On August 1, President Biden announced that Ayman al-Zawahiri, a longtime leader of al-Qaeda, had been killed by a United States Central Intelligence Agency drone strike. Biden predictably used the word “justice” to describe the event and combined it with the typical tough talk that all U.S. presidents use to build up their image as strong military leaders. He said:
“Now justice has been delivered, and this terrorist leader is no more… People around the world no longer need to fear the vicious and determined killer. The United States continues to demonstrate our resolve and our capacity to defend the American people against those who seek to do us harm… We make it clear again tonight that no matter how long it takes, no matter where you hide, if you are a threat to our people, the United States will find you and take you out.”
In his effort to sound strong and victorious, Biden neglected to say that after the 9/11 attacks that al-Zawahiri helped plan and carry out, the United States, then led by President George W. Bush, began an invasion and occupation of Afghanistan that lasted 20 years. The U.S. then began an invasion and eight-year occupation of Iraq, triggering a civil war between Shia and Sunni Muslims, the torture of prisoners, the wholesale leveling of cities that became battlefields, and the division of the Iraqi economy into handouts to major multinational corporations. These two wars and the rest of the U.S. so-called War on Terror – support for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, war with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the civil war in Syria, simmering tensions with Iran, and more – cost more than $8 trillion and have collectively killed at least 900,000 people. In order to prosecute this “war” and contain other opposition around the world, the U.S. empire maintains at least 160,000 troops in at least 70 foreign nations. And in a period of nearly 20 years, in nations with which the U.S. has no official conflict, U.S. drones have killed an average of nearly one thousand every year, many of whom are belatedly recognized as non-combatants.
Have all these invasions, occupations, bombings, drone-strikes and counter-insurgency policies made us (or anyone else) safer? No. In fact, all they have done is create more rage and resentment towards the United States and its foreign policies and military, all of which may lead to yet more violence against the U.S. The 9/11 attacks were a response to U.S. economic and military domination of the Middle East in the first place. By extending U.S. violence deeper into the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia to support the profiteering of U.S. business interests, U.S. policy is creating more death, destruction, and suffering, all of which leads to the development of a new generation of people raging against the U.S.
Biden is dead wrong about this latest U.S. drone strike bringing what he calls “justice.” How dare he say that, given the bloody track record of the U.S. government in service of the big banking and corporate overlords?