Ryan McMaken: Americans Playing the Fools

Aggressor nations always need to manufacture rationalizations for their illegal acts. This often takes the shape of propaganda that seeks to convince that the "enemy" is not governed by the same rules of reason as the rest of us. From the Mexican War to the Gulf War, US policymakers have attempted to showcase the supposed madness of our enemies by claiming that some foreigners somehow value peace less than our more reasonable allies do.

In recent years we have been faced with similar attempts by policymakers to justify putting America’s fighting men and women in harm’s way. Take the Clinton administration’s claims that Serbia had been offered a chance for peace before the bombing started to help give Albanian terrorists the upper hand. Clinton assured us Slobodan Milosevich had been offered fair conditions for a mediating UN presence in Serbia. Naturally, the conditions offered to Milosevich (and the Serbian people) were no such thing. Milosevich was given a choice between the total military occupation of his own country or trying to withstand the American bombers. Since Milosevich did not take the non-choice offered him by the State Department, he was labeled as irrational, willing to sacrifice innocents in his own country, and basically a terrorist and a tyrant. It is convenient for the aggressors that they can so easily maketheir enemies look like loons for not selling out their own people and lie down to accept total defeat.

The image forwarded to the public that all international agreements are alike, and one peace agreement is as good as another, is part of the luck that American statists have had for some time with foreign policy. Since only a tiny fraction of Americans know anything other than the vague details of foreign policy, it is easy to pass off the rejection of a "peace agreement" as the rejection of reasonable and humane conditions that any sane person would accept.

Unfortunately, this practice of passing off those who reject "peace offers" as madmen is being increasingly employed by America’s buddies involved in the Middle East "peace process." This is especially favored by the maniacally anti-Palestinian neo-conservative establishment who cannot bring themselves to accept that all Muslims are not pathological and must remind themselves daily by reiterating the same half-truths about Palestinians over and over again.

A favored approach to proving the mental illness of all Muslims is the repeated assertion by the neo-conservatives that the Palestinian Authority has already been offered independence in 96% of the West Bank and other areas, and has refused to take the offer. The reality is that the Israelis have only offered nominal control of land they deem "negotiable." The actual land that they are willing to grant "control" of to Palestinians adds up to less than half of the land in which the Palestinians are currently in the majority. The figures thrown around meant to exhibit the Israeli government’s generosity are actually little more than stealth numbers designed to make the Palestinians (and their Muslim neighbors) look like nutcases.

None of this is new in war propaganda, but the establishment has had to lean on it more and more as it becomes increasingly obvious that culpability for the unending violence in Israel lies with both sides. Some would have us believe that it is all due to the alleged irrationality of the Palestinians, but only a fool would accept the "concessions" made by Israeli officials.

With Bush’s overtures toward creating a Palestinian state, the neo-conservatives are scared stiff that Bush might actually encourage offering some real autonomy to the Palestinian Authority, and not the usual nonsense offered by Israel and the US State Department for the express purpose of having something to blow up in the faces of the Palestinians.

If the war on terrorism is to ever end, we must begin by ending the game of "gotcha" that we are playing with the Palestinians by trying to fool them into voluntarily sacrificing any hope they have of saving the lands and homes of Arabs in the Holy Land. If the phrase "peace process" is to mean anything, true autonomy must be on the bargaining table. Anything less will be just another ploy designed to make the Palestinians look foolish, and in the context of the war on terrorism, such behavior will do nothing toward what should be our only goal: protecting the lives of Americans.

Ryan McMaken

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