The Dirty Dozen in Times of War



If the first casualty of this war is truth; then we will have abandoned our only shield for the battle ahead. The world has changed but the mass media narration of the story remains much the same. And that should ring alarm bells all over the world.

The future is in no way an inevitable destination. It is a place where we often land by choice, by design and by mistake. Those who have navigated the wheels of history towards this dismal destination need to be recognized for their collective lack of vision.

Consider the lords of the press, the dirty dozen who would control our thought in times of war; as they do in times of peace. It should worry us all that our media titans and the pundits covering this story just arrived from Chandrala and a summer of monitoring our beaches against shark attacks. Cheaply produced stories are a staple of Ted Turner’s and Rupert Murdoch’s media empires. They hate to bite the bullet and send a team out to Islamabad. They are already griping about the cost of it all. It is not surprising that you hear a lot of English accents on CNN these days. We have a major national emergency and hardly a competent American journalist to depend on. Remember, that Peter Jennings, who has by far the most balanced coverage, is Canadian.

Has anyone bothered to notice that the experts on the Chandra affair are the same people now posing as experts on Islamic Jihad, terrorism, the modern history of the Middle East and battling Pushtan warriors in the mountains of Afghanistan?

If American journalists had half the courage of New York Firemen; you would be reading half the truth. They certainly know how to shuffle words around with a unique combination of intellectual agility and willful deception. Weigh your newspaper. It’s a lot heavier than a couple of weeks ago. But weigh the message and you will find little has changed. America should turn to the alternative press; if only to hear voices that are not controlled by the Israeli lobby.

As always, the Israeli public relations team that markets itself as the New York Times has a spin on ‘Why they hate us?.’ According to Sulzberger’s minions, Bin Laden and his gang attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon because they hate feminists, are angry about Coca-Cola and American movies, are concerned about our skirt lines and despise our liberties. You would think they came with instructions from Jerry Fallwell.

Mind you, the 19 suicidal bombers left no message, so the New York Times was left with ample room to come up with a plausible motive, one that would not harm Israeli public relations. Actually, I tend to believe that they were motivated by a deep rage against the Anglo-American occupation in the Gulf. It might also have something to do with the half million Iraqi children who died because Madeline Albright thought it was ‘worth it’. There is also the slight matter of the vicious apartheid Israeli military dictatorship that administers daily cruelties to the Palestinians as a matter of state policy. My reason for arriving at this conclusion is because that is what Bin Ladin rails about in his rare interviews with foreign journalists. I have to wonder about the reasons the mass media crowd unanimously arrived at their sorry conclusions.

In Arabic there is a wonderful saying that ‘wisdom often comes from the mouths of crazy people’. It would be easy enough to prove that Bin Laden was involved in a war crime. But we should take him at his word for why he went to war in the first place and why he targets America, rather than the more socially liberal Swedes or Canadians, who tend to have even shorter skirt lines. It has nothing to do with his distaste for Parisian fashions or our ‘freedom’. His main stated goal is to rid Saudi Arabia of foreign occupation troops, who happen to be American. Like Sharon, he is willing to inflict innocent civilian casualties to further his cause.

A few weeks ago, the New York Times ran an editorial advising the anti-Castro lobby in Florida to ease up a bit on Cuban sanctions. Perhaps the dean of the Israeli Lobby, Mr Sulzberger, should consider that this is not a decent time for marketing a war criminal like Sharon. I would ask Sulzberger, as a fellow American, to allow us all to step back a little and take in the magnitude of this crime, before we revert to our usual ethnic agendas. But this needs to be said, one ethnic newsman to another. Virtually every major American Jewish Organization has warmly embraced the man responsible for the slaughter at Qibya and Sabra and Shatila. While every Major American Muslim organization has condemned Osama Bin Ladin and the Suicide bombers. We should offer the Taliban a deal; America gets Bin Laden and we send them Sharon.

Now, the pundits and the experts where quick to point out the obvious failures in Airport Security and Intelligence. But, not a word is said about whether the Gulf War was a major blunder. Those Americans, who enjoyed CNN’s version of ‘antiseptic’ slaughter during that war, should now reflect on the unintended consequences of major military interventions. Recall, that we fought that war because Kuwait had oil, not broccoli. We did not fight there for ‘freedom’ but for free access to their oil. The emir of Kuwait, an absolute monarch, was then restored to his regal court.

Would the Gulf war have happened without the insistent backing of the Jewish Lobby armed with its formidable media resources? Who now remembers the infamous Alexander Haig green light to Sharon’s invasion of Lebanon in 1982. It cost nearly 20,000 Palestinian and Lebanese lives, mostly innocent civilians. Why do we prop up the absolute feudal monarchy in Saudi Arabia which is every bit as politically and socially regressive as the Taliban? What exactly was the ‘strategic’ reasoning behind all the generous American subsidies for the overtly racist Jewish settler movement? Why is it in America’s interest to pamper the brutal Israeli army thugs who administer cruel and murderous collective punishment to three million Palestinians? Do any of these irrational provocative policies have anything to do with campaign financing?

The United States allows the Israelis to do whatever they please in the Middle East, or whatever they think they can get away with. And then we send money for any expenses they may have incurred. That is the sum total of American foreign policy in the region. And the Lobby, through generous campaign contributions, has pretty much annexed the State department as their independent province. Their sense of ownership of that department differs little from their sense of ownership of Hebron and the Golan heights. Many of the restless natives on the receiving end of ‘lobby designed’ policies, have developed a deep rage against our country. We need to shove the lobby out and make serious changes in our relationships with the people of the Middle East.

Before the Jewish Lobby took over the State Department; America had many genuine friends in the Arab Middle East, Iran, Pakistan and especially Afghanistan. The great white chief in Washington needs to call for a ‘Solh’ with the tribes and nations of the ancient world. They have suffered enough and we also have suffered enough. We need to let them know that the Jewish Lobby’s monopoly on the making of policy is a thing of the past. It has taken us from one disastrous misadventure to another, culminating with this epic catastrophe.

We need journalists in America to seriously begin pondering the future of our great land or have the decency to move on to more suitable occupations, like selling snake oil. This disaster was a policy disaster. Why is it that we can assail our Airport Security Policies and even the CIA? Yet, the state department and our disastrous and reckless foreign policy, cannot be questioned lest we offend the Israel Firsters in the Jewish Lobby?

Some other questions are in order. Why did it take eight months to finally appoint an ambassador to the United Nations and Saudi Arabia? Is it a good idea to give the Russians a free hand in Chechnya, given their vile record of human rights violations? Is it not time that we abandoned ‘collateral damage’ double-speak and recognized that innocent civilians, ours and theirs, should never be harmed in war? Why don’t we just tell Sharon to get the hell out of the West Bank and Gaza and East Jerusalem and conform to the will of the international community? While we are rounding up Bin Ladin, why don’t we send Ariel Sharon a one way ticket to The Hague to stand trial for his serial mass murder crimes against the Palestinians?

This much is clear. Our selective and uneven enforcement of international law and Security Council resolutions is blatantly obvious to the people of the region. Being unfamiliar with our campaign finance shenanigans, Arabs and Muslims interpret our policies as a deliberate attempt to humiliate them. Chris Mathews of MSNBC doesn’t help matters by suggesting we treat their leaders with ‘a buck in the pocket and a kick in the pants’. These racist morons on ‘Hate TV’ have no clue how much damage they do to our foreign policy.

I am not a pacifist. I supported American intervention in Bosnia and Kosovo. I think that America should remind the Islamic world that it was not the ‘fundamentalists’ who saved Kosovo from the genocidal Milosovic, but American troops. The need to get Afghanistan liberated from the Taliban is as important as ending Khemer Rouge tyranny in Cambodia. I had no problem with the Vietnamese army moving in to put an end to Pol Pot’s killing fields.

Afghanistan has suffered 23 years of war. It is a deeply traumatized country with the largest refugee population in the world. We can get Osama Bin Laden and reestablish an enduring friendship with the Afghan people. How? By not allowing millions of them to starve to death. We can solve the Israeli/Palestinian problem in a week. That is all it took the Indonesian Army to pull out of East Timor. The Israelis can be even more efficient if we press them. We can press for a just solution to the problems in Kashmir and Chechnya. We can, thus, forcefully demonstrate to the world our ability to solve problems and move on to wage a remorseless and collective battle against the forces of darkness.

The alternatives are to bleak to contemplate. But I leave you with this chilling thought. If we do not do the right thing, we will create another generation of bitter enemies from the fringes of the Arab and Islamic world. Are we willing to risk a replay of September 11, 2001, in ten years? In twenty years? In fifty years? The suicidal assailants who struck America where toddlers when they heard the news of Sharon’s bloody orgy in Beirut in the summer of 1982. They were barely in their teens when we bombed Iraq back to the stone ages? They might not have been born when the CIA started training Bin Laden to fight the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Our foreign policy risk assessment was way off target. The best and the brightest failed to anticipate this attack or estimate its deadly impact on seven thousand Americans, on a 9 trillion dollar economy, or on the millions who will lose jobs and the tens of millions of disrupted lives. They should have the guts to admit their errors and learn that peace and justice are the only long-term strategic solutions in the war against terrorism.

As individuals, we must all be more vigilant. If we try to just tune it all out, the dirty dozen who control the mass media will contort this story to the point where it becomes just one large ghastly arena, where Americans are seen as seeking bloody vengeance; where we throw more innocents into the fire. We need a new ethos to deal with an infinitely more dangerous planet. It is time we pay attention, learn a little history and insist that our government work with others in the international community to create a saner more rational future for the human race.

Mr. Ahmed Amr is Editor of in Seattle and a regular contributor to Media Monitors Network (MMN).