The mistrust of the American government by many Americans and people around the world is leading people to draw different conclusions regarding the reported death of Osama bin Laden. Some people believe he’s been dead for quite a while now. Others believe he’s still alive. Then there are those who believe in the recent reports of his death and, in a morbid way, are celebrating it.
No matter which side you come down on, the cost of killing two men, Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, has been extremely high. Thousands of American soldiers lost their lives and hundreds of thousands of Arab lives were lost, including innocent men, women and children along with soldiers. Three countries (Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan) suffered billions of dollars’ worth of damage to their infrastructures due to devastating bombings. Trillions of American dollars were spent on wars to kill two people, while Americans suffer from the closings of senior centers and day care centers, cuts to health care and education, skyrocketing unemployment, etc.–all of this in the name of stopping terrorism and killing two people.
After they killed Hussein, did they pull the troops out of Iraq? No! People are still dying and the country is still destabilized. Now that they have reported the death of bin Laden, will they pull the troops out of Afghanistan? I think not. America will always have some bogus justification for war–it’s profitable!
Let me say for the record that I reject and denounce all forms of terrorism. Terrorism is the intentional killing of innocent civilians by an organization or a government. There is never any rationale or reason for terrorism. Innocent men and women were killed at the World Trade Center. Innocent men and women were killed in Gaza and all over the Middle East. Innocent civilians were killed in terrorist bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. Countless acts of terrorism have occurred worldwide. The killing of the innocent can never be justified. Let us remember that killing breeds more killing, and hate breeds more hate.
The American government’s claim that they are doing all of this killing in the name of stopping dictators and promoting democracy and freedom is hypocritical. America, both historically and currently, has supported dictators. Remember Papa Doc and Baby Doc Duvalier in Haiti–murderous dictators; the Shah of Iran–a murderous dictator; Pinochet in Chile–a murderous dictator; Marcos in the Philippines –a murderous dictator; Mobutu in Zaire–a murderous dictator; Batista in Cuba–a murderous dictator; Somoza in Nicaragua–a murderous dictator; and last but not least, Hosni Mubarak in Egypt–a murderous dictator for over 30 years. All of these murderers were backed by America, and the list goes on.
People all over the world don’t hate America because they are jealous of American prosperity. They hate America because of America’s support of dictators who kill their family members and loved ones. The best homeland security that America could develop is a more evenhanded foreign policy that promotes human rights, economic development, and world peace.
America has already claimed the killing of bin Laden and assisted the Iraqi people in catching and killing Hussein, and now they are out to support NATO forces in killing President Muammar Al-Gaddafi of Libya. In the midst of all this attention around the reported killing of bin Laden, what got lost was the killing of Gaddafi’s son and grandchildren by NATO forces that bombed his son’s compound in Libya. Gaddafi and his wife were in the compound at that time, but were not injured.
Now they’re trying to kill Gaddafi! This madness must stop. Remember, when Russia was in Afghanistan, President Ronald Reagan called bin Laden an “Afghani freedom fighter.” When Hussein was fighting against Iran and the Ayatollah Khomeini, he was an American ally. America supplied both of these men with the weapons with which to fight their wars. This is American hypocrisy at its worst and it will only lead to more confusion and life-threatening confrontations.
Let me close by sharing this moving, passionate experience with a young child in my district.
I was walking home from my District Office in East New York, Brooklyn, last week when a group of children (ages 10 to 14) called me from across the street. One of the girls approached me and said, “Charles Barron, they killed that guy and now the Arabs are angry.” I said to her, “You mean Osama bin Laden.” She replied, “Yes, they are going to get us back. My friends are afraid to go into the Arab stores now, but I told them they won’t hurt us.”
I replied confidently to ease her fear, “You’re right; the people in the store are not going to hurt you.” That day, I couldn’t help but think that this young girl, in her innocence, was just as fearful and concerned as others about America’s foreign policy. Out of the mouths of babes: “They are going to get us back.” What message is being sent to our children?
It’s time to demand justice, respect for humanity and world peace. This is the only way to bring safety, security and prosperity to the planet. Let’s get busy!