Why we radicalize

They ask themselves why people radicalize…

For me, it was the War on Terror, an endless war against an unseen enemy, who was always evil without question. Any means were justified against this enemy. It was a spectacle, bright lights flashing as we were presented with terms like ‘shock and awe’ and ‘operation enduring freedom’.

No one believed Bush and Blair in 2003. Millions marched to stop the impending war on Iraq. The war wasn’t stopped. Our leaders didn’t seem to care that their links to the very companies who grew rich off this campaign were so plain obvious. Bush had been an oil-man. Cheney had sat on the board of directors of Halliburton, a company set to make millions on the rebuilding of Iraq. Karzai, the proposed new president of Afghanistan had links to Unocal Oil and the only part of the invasion of Iraq that actually ran smoothly was the restructuring of the Iraqi economy; privatizations mainly benefited Western companies. Iraq was literally looted.

Bush and Blair had lied. That was a surprise to no one. But the horror they had unleashed onto Iraq is only dawning on us today. According to a recent report by the Physicians for Social Responsibility, aptly named Body Count, more than two million civilians have lost their lives as a result of Western bombs in Afghanistan and Iraq. Two million!!! This figure doesn’t even consider other Western interventions like the drone strikes in Somalia, Yemen and Mali. The War on Terror has become a war of genocidal proportions. It has sanctified the use of torture in secret prisons, it has led to record defence budgets and, consequently, to record profits for weapons producers, it has spawned more terrorism than ever, with the emergence of ISIL as its most recent and dreadful product.

Our leaders have shown they can get away with mass murder. And not only that, they have grown rich on its back. Bush is enjoying a careless existence on his Texas ranch. Blair is making millions, lecturing, lobbying on behalf of corporate sharks. Meanwhile, who mourns Iraq’s dead?

And they wonder why we radicalize….