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Terrorism’ – just semantics

David Hall
Saturday December 01, 2001


All of us have been deeply touched by the incalculable loss of life and human suffering as a result of the brutal attacks of September 11. To experience such a loss so close to home is something new to many of us in the United States, for we are accustomed to thinking ourselves invulnerable. With that loss so deeply engraved upon our hearts, we must never again look casually on the idea of bombing another nation. We cannot ignore the fact that more than 1.7 million people in Iraq have died as a direct result of US government bombs and sanctions.  

Countless thousands have died in our own hemisphere as a result of US-orchestrated coups and so-called “low-intensity” wars. And millions more lives are threatened by the US/World Bank/IMF policy of “structural adjustment,” which deprives basic social services to poor nations in exchange for usury and economic plunder.  

While President Bush said that the perpetrators of this act were jealous and hate what America stands for, we should consider the words of Robert Bowman, who flew 101 combat missions in Vietnam: “We are not hated because we practice democracy, value freedom, or uphold human rights. We are hated because our government denies these things to people in Third World countries whose resources are coveted by our multinational corporations. That hatred we have sown has come back to haunt us in the form of terrorism and in the future, nuclear terrorism.” The arrogance which has led our government to dismiss the judgments of the World Court when found guilty of mining the harbors of Nicaragua; to ignore the United Nations’ General Assembly condemnation of the US economic blockade against Cuba; to disregard established international treaties concerning arms and the environment; to walk out of the UN Conference Against Racism, has all contributed to resentment for the United States within the international community.  

When the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were attacked on September 11, the post of US Ambassador to the United Nations had not yet been filled. Now it appears the Senate will rush to confirm the controversial John Negroponte to fill the post. Negroponte was the ambassador to Honduras during the height of the US’ brutal assault on Nicaragua. Under his supervision, US operatives were trained in Honduras to plant bombs in Nicaraguan schools and clinics, to destabilize and ‘disappear’ and kill innocent civilians. Was this not also terrorism?  

Terrorism or military action are sometimes the same thing, it’s just a matter of semantics.  

David Hall 

Las Cruces, New Mexico