Just as Star Parker could be expected to exploit the propaganda potential of abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell’s murder conviction, Cal Thomas was bound to weigh in on the recent murder of a British soldier outside his London barracks. Thomas’s tirade against radical Islam would not have been out of place in Britain’s Daily Mail or The Sun, where declamations against foreigners are a staple of lowbrow, populist reporting. Here at home, right-wing rags such as the Leesburg Daily Commercial find an equally enthusiastic audience for their toxic brew of fear-mongering and ignorance. When Cal Thomas asks whether the advancement of radical Islam can be stopped, he is asking a deliberately misleading question. If human honesty is to have any chance of survival against this onslaught of hatred, a more appropriate question would be whether the advancement of imperial propaganda can be stopped. With blood in the streets and emotions running high, the propagandists have a sizable head start.
For readers who may be new to this website, let us point out that we are in no way, shape, or form condoning the brutality that recently visited Woolwich or Boston. What we seek to do here is to place such events in their proper context. In order to do that we must cast a critical eye over the propaganda that masquerades as news, and recognize that for professional propagandists like Cal Thomas and Clifford May, the inculcation of perspective is anathema to their goal of controlling the destiny of the American republic by circumscribing the boundaries of popular thought. Today’s column by Thomas provides a textbook example.
Thomas gets off to a rollicking start by invoking Churchill, one of the last century’s most ardent imperialists, as an authority to support his contention that Islam is a “retrograde force,” a “militant and proselytizing faith,” and a threat to Western civilization. Using Churchill to tiptoe around the modern scourge of “political correctness,” Thomas would have us believe that the violence wrought in Woolwich is only to be expected from Muslims, and then uses most of the rest of his column to tout an anti-Islamic “documentary.” For many of Thomas’s readers, all of this will no doubt be eminently digestible fare. But for those of us who retain some capacity for independent thought, there is a huge lump of gristle spoiling the platter:
One of the men arrested in London spoke of his motivation: “The only reason we have killed this man today is because Muslims are dying daily by British soldiers.”
What Westerners struggle to figure out is how to distinguish Islamists from moderate Muslims and how to recognize the true Islamist when they are taught to deceive us about their radical beliefs.
To the extent that Thomas responds at all to the killer’s stated motive, he implies that this statement is nothing more than an example of the deception that “radical Islam” employs to further its agenda of taking over America by stealth. For anyone still possessing a shred of moral dignity or intellectual integrity, this is a truly abhorrent distortion of reality. Muslims are being killed every day by Western forces, and while that may not constitute justification for reprisal murders, it is an undeniable fact of central importance that cannot simply be wafted away by a stroke of the propagandist’s pen.
Our Blood is Red; Theirs is Invisible
Repeatedly on this website we have noted the death toll of America’s most recent imperial adventures. The very conservative estimate of 100,000 dead Iraqis in George W. Bush’s unilateral attack is bad enough but may be underestimating the total death toll by a factor of ten, as numerous sources put the real figure at or above one million. No, not all of those deaths were directly caused by American or British armed forces, but the indirect causation is indisputable, albeit seldom acknowledged. These deaths follow on the heels of the 500,000 children (one million people of all ages) who died as a result of Bill Clinton’s pointlessly brutal sanctions regime against Iraq. In Afghanistan, the conflict that followed America’s arrival has claimed approximately 15,000 civilian lives, while 50,000 Libyans have just perished in a civil war fomented by a Western cabal. America’s ever-so-civilized drone wars – far less messy than hacking one’s enemies to pieces with a meat cleaver – have claimed at least 3,000 lives in Pakistan1 (overwhelmingly civilian, despite President Obama’s continuing insistence that his deadly force is targeted with the surgical precision befitting a constitutional law professor) while additional bodies pile up in the even less-well publicized conflict areas of Somalia and Yemen.
And those are just the obvious deaths. During the Cold War, America’s anti-communist cover-story for the protection of imperial interests brought great suffering and bloodshed to far-flung regions of the globe, many of which were predominantly Muslim. Indonesia’s General Suharto was supported by the United States and Britain; during his corrupt 32-year rule, over one million Indonesians were killed in political and territorial conflicts. (Margaret Thatcher gushed that Suharto was “one of our very best and most valuable friends.) The CIA trained the security forces of the Shah of Iran – the notorious Savak, who engaged in vicious torture techniques against their own people. (And here we are, over fifty years later, still claiming to be the good guys.) The list of American-supported dictators in the Middle East alone goes on and on, as does the ability of the American people to wash their hands of the whole, sordid business.
One would have to be cognitively impaired, in addition to morally degenerate, to fail to acknowledge that a huge amount of Muslim blood has been spilled as a direct and indirect result of Western (chiefly American) military action. And one would have to be singularly lacking in imaginative intelligence to fail to wonder how we would react should a distant power invade our homeland, destroy our society, and impose martial law. Might one be just a tad upset? The late, great scholar Chalmers Johnson referred to this inevitable desire for retaliation as blowback, yet to a plutocratic errand boy like Cal Thomas the people of the Islamic world have no legitimate reason to attack the West. In Thomas’s pernicious narrative, Muslim violence can only be described as a tactic in their alleged long-term battle of civilizations, while Western violence is always unquestioned and implicitly noble and justified. Western deaths are tragedies that require a firm, generally violent response; Muslim deaths are not even granted widespread recognition as statistics.
Whichever God is watching over us – ours, theirs, or none at all – this casual indifference to massive loss of life undermines the West’s claim to civilization and Cal Thomas’s claim to be its guardian.
- Link removed 10/11/15 due to 404 error. Figure from the Living Under Drones report. ↩