For a long time, Crikey has been arguing that the War on Terror is self-perpetuating and that that might well be the goal of Western governments, since the War on Terror is an excuse to give themselves more power and funnel more money to large defence companies that directly benefit from endless military interventions, usually in the Middle East.

With that thought in mind, here are some further examples sceptics of that theory may like to reflect on:

  • Fleeing Iraqi forces in recent weeks have handed to Islamic State 2300 Humvees, 40 main battle tanks, 74,000 machine guns and 50 mobile Howitzer guns, plus innumerable small arms, all provided by the United States. Among other weapons the US is currently sending to Iraq are Hellfire missiles and AT-4 rockets, many of which are likely to end up in IS hands.
  • The terrorism trial in the UK of Swede Bherlin Gildo was abandoned two weeks ago because the Syrian militant groups that Gildo was to be charged with assisting were also being helped by British intelligence agencies.
  • Just to demonstrate it wasn’t an accident the first time, CIA head John Brennan has repeated his admission that the War on Terror stimulates recruitment to terrorist groups. Crikey looked at Brennan’s admission when he made it at Harvard in April. Two weeks ago, he repeated it to the American CBS network. According to Brennan:

“I think the president has tried to make sure that we’re able to push the envelope when we can to protect this country. But we have to recognise that sometimes our engagement and direct involvement will stimulate and spur additional threats to our national security interests.”

  • Saudi Arabia continues to prosecute a very dirty war against Iranian-backed forces in Yemen. Twenty civilians were killed in a Saudi airstrike on Sunday; the deaths of women and children in air strikes are a regular occurrence. Saudi Arabia is intervening in Yemen as a direct proxy of the United States, backed by a sudden surge in weapons shipments from the United States, with the conflict likely to further destabilise the country and enrage new generations of Yemenis already enraged by years of US drone strikes that killed civilians (drone strikes that are only admitted to when they kill Western civilians, not Yemenis).

Meanwhile, at home neoconservatives are pushing for more Australian troops to return to Iraq and fight IS directly, while our aircraft should be freed up to kill more civilians in order to properly take the fight to Islamic State. Yesterday The Australian used claims that IS might use weapons of mass destruction (yep, we’re back to hyping WMDs in Iraq) to demand more airstrikes. As always with neocons, we just need to incinerate a few more Muslims to secure victory.

The West is stimulating (to use the CIA’s words) recruitment for terrorist groups, it is providing arms and other assistance to them, and it and its proxies are enraging the populations among whom terrorist groups operate with our military tactics. Our policymakers and their cheerleaders are either profoundly stupid or deliberately engaged in a policy of trying to perpetuate the War on Terror. Which is it?

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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