If the minions of the neocon right are to be believed, the struggle in Iraq, (and by extension, the Middle East) is essentially a war against what they call "extremism."
Even the verbally challenged President George W. Bush has argued, quite strenuously, against "Islamic extremists."
It seems like many in the right are trying out new terms every week, to stoke the fires of fear about new and foreboding threats to the besieged American republic: "extremists"; "Islamic extremists"; "Islamofascists"; "dead-enders", et al.
For politicians words are weapons, which are used to sell images, such like Madison Ave. sells soap. Every so often, even the best product must be made "new" or "improved!"
And why shouldn't they? Hasn't it worked before?
We now sneer at the phrase 'weapons of mass destruction', but several years ago it rang in the head like a klaxon.
Is it radical or extremist to fight against foreigners who invade your country, and try to impose strangers who function as puppets for these foreigners?
Why is the administration never seen as "extremist" for invading a foreign country based on false pretenses? Why isn't it viewed as "extreme" for its mad plan to 'remake the face of the Middle East?'
Why isn't its response for the desperate acts of 19 men, (9/11), of invading a nation that had nothing to do with that act, seen as "extreme?"
That it isn't is largely because of the obedient services of the corporate media, which sought obscene ratings by playing the fear card, and waving the flag.
They did so because their paychecks are signed by big business, and this administration has been good for big business.
They served their corporate masters, but betrayed their publics.
Yet this is hardly a new thing. Scholar and writer, Michael Parenti, in the 2004 book Super Patriotism (San Francisco: City Lights Books) looks beyond the present manic Bush Regime, to view a long history of US extremism all around the world:
"US LEADERS HAVE LONG PROFESSED A DEDICATION TO DEMOCRACY, yet over the last half century they have devoted themselves to overthrowing democratic governments in Guatemala, Guyana, the Dominican Republic, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Syria, Indonesia (under Sukarno), Greece (twice), Argentina (twice), Haiti (twice), Bolivia, Jamaica, Yugoslavia, and other countries. These countries were all guilty of pursuing policies that occasionally favored the poorer elements and infringed upon the more affluent. In most instances, the US-sponsored coups were accompanied by widespread killings of democratic activists.
"US leaders have supported covert actions, sanctions, or proxy mercenary wars against revolutionary governments in Cuba, Angola, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Iraq (with the CIA ushering in Saddam Hussein's reign of repression), Portugal, South Yemen, Nicaragua, Cambodia, East Timor, Western Sahara, and elsewhere.
"US interventions and destabilization campaigns have been directed against other populist nationalistic governments, including Egypt, Lebanon, Peru, Iran, Syria, Zaire, Venezuela, the Fiji Islands, and Afghanistan (before the Soviets ever went into the country).
"And since World War II, direct US military invasions or aerial attacks or both have been perpetrated against Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, North Korea, Yugoslavia, Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, Libya, Somalia, and Iraq (twice). There is no 'rogue state,' 'axis of evil,' or communist country that has a comparable record of such criminal aggression against other nations." (pp. 133-34]
In light of this kind of history, who are the "extremists?"
In light of this history, who are the "radicals?"
This isn't a 'war against extremism' -- it is a war waged by extremists.
It is a war waged by ideologues drunk on power, and willing to break a nation to prove their theories of the so-called 'free market.'
Iraq is essentially a broken state, awaiting its final crack.
Like hungry wolves, these dudes are looking for the next morsel to munch on.
Column Written 10/15/06. Copyright '06 Mumia Abu-Jamal