• author
    • Matthew Najmowicz

    • September 12, 2014 in Columnists

    We trained them to use the guns they’re pointing at us

    On Wednesday, Sept. 10, President Barack Obama addressed our nation on his plans to combat the so-called terrorist group named ISIS or sometimes referred to as ISIL. The important detail to notice is during his speech, Obama never once used the word “war.”

    Make no mistake about it, we are in a new war.  However, this war doesn’t have the new car smell to it.  This war smells and feels like a car with 100,000 miles on it. When will the transmission in this war fall out?

    First off, who is our enemy? The mainstream media has depicted ISIS as a strain of depraved barbarians of unprecedented terror and savagery. The violence displayed in television news coverage and shared by articles on social media has been startling. Violence is always startling. However, why is ISIS fighting?  What are their goals? And how have political structures failed this part of the region?

    These are the questions we should be asking instead of the standard and dull response of “ISIS is evil” or “al-Qaeda is repulsed by ISIS.” These notions and reactions have been coaxed from very well-crafted and visceral images by the media. If we remember last summer, the United States wanted to invade Syria for different reasons. The TV media couldn’t stop showing horrifying pictures of mustard-gassed children twitching and slowly dying. The violence was real. However, we never questioned the context of that violence and why it was happening.

    Secondly, there is this neoconservative/military dogma of perpetually staying at war with certain parts of the Middle East. Perpetual war for perpetual peace?  Have we not already gone through all of this with Bush 41 and 43, Clinton, and Reagan?  If we are “liberators” than why is it when we liberate a nation, that same nation goes into the toilet bowl a decade later?  Why do we need to control that region through military might?

    However, the neo-cons like Senator John McCain have informed the President that this is a military intervention we need because we left Iraq several years ago; the argument being “we withdrew Iraq too early, so of course this makes the enemy (I assume terrorists) stronger.”

    Getting back to my first question: Who is the enemy?  I have seen the terrorist training camp tapes where there are guys dressed up with black masks and up on the monkey bars, the same type of monkey bars I played on when I was a child. I guarantee you, if I were a soldier fighting this war, I couldn’t tell enemies and civilians apart. This is a huge problem. You know there will be collateral damage when the bombs drop. Collateral damage is a nice way of saying your next door neighbors will die because a bomb destroys everything around it.

    A smart bomb is a dumb device. It kills without prejudice.

    And yet, this is how President Obama and his advisors wish to legislate this war. Flying killer robots, probably troops on the ground, and of course the CIA and whatever extra security forces needed to annihilate whatever moves in Syria and Iraq. In fact, this war will look like the previous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Their violence will be met by our violence. That’s a great way to show how democracy works.

    I should ask one more time: Who is our enemy? We must understand that these so-called terrorists are ultra-violent, and I will never defend what they have done and will continue to do.  Let’s say you are a people who have been under attack by the Soviets for years with helicopters you could never defeat. Then American CIA operative and politicians start to supply you with stinger missiles that were able to defeat Soviet aircraft.  Now you can start blowing Soviet air muscle out of the sky and drive the Communists out of your country.  Then the Americans leave you with the weapons and say goodbye. This story was the overall narrative of the movie Charlie Wilson’s War. It’s worth watching solely for the fact that this is how the United States operates in the Middle East.

    We convince people in the Middle East to point the guns at another guy and to shoot them. We have done this there for years. They did our dirty work. We armed them and gave them CIA level training. That’s a detail about Osama Bin Laden that is always ignored: he was a trained and financed CIA operative for the United States government. I am not an Alex Jones conspiracy theorist — this is a matter of public record.

    We armed and trained them to point the guns at someone else, and after 9-11-01, the guns are pointed at us.  This is the new and inescapable consequence of American foreign policy (war). Will it ever end? Can we find a new way of stabilizing the region that doesn’t involve bloodshed? Can we let the UN, NGOs (non-governmental organizations like OXFAM) or other independent agencies try to rebuild a society that has been destroyed by many?

    I am not burning my American flag. I question my American government so the colors of red, white, and blue can mean something again. I don’t call my fellow citizens “sheeple.” I find that obnoxious. All I wish to convey is a plea for us as a nation to check our conscience and ethics.  What we do today shapes the history of tomorrow.

    Is this a war worth fighting, and do we have a true enemy?


      • David Lacy

      • September 12, 2014 at 4:28 pm
      • Reply

      Great column. I haven’t completely formulated my opinion yet on the president’s response to ISIS but I agree with 3/4 of this, especially the last part. I don’t criticize because I hate America; I criticize because I want us to be great again.

      • Maya North

      • September 13, 2014 at 1:11 am
      • Reply

      When 9/11 happened, I actually hoped we would NOT go to war. When Bush Jr. took months to make a move, I hoped against hope that this meant that he wouldn’t go there. I wanted us actually to win the hearts and minds of the people there with kindness, with helpfulness — feed them! Help them build hospitals! But no — Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Koch had to have their wars (pissing contests) and thus, we did. But this feels different. I have a visceral dread of ISIS/ISIL that I didn’t have with Al Qaeda — as awful as they were. Even the Taliban, whom I continue to despise, particularly for what they’ve done to the girls and women unlucky enough to be ensnared by them, does not give me the horrors that these people do. I could probably quantify a great deal of this if I really worked at it, but what’s being triggered in me is a survival instinct that began when I was a street kid, got sharpened in a juvenile institution, then refined by years of single motherhood and surviving in this world. That little voice says that these people want to destroy us. They want to destroy anything in their path. They remind me of army ants — or the Borg — a great, boiling, seething mass of ill intent that seeks to make us what they are or to eradicate us. Their vision for the world and particularly for women makes me shudder. The horrific violence we’re seeing — systematic and massive, reminds me of a chaotic version of preWW2 Nazi Germany — something that consumed most, if not all, of the people named Spier living in Europe at the time. Despite my distrust of mainstream media and its delight in manipulating us, I get bad juju about this. Very, very, very bad, and no amount of relativism is going to make it sit right with me. These people want us to go back to medieval times, which were nothing to wax nostalgic about — with all the concomitant horrors, but with technology, to make it more fun. Sometimes it’s smart to be afraid — and to act on it. Deliberately and carefully, but to act, nonetheless.

    • What we do today shapes the history of tomorrow. Wow. Sums it all up.

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