By Jose Maria Sison, Founding Chairman & General Consultant, International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS), & Chairman, International Network for Philippine Studies (INPS)
I wish to express the deepest sympathy for the thousands of civilian victims, including a considerable number of Filipinos and Filipino-Americans, in the deadly terrorist attacks in the United States on 11 September 2001. Said victims were in the twin towers of the World Trade Center and in four hijacked planes.
I extend sincerest condolences to the families and friends of those who died in the tragic event. I am sad that ordinary civilians take the main brunt of terrorist acts done in obvious retaliation against the long history and current acts of terrorism of US imperialism.
Customary laws and international conventions set the standard for the conduct of war in a civilized world in contrast with a barbaric one. Such a standard prohibits acts of terrorism against the civilian population, condemns crimes against humanity and requires respect for human rights and humanitarian conduct towards the civilian population and hors de combat.
Terrorism may be defined as the willful and malicious infliction and threat of death and other physical harm on innocent civilians. The US no less has been a notorious perpetrator of terrorism on a scale far larger than what is now being alleged against the private group of Osama bin Laden. But the people in the US should not be targeted for mass slaughter for the terrorist crimes of the US imperialists.
In recent times, the US officialdom and mass media have dished up as acts of humanitarianism and as audio-visual entertainment the mass destruction of human lives in Iraq and Yugoslavia through the use of US high-tech air power and cruise missiles on the civilian population and their social infrastructure.
The US and Israel have practically converted Palestine into a slaughterhouse for the Palestinian people. With overweening arrogance, US President Bush has encouraged the Sharon regime to destroy Palestinian lives and property at will.
The US has a long record of terrorism. It is responsible for the massacre of hundreds of thousands or nearly 10 percent of the Filipino people in the course of the Filipino-American war. It is also responsible for the massacre of more than a hundred thousand Japanese civilians in a matter of seconds in the atom bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It is further responsible for the massacre of millions of civilians in Korea, Indonesia, Indochina and elsewhere in the course of the Cold War.
The US has practiced the evil of terrorism for so long and this is now recoiling upon the US itself. The imperialist hyperpower is now reaping the whirlwind of terrorism that it has sown all over the world. Some of the adversaries of the US now consider as fair game the killing of American and other civilians in the same malignant spirit that the US does not wince at wreaking direct or collateral damage at the expense of civilian populations abroad.
In one more sense, the US is responsible for generating terrorism as its own Frankenstein. Even Osama bin Laden, the main suspect of the US in the 11 September terrorist attacks, is a former protegee of the US in fighting the Soviet armed forces in Afghanistan in the course of the Cold War.
At any rate, no amount of terrorism perpetrated by the US imperialists can justify any avowed anti-US force in perpetrating terrorism against the American people. Justice must be rendered to the victims in the 11 September terrorist attacks just as it must be rendered to the millions of victims of US imperialist terrorism.
It is now clear that the US is vulnerable to acts of terrorism arising from the contradictions within the American Right, between the US and its puppets-turned-enemies and among the imperialist powers. Such contradictions are intensifying under conditions of the worsening crisis of the world capitalist system.
The US monopoly bourgeoisie and policy-makers are increasingly self-conscious about the vulnerability of the US but they are callously using this to rationalize the suppression of the democratic rights of the people in the US and abroad. They are becoming even more hell-bent on oppressing and exploiting the people of the world.
Since the 1950s, it has become clear that the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans can no longer protect the US from nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles. Now, it is also becoming clear that a national missile defense system cannot protect the US from biological weapons, “luggage bombs” (miniaturized nuclear weapons in suitcases) and from hijacked jumbo jets or explosive-laden trucks.
As a consequence of the terrorist attacks in its homeground, the entire US officialdom (the Bush regime with bipartisan support) is trying to push its own colossal kind of terrorism under the pretext of fighting terrorism. Bush has received from the US Congress war-making powers similar to those given to Lyndon B. Johnson after the US-fabricated Tonkin Gulf incident and has received an initial funding of 40 billion USD.
The US has already identified the band of Osama bin Laden as the main suspect in the 11 September terrorist attacks. And yet, US State Secretary Colin Powell has declared that the US will make a “global assault” on “terrorism in general” throughout the world. US vice president Cheney and other high officials have called for the most unbridled kind of dirty tricks, such as the unlimited hiring of human rights violator and other unsavory characters and the lifting of the ban on assassination of leaders opposed to US imperialism.
The US is now using the incident as a pretext for expanding extraterritorial powers for the benefit of its military forces abroad and for launching all sorts of terrorism against the peoples that wage revolution, nations that fight for liberation and states that assert their independence. We can therefore expect more US acts of aggression, intervention and other acts of terrorism from the US and from its most servile allies and puppets.
In abject servility to the US, the Macapagal-Arroyo regime in the Philippines has volunteered the use of the Philippines again as a base for US aggression and intervention as in the past in connection with the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War and other armed conflicts. The Filipino people must resist such scheme of the US and the puppet regime.
The people of the world, including progressive American forces, should forewarn the American people not to be carried away by jingoism, war hysteria and the anti-Arab and anti-Muslim drumbeat. The US imperialists should not be allowed to run berserk with their own brand of terrorism and to obscure their responsibility for the worsening socioeconomic crisis, the reemergence of fascism and the growing danger of war.
By unleashing acts of terrorism in the world, the US can only generate hatred for US imperialism and rouse the just revolutionary resistance of the people of the world. At the same time, it will continue to provoke such terrorists as those responsible for the 11 September terrorist attacks to give the US a dose of its own medicine.
Terrorism from any quarter is reprehensible and must be combated and eradicated. The people will ultimately defeat US imperialism as it increasingly uses terrorism. The few avowedly anti-US elements that use terrorism will only destroy themselves on the road of nihilism.
Only the revolutionary mass movement can defeat US imperialism and the local reactionaries and sweep away terrorism from any direction. As the crisis of the world capitalist system worsens and deepens, the revolutionary mass movement of the proletariat and the people in general is rising and carrying forward the anti-imperialist and socialist cause.