The Endless Terror of our TImes, and the Need to Think Beyond the Spectrum of Thinkable Thought

By Margaret Kimberley

Once citizenship can be stripped away by the state, the Constitution becomes a dead letter. Yet that is the self-mutilation prescribed by American politicians who would jettison every U.S. citizen’s rights just to spite the alleged Times Square bomber, a naturalized U.S. citizen.
Most Americans seem incapable of understanding why Pakistanis, Yemenis and others that are being killed by the U.S. might also feel the need for vengeance.
The United States government continues to kill Muslims like roaches in its never-ending war of terror. It shouldn‘t come as a surprise when that violence spawns revenge directed against this nation. Nonetheless, every act or attempted act of terror against Americans is met with shock and defiance in the face of American instigated violence.
Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistan-born American citizen, is in custody for attempting to detonate a car bomb in New York’s Times Square. Fortunately, Shahzad was an untrained amateur who thought he could set off an explosion with ordinary fire works. He also didn’t have enough common sense to know that he should leave town immediately instead of waiting for two days before attempting his escape.
No damage was done to life or property and the suspect is in custody, but every attempt not only endangers us all but brings untold damage to American’s civil liberties. Senator Joseph Lieberman is proposing legislation that would strip citizenship from terror suspects. His goal is to prevent the use of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution which protects against self-incrimination. It is all a canard, because the right to remain silent can be exercised by citizens and non-citizens alike.
Shahzad’s biography has been analyzed and his every move scrutinized. Few people are willing to make the connection between the killing of Muslims by the United States government and the inevitable hatred of the American people that is unleashed. It isn’t very complicated. Shahzad was angry about the continued killings of his people and he wanted to inflict the same suffering on Americans.
While politicians out do one another with demagoguery, the simplest cause of terrorism is ignored. The fear which always follows an attempted attack should be an impetus for Americans to think about the fear and terror their government visits upon the rest of the world. Instead, the same hand wringing and whining about “why they hate us” are the rule.
Why was Shahzad angry? Undoubtedly because thousands of Pakistanis and Afghans have been killed by American drone attacks. If we were at all encouraged to think beyond the “spectrum of thinkable thought” we might be able to speak with some intelligence on this issue. Instead we see Barack Obama and the rest of the Democrats succumbing to Republican demands to destroy our civil liberties at home and continue mass death abroad.
Attorney General Eric Holder made the rounds of Sunday morning talk shows and made it clear he is bowing to lies and the political expediency that follows: “I think we have to give serious consideration to at least modifying that public-safety exception [to the Miranda protections. And that's one of the things that I think we're going to be reaching out to Congress, to come up with a proposal that is both constitutional, but that is also relevant to our times and the threats that we now face."
Senator Lieberman’s proposed Terrorism Expatriation Act (TEA) goes even further. The constitution has very strict rules regarding the removal of American citizenship. Sworn allegiance to an enemy is insufficient cause to strip citizenship. Court decisions are clear that the renunciation of American citizenship must also take place before it can be taken away. It is shocking that Lieberman, an attorney, would peddle this nonsense that even if passed would be struck down by the courts. For now, the always cringing Democrats aren’t saying very much. Of course they always allow Lieberman, a Democrat who endorsed the Republican candidate without punishment from his party, to do whatever he likes.
Both the Clinton and Bush administrations prosecuted terror cases in criminal court, with all rights of suspects being preserved. All of these cases resulted in convictions and at the time, no protest from Republicans. The cry for the awful enemy combatant designation in the cases of Shahzad and Umar Abdulmultallab should spark outrage and debate about American actions abroad. While political demagoguery becomes the norm, our government’s acts of terror continue with little protest.
Now the Obama administration claims that the Pakistan Taliban were responsible for this act. We don’t know if that is true, we don’t know if their claims that Shahzad is talking are true either. We can only be certain that political considerations come first. Now Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is repeating the demand that Pakistan speed up the killing of its own people in order to satisfy her government’s demands. The Shahzads in Pakistan and in the United States will also be like ticking time bombs, growing more and more angry about the deaths of their people and more determined to strike back.
The sickening propaganda which makes invasion and occupation appear acceptable and even beneficial continues with little opposition. As long as the country lives under the grip of empire building and white supremacy, the rest of the world will be in danger and Americans will be endangered by the inevitable repercussions.
One day our luck will run out. A terror attack will not be carried out by someone trying to ignite his shoe or explosive placed in his underwear. The car bomb or other apparatus of death will be expertly put together and Americans will die. It isn’t right that anyone should die violently, but it isn’t worse for Americans to die under such circumstances than it is for people in Pakistan or Afghanistan. Of course, our government and media won’t say that. The end result will be an even louder cry for death from the nation that is the greatest purveyor of violence in the world.
Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in the Black Agenda Report, where this article first appeared.. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City. 


World Can't Wait mobilizes people living in the United States to stand up and stop war on the world, repression and torture carried out by the US government. We take action, regardless of which political party holds power, to expose the crimes of our government, from war crimes to systematic mass incarceration, and to put humanity and the planet first.