The "Security" Charade
by Robert Bowman
Originally printed in The National Catholic
Reporter, Oct. 2, 1998
If deceptions about terrorism go unchallenged, then the threat
will continue until it destroys us.
The truth is that none of our thousands of nuclear weapons
can protect us from these threats. No Star Wars system no
matter how technically advanced, no matter how many trillions
of dollars are poured into it, can protect us from a nuclear weapon
delivered in a sailboat or a Cessna or a suitcase or a Ryder rental
truck. Not one weapon in our vast arsenal, not a penny of
the $270 billion a year we spend on so-called defense can defend
against a terrorist bomb. That is a military fact.
As a retired lieutenant colonel and a frequent lecturer on
national security issues, I have often quoted Psalm 33: "A
king is not saved by his mighty army. A warrior is not saved
by his great strength." The obvious reaction is, "Then
what can we do?" Is there nothing we can do to provide
security for our people?"
There is. But to understand it requires that we know
the truth about the threat. President Clinton did not tell
the American people the truth about why we are the targets of
terrorism when he explained why we bombed Afghanistan and Sudan.
He said that we are a target because we stand for democracy, freedom,
and human rights in the world. Nonsense!
We are the target of terrorists because, in much of the world,
our government stands for dictatorship, bondage, and human exploitation.
We are the target of terrorists because we are hated. And
we are hated because our government has done hateful things.
In how many countries have agents of our government deposed
popularly elected leaders and replaced them with puppet military
dictators who were willing to sell out their own people to American
We did it in Iran when the US Marines and the CIA deposed
Mossadegh because he wanted to nationalize the oil industry.
We replaced him with the Shah and armed, trained, and paid his
hated Savak National Guard, which enslaved and brutalized the
people of Iran, all to protect the financial interests of our
oil companies. Is it any wonder that there are people in
Iran who hate us?
We did it in Chile. We did it in Vietnam. More
recently, we tried to do it in Iraq.
And, of course, how many times have we done it in Nicaragua
and all the other banana republics of Latin America? Time
after time we have ousted popular leaders who wanted the riches
of the land to be shared by the people who worked it. We
replaced them with murderous tyrants who would sell out their
own people so the wealth of the land could be taken out by the
likes of Domino Sugar, Folgers, and Chiquita Banana.
In country after country, our government has thwarted democracy,
stifled freedom, and trampled human rights. That's why it
is hated around the world. And that's why we're the target
People in Canada enjoy democracy, freedom, and human rights.
So do the people of Norway and Sweden. Have you heard of
Canadian embassies being bombed? Or Norwegian, or Swedish?
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.
Once the truth about why the threat exists is understood,
the solution becomes obvious. We must change our ways.
Getting rid of our nuclear weapons unilaterally if necessary will
enhance our security. Drastically altering our foreign policy
will ensure it.
Instead of sending our sons and daughters around the world
to kill Arabs so we can have the oil under their sand, we should
send them to rebuild their infrastructure, supply clean water,
and feed starving children. Instead of continuing to kill
hundreds of Iraqui children every day with our sanctions, we should
help Iraquis rebuild their electric power plants, their water
treatment facilities, their hospitals, and all the things we have
destroyed and prevented them from rebuilding.
Instead of training terrorists and death squads, we should
close the School of the Americas [Ft. Benning, GA.]. Instead
of supporting insurrection, de stabilization, assassination, and
terror around the world, we should abolish the CIA and give money
to relief agencies.
In short, we should do good instead of evil. Who would
try to stop us? Who would hate us? Who would want
to bomb us? That is the truth the American people need to
Robert Bowman flew 101 combat missions in Vietnam. He
is presently (1998) bishop of the United Catholic Church in Melbourne
Beach, FL. Originally printed in The National Catholic Reporter,
Oct. 2, 1998.
11th, 2001 - New York City