Learning from the September 11 Attacks
By Mark Weber - September 15, 2001
With thousands of victims and riveting images of death and destruction, war has come home to America with terrible, devastating suddenness. Together with our fellow citizens, we mourn the many victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon building. But beyond the feelings of grief and fury must come clarity and understanding.
President George W. Bush said on national television that "America was targeted for attack because we're the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world." The next day he said that "freedom and democracy are under attack," and that the perpetrators had struck against "all freedom-loving people everywhere in the world."
But if "democracy" and "freedom-loving people" are the targets, why isn't anyone attacking Switzerland, Japan or Norway? Bush's claims are just as untrue as President Wilson's World War I declaration that the United States was fighting to "make the world safe for democracy," and President Roosevelt's World War II assurances that the U.S. was fighting for "freedom" and "democracy."
In the wake of the September 11 attacks, speculation has been rife about who the perpetrators may have been. That itself is an acknowledgment that so many people hate this country so intensely that one cannot easily determine just who may have mounted these well-organized attacks of suicidal desperation.
These shocking attacks were predictable. In 1993 Islamic radicals set off a bomb at the World Trade Center that claimed six lives. In August 1998 the United States carried out missile attacks against Afghanistan and Sudan, strikes that senior Clinton administration officials said signaled the start of "a real war against terrorism." In the wake of those attacks, a high-ranking U.S. intelligence official warned that "the prospect of retaliation against Americans is very, very high.'" (The Washington Post, Aug. 21, 1998, p. A1)
Our political leaders and the American mass media promote the preposterous fiction that the September 11 attacks are entirely unprovoked and unrelated to United States actions. They want everyone to believe that the underlying hatred of America by so many around the world, especially in Arab and Muslim countries, that motivated the perpetrators of the September 11 attacks is unrelated to this country's policies. It is clear, however, that those who carried out these devastating suicide attacks against centers of American financial and military might were enraged by this country's decades-long support for Israel and its policies of aggression, murderous repression, and brutal occupation against Arabs and Muslims, and/or American air strikes and economic warfare against Afghanistan, Sudan, Iraq and Iran.
America is the only country that claims the right to deploy troops and war planes in any corner of the globe in pursuit of what our political leaders call "vital national interests." George Washington and our country's other founders earnestly warned against such imperial arrogance, while far-sighted Americans such as Harry Elmer Barnes, Garet Garrett and Pat Buchanan voiced similar concerns in the 20th century.
For most Americans modern war has largely been an abstraction -- something that happens only in far-away lands. The victims of U.S. air attack and bombardment in Vietnam, Lebanon, Sudan, Libya, Iraq and Serbia have seemed somehow unreal. Few ordinary Americans pay attention, because U.S. military actions normally have little impact on their day-to-day lives.
Just as residents of Rome in the second century hardly noticed the battles fought by their troops on the outer edges of the Roman empire, residents of Seattle and Cleveland today barely concern themselves with the devastation wrought by American troops and warplanes in, for example, Iraq.
Ramsey Clark, former U.S. Attorney General, has accused the United States of committing "a crime against humanity" against the people of Iraq "that exceeds all others in its magnitude, cruelty and portent." Citing United Nations agency reports and his own on-site investigations, Clark charged in 1996 that the scarcity of food and medicine as a result of sanctions against Iraq imposed by the United States since 1990, and U.S. bombings of the country, had caused the deaths of more than a million people, including more than half a million children.
Madeleine Albright, Secretary of State in President Clinton's administration, defended the mass killings. During a 1996 interview she was asked: "We have heard that half a million children have died [as a result of sanctions against Iraq]. I mean, that is more children than died in Hiroshima ... Is the price worth it?" Albright replied: "... We think the price is worth it." (60 Minutes, May 12, 1996).
President Bush is now pledging a "crusade," a "war against terrorism" and a "sustained campaign" to "eradicate the evil of terrorism."
But such calls sound hollow given the U.S. government's own record of support for terrorism, for example during the Vietnam war. During the 1980s, the U.S. supported "terrorists" in Afghanistan -- including Osama bin Laden, now the "prime suspect" in the September 11 attacks -- in their struggle to drive out the Soviet invaders.
American presidents have warmly welcomed to the White House Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir, two Israeli prime ministers with well-documented records as terrorists. President Bush himself has welcomed to Washington Israel's current prime minister, Ariel Sharon, whose forces have been carrying out assassinations of Palestinian leaders and murderous "retaliatory" strikes against Palestinians. Even an official Israeli commission found that Sharon bore some responsibility for the 1982 massacres of Palestinian civilians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps.
Jewish and Zionist leaders, and their American servants, have predictably lost no time exploiting the September 11 attacks to further their own interests. Taking advantage of the current national mood of blind rage and revenge, they demand new U.S. military action against Israel's many enemies.
In the weeks to come, therefore, we can expect the U.S. government, supported by an enraged public, to lash out violently. The great danger is that an emotion-driven, reactive response will aggravate underlying tensions and encourage new acts of murderous violence.
What is needed now is not a vengeful "crusade," but coherent, reasoned policies based on sanity and justice.
In the months and years ahead, most Americans will doubtless continue to accept what their political leaders and the mass media tell them.
But the jolting impact of the September 11 attacks -- which have, for the first time, brought to our cities the terror and devastation of attacks from the sky -- will also encourage growing numbers of thoughtful Americans to see through the lies propagated by our nation's political and cultural elite, and its Zionist allies, to impose their will around the world. More and more people will understand that their government's overseas policies inevitably have consequences even here at home.
In 1948, as the Zionist state was being established in Palestine, U.S. Secretary of State George C. Marshall, along with nearly every other high-level U.S. foreign affairs specialist, warned that American support for Israel would have dire long-term consequences. Events have fully vindicated their concerns.
Over the long run, the September 11 attacks will encourage public awareness of our government's imperial role in the world, including a sobering reassessment of this country's perverse "special relationship" with the Jewish ethnostate. Along with that, rage will grow against those who have subordinated American interests, and basic justice and humanity, to Jewish-Zionist ambitions.
For more than 20 years the IHR has sought, through its educational work, to prevent precisely such horrors as the attacks in New York and Washington. In the years ahead, as we continue our mission of promoting greater public awareness of history and world affairs, and a greater sense of public responsibility for the policies that generated the rage behind the September 11 attacks, this work will be more important than ever.
Published in The Journal of Historical Review, July-August 2001 (Vol. 20, No. 4), pages 8-9. (This essay has been circulated worldwide, in English, German and Arabic, in print and on numerous websites.)