Suicide bombing is merely a tactic used by those who lack other means of delivering explosives. What happened in London, Madrid, Bali and New York occurs every time a U.S. or British warplane unleashes its bombs and missiles on an Iraqi or Afghan village. Our argument goes, but our forces don’t deliberately target civilians. That is always debatable. However they have consistently shown themselves to be indifferent to the civilian casualties produced by their actions. “Collateral damage” is the inevitable result of choosing to go to war. By choosing war in Iraq and Afghanistan, we chose to kill tens of thousands of innocent civilians.
American and British media have devoted hours of radio and TV plus reams of newsprint debating, what would drive a seemingly normal young Muslim to destroy himself and others. The question is never asked what would cause a seemingly normal young Western Christian or Jew to strap himself into a warplane and unleash bombs and missiles on a village, knowing full well his action will kill innocent civilians, though that may not be their aim.
Peaceful protest, persuasion, demonstration, negotiation or remonstration haven’t had any impact on the single-minded U.S. and British foreign policy. If all legitimate forms of dissent go unheeded, then we can expect illegitimate forms will be taken up. Some people will resort to violence, which will not produce the desired result but may give vent to the anger resulting from inhumanity with which they have been treated for so long. It does us well to remember Thomas Paine’s quote; People who are treated brutally will finally turn into brutes.
What we are witnessing is a war born of greed, ignorance and inhumanity perpetuated by zealotry and barbarism which is inspiring hatred. More of the same will only feed the fires of hate, not yield solutions. The time has come to be human, and be driven by compassion and understanding actuated by reason, to think and act as human beings, not beings motivated by greed and dogma, unthinking brutes from our darkest past. We must strive to alter the power structure in our society, end the power of the state and its bed companion, the corporate greed machine. Our aim has to be to work towards a society built on communities working in federation with each other on a basis of sustainability, mutual aid, and free from the corrupting influence of profit. Only then can we hope for a peaceful world. We can’t wait until tomorrow to start, if we don’t start now there will be no tomorrow.