9/11: Terror in Resonance
As the world recalls the horrific events of the Twin towers attacks on their 20th anniversary, one must reflect on the roots and effects of the event that has changed it all.
Terror in resonance... the image of two towers falling... A four-year-old in Baghdad watches speechless as his mother gasps at the horror she is witnessing onscreen...On September 11, 2001, Time stops with no indication of ever being willing to return to its normal course.
Until one white-haired man with the face of a Ralph Bakshi character infused with the voice of Yosemite Sam uttered the words: “War on Terror” and “Crusade.”
The tragedies that followed could only be grasped in decades, if not centuries, to come as our collective consciousness will find it nigh-impossible to assimilate the depth, width, and losses suffered by the victims of that man and his incumbent successors.
As a president, George W. Bush was disputed, considered to have stolen the election not once but twice in a row. He perpetrated an image of the USA that was as simplistic as it was unfavorable. So how was he able to carry out such a massive overwhelming task, an international act of terrorism if one may, and get away with it?
As The Beatles once sang, “With a little help from his friends.”
Truly, Bush had many friends in lobbies, corporate leaders, contractors, and most importantly media outlets: Cheney, Rumsfeld, and co.
But to achieve what seemed to be a very homogenous set of lies, all institutions must enter the game.
The uncontainable excitement by all media outlets to push forward for both the Afghanistan and Iraq invasion were clear through; for example, Judith Miller’s exquisite coverage of the decision to attack Iraq in the front pages of The New York Times.
Mainstream media has linked the decision to invade to the 9/11 attacks although nothing could be farthest from the truth: The US was already adopting a maximum pressure policy on both Afghanistan and Iraq since 1996.
The notorious “Oil for Food” program implemented by the UN in an attempt to subjugate Saddam Hussein’s government left millions of children starving and took all sectors down. And what was the reason behind this policy one might wonder, notably as the Iraqi government once stood as a close US ally?
“The good Lord didn’t see fit to put oil and gas only where there are democratically elected regimes friendly to the United States.”
-Dick Cheney (1998)
Even after the attacks, the invasion had ulterior economic and military motives, as seen in Bush’s statement regarding Bin Laden on 3/13/02:
“I’ll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him.”
The image of Colin Powell holding a model vial of anthrax in the UN Security Council in 2003, claiming it was extracted from Iraqi biological weapons, was merely a performance designed to set the stage for any abhorrence the US was willing to take in its invasion of Iraq.
Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill’s statement: “It was all about finding a way to do it (The removal of Saddam Hussein). The president saying, ‘Go find me a way to do this.'” in 1/30/01, Bush’s inaugural national security meeting.
The media propped up a mass acceptance of the atrocities about to be committed by the administration that never gained popular traction in the first place: The mobilization took place per the Bush administration’s request as the populace widely opposed the war on Iraq.
This was clear when millions took the streets to oppose the war on Iraq on the 15th of February, 2003, in multiple countries in what was perhaps one of the biggest protests to ever take place. Yet mainstream media outlets were only scarcely present as this narrative did not serve the war machine ambitions.
The war, at all costs, needed to look and sound as if its drums were beaten by none other than the citizens and not their leaders.
20 years later, with the humiliating retreat of US troops from Afghanistan, most western media still beats the drums, shouting about the need to stay there, send more veterans to garner PTSD, murder thousands of additional civilians and burn every remaining corner. The Afghans have no say in this, they must collectively abide by the will of the corporatized media.
Under the fast-food version of ethical slogans such as spreading democracy, liberating women, etc..., the mainstream media outlets complement the official narrative, never questioning, veiling all semblances of truth in favor of propaganda.
Democracy doesn’t die in darkness, as The Washington Post attempted to proclaim, but it rather does under corporate leadership tied with the military-industrial complex:
-The New York Times has confessed to sending some of its material to the White House for approval before publication.
-The Washington Post is owned by Jeff Bezos, founder, and ex-CEO of Amazon, which recently signed a $10 billion deal with the NSA and is in close ties with current administration personnel.
-The Wall Street Journal is owned by Rupert Murdoch, a media mogul with conservative worldviews and close ties with the White House.
Lies by Omission
When most westerners reflect on the imagery concomitant with the term “terrorism,” all they could probably see are men in sandals and turbans walking the desert with out-of-date Kalashnikovs. While the smiling "US soldier" murdering unarmed civilians on foreign soil is never a subject of contention.
“Terrorism” has become such a futile word, becoming whatever new US administrations want it to be, a malleable term constantly reinvented and repurposed for political goals.
Thus what is the difference between a "holy war" waged by "men in deserts" (as per the previously mentioned stereotype) and a "crusade waged" by millionaires in tuxedos? Dress code aside, the similarities are far too striking.
We see the extent of those similarities in the current edition of neo-fascism: Trumpism is not an instant occurrence, but the consequence of years of dismissal of the working class coupled with propaganda aimed at nurturing a sense of superiority. When both images clash, they create a psychological rift that pushes them to cling to larger-than-life figures.
This attachment to "Trumpian" figures stems from the successive US administrations' fascination with war which added to a dismissal of their populace’s needs. The war on Afghanistan and Iraq combined costs more than $2.6 trillion, a gargantuan figure collected from taxpayers’ pockets and debts that the upcoming US generation will have to pay for. The money essentially went to private contractors, weapons manufacturers, and oil companies, chiefly Blackwater, Raytheon, and Halliburton of which Cheney was a CEO.
In a country where healthcare is not a basic right but a privilege, serious questions can be posed about the sanity of the political body: why would they spend this massive amount of money on endless wars? The Obama administration, post-2008 economic crisis, bailed out the banks and left millions at risk of losing their homes before spending additional billions on wars in Yemen, Syria, Iraq (again), and Libya. Thus, conclusively, the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq were not an act of self-defense, but of traditional political tactics aimed at securing US economic gains and cementing its geopolitical control.
The Enemy of My Enemy is My Tool
The kid we mentioned early on is back now. He did not understand the immensity of the calamity in 2001, nor does he understand it now 20 years later. He is just wondering why his father had to be killed by a drone strike years ago.
The child could not connect how the crumbling towers related to his father. And herein lies the ultimate truism: They did not.
Which begs the question: Could the Iraq invasion have been avoided? To which the answer is the following: Most certainly, as even the Twin Towers attacks might have been avoided thus severing the formal link that tied them in the eyes of the US administration.
A controversial statement most certainly, but it does not detract from its legitimacy.
The arming of the so-called Afghani Mujahideen during the Soviet invasion, which was in and by itself a US plan called “The Afghan Trap” by Reagan National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, set to lure the Soviets in. This paved the way for the creation of Taliban, al-Qaeda, and several other extremist Islamist factions later on in the nineties. Their policies were judged by a large portion of the world as being regressive and isolationist.
But in the ‘80s, they were the US’ best friends.
When the Soviet Union eventually retreated from Afghanistan in 1989, the US ditched its allies and left the country in a state of turmoil and escalating civil war, which eventually resulted in the Taliban’s victory and rule in 1998.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia, a close ally and oil provider, was funding Salafist groups across the region and had had close ties with perpetrators of the 9-11 attacks. Probably, we will gain further insight in the days to come after the release of the classified documents depicting the Saudi role.
On the other hand, the Sudanese government, which the US always had an aggressive stance towards, detained two men accused of bombing US embassies in East Africa and attempted to exchange information with the US regarding them and several terrorist networks directly tied with Bin Laden. This offer was rebuffed by the US due to an “irrational hatred” towards Sudan despite the voluminous amount of files the country intended to produce. In 1998, Bill Clinton’s administration bombed the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory in Khartoum, forever depleting the country’s ability to produce medicine and leaving millions prone to fatal maladies such as malaria.
In response, the Sudanese government released the two men and refrained from sharing any intelligence information. A senior CIA source described the debacle as “the worst single intelligence failure” as it could have been a key component of preventing the 9-11 attacks.
If we consider all these events, it becomes clear how the US, through its aggressive strong-arm foreign policy, gave the attackers all the tools they needed to execute their attack on US soil.
After the victimless fall of the Berlin Wall, the world became unipolar with the US declaring itself emperor of the globe.
After the fall of the Twin Towers, the world entered a state of disarray and all the US was doing was merely attempting to preserve the image that was both physically and metaphorically shattered.
When do we grasp the horror of the US-led wars? Innumerable, unspeakable, indescribable, these horrors have created authentic freedom fighters but also people simply vying for revenge.
Sowing seeds of hatred, innocent Americans died. Sowing seeds of violence, innocent Arabs and Afghans have been murdered in cold blood.