Not Explaining the Why of Terrorism

Exclusive: President Obama signed a U.S.-Afghan strategic agreement on May 1, committing U.S. combat forces to withdraw by the end of 2014 while leaving behind U.S. counter-terrorism teams for another decade. But Obama and his aides still duck a full debate over the causes of terrorism, writes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

By Ray McGovern

John Brennan, President Obama’s chief adviser on counter-terrorism, has again put on public display two unfortunate facts: (1) that the White House has no clue as to how to counter terrorism; and (2) (in Brennan’s words) “the unfortunate fact that to save many innocent lives we are sometimes obliged to take lives.”

In a speech on April 30, Brennan did share one profound insight: “Countries typically don’t want foreign soldiers in their cities and towns.” His answer to that? “The precision of targeted [drone] strikes.” Does he really mean to suggest that local populations are more accepting of unmanned drones buzzing overhead and firing missiles on the push of a button by a “pilot” halfway around the world?

Counterterrorism adviser John Brennan (second from right) in the Situation Room as President Obama and his national security team monitored the raid against Osama bin Laden on May 1, 2011. (White House photo)

Beneath Brennan’s Orwellian rhetoric lies the reality that he remains unable (or unwilling) to deal with, the $64 question former White House correspondent Helen Thomas asked him repeatedly on Jan. 8, 2010, about why terrorists do the things they do:

Brennan: “Al Qaeda is just determined to carry out attacks here against the homeland.”

Thomas: “But you haven’t explained why.”

Is it possible he still has no clue? To demonstrate how little progress Brennan has made in the way of understanding the challenge of “terrorism,” let’s look back at my commentary in early 2010 about Brennan’s vacuous non-answers to Helen Thomas. At the time, I wrote:

Thank God for Helen Thomas, the only person to show any courage at the White House press briefing after President Barack Obama gave a flaccid account of the intelligence screw-up that almost downed an airliner on Christmas Day 2009.

After Obama briefly addressed L’Affaire Abdulmutallab and wrote “must do better” on the report cards of the national security schoolboys responsible for the near catastrophe, the President turned the stage over to counter-terrorism guru John Brennan and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

It took 89-year old veteran correspondent Helen Thomas (now 91) to break through the vapid remarks about rechanneling “intelligence streams,” fixing “no-fly” lists, deploying “behavior detection officers,” and buying more body-imaging scanners.

Thomas recognized the John & Janet filibuster for what it was, as her catatonic press colleagues took their customary dictation and asked their predictable questions. Instead, Thomas posed an adult query that spotlighted the futility of government plans to counter terrorism with more high-tech gizmos and more intrusions on the liberties and privacy of the traveling public.

She asked why Abdulmutallab did what he did. Thomas: “And what is the motivation? We never hear what you find out on why.”

Brennan: “Al Qaeda is an organization that is dedicated to murder and wanton slaughter of innocents. They attract individuals like Mr. Abdulmutallab and use them for these types of attacks. He was motivated by a sense of religious sort of drive. Unfortunately, al Qaeda has perverted Islam, and has corrupted the concept of Islam, so that he’s (sic) able to attract these individuals. But al Qaeda has the agenda of destruction and death.”

Thomas: “And you’re saying it’s because of religion?”

Brennan: “I’m saying it’s because of an al Qaeda organization that used the banner of religion in a very perverse and corrupt way.”

Thomas: “Why?”

Brennan: “I think this is a, long issue, but al Qaeda is just determined to carry out attacks here against the homeland.”

Thomas: “But you haven’t explained why.”

Neither did President Obama, nor anyone else in the U.S. political/media hierarchy. All the American public gets is the boilerplate about how al Qaeda evildoers are perverting a religion and exploiting impressionable young men. There is almost no discussion about why so many people in the Muslim world object to U.S. policies so strongly that they are inclined to resist violently and even resort to suicide attacks.

Obama’s Non-Answer

I had been hoping Obama would say something intelligent about what drove Abdulmutallab to do what he did, but the President uttered a few vacuous comments before sending in the clowns. This is what he said before he walked away from the podium:

“It is clear that al Qaeda increasingly seeks to recruit individuals without known terrorist affiliations to do their bidding. And that’s why we must communicate clearly to Muslims around the world that al Qaeda offers nothing except a bankrupt vision of misery and death while the United States stands with those who seek justice and progress. That’s the vision that is far more powerful than the hatred of these violent extremists.”

But why it is so hard for Muslims to “get” that message? Why can’t they end their preoccupation with dodging U.S. missiles in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Gaza long enough to reflect on how we are only trying to save them from terrorists while simultaneously demonstrating our commitment to “justice and progress”?

Does a smart fellow like Obama expect us to believe that all we need to do is “communicate clearly to Muslims” that it is al Qaeda, not the U.S. and its allies, that brings “misery and death”? Does any informed person not know that the unprovoked U.S.-led invasion of Iraq killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and displaced 4.5 million from their homes? How is that for “misery and death”?

Rather than a failure to communicate, U.S. officials are trying to rewrite recent history, which seems to be much easier to accomplish with the Washington press corps and large segments of the American population than with the Muslim world. But why isn’t there a frank discussion by America’s leaders and media about the real motivation of Muslim anger toward the United States? Why was Helen Thomas the only journalist to raise the touchy but central question of motive?

Peeking Behind the Screen

We witnessed a similar phenomenon when the 9/11 Commission Report tiptoed into a cautious discussion of possible motives behind the 9/11 attacks. To their credit, the drafters of that report apparently went as far as their masters would allow, in gingerly introducing a major elephant into the room: “America’s policy choices have consequences. Right or wrong, it is simply a fact that American policy regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and American actions in Iraq are dominant staples of popular commentary across the Arab and Muslim world.” (p. 376)

When asked later about the flabby way that last sentence ended, former Rep. Lee Hamilton, Vice-Chair of the 9/11 Commission, explained that there had been a Donnybrook over whether that paragraph could be included at all.

The drafters also squeezed in the reason given by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed as to why he “masterminded” the attacks on 9/11: “By his own account, KSM’s animus toward the United States stemmed from his violent disagreement with U.S. foreign policy favoring Israel.”

Would you believe that former Vice President Dick Cheney has also pointed to U.S. support for Israel as one of the “true sources of resentment”? This unique piece of honesty crept into his speech to the American Enterprise Institute on May 21, 2009.

Sure, he also trotted out the bromide that the terrorists hate “all the things that make us a force for good in the world.” But the Israel factor slipped into the speech, perhaps an inadvertent acknowledgement of the Israeli albatross adorning the neck of U.S. policy in the Middle East. Very few pundits and academicians are willing to allude to this reality, presumably out of fear for their future career prospects.

Former senior CIA officer Paul R. Pillar, now a professor at Georgetown University, is one of the few willing to refer, in his typically understated way, to “all the other things including policies and practices that affect the likelihood that people will be radicalized, and will try to act out the anger against us.” One has to fill in the blanks regarding what those “other things” are.

But no worries. Secretary Napolitano has a fix for this unmentionable conundrum. It’s called “counter-radicalization,” which she describes thusly: “How do we identify someone before they become radicalized to the point where they’re ready to blow themselves up with others on a plane? And how do we communicate better American values and so forth around the globe?”

Better communication. That’s the ticket.

Hypocrisy and Double Talk

But Napolitano doesn’t acknowledge the underlying problem, which is that many Muslims have watched Washington’s behavior closely for many years and view U.S. declarations about peace, justice, democracy and human rights as infuriating examples of hypocrisy and double talk. So, Washington’s sanitized discussion about motives for terrorism seems more intended for the U.S. domestic audience than the Muslim world.

After all, people in the Middle East already know how Palestinians have been mistreated for decades; how Washington has propped up Arab dictatorships; how Muslims have been locked away at Guantanamo without charges; how the U.S. military has killed civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere; how U.S. mercenaries have escaped punishment for slaughtering innocents.

The purpose of U.S. “public diplomacy” appears more designed to shield Americans from this unpleasant reality, offering instead feel-good palliatives about the beneficence of U.S. actions. Most American journalists and politicians go along with the charade out of fear that otherwise they would be accused of lacking patriotism or sympathizing with “the enemy.”

Commentators who are neither naive nor afraid are simply shut out of the Fawning Corporate Media (FCM).’s Glenn Greenwald, for example, has complained loudly about “how our blind, endless enabling of Israeli actions fuels terrorism directed at the U.S.,” and how it is taboo to point this out.

Greenwald recently called attention to a little-noticed Associated Press report on the possible motives of the 23-year-old Nigerian Abdulmutallab. The report quoted his Yemeni friends to the effect that the he was “not overtly extremist.” But they noted that he was open about his sympathies toward the Palestinians and his anger over Israel’s actions in Gaza. (Emphasis added)

Former CIA specialist on al Qaeda, Michael Scheuer, has been still more outspoken on what he sees as Israel’s tying down the American Gulliver in the Middle East. Speaking Monday on C-SPAN, he complained bitterly that any debate on the issue of American support for Israel and its effects is normally squelched. Scheuer added that the Israel Lobby had just succeeded in getting him removed from his job at the Jamestown Foundation think tank for saying that Obama was “doing what I call the Tel Aviv Two Step.”

More to the point, Scheuer asserted: “For anyone to say that our support for Israel doesn’t hurt us in the Muslim world is to just defy reality.”

Beyond loss of work, those who speak out can expect ugly accusations. The Israeli media network Arutz Sheva, which is considered the voice of the settler movement, weighed in strongly, citing Scheuer’s C-SPAN remarks and branding them “blatantly anti-Semitic.”

Media Squelching

As for media squelching, I continue to be amazed at how otherwise informed folks express total surprise when I refer them to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s statement about his motivation for attacking the United States, as cited on page 147 of the 9/11 Commission Report: “By his own account, KSM’s animus toward the United States stemmed not from his experience there as a student, but rather from his violent disagreement with U.S. foreign policy favoring Israel.”

And one can understand how even those following such things closely can get confused. Five years after the 9/11 Commission Report, on Aug. 30, 2009, readers of the neoconservative Washington Post were given a diametrically different view, based on what the Post called “an intelligence summary”:

“KSM’s limited and negative experience in the United States, which included a brief jail stay because of unpaid bills, almost certainly helped propel him on his path to becoming a terrorist He stated that his contact with Americans, while minimal, confirmed his view that the United States was a debauched and racist country.”

Apparently, the Post found this revisionist version politically more convenient, in that it obscured Mohammed’s other explanation implicating “U.S. foreign policy favoring Israel.” It’s much more comforting to view KSM as a disgruntled visitor who nursed his personal grievances into justification for mass murder.

An unusually candid view of the dangers accruing from the U.S. identification with Israel’s policies appeared five years ago in an unclassified study published by the Pentagon-appointed U.S. Defense Science Board on Sept. 23, 2004. Contradicting President George W. Bush, the board stated:

“Muslims do not ‘hate our freedom,’ but rather, they hate our policies. The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in favor of Israel and against Palestinian rights, and the longstanding, even increasing support for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan, and the Gulf States.

“Thus, when American public diplomacy talks about bringing democracy to Islamic societies, this is seen as no more than self-serving hypocrisy.”

Abdulmutallab’s Attack

Getting back to Abdulmutallab and his motive in trying to blow up the airliner, how was this individual without prior terrorist affiliations suddenly transformed into an international terrorist ready to die while killing innocents?

If, as John Brennan seems to suggest, al Qaeda terrorists are hard-wired for terrorism at birth for the “wanton slaughter of innocents,” how are they able to jump-start a privileged 23-year old Nigerian, inculcate him with the acquired characteristics of a terrorist, and persuade him to do the bidding of al Qaeda/Persian Gulf?

As indicated above, the young Nigerian seems to have had particular trouble with Israel’s wanton slaughter of more than a thousand civilians in Gaza a year ago, a brutal campaign that was defended in Washington as justifiable self-defense.

Moreover, it appears that Abdulmuttallab is not the only anti-American “terrorist” so motivated. When the Saudi and Yemeni branches of al Qaeda announced that they were uniting into “al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula,” their combined rhetoric railed against the Israeli attack on Gaza.

And on Dec. 30, 2009, Humam Khalil Abu Mulal al-Balawi, a 32-year-old Jordanian physician from a family of Palestinian origin, killed seven American CIA operatives and one Jordanian intelligence officer near Khost, Afghanistan, when he detonated a suicide bomb. Though most U.S. media stories treated al-Balawi as a fanatical double-agent driven by irrational hatreds, other motivations could be gleaned by carefully reading articles about his personal history.

Al-Balawi’s mother told Agence France-Presse that her son had never been an “extremist.” Al-Balawi’s widow, Defne Bayrak, made a similar statement to Newsweek.  In a New York Times article, al-Balawi’s brother was quoted as describing him as a “very good brother” and a “brilliant doctor.”

So what led al-Balawi to take his own life in order to kill U.S. and Jordanian intelligence operatives? Al-Balawi’s widow said her husband “started to change” after the American-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. His brother said al-Balawi “changed” during last year’s three-week-long Israeli offensive in Gaza, which killed about 1,300 Palestinians.

When al-Balawi volunteered with a medical organization to treat injured Palestinians in Gaza, he was arrested by Jordanian authorities, his brother said. It was after that arrest that the Jordanian intelligence service apparently coerced or “recruited” al-Balawi to become a spy who would penetrate al Qaeda’s hierarchy and provide actionable intelligence to the CIA.

“If you catch a cat and put it in a corner, she will jump on you,” the brother said in explaining why al-Balawi would turn to a suicide attack.

“My husband was anti-American; so am I,” his widow said, adding that her two little girls would grow up fatherless but that she had no regrets.

Answering Helen

Are we starting to get the picture of what the United States is up against in the Muslim world? Does Helen Thomas deserve an adult answer to her question about motive? Has President Obama been able to assimilate all this? Or is the U.S. political/media establishment incapable of confronting this reality and/or taking meaningful action to alleviate the underlying causes of the violence?

Is the reported reaction of a CIA official to al-Balawi’s attack the appropriate one: “Last week’s attack will be avenged. Some very bad people will eventually have a very bad day.” Revenge has not always turned out very well in the past.

Does anyone remember the brutal killing of four Blackwater contractors on March 31, 2004, when they took a wrong turn and ended up in the Iraqi city of Fallujah, and how U.S. forces virtually leveled that large city in retribution after George W. Bush won his second term the following November?

If you read only the Fawning Corporate Media, you would blissfully think that the killing of the four Blackwater operatives was the work of fanatical animals who got along with their neighbors what they deserved. You wouldn’t know that the killings represented the second turn in that specific cycle of violence.

On March 22, 2004, Israeli forces assassinated the then-spiritual leader of Hamas in Gaza, Sheikh Yassin, a withering old man, blind and confined to a wheelchair. That murder, plus sloppy navigation by the Blackwater men, set the stage for the next set of brutalities. The Blackwater operatives were killed by a group that described itself as the “Sheikh Yassin Revenge Brigade.” Pamphlets and posters were all over the scene of the attack; one of the trucks that pulled around body parts of the mercenaries had a poster of Yassin in its window, as did store fronts all over Fallujah.

We can wish Janet Napolitano luck with her “counter-radicalization” project and President Obama with his effort to “communicate clearly to Muslims,” but there will be no diminution in the endless cycles of violence unless legitimate grievances are addressed on all sides. It might also help if the American people were finally let in on the root causes for what otherwise get dismissed as irrational actions by Muslims.

Ray McGovern now works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. During a 27-year career at CIA, he served under nine CIA directors and in all four of CIA’s main directorates, including operations. He is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). 

23 comments for “Not Explaining the Why of Terrorism

  1. hammersmith46
    May 9, 2012 at 11:09

    Brennan: “Al Qaeda is just determined to carry out attacks here against the homeland.”

    “Homeland” What a bunch of fascist.

  2. ACT I
    May 7, 2012 at 14:42

    If the Ottomans had not sided with Germany during WW I (so that the British then got that part of the world as a mandate), we might have a very different–far better–situation today.

  3. Robert
    May 7, 2012 at 10:53

    I am disappointed in Ray McGovern! He knows better than the Bullshick spewed in this article. This is pure dis-information. McGovern is not a RETIRED CIA agent and this article proves it.It is obvious to those of us awake that McGovern is now employed as a soldier of the CIA dis-information army.

    The U.S. government IS the number-one cause of terrorism. Not because of its Israeli policy,although I’m sure this motivates some terrorists, but because al Qaeda is the globalists private army;born out of and trained by the CIA – financed by the western central bankers (the top globalists)to further the globalists agenda.

    This article does not answer the question, “why terrorism?” It serves to cover-up who is really behind terror attacks on the U.S.and around the world.

    If any readers of this article still believes that OKC, 9-11, the shoe-bomber, the underwear-bomber,the London attacks are the work of piffed off Arabs, …well, you are definitely asleep. Wake-up people before it is too late!!!!

    Look at the results of the western intelligence instigated so-called Arab spring movement to overthrow dictators and and support democracy. Do you see democracy in any of these countries. Egypt: Military junta now runs the government; the Muslim Brotherhood is the most powerful political party; the coming elections offer no democracy candidates; Egypt, like Tunisia, and the other Arab countries that were unfortunate to be the benefactors of the Arab Spring movement, will not become a democracy. It will become a Muslim State with extremist Muslims in charge.

    Same with Libya. The globalists al Qaeda army was used to destroy that country, the Crown Jewel of Arab Africa, where its citizens under Qaddafi experienced the greatest standard of living increases known to any Arab state in the last ten years. Its cities were beautiful(now destroyed),its people cared for with real increases in their standard of living, increased education/employment opportunities, new schools, medical care,etc, etc. Why was Libya destroyed by the globalists? Not to save its people from Qaddafi!!It was destroyed because Qaddafi was setting up an oil payment system using the central bank of Libya and a currency other than the dollar. The globalist central bankers lusted after Libya’s central bank, its gold and of course Libya’s oil.

    Next is Syria, where already the western central bakers army al Qaeda is there doing he bankers bidding. Then Iran, another central bank (and gold)lusted for by the western central bankers – one of the real reasons behind the criminally insane idea to attack Iran. Iran’s nuclear ambitions are not why Israel wants to attack Iran. In addition to the western central bankers lust,Israel wants to attack Iran because of Iran,s new conventional missiles that can penetrate the hardened protection of Israel’s nuclear and biological/chemical WMD’s. And, because Israeli leaders are evil co-conspirators with the western central bankers.

    You can call me anti-Semitic. I’ll wear it as a badge of honor. Anyone who tells the truth about Israel is quickly labeled a racist by the liars for Israel. Those of us awake don’t fall for that shi(t)!

    This has been the globalists plan for quite sometime. If any of you think this is not true, I encourage you to search for General Wesley Clark’s video where he explains when and how he became privy to the plans and mentions the counties to be destroyed.

    9-11 gave the globalists the opportunity to go into the middle east and execute their plans.



    • phantomf8
      May 8, 2012 at 09:08

      AMEN! Finally a concise, “true” response – containing nothing but the facts! Robert, whoever you are, is to be commended for such an accurate reply! I’m afraid his statement: “PEOPLE! WAKE-UP!!!” will never be heeded by people peppered with false propaganda on a daily basis and labeled “antisemitic” should they pull their heads out of the sand for a moment to question the powers to be! Not a pretty future!!!!!

  4. May 3, 2012 at 17:02

    In “Not Explaining the Why of Terrorism”, published online at on May 2, 2012, Ray McGovern claims that the underlying problem … is that many Muslims have watched Washington’s behavior closely for many years and view U.S. declarations about peace, justice, democracy and human rights as infuriating examples of hypocrisy and double talk.”

    Allow me to point out that, just as “many Muslims have watched Washington’s behavior closely for many years … and view [it]. … as infuriating examples of hypocrisy and double talk,” likewise many Germans, and many Australians, and many Venezuelans, and many Americans, and many Russians, and many Japanese have watched Washington’s behavior closely for many years … and view [it]. … as infuriating examples of hypocrisy and double talk However THEY HAVE NOT TAKEN UP TERRORISM! AND WHY NOT?


    And what does religion have to do with it? Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that ISLAM WAS FOUNDED BY A MASS MURDERER AND SLAVE TRADER WHO CONSTANTLY ENCOURAGED HIS FOLLOWERS TO MURDER OUTSIDERS!
    You mean to say that you haven’t noticed all the exhortations to kill in the Koran?


    The TRUE hypocrisy and double talk consists in whitewashing Islam and pretending it’s indistinguishable from Quakerism.

    Islam is a religion that has always encouraged violence and terrorism and always will.

    The following is from Wikipedia’s article on the noted Egyptian secularist Farag Foda, who was murdered in 1992 by hitmen dispatched by the Islamic Al Azhar University:

    “Based in Cairo, Farag Foda was noted for his critical articles and sharp satires about Islamic fundamentalism in Egypt. In many newspaper articles, he demonstrated weak points in Islamic ideology.[1]

    “In 1991–92, he worked with Sheikh Dr. Ahmed Subhy Mansour to establish a new political party in Egypt, Mostakbal (“The Future Party”), dedicated to a secular democratic state, and to defend the Christian Egyptians.[2]


    “He (Farag Foda) was shot to death in his office on 8 June 1992 by two Islamic fundamentalists from the Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya group. His son and other bystanders were seriously wounded in the attack.

    “Before his death, Foda was declared an apostate and foe of Islam. An Al-Azhar University scholar, Mohammed al-Ghazali, a witness before the court, declared it was not wrong to kill a foe of Islam. Al-Ghazali said: “The killing of Farag Foda was in fact the implementation of the punishment against an apostate which the imam (the Islamic leader) has failed to implement (undertake).”

    “It’s suspected that his assassination was executed after a fatwā issued by both a Committee of scholars of al-Azhar and by the religious leaders of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, notably Omar Abdel-Rahman, who was sentenced to life in prison in the United States in 1996.”


    Igor Slamoff

    • F. G. Sanford
      May 4, 2012 at 09:47

      Mr. Slamoff, I note that you probably never slept at the King David Hotel.

    • Robert
      May 7, 2012 at 11:23

      Its like that Christianity have killed as many as the Muslims. The Jewish people are trying to catch-up.

    • sel
      May 8, 2012 at 12:58

      Ummm, I don’t remember the US going into Australia, Venuzuela, Russia, and bombing or overthrowing anyone (although we thought about in Venezuela), and we helped rebuild both Germany and Japan after WWII so I don’t think any of them would deploy terrorism against us, since they have no beef with us….I would also note that the Japanese DID use terrorist tactics against towards the end of that war, known as Kamikaze. Terrorism is a weapon of the weak, used by people who cannot meet you head on due to material constraints. For many it is the only way to fight back. And if there is an element of religious madness to it I can only refer you to the Christian Right, who kill abortion doctors and blow up clinics. using a religious excuse isn’t limited to Islam.

  5. F. G. Sanford
    May 2, 2012 at 22:38

    No one would argue that 9-11 was not a terrible tragedy. But as Philip Giraldi, ex CIA agent points out, of the 14,000 murders in U.S.A during 2010, none of them was committed by an Islamic terrorist. But we did have about 40,000 highway deaths, if I’m not mistaken. Mr. McGovern once again succinctly points out the uniquely American imbecility that characterizes our foreign and domestic policy. We have abandoned education of our children, our infrastructure, the welfare of our workforce, public health, scientific advancement and the very essence of our democracy in order to finance the racist, repressive and narcissistic agenda of a foreign country. And, we have done so based on a mythical threat which when evaluated statistically DOES NOT EXIST. The best our government can come up with are several recent entrapment schemes.

    This week, interviews of America’s Inquisitor in Chief, Jose Rodriguez, are making the rounds on the internet. He shamelessly defends torture, stating: “We needed to put our big-boy pants on”. Actually, he may have something there. Our anti-terror superheroes have gone after an underpants bomber, a model airplane bomber, and recently a Play-Doh bomber. Maybe they should cook up something a little more convincing, so we could all feel like having our testicles groped at the airport is worth it. Maybe if we were all wearing “big-boy pants” they wouldn’t be groping our wives or children either.

    But we’ve settled instead for the best democracy money can buy. A torturer is selling books about the latest manifestation of the Spanish Inquisition, whistle-blowers who expose war crimes are in jail, tourists have stopped coming to the U.S.A., and the only reliable news outlet is Russia Today (Consortium News notwithstanding). Our manufacturing jobs have all gone to China, dual-citizenship flunkies of a foreign government determine our foreign policy, and the fastest growing industry we have is “for profit” prisons. Big-boy pants my ass. We’re a bunch of gutless pussies when a 91 year old woman has more balls than anybody else in the country.

    Thanks, Ray, for another superb article. You’re doing everything you can to help us keep our baggy pants up.

    • Robert
      May 7, 2012 at 11:17

      ….when a 91 year old woman has more balls… What a great observation. This country is full of cowards, Especially, our politicians and the pseudo-journalists of MSM!!

      • phantomf8
        May 8, 2012 at 08:08

        Agree with all of this! Being called “antisemitic” will always keep everyone in place!

  6. Jose Rios
    May 2, 2012 at 21:39

    “the united states stands with those who want justice and progress” Can Obama explain why we give billions to dictators & stage coups against democratically elected governments? How is this policy supposed to let countries “progress” when always being in flux and turmoil? #WhyDoTheyHateUs? Unfortunately for America, these regions do not forget the things we do. They don have propaganda MSM like CNN,msnbc & others to keep the truth from them. WE the people pay the price in the end

  7. incontinent reader
    May 2, 2012 at 15:44

    Mr. McGovern,

    Thank you for yet another great article. You have also done a great mitzvah in crediting Helen Thomas for having consistently asked the right questions, when so many others of her colleagues were selling out. The woman is a not only great journalist, she is a person of great dignity, decency, and personal integrity, and, as you have so clearly shown, even at 91 she is still at the top of her profession.

    One can only believe that the flawed policies that you have described, and that pose such a clear and present danger to the national interest will not survive public scrutiny indefinitely, unless they are supported by propaganda that is able to convince or assure the public that the policies are legitimate and just. It follows that propaganda of this type must be premised on a false narrative or lie if the propaganda is to “succeed” and the flawed policies are to prevail- and that, therefore, the government and mainstream media will always be motivated to deep-six, or seal, e.g., as an “official secret”, or simply ignore and not report facts that are material and relevant to the inquiry, and that they will always be motivated to silence or discredit, or otherwise marginalize the truthsayer.

    So when the John Brennans and their bosses continue to spin and deceive, articles like yours that reexamine the facts and keep them in the public’s eye, help ensure that, whether or not it happens sooner or later, it will only be a matter of time before public understands the truth and makes its voice heard.

    • phantomf8
      May 8, 2012 at 08:06

      Question is: How much time?????

  8. rosemerry
    May 2, 2012 at 14:49

    Muslims are just the latest of the USA’s indispensable enemies. Fairness, negotiations, diplomacy are not allowed in US foreign policy (or domestic, for that matter). It is now assumed that ordinary USans in the “homeland” are criminals in waiting. Nobody is to be trusted.

  9. John Puma
    May 2, 2012 at 13:54

    A fairly comprehensive listing of our global, cuddly ally-making “interventions” can be found here:

    GW Bush, world-renowned terrorism expert, as of Sept 12, 2001, instructed us that terrorists were jealous of our ability to buy houses. Well, along with two unjustified wars, Bush was able to manage a hefty housing bubble the widespread foreclosure aftermath of which is apparently what has kept terrorist activity fairly low.

    With Americans being fraudulently throw out of their houses by the millions, presumably them dirty terrorists are now coveting our world-leading room freshener technology, e.g., here:

  10. Howard C Lucas,MD
    May 2, 2012 at 13:29

    Everything you report is true. There is a long history but our present problems began with the creation of Israel in 1947, when they took the palestinians land and property and put them in concentration camps. Then in 1953 we overthrew the elected president of Iran and installed the brutal Shaw. What right do we have to have military operations all over the arab middle east? If there were foreign soldiers in America killing my neighbors I would be a terrorist sniper with my 300 Winchester Magnum killing every foreign invader I could get in my sights. There is only one solution. We should get all of our troops out of the middle east and then try to make amends for all of the damage we have done. It is better and less expensive to make friends than enemies.

    • Dutty
      May 2, 2012 at 15:14

      Ditto. Pretty obvious that the cluelessness that is a part of the fabric of DC and the Whitehouse is the result of someone else pulling the strings. We have, in effect, a puppet government. Neither Obama or Brenna can be that dense. The proof is in the pudding. Helen Thomas is gone.

    • Ron Paul 2012
      May 3, 2012 at 04:50

      “It is better and less expensive to make friends than enemies.”

      Your right it is far better but the less expensive part is the problem because we have scum in Washington that are making money and that is whats shaping their policy.

      They are legislating in accordance to their imnvestment portfolios and that is what shapes their policies and decision making. Thats why one of the many is perpetual warmongering with these decade long wars are quite lucrative and it has never had anything to do with safety or spreading democracy or nation building or caring for fellow human beings.

      Its all about robbery and murder and fraud!

    • May 3, 2012 at 16:57

      Iranians are not Arabs, btw.

      • Robert
        May 7, 2012 at 11:06

        I think many people assume that Iranians are Arab because they are an Islamic nation.

    • Robert
      May 7, 2012 at 10:55


  11. ACarole
    May 2, 2012 at 13:02

    Perhaps, at this point and time in our history, the act of Terrorism has taken on a life of it’s on and the act itself is now in place. Philosopher Jacques Derrida explains how Terrorism works in his dialogue with Borradori in the piece: “Autoimmunity: Real and Symbolic Suicides”. (Google it) This sheds a real light and helps with better understanding the complexity of the what and how of the phenomena of Terrorism. This is not an ‘and/or’ situation.

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