterring Democracy" for a pretty comprehensive overview (with references) of the scale of US involvement in terror campaigns of this nature.
Outside it's immediate neighbourhood, where the US government is unable to maintain standing terrorist armies, different methods are used, but with a consistant concern to inflict the maximum possible damage on the civilian population via "soft targets": hospitals, power plants, sewage and water treatment plants, pharmaceutical factories, etc. This has practically no effect whatsoever on the enemy's military capacity, but is very effective in spreading hunger, disease, and death throughout the civilian population. The American public, quite rightly, will not tolerate another Vietnam, so their leaders are forced to turn to terrorist methods to discipline "rogue nations".
What this amounts to is a terrorist campaign aimed at the entire world. The US Strategic Command compiled a study entitled "Essentials of Post-Cold War Deterrence, which states:
"Because of the value that comes from the ambiguity of what the U.S. may do to an adversary if the acts we seek to deter are carried out, it hurts to portray ourselves as too fully rational and cool-headed..."
"The fact that some elements (of the U.S. government) may appear to be potentially 'out of control' can be beneficial to creating and reinforcing fears and doubts within the minds of an adversary's decision makers. That the U.S. may become irrational and vindictive if its vital interests are attacked should be part of the national persona we project to all adversaries."
In other words, if you step one inch out of line, you're going to become the next Iraq. We've got a bunch of homicidal loonies in charge with their finger on the button, so you better do what we say. Maybe to someone for whom the word "terrorist" means "Arab" this isn't terrorism, but terrorism it is.
"Terrorism is the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social values." - FBI definition.
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