"What if...?"

  • 2001-11-08
  • Viktor M. Sholokhov
I have been relegated by fate to an observer status, a senior citizen with time to observe and contemplate events. Engineering, my former field of work, demands an inquisitive mind, to ask questions like, "What if...?", in order to avoid future disasters due to equipment and/or human (political) error, as opposed to politicians who in general tend to act or react before they stop to think.

Prime examples of reacting before thinking appear to be the U.S. president's rather hasty declarations of "global war" and the totalitarian (Leninist) "Whoever is not with us is against us." Apparently he and his advisers did not stop to ask, "What if the war brings untold misery, death and devastation to many nations and thousands of innocent people and their homes?" Does the Sept. 11 atrocity really justify the escalation of military terror and bombing by several magnitudes - unless some ethnic entities are more equal, i.e., one white equals a hundred-plus Asians?

What if the "global war" will really serve the imperial ambitions of the mysterious new world order and will last for long years to eventually end in ignoble devastation and failure, like Vietnam, Nicaragua, Angola, Iraq, with the U.S.A. a virtual police state?

What if the nations, presently compelled by U.S. monetary-and-armament-might to reluctant obedience slowly realize that the U.S.A. is swinging a double-bladed battle-ax to hunt hornets?

How can an empire unable to win the officially declared "drug war" in Columbia win a global war in the Asian expanses?

Hardly audible for the din of propaganda, questions are arising as to who will profit from the war besides the oil and "security" industries, and the "military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower warned America of in his farewell speech?

Granted, the military does need periodic wars to get rid of stockpiles, to test their ever-more terrifying weapons in real battle conditions and to demonstrate U.S. imperial might.

Less audible are the questions as to why highly educated men from well-off families decided to sacrifice their lives in a terror attack that probably succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. Two prominent buildings collapsed, the Pentagon damaged, the U.S. economy partially paralyzed, civil liberties curtailed and the U.S. on the road to "1984."

Could the real reason be revenge for unjustly killed family or tribe members?

The Egyptian version of the Sept. 11 Flight 990 disaster differs from the official U.S. version. U.S. armaments and sanctions are used to terrorize and assassinate Palestinians, destroy their homes and olive groves and make space for militant Israeli settlers. More than 17,000 people killed in Israel's invasion of Lebanon. The brutal bombardment of Iraq. U.S.-supported governments reaping profits from oil production.

Unfortunately, extremism begets extremism and nobody appears willing to admit to the real causes, the control of oil wells and the expansion of Israel on Palestinian land.

Flexing the inherited Anglo-Saxon imperial muscles, the U.S. government's attempts to be the world's cop have so far produced a rather dismal new world order. The might of arms and squandered money to prop up "friendly" totalitarian regimes have produced reluctant obedience and kow-towing and no real friends or allies that deft diplomacy could have produced.

An over-extended empire will eventually collapse, like its predecessors.

In Anglo-Saxon literature, news media, TV, and the movie industry, Arabs and Islam in general have been profiled as villains. Hence declaring a "global war" against Islamic countries under the thin disguise of fighting "terrorism" did fall on fertile ground.

Every war needs a real or imaginary enemy, a Satan, to rally the troops. For some reason a rather obscure princeling, Osama bin Laden, was selected, a CIA-trained and financed anti-Russian Afghanistan mujahidin who was apparently abandoned by the CIA and decided to challenge his former mentors.

U.S. propaganda and the media have created a veritable monster who dared stand up against U.S. imperial might. Due to the extensive publicity, he will probably die as a martyr, honored for many generations in stories and ballads.

Again the U.S.A. did not stop to ask, "What if we do not build up this man and keep quiet? Soon he will be forgotten."

Although Afghanistan is being reduced to rubble, like European cities in World War II and Vietnam, it is not too late to stop. Though U.S. air and naval power can reduce cities to rubble, the U.S.A. does not have the manpower for occupation and administration.

The common people of Islam are not extremists. There are numerous peace groups in Israel, Egypt, Palestine, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and so on.

What if diplomatic roads lead to a more humane solution? What if the U.S. reduces its all too visible occupation forces and naval presence in the Gulf? What if the money used for arms to pulverize cities is used instead to build decent living quarters for the Arab Islamic peoples, to provide water supplies and create jobs?

What if the oil money given to princes and dictators is channeled, at least partially, to upgrade local populations' living standards?

What if the U.S.A. and Israel turn their human face and start treating others as equals, for the fertile ground for terrorism to shrink and eventually disappear?