The PSL presidential campaign of Gloria La Riva and Eugene Puryear condemns Donald Trump’s fascistic attacks on Muslims. Among his ongoing bigoted rants, Trump has called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” He has also called for surveillance against mosques and establishing a database for all Muslims living in the U.S. In response to ISIS terrorist attacks, Trump has even gone so far as saying: “You have to take out their families.”
Making racist comments is hardly the exclusive domain of Trump. He is only the most outspoken demagogue among a mob of racist ruling class politicians. In a primary where all Republican candidates are engaged in a sickening race for who can make the most outrageously bigoted statements, Trump often outmaneuvers his counterparts.
Democratic Party politicians, on the other hand, take a more subtle approach, often giving lip service to tolerance and acceptance. But it is important to point out that the Democrats share responsibility for the creation of an Islamophobic environment. U.S. foreign policy is what has fostered the emergence of ISIS and Al Qaeda. Democrats and Republicans have pursued the same goals in the Middle East through bloody interventions.
Al Qaeda traces its roots to the civil war in Afghanistan. In the 1980s, it was the Carter and Reagan administrations that organized, funded and armed the Afghan Mujahedeen, out of whom grew Al Qaeda. The administration of Bush I invaded Iraq in 1991, destroyed its infrastructure and launched the genocidal sanctions on its people, which took upwards of a million lives.
Bush II invaded Iraq in 2003, overthrew its secular state and occupied the country for over eight years. Even though the Bush administration used alleged ties between the Iraqi state and Al Qaeda as one of its justifications for invading Iraq, Al Qaeda really gained a foothold in Iraq as a consequence of the occupation.
The Obama administration has supported and aided the opposition rebels in Syria since early 2011 as an attempt to overthrow another independent state in the region. By far, the two most powerful rebel forces in Syria are the Islamic State and the Nusra Front, Syria’s Al Qaeda affiliate. Both forces are direct and indirect beneficiaries of U.S. support.
When ISIS and Al Qaeda carry out terrorist attacks in the West, the business media and the politicians jump at the opportunity to demonize Muslims. Trump and other demagogues call for the collective punishment of Muslims. Others essentially expect the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims to collectively apologize. Elements from the Muslim community in the United States are paraded in the media, effectively forced to pledge loyalty to the U.S. system of government.
However, when the U.S. government engages in terrorist killings of people in the Middle East, it is with the approval of U.S. politicians, Democrats and Republicans alike. Under the Obama administration, U.S. drones bomb targets in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia on an ongoing basis, in blatant violation of international law and the sovereignty of targeted countries.
Even by the Pentagon’s admission, many victims of the bombings are not who they designate as “combatants” and “terrorists.” “Taking out their families” is not Trump’s new idea. The Pentagon has long been murdering women and children in the Middle East, family members of ISIS and Al Qaeda or not. But they refuse to acknowledge their crimes, or simply write off the victims as “collateral damage.”
In May 1996, five years into the genocidal sanctions on Iraq, then U.S. ambassador to the UN under the Clinton administration, Madeline Albright, was asked whether the deaths of a half-million Iraqi children due to the sanctions were “worth the price.” Albright responded: “we think the price is worth it.”
When U.S. politicians approve of the genocidal sanctions and consider the murder of 500,000 Iraqi children as justified, what moral standing do they have to condemn terrorist killings of a tiny fraction of those numbers in the West?
La Riva and Puryear, PSL candidates for president and vice president in 2016, consider ending U.S. occupations and other forms of intervention in the Middle East as the first step to address the issue of terrorist attacks on civilians. Rather than demonizing Muslims, attacking them and subjecting them to bigotry, we should acknowledge the crimes committed by the U.S. government in the Middle East. The real enemy of working-class people in the United States is not people of the Islamic faith but the Wall-Street-sponsored government in Washington that commits unspeakable crimes in the name of the American people – the same government that commits crimes here at home.