The first order is to make clear that the attacks on French journalists/cartoonists in their offices, like virtually all acts of violence committed in the world, are tragic and to be condemned. If we condemn the US’s 2003 invasion of Iraq, the worst crime of this century, which killed up to millions of people, we also condemn attacks that kill .000012 percent or less than that many people. It’s not as if there is some minimum of fifty thousand (or however many) deaths that must occur before we condemn attacks. One victim is totally unacceptable, and this attack in France was horrific.
To condemn attacks on journalists by “others”, the most elementary thinking dictates that we must first not attack journalists ourselves. Thus we condemn the US for targeting and killing journalists in and outside of their offices in Iraq, as we condemn Israel and its enabler/benefactor, the US, for repeatedly, year in and year out, including multiple times since 2009, targeting and killing dozens of journalists.
We also condemn the US for playing a “key” role in the cold-blooded execution of American journalist Frank Teruggi in 1973, and we condemn the US for playing a “fundamental” role in the cold-blooded execution of American journalist/animator/cartoonist Charles Horman in 1973.
Should we punish the American perpetrators of these murders before we cast the first (explosive/chemical) stones at others for later crimes? Demagogues like this guy of the NY Times say no and are calling for new blood. They don’t think the US has shed enough or done enough damage, yet, or has enough of its own journalist-killers on the loose, living high on the hog on the dime of American taxpayers, to merit focus. Perhaps we should arm an extremist group like Al Qaeda, as we have done multiple times, to attack the group that carried out this attack in France. Wait, that very likely was Al Qaeda. Oops. (Or, as Glenn Greenwald has pointed out, maybe not oops.)
We condemn the US for its cold, coordinated, brutal (and often mass) killing and imprisonment of countless American journalists, satirists, whistle-blowers and free-thinkers/speakers over the span of its existence, ongoing today (read this for a history).
It would be nice, at least, to see as much outrage about the US/Israeli attacks on journalists that just took place, which killed many more than twelve, not to mention the trifling matter of ~600 children and ~1,000 other civilian dead, as we are seeing about this attack in France. But naïve westerners who get mad only when other groups kill journalists cannot really be blamed. To be sure, the jihadists of America’s Pravda, the New York Times, and other such extremist outlets, know what they are doing when they call for “ruthless” revenge for “enemy” attacks but hide or downplay and excuse attacks on journalists by their favored terrorist groups, be they Israel, the US, or whomever. These people are simply terror propagandists.
In Korea, Vietnam, and around the world, the US targets(/targeted) and clinically extinguishes the lives of great swathes of millions of people not just for writing, but for being accused of thinking things their dictators – US state controllers – don’t like. The US is trying to “inoculate the virus” of thinking that threatens to increase the costs of foreign labor and raw materials and/or detracts from the US dictatorial stranglehold over international relations. Hence, in Vietnam, the US was trying to destroy a type of thinking that it knew, and stated in internal records, was supported by the vast majority of Vietnamese people, who have the right to self-determination – the most basic right in international law, and the one perhaps most violated by the US. The US was wiping out and torturing Vietnamese people (whom racist US militants often referred to as “Indians”, as in Native Americans) by the millions to try to make them change what the US assumed to be their thinking and political beliefs; to make them submit to colonialism. This is genocide by the definition adopted by the UN general assembly, which states “Genocide is the denial of the right of existence” to “racial, religious, political and other groups”.
Most westerners have no idea that “their” tax-collectors kill journalists and other civilians by the millions for their writing, speaking, and thinking, and it would take a long time for these people to reach the point where they would even allow themselves to look at reports (from HRW, Amnesty, etc.) and documentary records to discover the truth. They are extremely emotionally resistant to this, since they have been engineered, from birth, to view their “leaders” as extensions of themselves (which they are not) and as good. (Convincing someone that he/she or his/her group is good – self-flattery – is about the easiest imaginable task.) Indeed, before the truth about the My Lai massacre (which was a typical act for the US) emerged, the US media “presented it as a triumph … trumpeted [it as] an ‘impressive victory'”. Sound familiar?
Even since Seymour Hersh revealed what really happened there, most Americans don’t know – and don’t want to know – specifics about it, such as that soldiers “carved ‘C Company’ or the shape of the ace of spades into the chests of a few victims. They raped women, then ripped open their vaginas with knives before killing them”, “cut their throats, cut off their hands, cut out their tongues, scalped them”, in continuation of the acts of mutilation and crimes against humanity that US sadists, including extremist leaders like Andrew Jackson, committed against Native Americans.
Even though this one massacre at My Lai got through the information-system’s defenses, the US media was successful in making it seem like a one-off, which it was not. It was an illustration of the US attack as a whole. As David Hackworth, the most decorated officer in the Army, commented in 2003: “There were hundreds of My Lais.” They were committed by every US brigade. Picking out one massacre is like choosing a grain of sand from a dune. Documentation of these attacks is available in Nick Turse’s examination of the documentary record on the US invasion, Kill Anything that Moves.
And in the case of the one massacre US citizens have heard of, how many people were punished? One. Think it was someone who planned/ordered the genocide? Think again. It was a low-level field-grunt, William Calley. He got three years on house arrest, then a presidential pardon from the corrupt, genocidal war-criminal Richard Nixon.
All this is to say nothing of the role of the former colonial power in Vietnam, France, which intentionally starved two million Vietnamese people to death and was maintaining its colonial regime by being the world’s biggest gang of drug peddlers. The US invasion was carried out to try to keep these brutish French lowlifes in power over the Vietnamese people. The thinking that the US wanted to wipe out – the virus it “needed” to inoculate – was thinking that said the Vietnamese people should be free. To eradicate this mode of thought, to kill this virus, the US acted to show the Vietnamese people that such thinking would lead only to their industrial extermination.
Citizen ignorance of the crimes committed by the group seizing the taxes is manufactured by the tax-collector-enmeshed information system on which the bulk of citizens rely by default – they watch (and sometimes read) whatever happens to be placed in front of them. The way it gets in front of them is giant companies spend billions of dollars to put it there. They get those billions by comprising the state/corporate violence complex, pushing its agendas, speaking in the ways it needs and suppressing what it needs suppressed, and by saying, to varying degrees targeted to specific audiences, what most people want to hear, which is, as Ron Bergundy put it, “That we live in the greatest country God ever created.”
Thus, it is up to people who have, by whatever means, managed to gain some perspective on this dynamic, to be responsible and do what they can to protect not just our “team” members, but everyone.
That is literal. The antiwar protests before the US’s illegal invasion of Iraq were huge and unprecedented for occurring before the invasion was launched, and certainly the amount of industrial killing the US carried out would have been greater in the absence of this movement, but it wasn’t nearly enough. It was a step forward from Vietnam, when US protests began years after the USA’s illegal invasion of that country, and which limited the US industrial killing machine, in that case, to “only” millions upon millions of victims. Iraq protests pushed the number of victims of the US death industry (at least the number outright killed) down below two million. But that is unspeakably unacceptable. Not only is it unacceptable, but it results in smaller numbers of killings by extremist groups that arise out of the pools of US-ground gore, as Jewish extremist groups have throughout history arisen due to Jews being ruthlessly persecuted by European terrorist organizations such as the Greek and Roman empires.
While total security is nonexistent, we urgently need to continue to increase our efforts to protect and secure our fellows worldwide from the violent monsters among us and their creations and benefactors. To do this, we need to protest against violence by our criminals and arrest the perpetrators for their acts of industrial, targeted killing, including of countless journalists for whom justice has yet to be done.
We should start by supporting safety and press freedom for all journalists, not just victims we pick and choose while ignoring/suppressing others, namely our own.
Robert Barsocchini focuses on global force dynamics and writes professionally for the film industry. He is a regular contributor to Washington’s Blog, and is published in Counter Currents, Global Research, State of Globe, Blacklisted News, LewRockwell.com, DanSanchez.me, Information Clearing House, Press TV, and other outlets. Also see: Hillary Clinton’s Record of Support for War and other Depravities. Follow Robert and UK-based colleague, Dean Robinson, on Twitter.