Lessons of Nine Eleven
Looking Back, and Ahead
By Mark Weber
September 9, 2011
On September 11, 2001, for the first time ever, terror attacks from the sky struck America with horrific, devastating suddenness.
The perpetrators of the Nine Eleven attacks meant to harm the United States. But the response to those attacks by President George W. Bush and other American political leaders has proven to be even more harmful. The U.S. response has weakened this country’s security, undermined its economy, degraded its standing and credibility, and violated the principles it claims to uphold.
In the aftermath of Nine Eleven, the President and other prominent Americans lied about a crucial aspect of the attacks: the motive. Along with much of the media, Bush and other political leaders promoted the “Big Lie” that the September 11 attacks were entirely unprovoked and unrelated to U.S. policy and actions.
On national television President Bush said 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” were the targets, why didn’t the perpetrators attack Switzerland, Japan or Norway?
In fact, it’s clear that the men who carried out the Nine Eleven suicide attacks against centers of American financial and military might were motivated, at least in large measure, by rage over U.S. air strikes and economic warfare against Muslim and Arab countries, and by anger over decades-long U.S. support for Israel and its policies of aggression and brutal occupation against Arabs and Muslims.
The U.S. government’s official report on Nine Eleven, issued in 2004, skirted the question of motive. Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, the two most senior officials of the commission that issued the report, later explained in a memoir: “This was sensitive ground. Commissioners who argued that al-Qaeda was motivated primarily by a religious ideology – and not by opposition to American policies – rejected mentioning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the report. In their view, listing U.S. support for Israel as a root cause of al-Qaeda’s opposition to the United States indicated that the United States should reassess that policy.”
The terror of Nine Eleven was predictable because it was not unprecedented. In 1993, for example, 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.”
In the aftermath of Nine Eleven, President Bush pledged a “crusade,” a “war against terrorism,” and a “sustained campaign” to “eradicate the evil of terrorism.” His successor, President Barack Obama, has continued the campaign. But such calls have sounded hollow given the U.S. government's own record of support for terrorism. For example, American presidents have warmly welcomed to the White House Israeli prime ministers, such as Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir, with well-documented records as terrorists.
Following Nine Eleven, Jewish and Zionist leaders, and their American supporters, lost no time exploiting the national mood of fear, rage and revenge to press for new U.S. military action against Israel's many enemies. U.S. government officials, with important backing in the media, claimed that Iraq’s Saddam Hussein regime had supported the perpetrators of Nine Eleven. On the basis of this and other equally baseless allegations, the U.S. launched an illegal and unnecessary war against Iraq.
However justified the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 may have been as a response to Nine Eleven, the subsequent U.S. bombing, invasion and occupation of Iraq certainly was not. The key motive behind the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq was not the official one.
Whatever the secondary reasons for the war, the crucial factor in President Bush’s decision to attack was to help Israel. With support from Israel and America’s Jewish-Zionist lobby, and prodded by Jewish “neo-conservatives” holding high-level positions in his administration, President Bush – who was already fervently committed to Israel – resolved to invade and subdue one of Israel’s chief regional enemies. This was so widely understood by Washington insiders that U.S. Senator Ernest Hollings was moved in May 2004 to acknowledge that the U.S. invaded Iraq “to secure Israel,” and “everybody” knows it.
Nearly 3,000 people perished in the September 11 attacks, but more Americans have been killed in the wars launched by the U.S. in the aftermath of Nine Eleven. More than 4,000 U.S. military personnel have lost their lives in Iraq, and more than a million Iraqis (by some accounts) have died, directly or indirectly, because of the war.
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 Pakistan, Vietnam, Lebanon, Iraq and other distant countries have seemed somehow unreal. Few ordinary Americans pay attention because U.S. military actions normally have little impact on their day-to-day lives.
Madeleine Albright, Secretary of State in President Clinton's administration, spoke in a memorable 1996 interview about the cost in human life of the sanctions imposed on Iraq by the U.S. during the 1990s. During the 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.”
One positive consequence of the shock of Nine Eleven has been to encourage many more Americans to question official claims and re-think entrenched assumptions about their government’s arrogant “policeman” role in the world. Many more Americans have come to understand how political leaders of both parties have subordinated American interests, and basic justice and humanity, to Jewish-Zionist interests.
In the years since Nine Eleven, there’s been no change in the basic character of U.S. foreign and military policy, in spite of a flurry of high hopes for change when Barack Obama became president. As a result, distrust and hatred of the United States around the world have persisted.
The calamity of September 11 was a consequence, above all, of the Jewish-Zionist grip on American political life and the U.S. media. Enduring security will therefore remain elusive as long as U.S. policy, especially in the Middle East, is set by a small but very influential minority with its own agenda and strong ethno-religious ties to a key protagonist in the region.
Real security for America will require radically different policies based on clear-eyed awareness of authentic American national interests and enlightened concern for the long-term good of the U.S. and the world.