one perspective on the military response to 9/11

 

 

U.S. Code of Federal Regulations defines terrorism as:

“…the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives” (28 C.F.R. Section 0.85).

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Six years ago our country was brutally terrorized and we all watched speechlessly as our symbols of economic and military prosperity burned. A staggering amount of innocent people died and an entire nation suffered shock and trauma.

The response was swift: only 26 days after this horrific event our bombers were going to work on another set of innocent civilians. Less than two months in to Operation Enduring Freedom, more civilians had died in Afghanistan than on September 11th.

The US Government, with SOME justification, decided that the Taliban had to be removed. The Taliban was comprised of vicious warlords who stripped women of their rights, eliminated essential freedoms and played host to a cadre of fundamentalist-Islamo-fascist-extremist-terrorist-suicide/homicide bombers or whatever Fox News wants to call them this week.

After the largest terrorist attack on US soil before 9/11, the media clamored to blame the Middle East. The source of the bombing, of course, was not foreign but domestic. How did the US respond to this terrorism? They investigated, caught the suspects and prosecuted them. How did the US respond to the terrorism on 9/11? They bombed heavily populated areas in Afghanistan. In the book simply titled 9/11, Noam Chomsky points out:

“When IRA bombs were set off in London, there was no call to bomb West Belfast… When a federal building was blown up in Oklahoma City… [and the source of the bombing] was found to be domestic, with links to the ultra-right militias, there was no call to obliterate Montana and Idaho.”

Montana and Idaho were not ’supporting’ terrorism like the Taliban was but how is a bombing campaign that killed thousands of civilians just? The US could have, through the UN, garnered a large coalition (unlike the 99% US/British ‘Coalition of the Willing’ in Iraq) to hunt down Al Qaeda and bring Bin Laden to justice through the World Court or a similar international body. In the United States, when a person is attacked the victims are not allowed to take justice into their own hands. Why is this allowed in foreign policy?

I see the the War in Afghanistan as a response to 9/11 like this: Someone in my neighborhood commited a heinous crime but instead of the police investigating, arresting and prosecuting; the victims or their families bomb the entire neighborhood that the crimnal lives in. You MIGHT kill the criminal but what about all the others that were killed? How is Bin Laden’s ‘collateral damage’ on 9/11 so distinct from that caused by US bombs?

Around the world the US supports and has supported brutal undemocratic regimes that protect western corporate interests through repression. Only when one of these client-states fails to acquiesce and unquestioningly do the bidding of the US does the military-industrial complex act. The US supported Noriega; then took him out. The US supported Saddam; then took him out. The US supported the Mujahideen and then took out their offspring, the Taliban.

The US media almost universally portray the motives of US foreign policy as pure and just. Read anything by William Blum, Michael Parenti, Howard Zinn or Noam Chomsky about foreign policy and you will see that democracy, human rights and freedom are never central to US military actions but economic interests are.

9/11 was a green light for the government to drastically increase military spending to the point now where it almost equals the spending of the rest of the world combined.

A comparison of the budgets for the world's greatest military spenders. Note that this comparison is done in US dollars and thus is not adjusted for purchasing power parity

Security is a necessity but what are we doing in the rest of the world that requires spending on these levels?

Are indiscriminate bombings including the use of cluster bombs and depleted uranium going to protect us? Or create more enemies? How many people in Afghanistan and Iraq would not harbor ‘anti-American’ sentiment if their friends and families had not been blown up, imprisoned or tortured?

9/11 opened our eyes to the threat posed by our enemies and opened my young eyes to the reasons why people in the Middle East and throughout the world oppose US intervention and occupation.

The US was undeniably, viciously attacked and we had the opportunity to show the world that this bastion of democracy, justice and freedom would responsibly tend to the situation. Instead we are trillions of dollars in debt, thousands of servicemen and women are dead, hundreds of thousands of civilians are dead, and are we any safer than we were before?

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~ by Brad on September 11, 2007.

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