Thursday, August 20, 2009

Release of Libyan in Lockerbie bombing is opportunity to put injustices of the past behind us

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It is understandable that many Americans are upset about the decision by the Scottish court to release Abdelbaset al-Megrahi from his 27 year prison sentence after only a few years served.

The accused, al-Megrahi, was convicted in the bombing of PAN AM Flight 103 in 1988. The plane was flying over Lockerbie when it exploded, killing all 259 passengers and crew and 11 civilians on the ground.

But not understandable is the narrow-vision of Americans who always see terrorism as an act of violence by someone else, but never an act of violence that has resulted from terrorism committed by the United States and the West against civilians in the Arab World.

Libyan President Moammar Gaddafi's infant daughter was among the 36 civilians murdered in 1986 when US President Ronald Reagan ordered the bombing of one of Gaddafi's homes.

The attack was not against a Libyan military target but rather against innocent civilians. Reagan alleged that Libya was behind the bombing of a disco many weeks earlier that took the lives of two American soldiers and one Turkish woman, and injuring dozens of others in Berlin.

But Americans screaming about al-Megrahi's release, seem blind and unconcerned when justice is lost involving non-American murdered by American foreign policies.

Thousands of Arabs in the Middle East were killed because of American policies, and those murders often were the motivation between retaliatory violence against Western targets, including the PAN AM Flight and other airline targets.

Terrorism is terrorism, but justice is also justice. The fact is that no one has complained when Reagan was never brought to justice for ordering the killing of Libyan civilians. Or, for that matter, no one in America was ever charged with funding and orchestrating and "masterminding" the murder of civilians in Iran during the pro-American and funded terrorist regime of The Shah of Iran Moahmmed Reza Pahlavi. Pahlavi was one of the worst mass murderers in Middle east history and he was protected by Americans.

Osama Bin laden is well known today as the terrorst mastermind behind the Sept. 11, 2001 attack on the United States, taking some 3,000 lives. But Americans conveniently forget that Bin laden was a member of the Mujahideen trained and funded by the United States in the war in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union.

And, we conveniently forget that Iraq's murdered dictator Saddam Hussein was in fact our ally int he war against the Iranian religious Muslim successors to the terrorist Shah of Iran, the Ayatollahs who held so many Americans hostage during the administration of former President Jimmy Carter.

Rather than lament the release of al-Megrahi, Americans should look towards it as an opportunity to close a dark period in our history fromt he 1970s and 1980s when American terrorism was answered with Middle East terrorism.

-- Ray Hanania

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