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#ParisAttack – Don’t Let The War Profiteers Win

“This is an act of war.” “We are at war with an ideology.” “Islam needs a reformation.” “Send these people and their families into concentration camps on one of the islands off the coast of Scotland.” “We should force feed them pork products.” “This is an attack on all of us.”

I have been listening to and reading responses to the recent attacks on Parisian civilians from various sectors of society over the last day or so. Times like these simultaneously shake your faith in the intelligence and integrity of humans, whilst giving you a glimmer of hope. The majority of responses I have heard or read have been along the spectrum of plain stupidity, through racism to opportunistic violent militarism. The glimmer of hope is offered by a select minority of seemingly intelligent people who have called for a rational, deliberated response.[1]

In order to deter the cycle of violence plunging us into an abyss, wise and conscientious people must take a thought-out and empathic approach, and make their voices heard. Unfortunately, if they do not, ideologists and war profiteers will, without fail, take advantage of the media attention and heightened emotions—fear, suspicion, anger, tribalism, et cetera—to further their respective agendas.

We must not forget that war is a multi-trillion dollar economy and, as the last century or so has shown, some of those who profit from the increasingly innovative and efficient ways to kill and mutilate will do anything to prevent peace. As the rare, courageous writer, Chris Hedges, put it:

“Militarists and war profiteers are our greatest enemy. They use fear, bolstered by racism, as a tool in their efforts to abolish civil liberties, crush dissent and ultimately extinguish democracy. To produce weapons and finance military expansion, they ruin the domestic economy by diverting resources, scientific and technical expertise and a disproportionate share of government funds. They use the military to carry out futile, decades-long wars to enrich corporations such as Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman. War is a business. And when the generals retire, guess where they go to work? Profits swell. War never stops. Whole sections of the earth live in terror. And our nation is disemboweled and left to live under what the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin calls ‘inverted totalitarianism.’[2][3]

War profiteers and their spokespeople rush to use atrocities that heighten social tension and anxiety to pull the wool over our eyes, much like their middle-eastern counterparts, Alqaeda and ISIS, with whom they share a symbiotic relationship. When civilians of one side are attacked by the foot soldiers of another, they cry out: “Our way of life is being attacked!” They fool us into interpreting anger and violence directed at the elite establishment as an attack on us all. “We are all in this together,” they would have us think. We are not.

Also read:

The Unquenchable Thirst For War

Manufacturing Islamophobia

These recent attacks on Paris happened, as the terrorists themselves declared, because of “France’s” military strikes in Syria. The reason I use quotation marks is to try and avoid falling into the very mistake I am highlighting, as our common usage of names and terms is part of the problem. This is because it was not literally all of “France” who carried out attacks in Syria; it was a small elite of decision makers—just like in the rest of the so-called “developed world”—influenced openly by those corporate powers that profit from war. This is one of the major differences between “us”, by which I mean the common people of the world, and the propagandists of violence and war, from both east and west.

Anyone who has carefully understood and refuted ISIS and Alqaeda propaganda and rhetoric knows that they believe in the myth of democracy. Their logic is as follows: bombs that fall from the sky and have killed millions of “their own” over the years—who happen to be Muslims—are done so by foot soldiers (and now drones) acting on orders of western governments. These western governments are acting on the instructions of those that elect them—the citizens. Ergo, the citizens of those countries are responsible for the atrocities. This is why it is justified—in their warped logic—to attack citizens of these countries, even the Muslim ones, to cease their governments’ warfare.

Anyone who knows the first thing about the reality of political establishments of the western world is able to see the error of this argument, but many of us take it for granted. This is where the propaganda of our elites helps further perpetuate violence and civilian casualties. When an attack does happen on civilians, instead of learning the truth of the matter, these terrorists and their sympathisers get a reinforcing message from our elites: “This is an attack, not on the government; this is an attack on ALL of us.” In other words, those elites who profit from war—and are perfectly safe themselves from the consequences of their businesses—trick the population into interpreting an attack on their actions, as an attack on our way of life.

This is the most deadly deception of the war machine, because it leads to endless conflict. This irrational rhetoric of ‘patriotism’ sees the elites getting the ‘peasants’ to defend them despite suffering tremendously themselves in the process, and to add insult to injury, suffering from the elites’ domestic policies themselves.[4] This is an almost exact mirror image of the war machine directed from other countries towards us.

When billions of indiscriminate particles of white phosphorus fall on a playground somewhere in Iraq, or a drone strikes on a funeral in Yemen, or barrel bombs ravage a city in Syria, the civilian populations of those countries are told by ISIS/AQ recruiters: “This is not an attack on the government. This is an attack on ALL of us. This is an attack on our way of life.”

It takes two to tango. The western war profiteers and ISIS are dancing partners; they both need each other. Without continual war and aggression in the Middle East, ISIS would have no recruits. Without ISIS, the western war profiteers would not be able to sustain hundreds of billions of dollars of military spending, especially in the information age of the internet and social media, where false threats are far more difficult to conjure up than in the last century.

This is why one of the most significant events to make us safer, which took the wind out of Alqaeda’s sails somewhat, was the WikiLeaks revelations and the reactions that followed. This showed the rest of the world, including the Alqaeda ideologists and their potential recruits, that the civilians in “The West” were not a monolithic block hell-bent on killing them and destroying their way of life. The vast majority of civilians in the west were against the crimes of their elites and were in fact themselves subject to on-going policies of domestic disempowerment. That is, until the war machine provokes us into a hysterical frenzy of patriotism.

War polarises. Even the most wise and intelligent person in peacetime will fall into polarity when attacked. If someone were to attack the UK tomorrow in order to depose the Tory government by attacking “Tory infrastructure”, no doubt many civilian casualties would ensue. I, like my friends, neighbours and colleagues, would obviously feel compelled to resist and fight back, not for David Cameron or his abhorrent ideology, but for the survival of my family, friends and neighbours. This is a relatively straightforward scenario to fathom, however it becomes near impermissible to articulate for “the other”.

What we need is empathy. Just like in the example above and the recent attacks, when people are bombed in western countries their friends and neighbours are more easily provoked into further violence, incidentally siding with the war profiteers. This is exactly how ISIS and AQ swell their ranks. When people are bombed thousands of miles away by our elites’ efficient killing technology, their friends and neighbours are more easily provoked into further violence, incidentally siding with their war profiteers.

If we refuse to use empathy to see those our governments kill and maim as human beings just like us, then we are doomed to continual control by the war profiteers. Only on Tuesday, days before the attack in Paris, French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian celebrated attacks on “ISIS infrastructure” in the Deir Ezzor region. Many who have been whipped up into war frenzy may think of this as a step in the right direction. However, what was this “ISIS infrastructure” on which bombs were dropped? “Firstly on an oil distribution station and secondly on a gas separation plant.”[5]

Ponder over that for a moment. Now imagine bombing the ‘infrastructure’ of a population of 6.4 million civilians that is being forcibly ruled over by anywhere between 9,000 and 200,000 ISIS maniacs; that is anywhere from a 96.88% to 99.86% civilian population.[6] This is despite the official figures counting many civilians in positions of social infrastructure as “ISIS members”.

What will happen when bombs fall on this “infrastructure” from the sky? Will it make the problem of ISIS go away, or swell their ranks? As one survivor of the Paris attacks reported,

“I clearly heard them say to the hostages, ‘It is [President Francois] Hollande’s fault. It is the fault of your president; he should not have intervened in Syria.’ They also spoke of Iraq.”[7]

The war profiteers’ spin doctors have been working diligently to hide this inconvenient fact, despite many courageous journalists and broadcasters repeating it regularly since the attacks. Right on schedule, politicians, security “experts” and other rent-a-quotes have been wheeled on talking about “extremist ideology” and a blind, irrational hatred of “our way of life” being the cause of these attacks. We are at war with an ideology, they tell us. If you close your eyes, you would be forgiven for not recognising which side of this dance of death these spokespeople are on.

Meanwhile, the ignorant and foolish among the masses fall for this, ignoring the rational, empirical and even explicitly stated motives for the attack. This has been attributed in the past to a fundamentally racist doctrine no longer explicitly uttered but implicitly felt: that the white man’s violence must be due to a rational grievance, even if misguided, whereas the non-white ‘other’ must turn to violence due to his fanaticism and irrational hatred.[8] This is a broad topic that has been discussed in many places,[9] so only a few brief remarks on its relevance to terrorism are necessary here.

Many commentators and the general public may be under the impression that non-white terrorists attack us because of their backwards, “savage” ideology that needs to undergo some kind of reformation. They need to be enlightened by superior (or, white) western values. All rational, empirically determined causes for their violence, including their explicitly stated motives, are irrelevant. The reason they are violent is because they are just inherently violent people. We have seen this rhetoric from the colonial era slowly be sidelined and be replaced by less ideological, more rational approaches to sociological issues, in the public domain. However, one of the last remaining vestiges of such irrational, ideological thinking is yet to be eradicated in the mainstream media: the conveyor belt theory to violence.

This is one of those examples where politics, media and popular culture take time to catch up to academic, peer-reviewed research on a topic. The conveyor belt theory has been comprehensively refuted among academics,[10] and alternative evidence-based theories of terrorism are slowly making their way into the spectrum of expressible opinions in the mainstream media. However, now is the time to highlight the truth of the matter and challenge politicians and pundits desperately and insidiously trying to insert “ideology” into the rhetoric surrounding the recent Paris attacks.

The facts say, in summary, that ideology is incidental, not causative.[11] Just as a Christian, Hindu or Buddhist terrorist group will use Christian, Hindu or Buddhist language, metaphors and imagery to justify their actions within their respective ethical traditions, likewise Muslim terrorist groups will naturally use their own. An intelligent person if given basic facts and statistics should easily be able to distinguish between a logical cause or motive, and a post-facto justification for an act. As Michael Scheuer, the former head of the CIA’s Bin Laden tracking unit and the author of three acclaimed books on al-Qaeda said,

“I don’t think there are a lot of people who want to blow themselves up because my daughters go to university…People are going to come and bomb us because they don’t like what we’ve done.”[12]

It is, however, a much more comforting illusion for someone to believe that we are under attack because we are so free and superior as a civilisation, as opposed to in retaliation to the actions of our elite. This makes it even more necessary and commendable for just politicians, journalists and regular people to break the silence and try to end the circle of violence. It is even more urgent to do so when people are calling for an escalation of hostilities that led to this mess in the first place.[13] Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity comes to mind: “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

What should be done to keep us safe from terrorists?

The very first thing that should be done to keep us safe is not to take away our civil liberties allowing more and more powers to the security industry and war profiteers. The way to keep us safe, is not to bomb other countries, full stop. The racist myth that we are attacked because of our “freedoms” is refuted by the very enemies that we were told hated our freedoms yesterday. As Osama bin Laden said in his message to American people years after 9/11, if he hated their freedom “then let [Bush] explain to us why we don’t strike for example, Sweden?”[14]

Bin Laden served the purpose the war profiteers used his rhetoric for, and now they have moved onto ISIS to scare us. However, we must not forget lessons we have learned from the previous bogeymen. We must stop allowing our elites to continue to strengthen ISIS, by recruiting more aggrieved men and women to their cause, and in turn perpetuate the cycle of violence indefinitely.

“Are you saying we should let the terrorists win?”

Some people attempt to obediently shield the political and security establishments from scrutiny and suggest that if we criticise them we are somehow supporting terrorists or allowing them to “win”. A classic false dichotomy fallacy, “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.”[15] Even if some are ignorant enough to buy the excuse that “they hate our freedoms,” and are still obediently cheering on and making excuses for the elite establishments that have gotten us into this mess, then let them ponder over the following scenarios.

Either the rational, empirically-based and explicitly stated motives of the terrorists are true, and they hate us because of our elites’ militarism in their countries; or it is an elaborate and sophisticated excuse that has fooled everyone that has been studying them, and they do in fact hate our freedoms. If the former is true, then our ruling classes care more about their ambitions for war abroad than our own safety, so we should have no hesitation in refusing to be the victims of their adventures and exert pressure on them to cease war and further bloodshed. This will make us safer, like the majority of the “free world” not under terrorist threat.

If the latter is true, and the terrorists do in fact hate our freedoms, then allowing the security establishment to introduce more draconian policies and crack down further on our civil liberties and freedom—an emblem of the War of Terror—constitutes a resounding success for the terrorists anyway.[16] There is no escaping the obvious fact that unless a significant number of people call for a peace movement and resist the Neanderthal impulses for more and more war, the “terrorists” will always win. That is, the corporate profiteers on one side, and the ISIS fanatics on the other.

















[15] The buffoon known as former president George W. Bush.


About Dr Salman Butt

Salman studied Biochemistry at Imperial College London followed by a PhD in Chemical Biology, carrying out research into photosynthesis. During his years at university he became involved in Islamic society da'wah and activism, and general Muslim community projects. He is the Chief Editor and a regular contributor at Islam21c, and also has a blog on the Huffington Post.


  1. Well done for highlighting the fact that Western leaders and the terrorist groups are cut from the same cloth. On both sides it’s the civilians that pay the price. Ask the war profiteers whether they are concerned with any civilian casualties and their truthful response would be ‘all is fair in love and war’. How could they let a trillion, trillion dollar business fold????
    As for the heads of state and their irrational decisions to invade sorry I mean ‘intervene’ is all good because once their direct security is threatened they can just do an Air Force One out of here, well the rest of us can’t Mr Cameron .
    This isn’t about shifting the blame, it’s about reading between the lines and believe me those lines are not that vague.

    • What has any of that got to do with what’s happened?

      The Saudis are busy bombing Yemen at the moment. You think they make their own munitions? Of course they will be buying more. At a stupid price too. Americans love to fleece them at every opportunity.

      • So what don’t you understand about it then? Illegal Iraq war leads to predictable armed resistance and civil war, in fact what to you know the USA shipped in billions of tax dollar and oil funded arms to Iraqi to fuel the fighting, notice ISIS all driving around in Humvees firing American Stinger missiles and Howitzers? All this leads to an increase in war which leads to an increase in profit for the military industrial complex. It’s not some radical new conspiracy theory.

        • Your implying that Americans have been supplying weapons to ISIS without any proof. That sounds like a conspiracy theory.

          Even if it were true. Does it negate the existence of ISIS and the stupid people who follow it and believe they are the only pious Muslims? No it doesn’t. Do you have a theory on how or why women take their small children to join ISIS?

          Is that another cia plot?

          • You answered your own question again – stupid people. Unfortunately among 2.6 billion we are bound to have to suffer a few fools. A corrupt leadership with idiot followers.

  2. Just a couple of points to pick up that already weaken this piece: for example:

    ‘just like in the rest of the so-called “developed world”’.

    You cannot seriously be implying that the West is not more developed than Islamic countries which top almost all data-based lists of the least developed and worst-governed places on planet earth.

    ‘the general public may be under the impression that non-white terrorists attack us because of their backwards, “savage” ideology that needs to undergo some kind of reformation. They need to be enlightened by superior (read: white) western values.’

    I don’t think many people really believe that White values are superior, but Western values are clearly superior and these are in the main derived from the western European peoples. Every technological advance which today makes muslims’ lives bearable in their hellish countries has been produced by western Europeans. Everything. Period.

    • What a fine case in point Matthew’s comment is, of the underlying white supremacy. We are not all like this, and Matthew himself may not be so consciously, but it is just a testament to the work we collectively have cut out for us, to unwrap these ignorant illusions one by one so that we can carve out a better future for the world.

      Matthew, read some history please, if you are indeed that bothered. Every single ‘value’ we enjoy in the west is directly taken from the orient—which includes Islam, among other traditions. The fact that we excelled in high-efficiency killing and subjugation of non-white people throughout the last few hundred years, which plunged the great civilisations which gave the world science, philosophy, maths, legal due process, the rule of law, morality and ethics (i could carry on) into darkness that they are still slowly recovering from, should be a sobering cause for reflection, not furthering the disease of supremacy that caused it all in the first place.

      • “he fact that we excelled in high-efficiency killing and subjugation of non-white people throughout the last few hundred years, which plunged the great civilisations which gave the world science, philosophy, maths, legal due process, the rule of law, morality and ethics”
        …and the Greeks and Romans had nothing to with science, philosophy, maths, legal due process, the rule of law, morality and ethics?
        The astonishing achievement of early muslims in high-efficiency killing and the subjugation of white, brown, black and yellow people is often cited by muslims as evidence of the superiority and divine origin of islam.

  3. I don’t understand the number of people approving this article. ISIS are a threat not just to the west but also to Muslims.

    Also Syria is not the same situation as Iraq. There was no western bombing until The ISIS killing of hostages and most Europeans were against taking military action in Syria. This wasn’t the time to start counting bodies and make excuses for which side killed more people.

  4. If the western suits etc are allowed to take their program to its ultimate conclusion they will destroy both themselves and everyone else. The only thing standing between them and their misguided plot is Islam/ Muslims. ‘And God calls you to the abode of peace (Dar-us-Salam) and guides whoever he wishes to the straight path/ best practice.’ Quran(10:25)

  5. ‘And God calls you to the abode of peace (Dar-us-Salam) and guides whoever he wishes to the straight path/ best practice’ Quran(10:25)

  6. Thanks for documenting what is really going on. The fact that western suits are able to explain such a complex phenomenon as geo-politics in a couple of mono-syllable sentences is indeed scary and of concern to anyone exercising their intellectual and/ or moral faculties.

  7. Professor Ahsan

    When the business of misunderstanding is multi trillion trillion dollar worth only stupids would go for understanding. However, the safety and security of human beings lies there.

  8. Intelligent Analysis and well researched Articles. I look forward for such articles at Islam21 which educates the educated. May Allah reward the author for this writing

  9. Mamode Therese

    Thank you Dr Salman Butt for this truthful analysis of the Paris Attack. All Muslims know that it was an Attack on Islamic principles. Islam has NEVER taught the killing of innocent people including Muslims.
    We have to remember the disastrous
    French interventions in Muslim countries of Africa including Mali.

  10. Thank you so much for this article. I finally got some answers I was looking for

  11. The blood is barely dry on the streets and already you are suggesting it’s all a big conspiracy by greedy corporations and white people. Yet you offer no evidence or facts whatsoever. Please show the bare minimum of respect and keep your childish, racist little fantasies to yourself.

    • On five live this morning nicky “can’t seem to stop being a zionist” campbell asks Frank “many of my friends are Muslims” Gardener “So Frank, why do you think they hate our freedoms and our democracy so much?”. Now if a regular person asked that in a pub fair enough, just an idiot talking rubbish. But for an intelligent well educated person to say it on national radio, well, that’s just plain propaganda. Unfortunately Frank didn’t say “Nicky are you a deaf moron? The terrorists said it was in retaliation for bombing syria!” but to his credit he did point out that Islam and ISIS are not the same thing.

      Funny thing is it is so hard to get a Muslim partner in perpetual war the West has to keep creating them, real or imagined. ISIS like Al Qaeda seem to come from the same place lots of other research online if you can pull your head out for long enough to look.

  12. Perhaps you could have waited for France to bury their dead before embarking on your twisted little rant. So desperate to deflect the blame and pretend Islam and Muslims have nothing to do with this, just the latest atrocity. So quick to lay the blame on others but totally incapable of taking an honest look at the reality of Islam in the world today.
    Should we now expect several thousand British Muslims to take to the streets in support of these murderers like what happened after the Charlie Hebdo massacre?
    Why are you so scared to admit what is so patently obvious? That there is a problem with the reality of Islam in the world today. Muslims can’t have an honest discussion about Islam because they’re scared they’ll be labelled bad Muslims or blasphemous or apostates. And non Muslims can’t have an honest discussion about Islam because they’re scared they’ll be labelled racists or that ridiculous term ‘Islamaphobic’. So instead of intelligent, progressive meaningful debate we get ludicrous rubbish like this and the extremists on both sides get ever stronger. Muslims need to take responsibility and do something instead of either staying silent or blaming others.

  13. The question I ask is should Muslims go along with the flow and pin the blame for the attacks squarely on ISIS / Daesh simply because the media and the politicians, and ultimately, society en masse does, or should they demand a proper inquiry and investigation into what has happened?

    The Paris attacks have got the potential to be another 7/7 but it’s clearly evident that Muslims in Britain prefer to just go along with what the media and society en masse thinks about 7/7 whilst completely ignoring the works of independent researchers into 7/7 and demanding a public inquiry.

  14. Lovely article but what is the general muslim community doing to physically stand up for our faith? What is the MCB doing? What are the authors of Islam21c doing apart from writing ? The general ignorant British public need to be educated on Islam and what true Muslims are about – the simple religion that our Prophet (saw) lead us to. Muslims today are asleep. Wake up and open your mouths, be active in the media, news, tv, newspapers, journals etc so we can spread the true deen !

    • We need to educate people to differentiate the truth from hoax. The writers have a completely different platform to work on; they research and present to us these writings so that we can carry this word ahead. If they do the research and writing I believe you and I have to do the doing

    • @there are many da’wah initiatives going on, much more than ever before. Mosques, community enterprises, ulema and charities are all involved. What are you doing Sara? Do you behave like a Muslim woman with piety and modesty? Do you dress with hijab and modest clothing? And yes it is relevant, as this in itself is a form of da’wah. Do you honour your husband and family? Are you an honest member of society? This is da’wah. If you work, do you work to best of your ability? If you are self employed, do you practice, fair dealings? If you are on state benefits, are you careful on what you claim? Do you teach your children Islam? Are you fulfilling your children’s right to know their religion? All of this is da’wah. Are you good to your neighbours, Muslim and non Muslim? Are you involved in any community initiatives, such as soup kitchens, visiting the elderly or the sick in hospitals? All of the this is da’wah. Are you educated Islamically? Do you know your religion? One need’s to, if one wishes to do da’wah. Don’t point the finger at what others are doing, rather ask yourself what you are doing? And Islam was spread in the far East due to the akhlaq of the Muslims merchants who used to visit the land. Huge mistake to under-estimate good morals and ethics. We do not need to abandon our principles, rather we need to implement them, then we have something to offer society.
      JazakAllahKhair an interesting article.

  15. Masha’Allah! Superb analysis and conclusion. Symbiosis is really the key and we need to break that cycle.

    The only thing i would disagree with is saying the authors were brave. It should not be thought of aa brave to speak the truth when we see injustice, rather we should fear Allah for our silence when we do not speak out.

  16. What an article – hit the nail on its head!

  17. Taalib-ul-Hammuda

    Absolutely accurate and much needed piece

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