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The one 9/11 question many Americans do not want to ask [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2004-7-28 17:20:33 |Display all floors
With all the coverage given in the last week to the 9/11 Commission report in the US mainstream media, virtually every aspect of what happened on 9/11/2001 was discussed in great detail except for one: WHY did it happened? In particular, the US media avoided like the plague the most fundamental question of all: What is the relationship between US foreign policy and the attacks of 9/11/2001? I remembered reading a couple of articles shortly after that fateful date that attempted to explain why there is this remarkable silence on this most basic of questions concerning that epochal event, a silence that has continued to the present (I'm here discounting the childish and idiotic explanation offered by the Bush administration --- that the suicide bombers attacked the US because they hated the freedoms and envied the wealth of the world's remaining superpower).

Here is the first article:,3604,551036,00.html

They can't see why they are hated

Americans cannot ignore what their government does abroad

Special report: Terrorism in the US

Seumas Milne
Thursday September 13, 2001
The Guardian

Nearly two days after the horrific suicide attacks on civilian workers in New York and Washington, it has become painfully clear that most Americans simply don't get it. From the president to passersby on the streets, the message seems to be the same: this is an inexplicable assault on freedom and democracy, which must be answered with overwhelming force - just as soon as someone can construct a credible account of who was actually responsible.
Shock, rage and grief there has been aplenty. But any glimmer of recognition of why people might have been driven to carry out such atrocities, sacrificing their own lives in the process - or why the United States is hated with such bitterness, not only in Arab and Muslim countries, but across the developing world - seems almost entirely absent. Perhaps it is too much to hope that, as rescue workers struggle to pull firefighters from the rubble, any but a small minority might make the connection between what has been visited upon them and what their government has visited upon large parts of the world.

But make that connection they must, if such tragedies are not to be repeated, potentially with even more devastating consequences. US political leaders are doing their people no favours by reinforcing popular ignorance with self-referential rhetoric. And the echoing chorus of Tony Blair, whose determination to bind Britain ever closer to US foreign policy ratchets up the threat to our own cities, will only fuel anti-western sentiment. So will calls for the defence of "civilisation", with its overtones of Samuel Huntington's poisonous theories of post-cold war confrontation between the west and Islam, heightening perceptions of racism and hypocrisy.

As Mahatma Gandhi famously remarked when asked his opinion of western civilisation, it would be a good idea. Since George Bush's father inaugurated his new world order a decade ago, the US, supported by its British ally, bestrides the world like a colossus. Unconstrained by any superpower rival or system of global governance, the US giant has rewritten the global financial and trading system in its own interest; ripped up a string of treaties it finds inconvenient; sent troops to every corner of the globe; bombed Afghanistan, Sudan, Yugoslavia and Iraq without troubling the United Nations; maintained a string of murderous embargos against recalcitrant regimes; and recklessly thrown its weight behind Israel's 34-year illegal military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza as the Palestinian intifada rages.

If, as yesterday's Wall Street Journal insisted, the east coast carnage was the fruit of the Clinton administration's Munich-like appeasement of the Palestinians, the mind boggles as to what US Republicans imagine to be a Churchillian response.

It is this record of unabashed national egotism and arrogance that drives anti-Americanism among swaths of the world's population, for whom there is little democracy in the current distribution of global wealth and power. If it turns out that Tuesday's attacks were the work of Osama bin Laden's supporters, the sense that the Americans are once again reaping a dragons' teeth harvest they themselves sowed will be overwhelming.

It was the Americans, after all, who poured resources into the 1980s war against the Soviet-backed regime in Kabul, at a time when girls could go to school and women to work. Bin Laden and his mojahedin were armed and trained by the CIA and MI6, as Afghanistan was turned into a wasteland and its communist leader Najibullah left hanging from a Kabul lamp post with his genitals stuffed in his mouth.

But by then Bin Laden had turned against his American sponsors, while US-sponsored Pakistani intelligence had spawned the grotesque Taliban now protecting him. To punish its wayward Afghan offspring, the US subsequently forced through a sanctions regime which has helped push 4m to the brink of starvation, according to the latest UN figures, while Afghan refugees fan out across the world.

All this must doubtless seem remote to Americans desperately searching the debris of what is expected to be the largest-ever massacre on US soil - as must the killings of yet more Palestinians in the West Bank yesterday, or even the 2m estimated to have died in Congo's wars since the overthrow of the US-backed Mobutu regime. "What could some political thing have to do with blowing up office buildings during working hours?" one bewildered New Yorker asked yesterday.

Already, the Bush administration is assembling an international coalition for an Israeli-style war against terrorism, as if such counter-productive acts of outrage had an existence separate from the social conditions out of which they arise. But for every "terror network" that is rooted out, another will emerge - until the injustices and inequalities that produce them are addressed.

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Post time 2004-7-28 17:48:49 |Display all floors

2nd article

Here is the second article:

The End of the "End of History"

Jean Bricmont

Everything was going smoothly. Serbia, on its knees, had just sold Milosevic to the International Criminal Tribune for a fistful of dollars (most of which turned out to be earmarked to pay debts going back to Tito's time). NATO was expanding eastwards toward a powerless Russia. Saddam Hussein could be safely bombed whenever one felt like it. Invaded by UCK, Macedonia was obliged to accept the farce of a disarmament of that same UCK by the very ones who armed it in the first place. The Palestinian territories were under tight control while their leaders were assassinated by smart bombs. For the past few years, stockholders had been making record profits. The political left had died out and all political parties had rallied to neoliberalism and "humanitarian" interventionism. In short, as certain commentators put it, we were living in peace.

Then suddenly shock, surprise, horror: the greatest power of all times, the only truly universal empire struck in its very heart, at the center of its wealth and power. A unique and all-powerful electronic spying network, unparalleled security measures, a staggering defense budget -- none of this was of any use in preventing the catastrophe.

Let us be perfectly clear. We do not share the attitude expressed by Madeleine Albright when she was asked whether pursuing the embargo against Iraq was worth the price of half a million Iraqi children who have died: "this is a very hard choice, but we think the price is worth it", she replied. The massacre of innocent civilians is never acceptable. But this does not mean we should not try to understand the underlying meaning of that incredible attack.

The American pacifist A. J. Muste once remarked that the problem in every war was posed by the winning side: the victor had learned that violence succeeded. The whole of postwar history illustrates the pertinence of that observation. In the United States, the War Department was renamed Defense Department, precisely when there was no direct danger threatening the country, and one government after the other launched campaigns of military intervention and political destabilisation in the guise of containing communism -- against moderately nationalist governments such as that of Goulart in Brazil, Mossadegh in Iran or Arbenz in Guatemala. To limit ourselves to the present, let us examine a few questions rarely raised concerning Western, especially American, policy.

- The Kyoto protocol: the principal United States objection is not on scientific grounds, but merely that "it is bad for our economy". What are people who work 12 hours a day for slave wages to make of such a reaction?

- The Durban conference. The West rejects the slightest thought of reparations for slavery and colonialism. But isn't it clear that the State of Israel functions as a form of reparations for anti-Semitic persecutions, except that in this case the price is paid by the Palestinian Arabs for the crimes committed by Europeans? And isn't it obvious that this shift of responsibility must be felt as a sort of racism by the victims of colonialism?

- Macedonia: here is a country that the West pushed into independence in order to weaken Serbia and whose government has always faithfully followed Western orders. As a result it has been subjected to attacks by terrorists armed by NATO and coming from territory under NATO control. How does this look to Slavic Orthodox peoples, especially after the expulsion, as NATO looks on, of the Serbian population of Kosovo and the eradication of a large part of its cultural heritage?

- Afghanistan: it is too quickly forgotten that Osama Bin Laden was trained and armed by the Americans, who openly admit that they were using Afghanistan to destabilize the USSR even before the Soviet intervention. How many people have died in the game that former President Carter's adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, calls "the great chessboard"? And how many terrorists, in Asia, in Central America, in the Balkans, or in the Middle East, are left to run loose after having been used by the "Free World"?

- Iraq: for ten years the population has been strangled by an embargo that has caused hundreds of thousands of deaths -- of civilian victims. All because Iraq tried to recover the oil wells that were de facto confiscated from them by the British. Let us just compare the treatment given Israel for its totally illegal occupation of territories conquered in 1967. Is it really likely that the notion, generally accepted in the West, that Saddam Hussein is to blame for everything, makes much sense in the Arab-Muslim world?

By pure coincidence, the September 11 attacks took place on the anniversary of the overthrow of Allende, which not only marked (a fact easily forgotten) the installation of the first neoliberal government, that of General Pinochet, but also the start of a broad movement against national and independent movements in the Third World which was to lead those countries to bow to the dictates of the IMF.

This is why we suspect that in Latin America, in Indonesia, in Iran, in ruined and humiliated Russia, in China where nobody is fooled by attempts to destabilize this emerging giant, as well as in the Muslim world, the September 11 tragedy will cause people to shed little more than crocodile tears.

Of course there will be shouts of indignation and messages of sympathy. There will be applause for "firm responses" when they occur (will they destroy a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan or bomb the civilian population of an Arab country?). Large numbers of intellectuals will be found to produce clever analyses full of false analogies connecting these attacks to whatever it is they are against: Saddam Hussein, Kadhafi, Western pacifists and anti-imperialists, the Palestinian liberation movement or even China, Russia or North Korea. It will be repeated that such barbarism is totally alien to us: after all, we prefer to bomb from high altitude and kill gradually by means of embargos. But none of that will solve any basic problem. There is no use attacking revolt itself. What must be attacked is the suffering that produces revolt. Those attacks will have at least two negative political consequences. For one, the American population, already disturbingly nationalist, will "rally round the flag", as they put it, supporting their government however barbaric its policy. Americans will be more than ever determined to "protect our way of life" without asking the price to be paid by the rest of the planet. The timid movements of dissent that have emerged since Seattle will be marginalized if not criminalized.

On the other hand, millions of people who have been defeated, humiliated and crushed by the United States and the world it dominates will be tempted to see terrorism as the only weapon really capable of striking the Empire. This is why a truly political struggle -- not violence -- against the cultural, economic and above all military domination by a small minority over the vast majority of humanity is more necessary than ever before.

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Post time 2004-7-28 21:47:02 |Display all floors

it's an old one

This question was discussed plenty, but usually only by those Americans who want the US to be loved by all.  Since that's impossible, such discussions don't usually go far beyond university faculty lounges.  No serious person in our government will ever even entertain the notion that fanatical terrorists' demands be considered.  There is no moral justification ever for deliberately targeting and murdering thousands of innocent civilians, so there's also no reason to ponder what we may do to appease the the terrorists.  Nothing our government could ever do would satisfy al Qaeda, which wants to destroy all of western civilization and take the whole world back to good old days of the Ottoman Empire.  Do you really think anyone in any western government would consider letting that happen?  

One of the main reasons why 9/11 happened, which really has not been discussed too much, is that bin Laden thought the US was weak.  Clinton gave him many reasons to think this.  Bin Laden even stated that our withdrawal from Somalia after the "Blackhawk down" incident convinced him that the US did not have the stomach to stay when things got ugly.  Our failure to respond to his attack against the USS Cole was our last sign of impotence before 9/11.  But before that, Clinton had taken a few meaningless half-measures just to appear to do something.  When Sudan offered to hand bin Laden over to us (this was before he moved to Afghanistan), Clinton turned the offer down.  What did we do in resonse to the Khobar Towers bombing, the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania?  Nothing.  If you were bin Laden, wouldn't you be convinced that you could do anything to the US and not have to worry about the consequences?  That's why 9/11 happened.  Bin Laden and his gang, emboldened by their history of defeating the Soviet Union in Afghanistan and their seemingly safe haven there, never thought the US would be able to oust them or the Taliban.  Had he known that al Qaeda would have lost their sanctuary in Afghanistan, the Taliban toppled, Iraq invaded and 60% of al Qaeda's leadership captured or killed, I'm not sure bin Laden would have gone ahead with 9/11.  Because he thought we would not respond as we did, he was not deterred.

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Post time 2004-7-28 22:22:54 |Display all floors


Bush said that but failed to go deeper. Probably, likely and surely, there is a link between the attack and the US foreign policy, the Bush administration better rethink its policies, unfortunately, they are not likely to do that.

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Post time 2004-7-29 09:08:44 |Display all floors

Confucius says;

The wise Chinese sage said;

" What you sow is what you reap "

" The chickens have come home to roost ".

" Those who live by the sword die by the sword. "
or words to that effect

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Post time 2004-7-29 12:16:35 |Display all floors

a 10/11 question

why did the US govt block China's participation in the international space station programme, whose objective is furtherance of space activities for mankind?

was it because they were 'overwhelmed with awe (sic)' at China's Shenzhen achievements?


was it the big world bully has a streak of fear covered by arrogance disguised as heads-i-win-tails-you-lose?

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Post time 2004-7-29 12:25:11 |Display all floors


...because China insisted on cooking stinky tofu.

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