Violence Begets Violence: The Orlando Shootings and the War on Terror

“Americans have been told that their government is keeping them safe
by preventing and prosecuting terrorism inside the US… But take a closer look
and you realize that many
of these people would never have committed a crime if not for law enforcement
encouraging, pressuring, and sometimes paying them to commit terrorist acts

– Human Rights Watch

We can rail against ISIS, hate crimes, terror threats, Islamic radicalization,
gun control and national security. We can blame Muslims, lax gun laws, a homophobic
culture and a toxic politic environmental. We can even use the Orlando shooting
as fodder for this year’s presidential campaigns.

But until we start addressing the U.S. government’s part in creating,
cultivating and abetting domestic and global terrorism – and hold agencies
such as the FBI and Defense Department accountable for importing and exporting
violence, breeding extremism and generating blowback, which then gets turned
loose on an unsuspecting American populace – we’ll be no closer to
putting an end to the violence
that claimed 50 lives
at an Orlando nightclub on June 12, 2016, than we
were 15 years ago when nearly 3,000 individuals were killed on Sept. 11, 2001.

Here’s what I know:

The United States, the world’s
largest exporter of arms
, has been selling violence to the world for too
long now. Controlling more than 50 percent of the global weaponry market, the
US has sold
or donated weapons to at least 96 countries
in the past five years, including
the Middle East.

The US also provide countries such as Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan and Iraq
with grants and loans through the Foreign
Military Financing program
to purchase military weapons.

At the same time that the US is equipping nearly half the world with deadly
weapons, profiting
to the tune of $36.2 billion
, its leaders have also been lecturing
American citizens on the dangers of gun violence
and working to enact measures
that would make it more difficult for Americans to acquire certain weapons.

Blowback, a CIA term referring to the unintended consequences of the US government’s
international activities, is a reality. Chalmers Johnson, a former CIA consultant,
repeatedly warned that America’s
use of its military to gain power over the global economy would result in devastating
. We failed to heed his warning.

The 9/11 attacks were blowback: the CIA
provided Osama bin Laden with military training and equipment
to fight the
Soviet Union, only to have him turn his ire on the US The Boston Marathon Bombing
was blowback: the Tsarnaev brothers reportedly credited the US
wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as the motives for their attacks

The attempted
Times Square bomber
was blowback for America’s drone killings of civilians
in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Fort
Hood shooter, a major…

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