Orlando: Islam or Blowback?

by | Jun 20, 2016


According to the Telegraph newspaper, “Omar Mateen, the Orlando gunman, told his victims the attack was revenge for American bombing of Afghanistan, but allowed black Americans to be released because ‘they have suffered enough.’”

The person who recounted what Mateen said is 20-year-old Patience Carter. According to theTelegraph article, she heard Mateen telling police on the phone that he was pledging allegiance to Isil and saying the attacks were in retaliation for America’s bombing of Afghanistan.”

So, why do so many Americans, especially the US mainstream press, do everything they can to avoid confronting that simple fact — that Mateen killed those people in retaliation for America’s bombing of Afghanistan?

Indeed, why have they done the same thing with respect to every other anti-American terrorist attack since 1993?

Beginning with the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center and continuing with the attack on the USS Cole, the attack on the US Embassies in East Africa, the 9/11 attacks, the Boston Marathon attack, the Ft. Hood attack, the San Bernardino attack, and others, the terrorists have made it clear that they are retaliating for the death and destruction that the US government has wreaked on people in the Middle East or Afghanistan, including countless people of the Muslim faith.

Nonetheless, so many Americans, especially the US mainstream press, do everything they can to avoid confronting that basic fact — that all the Americans who died in those attacks died at the hands of terrorists who were retaliating for what the US government had done to people over there.


People will point to the fact that the terrorists are religious fanatics. They’ll point to sections in the Koran that appear to condone violence. They’ll point to the notion that Muslims have been waging a centuries-long war to establish a world-wide caliphate.

But they will scrupulously avoid confronting the fact that those religious fanatics have killed Americans in retaliation for the people the US national-security state has been killing over there on a continuous basis for the last 25 years — and before the first terrorist attack was committed on US soil.

It seems to me that the most likely reason for this phenomenon is the fact that people are to suggest that the US government was the one that started the killing game. They’re scared that if they go down that road, they’ll realize that there is a choice to be made: Continue the US killing of people over there, which will mean more retaliatory terrorism here at home, or stop killing people over there, which will mean no more retaliatory terrorism here at home.

Avoiding the retaliation issue enables people to avoid having to face that choice. By simply focusing on such things as Islam, the Koran, radical Muslims, regular Muslims, and the supposed Islamic quest for a worldwide caliphate, people think that they can, in good conscience, continue supporting the Pentagon, the CIA, and the troops as they continue to kill and injure more people over there while blocking out of their minds that that choice comes with some very adverse consequences.

Keep in mind that this is not a chicken-and-the-egg problem. When the terrorists struck on 9/11, US officials and the mainstream press took the position that the terrorists started the killing with their terrorist strikes on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Thus, in their minds the US national-security establishment was justified in invading Afghanistan and Iraq. The terrorists were considered the aggressors and the United States the defender.

Not so, however. In fact, the 9/11 terrorists made it very clear that they were retaliating for the massive number of people who the US war machine had already killed in the Middle East prior to 9/11, specifically through the Persian Gulf War intervention, in which the US war machine killed tens of thousands of Iraqis, followed by the brutal sanctions on Iraq, which killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children, followed by UN Ambassador Madeleine Albright’s infamous declaration that the deaths of half-a-million Iraqi children from the sanctions was worth it, followed by the illegal no-fly zones over Iraq, which killed more people, including children.

Ever since 9/11, both sides — the US side and the terrorist side — have been playing a dance of death with each other, with the terrorist side saying that it’s retaliating for the deaths the US national-security state is wreaking in the Middle East and Afghanistan and the US side saying that it’s killing terrorists before they can come to the United States and commit terrorist strikes.

But in fact, it was the US government that started the killing. After the US national-security state lost its official enemy — communism — with the end of the Cold War, it chose to go into the Middle East and poke some hornets’ nests, which entailed killing people — lots of people. When the hornets came out in retaliation and stung, US officials played the innocent, proclaimed that the terrorists just hate America for its “freedom and values,” and claimed that they now needed to burn out the hornets’ nests. (See my essay “A Foreign Policy Primer for Children: The Fable of the Hornets,” which was published two months after the 9/11 attacks. It’s for adults too.)

The deadly poking of those hornets’ nests explains why Ramzi Yousef, one of the terrorists in the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, angrily called US officials “butchers” at his sentencing hearing in a US District Court. He was referring to the massive number of deaths of Iraqi children that US officials had caused with their brutal sanctions on Iraq. Those deaths were also cited by Osama bin Laden in the months preceding the 9/11 attacks.

Why is all this important?

Because at this point, Americans have the same choice that they have had both before and after 9/11. Here is the choice:

1. Keep American troops in the Middle East and Afghanistan, where they will kill more people, whether in the name of combatting ISIS, stabilizing Iraq, ousting Bashar al-Assad as president of Syria, or whatever.

In contemplating this choice, every American should ask himself the following questions:

Are the continued US interventions in the Middle East and Afghanistan worth it?

Are they worth more San Bernardinos, Bostons, Orlandos, and Ft. Hoods? Because mark my words: As I have said after every terrorist attack on American soil, more retaliatory terrorist strikes will come, just as certain as thunder follows lightning. If someone believes that the troops and the CIA will kill or capture all the terrorist before they can engage in more retaliatory killing here in the United States — or that US officials can keep Americans safe from more retaliatory killing over here, he is naïve to the extreme.

Are they worth the massive destruction of civil liberties and privacy of the American people (e.g., the Patriot Act, the power to incarcerate, torture, and assassinate American without trial and due process of law, secret surveillance schemes, and other police-state measures)?

Are they worth the out-of-control federal spending and debt that are bankrupting our nation?

2. The other choice is: Withdraw all US troops from the Middle East and Afghanistan, bring them home, and discharge them. No more US killing of anyone, including ISIS, Assad’s forces, or the Taliban. Just leave Afghanistan and the Middle East alone to attempt to straighten out the horror that US interventionism has brought those parts of the world.

Choosing this second option would mean no more anti-American retaliatory terrorist attacks, a restoration of American liberty and privacy, and the restoration of fiscal responsibility and economic prosperity for our country. Of course, it would also mean no more out-of-control spending and debt for the national-security establishment or what President Eisenhower called the military-industrial complex.

The choice sure seems like a no-brainer to me.

Reprinted with permission from the Future of Freedom Foundation.


  • Jacob G. Hornberger

    Jacob George Hornberger is an American attorney, author, and politician who was a Libertarian candidate for president in 2000 and 2020. He is the founder and president of the Future of Freedom Foundation.

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