by Charles Buffalo

September 22, 2003


On the evening of September 11, 2003, I watched an HBO documentary, "In Memoriam: New York City." The program obviously dealt with the attacks on the World Trade Center, September 11, 2001, and former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani seemed intent on presenting the attacks as unprovoked acts of terrorism. Leaving the question regarding them as, "Why?"

I couldn't help but wondering how many of those who viewed the presentation had the same thoughts as I did.

Certainly my heart goes out to the many firefighters and police officers who gave their lives in the line of duty. I thought also of those people who were in the buildings doing menial jobs such as cleaning, shop keeping and delivery. Also to be considered are those who might have just been in the buildings as tourists. These were in fact innocents, lives lost because they became entwined with the intended targets, those of the financial empires of the world.

However, my thoughts went much further. I wondered how many Americans have considered that the same tragedies have occurred in the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq, not to mention various other parts of the world over the past forty years or so, at the hands of the American government. The scenes shown in this HBO program made me think of the innocents that perished during apartment and hospital bombings by US and NATO strikes in the Balkans. It made me think of the innocents that were killed during missile attacks on Afghanistan, and made me question just how many times the same has been played out in Iraq.

It doesn't take more than a marginal amount of intellect to understand that the same amount of suffering and pain engulfed the citizens of these nations when US bombs tore their own lives apart. Where has the American public's sympathy been for these people? Probably to the extent that the American public might even fathom a reason, "Why?"

To me, the answers are quite simple. Americans for the most part just don't care what happens to people like themselves in other countries, readily accepting Administration and media classifications of collateral damage when innocents abroad are slain, then accepting the break for a commercial before moving on to other coverage.

I say wake up Americans. The WTC was a legitimate military target, as was the Pentagon for that matter, neither were residential dwellings or medical facilities, but monetary and military institutions important, if not essential, to the American government. Unfortunate as it was, the loss of life in both New York and Washington DC were in fact collateral damages from a military stand point, suffered in attacks by a retaliating force who used the safest and most used form of transportation in the U.S. to carry out their missions. A quaint message to the American people as to how safe from penetration they really were. But "Why" the need for such a message?

"Why?" The answer is quite simple. Countries around the world are rapidly tiring of US demands and domination in their affairs. They are tired of being told what to do with their own resources -- Caspian oil lines in the Balkans, oil and natural gas fields to the north of Afghanistan, and control of the second largest oil producing nation in the world, Iraq. This was strongly evidenced by the failure of many nations to support the most recent US aggression in Iraq. How long would Americans expect their government or factions within to stand by and simply accept the demands of another aggressive nation? I am sure that the majority of Americans would insist on aggressive military action against such intervention, only this time they were the ones to experience it.

According to polls throughout the world, sympathy towards the United States in regard to the incidents of 9/11 has noticeably diminished. The United States is beginning to be viewed as a bullying aggressor thanks to the antics of the present administration and its total disregard of international opinion. How long until most European nations and possibly some Asian nations distance themselves from the U.S.? One might recall that the same happened to Nazi Germany when they undertook actions so alike those being taken by the United States today.

It is said that if the people lead, the leaders will follow. If Americans continue their sheep-like way of life, believing everything they are told so long as their own personal cravings are satisfied, then they can expect to be on the receiving end of more reprisals such as those experienced two years ago.

Americans need to realize that people just like themselves are experiencing the same horrors of 9/11 on a much larger scale, not to mention the strife that remains after the U.S. has plundered their nation for its worth.

The time to act is now. The Bush administration wasn't receiving the best reviews at the time of the attacks, but its ratings dramatically increased in the aftermath. Presently, even though the Administration is slipping a bit in the polls, it is considering re-election in a little over a year's time. Is it possible that it will turn a blind eye to yet another strike, in order to further the fears it has continually attempted to instill in American minds to increase its odds? Most certainly if the policies of the past couple years continue there will be more attacks on US soil and that above all should remain a prime consideration for the American public.

Mine is just a personal opinion, but neither now, nor before have I had to wonder, "Why?"

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Think About It - Charles Buffalo (Oct. 2001)

9/11 on Swans


Charles Buffalo is an American Indian, a member of the proud Cherokee Nation. He has been an activist for Indian American rights for well over a decade. Buffalo maintains his own Web site that focuses on Indian activism.

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Published September 22, 2003
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