July 22, 2006

They Hate Us Because We Kill Them

The Bush administration is rushing a delivery of precision-guided bombs to Israel, which requested the expedited shipment last week after beginning its air campaign against Hezbollah targets in Lebanon, American officials said Friday.

The decision to quickly ship the weapons to Israel was made with relatively little debate within the Bush administration, the officials said. Its disclosure threatens to anger Arab governments and others because of the appearance that the United States is actively aiding the Israeli bombing campaign in a way that could be compared to Iran’s efforts to arm and resupply Hezbollah.

The munitions that the United States is sending to Israel are part of a multimillion-dollar arms sale package approved last year that Israel is able to draw on as needed, the officials said. But Israel’s request for expedited delivery of the satellite and laser-guided bombs was described as unusual by some military officers, and as an indication that Israel still had a long list of targets in Lebanon to strike.
From Democracy Now:
Much has been made of the Syrian and Iranian origin of weaponry used by Hezbollah but there has been little discussion of where Israel's weapons come from. A new report by the World Policy Institute examines how the United States provides billions of dollars of military aid to Israel each year and how their current arsenal is composed of U.S made equipment. The report is titled "U.S Military Assistance and Arms Transfers to Israel".

Frida Berrigan is a Senior Research Associate with the Arms Trade Resource Center at the World Policy Institute. She is co-author of the report.


AMY GOODMAN: Well, tell us what are the weapons being used? Did you also look at where the weapons that Hezbollah is using comes from?

FRIDA BERRIGAN: Sure. Almost all of the weapons used by Israel are from the United States. There might be a couple French fighter planes that they’re using, but its F-16s made in Fort Worth, Texas; its Apache helicopters; its Sparrow and Sidewinder missiles; it’s all from the United States. So you have this real disconnect between an overemphasis on the supply by Iran and Syria of Hezbollah's weapons and no discussion of the fact that all of the Israeli arsenal is from the United States, and that that is in contravention to U.S. law. to the Arms Export Control Act, which says that U.S.-origin weapons are only to be used for self-defense and for internal security.

JUAN GONZALEZ: And your report indicates that Israel has always been the largest recipient of military aid from the United States, but that that’s actually increased since 2001?

FRIDA BERRIGAN: We’re looking at incredible increases in U.S. military aid and weapons sales to Israel. Military aid stands at about $3 billion a year. That’s about $500 for every Israeli citizen that the United States provides on an annual basis. And then, weapons sales, most recently, since the Bush administration came into power, we’re looking at $6.3 billion worth of weaponry sold to Israel.

Israel's relationship with the United States is unique in a number of ways. And one of those ways is that essentially the United States provides 20% of the Israeli military budget on an annual basis, and then about 70% of that money that is given from the United States, from U.S. taxpayers, to Israel is then spent on weapons from Lockheed Martin and Boeing and Raytheon. Most other countries don't have that sort of cash relationship, where they go straight to U.S. corporations with U.S. money to buy weapons that are then used in the Occupied Territories and against Lebanon.
Let's restate that last paragraph for emphasis, and to appreciate the moral implications of this incestuous, pervasive, endless loop of corrupt internationalized corporate statism: the government takes your money through taxes -- it then gives some of your money and that of other taxpayers to other nations, such as Israel -- and then other nations like Israel use that money, i.e., your money and that of other taxpayers, to buy weapons from companies like Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Raytheon.

And then those weapons -- that were paid for in part with your money -- are used to kill, among others, innocent civilians in Lebanon. At this moment and for the last several years, your money also pays for the killing, maiming and torturing of innocent civilians numbering in the tens of thousands in Iraq.

When the next terrorist attack takes American lives -- and perhaps the attack will be led by an Iraqi or a Lebanese who had never had any sympathy for terrorists, at least not until the U.S., directly or indirectly, killed his entire family and most of his relatives -- I suppose our government will tell us once more that "they hate us for our freedom," and many Americans will again enthusiastically believe this self-justifying, self-flattering load of bullshit.

From my essay, "The Old Theme -- A 'Redeemer Nation,' With Some Explaining to Do," quoting an article by Jacob Hornberger:
After 9/11, many Americans had no idea why there was so much anger and rage in the Middle East, especially against the United States. All their lives, Americans had been taught that foreign policy was for federal “experts” and, thus, they had chosen not to concern themselves with what their federal officials were doing to people abroad. Innocently believing that federal overseas personnel, including the CIA and the military, had been helping foreigners for decades, Americans had no reason to doubt the official U.S. pronouncement immediately after 9/11: "We are innocent. The terrorists hate us for our freedom and values. That’s why they have attacked us."

What Americans didn’t realize is that federal officials were being disingenuous when they made that pronouncement. U.S. officials knew full-well that that their decades-old U.S. interventionist policies in the Middle East were at the bottom of the volcanic rage that people bore in that part of the world.


When someone is trying to kill you, it’s of course important to defend yourself. But it’s also important to try to figure out why he’s trying to kill you. After all, if you’re doing something wrong that has gotten him angry, then isn’t it better to simply stop committing the wrongful act? In that case, his anger might dissipate, and he might even no longer want to kill you.

Today, there are Americans who cry, "It’s too late. They already hate us and will always hate us and so we’ve got to keep killing them before they kill us."

But unless the entire Middle East is nuked, it is impossible to kill "all of them" because there will always be brothers, sisters, cousins, parents, children, grandchildren, or just friends of the dead who will seek vengeance.


U.S. government meddling in the Middle East occurred long before 9/11 and, in fact, was the motivating cause for 9/11 (and the previous 1993 attack on the World Trade Center). Thus, U.S. officials have it all wrong — the solution is not to invade, bomb, kill, maim, and meddle even more. That will only exacerbate the anger and rage that engenders retaliatory terrorist attacks. Continuing the same policies that have produced volcanic anger and rage will only ensure more terrorism, more counterterrorism, more infringements on the freedom of the American people, and more increases in the Pentagon’s budget.

The solution instead is for the American people to dismantle the U.S. government's overseas empire, requiring the federal government, especially the Pentagon, to withdraw from the Middle East (and the rest of the world) and also to liberate the American people to travel, trade, and interact freely with the people of the world (including both Vietnam and Cuba).
So the lesson is a very, very obvious one:

If you stop constantly meddling in others' affairs -- and if you stop killing them -- they'll have much less reason to want to harm you. You leave them alone, then they'll leave you alone.

Tragically, this is the one path the U.S. foreign policy establishment resolutely refuses to follow. When the consequences of our actions are visited upon us still one more time, we will hardly be able to say we weren't warned. We have been, numerous times -- every single one of us.