Orlando shooter Omar Mateen was a child of America not ISIS

John Wight
John Wight has written for newspapers and websites across the world, including the Independent, Morning Star, Huffington Post, Counterpunch, London Progressive Journal, and Foreign Policy Journal. He is also a regular commentator on RT and BBC Radio. John is currently working on a book exploring the role of the West in the Arab Spring. You can follow him on Twitter @JohnWight1
An undated photo from a social media account of Omar Mateen, who Orlando Police have identified as the suspect in the mass shooting at a gay nighclub in Orlando, Florida, U.S., June 12, 2016. © Reuters
While Omar Mateen may have proclaimed allegiance to ISIS prior to unleashing mass murder in Orlando, he is the child of an American culture terminally ill with hatred of the other, and an addiction to guns and lethal violence in which it swims.

Slaughtering 49 people in a nightclub over their sexuality is as barbaric as it gets. It reminds us that bigotry, whether against Muslims, blacks, Jews, gays, or any other minority, is the enemy of all right thinking humanity, not only on moral grounds but also to ensure we live up to the epic struggles previous generations have waged in crushing ideologies of hate and racism whenever and wherever they have emerged.

Fascism, the most obvious example, was and remains an equal opportunities ideology of hate and genocide. In Hitler’s concentration camps you had Soviet POWs, Jews, Communists, leftists, trade unionists, gypsies, disabled people and also gays. Predicated on a perverse belief in racial supremacy, the Nazis deemed each of the aforementioned subhuman and their eradication a non-negotiable condition of ‘purifying’ and ‘cleansing’ humanity.

The Nazis were crushed by the Red Army and the Soviet Union at huge cost and with the help from Western allies, joining in common cause on the understanding that any ideological or cultural differences that existed between them were as nothing compared to the necessity of confronting and defeating an ideology that posed a threat to humanity itself. It is an alliance between East and West that the world is crying out for today when it comes to confronting and defeating ISIS and its various offshoots, groups whose inhumanity and barbarism are fuelled by a fascist-like sense of divinely inspired supremacy, though religious rather than racial in their case.

That no such alliance between East and West currently exists when it comes to eradicating ISIS is an indictment of the lack of awareness, responsibility and statesmanship prevalent within Western governments and on the part of Western ideologues. Prisoners of a cold war mind set, the West is being led by fools who consider Russia and China pose as much of a threat as ISIS, if not greater. It would be fair to assume that the families and friends of the victims of Omar Mateen would strenuously disagree right now.

The insanity that underpins such a twisted cold war prism is responsible for the absurdity of NATO military exercises being conducted on Russia’s border at the very moment Russian aircraft and servicemen are leading the fight against ISIS in Syria.

Though much is being made of Mateen’s radicalization and pledge of allegiance to ISIS - and of the fact he was investigated by the FBI not once, not twice, but three times without further action taken and was still able to freely purchase the AR-15 assault rifle he used to carry out his massacre – less is being made of the selfies that have emerged of Mateen dressed in a T-shirt and sweatshirt emblazoned with the logo of the NYPD (New York Police Department).

And here we arrive at the heart of the matter. For as much as the twisted ideology of hate that fuels ISIS has much to answer for when it comes to this crime, so does the twisted ideology that fuels America’s fixation with violence, power, and domination, a fixation that is reflected in a racist and bigoted law enforcement culture which values the lives of the citizens it exists to protect according to their race and wealth, and which places a priority on shooting first and asking questions later.

This law enforcement culture is but a symptom of a nation that is intoxicated with a sense of exceptionalism and supremacy responsible for far more death, destruction, and human suffering in one day than ISIS has achieved throughout its entire existence.

Don’t believe me just ask the Native Americans, whose presence and culture was almost completely eradicated from their land in service to white supremacy. Just ask African Americans, whose ancestors suffered centuries of slavery in service to the very same supremacist ideals. Or how about the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, cities used by psychopaths in suits for the purposes of a live experiment in nuclear destruction? Then we have the people of Korea and Vietnam, of Central and South America – not forgetting most recently the people of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya – all of whom have experienced the harsh reality of American exceptionalism.

Speaking the language of freedom and democracy while destroying societies and countries for the crime of refusing to bend the knee to this exceptionalism has poisoned American culture and society at home. The rank hypocrisy involved in a country proclaiming itself the home of liberty while counting among its closest allies medieval and barbaric states such as Saudi Arabia, where gay people are whipped and worse on regular basis, is reflected in the idiocy of gun laws devised in the 18th century still being considered relevant in the 21st.

With a US presidential election approaching, isn’t it telling that the two main candidates offer a choice between a woman whose record is a monument to mendacity and a man who deals in bigotry as a drug dealer deals in crack – and with the same purpose of providing an escape from reality?

It is a question that answers itself.

Omar Mateen does not belong to ISIS he belongs to America, a nation whose foreign policy laid the seeds out of which ISIS has grown.

History will not be kind.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.