by Philip Greenspan
(Swans - July 17, 2006) "They hate our freedoms -- our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other." This was how George Bush explained the 9/11 catastrophe to Congress and the American people. Was that the motivation of the perpetrators? Do people, organizations and governments behave that irrationally? Are such actions inexplicable? No. It might seem that way if logical explanations are missing, misleading or misunderstood. A thoughtful analysis advancing a fairly reasonable explanation will shatter such an irrational simplistic myth.
The 9/11 attack was a masterful operation that will go down in history as a unique, imaginative, and successful accomplishment! Did any prior military exploit produce such an earthshaking result? By employing daring and ingenious tactics the major symbols of economic and military power of the sole superpower were attacked and destroyed! If the predominant accounts of HOW, WHO, and WHAT happened on 9/11 are to be believed, a questionable supposition at best, then certain facts and presumptions can plausibly determine WHY. Hollywood produced two blockbuster films, "The Guns of Navarone" and "The Dirty Dozen," in which highly skilled or trained troops specifically chosen for their tasks penetrated enemy lines to destroy a vital objective. While the stories were fictitious they showed what extensive preparation and extremely capable and well-trained men were necessary for such an operation. As exciting, spellbinding, and gratifying as their magnificent accomplishments were, they were inconsequential as compared with the 9/11 achievement! Such an outcome required great planning, preparation, execution and LUCK -- to get through the elaborate defenses of the world's sole superpower. This operation required many individuals and quite some time to carry out -- a conspiracy that defied the odds for success.
How could the US defenses deemed to be impregnable be pierced so easily? Is it believable that a conspiracy planned years in advance and involving many individuals, some of whom spent considerable time in the US honing their flying skills and otherwise preparing themselves, not be spotted? Couldn't the mega-billion dollar intelligence services detect some clues? TV viewers were able to watch the tragedy as it unfolded in real time. Where was the defensive response? Only gross incompetence of both the intelligence and military services could have permitted such an atrocity to occur. And how did the commander in chief react when informed that vital installations of the country were under attack? Ho hum . . . time to read a story to the school children. Would Churchill, whom the media likened him to, have acted similarly?
It would seem that the perpetrators involved in the 9/11 operation were very competent and intelligent and not fanatics. In fact, anecdotes indicate that some were not observant of religious practices. Is it plausible to think that those who pulled off this operation did it because they hated US freedoms? Other countries more accessible and more easily penetrable enjoy similar freedoms. Why pick on the U.S.? Why go to so much trouble to deliver the message there? Why? Because that is not the message! The message was stated very clearly and specifically in a 1998 fatwa Osama issued against the U.S. His complaints involved US activities in the Arabian Peninsula -- the US occupation of that area; the US support of abusive puppet regimes; the US extractions of its resources; the US maintenance of military bases; the US sanctions and bombing of the Iraqis; and the US support of Israel against the Palestinians. Official government sources acknowledge the fatwa's motivations as consistent with the 9/11 attack.
Are those complaints unreasonable? Haven't all colonial peoples been intent on ridding hated colonial powers from their countries? Maps of the world before WWII had vast sections with the same reds, blues, yellows, greens, etc. depicting various colonial empires. Those vast empires no longer exist. The seemingly weak Third World natives astoundingly ousted the powerful colonial powers from their lands. How were weak and poor occupied peoples with no military to speak of able to overcome major military forces of wealthy and powerful nations, so determined to hold on to their colonies that they employed every conceivable dirty trick? Those peoples had a burning, unyielding and persisting commitment far stronger than that of the occupier. A commitment for, let's admit it, FREEDOM! Yes, FREEDOM! FREEDOM FROM FOREIGN RULE! They were not only willing to sacrifice their lives but expected their children and grandchildren to continue for as long as the struggle lasted; and colonial wars lasted far longer than other wars. The Vietnamese took on three major powers, Japan, France and the U.S., from 1945-1975 before subduing and evicting their opponents. It took over 40 years from the time that the African National Congress launched their passive resistance Defiance Campaign until apartheid was ended and a new South African constitution was ratified. The Algerians endured the fighting and torture of the French from 1954-1962. Having lost India, the British were not going to lose their next most valuable colony, Kenya. Yet the Kikuyu persisted from 1951-1959 before John Bull threw in the sponge. The colonizers kept winning the military battles, but the underdog opposition -- even though they suffered lopsided casualties as high as hundreds to one -- never, never, never gave up and ultimately outlasted the Goliaths.
By imposing and supporting friendly regimes throughout the world, the U.S. has effectively created a new type of colonialism that is just as abhorrent to the inhabitants of the subject countries as the former colonialism. The ousting of such US-supported tyrants as Battista, the Shah, Pinochet, Suharto, Somoza, etc., are examples. The latest episodes in Afghanistan and Iraq, two military pushovers, have shown the U.S. that their continued occupation will meet increasing resistance. The prizes for the U.S. in the Middle East are very attractive and strategic on the global chessboard. The U.S. will hold on tenaciously but the tables are turning. In both countries the U.S., true to historical form, is meeting the increasing intensity of rebellion with harsher and more painful backlashes while its GIs and the folks at home are despairing of the war.
The crazies in the White House control stockpiles of the ultimate weapon that they might use to forestall the Afghans and Iraqis from prevailing. But the determination of those peoples will eventually accomplish the desired outcome.
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