America’s 9/11 response subverted our values, liberties (Cole @ Detroit News)

My column is out at the Detroit News, “America’s 9-11 Response Subverted our Values & Liberties.

Exerpt:

“Then-French President Jacques Chirac advised George W. Bush to avoid the phrase “war on terror,” and urged that 9/11 be treated as a crime by a cartel. It is not as if such rogue organizations are harmless. Mexico’s drug cartels are alleged to have killed 47,515 people since 2006.

But by pursuing wars against states in Iraq and Afghanistan instead of making the destruction of al-Qaida its highest priority, the Bush administration turned America toward perpetual war. Worse, it gave al-Qaida new life and recruiting grounds by militarily occupying Muslim countries and overseeing conflicts that led to the deaths of tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of innocents.

The Iraq War squandered American blood and treasure on a fruitless quest to impose American empire on the Middle East (Iraq was not related to 9/11). More than eight years later, Iraq is still unstable. On Sunday, some 100 died in bombings and violence and the Supreme Court sentenced an elected vice president to death for running Sunni death squads, after he had been accused by the elected Shiite prime minister. The U.S.-installed Shiite government predictably tilts toward Iran, and supports the government of Syria.

Last week Washington complained bitterly that Iraq was giving Iran over-flight rights for resupply of the army of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whom the U.S. wants to see removed from power.

Read the whole column at The Detroit News:

Posted in Uncategorized | 22 Responses | Print |

22 Responses

  1. Yes, our War on Terror has devastated sovereign nations on other side of the world and has created thousands of casualties of the enemy, of Americans, and “collateral damage.” Our War on Drugs, and our drug policies, have devastated sovereign nations next door, and in our geopolitical neighborhood, and has created thousands of casualties of the enemy, of Americans, and “collateral damage,” including thousands of casualties within our own borders, not to mention also the devastation to families and souls, domestic and abroad. So, just exactly where is the enemy?

  2. I thought you might be interested to know that in Patriot Games, the ’80’s novel by right wing conservative pro military writer Tom Clancy, the overwhelming stance taken was that terrorism should be regarded as a criminal act. This was repeated by every civil and military authority in the novel, both in the US and in Europe. I’m sure this attitude mirrored what Clancy was told by his many conservative fans in all branches of goverment.

    It always amazed me that the Bush administration could erase what was common knowledge throughout the most conservative parts of our government. All to allow massive war profiteering by Bush administration cronies in military procurement.

    • Interesting how the meaning of the word “patriotism” has wandered so very far from what most of us thought we understood about the term. To the point that Lockheed Martin’s snottily arch and intentionally ambiguous “patriotic” corporate slogan is, or was recently, “We never forget who we’re working for.” And it appears that the “who” is maybe the critters called “shareholders,” and the critters who populate that post-national entity’s C-Suite and determine the value of their own services and thus their “fair compensation.” And let us not forget “who” well KBR and Halliburton have done through all this. But “who” most definitely is not, as far as any reality or even appearances I can make out, the great mass of what used to be thought of as Americans, or any kind of pursuit of real security, long-game security and stability, for the US or the rest of the world.

      Of course, there’s “conservative,” and then there’s “conservative,” which is a skunk of a different stripe and stink…

    • “Terrorism” is a term of rhetoric, as you look into the evolution of its usage.

      However, try broaching the clear and rational logic for framing 9/11 as a crime and you will draw nothing but contempt and dismissive ridicule.

      You will NOT hear any sort of rationality, but the response could well be a physical assault. Draw your own conclusions.

      • “However, try broaching the clear and rational logic for framing 9/11 as a crime and you will draw nothing but contempt and dismissive ridicule.”

        And rightly so! There is no “clear and rational logic” for framing 9/11 as a crime. It was an act of asymetrical warfare perpetrated by unlawful enemy combatants. To call the attack against the United States a “crime,” and thus put it in the same category as knocking off a Seven-Eleven convenience store, deserves the contempt and ridicule to which you refer.

        • Wrong. By referring to 9/11 as an act of Islamic terror, the US took on the entire Islamic world. The perpetrators of 9/11 were a bunch of anarchist dead-enders, cut off from any mass base. Even Iranians marched in sympathy with the US in a candlelight vigil the day after the attack and the Iranian government shared intelligence. America had the sympathy of the world. Had it isolated Bin Laden and gang as murderers pure and simple, we would even have garnered more support for his capture from the Islamic world. Islam condemns the killing of innocents. But once the entire Middle East got slimed with the Al Queda label and a public debate about Islam being a fake religion, we got Benard Lewis’ dream come true, the ‘war of civilizations. Linking AL Queda to a secular Saddam Hussein sealed the image and reality of US overreach. The US had every right to defend itself by uprooting the camps in Afghanistan and the government that supported Al Queda. Then, instead of keeping the target to punish narrow, we widened it and opened up the hornets’ nest. Very strategically stupid. Maybe even criminally stupid ‘

        • Bill is big on contempt and ridicule. And also big on playing out the usual heavy trumps that lie so well on the American table, that bit about how all Arabs and Muslims and them people are irretrievably Evil Other, and we Christians are all just good and kind and all that. And once again “my country, or at least the part I run with, right or wrong.”

          Them 9/11 guys entered and/or stayed in the US illegally while prepping for the Big Day. As I recall it, they committed a bunch of frauds and violations of laws on currency transactions and a bunch of other stuff. And commandeering a passenger jet is pretty seriously a violation of the US code, and has been punished as such in the past (by a very different Justice Department.) And of course well after the fact, it becomes increasingly clear that Bush and Cheney and their underlings were not going to pay any attention to serious reporting that the 9-11 gang were here and planning an attack involving airliners and a lot of other reported signs and signals that should have been followed up on if the Kleptocrats were not so fixated on stealing Iraqi oil and doing favors for other players in that Great Game theater.

        • “But once the entire Middle East got slimed with the Al Queda label and a public debate about Islam being a fake religion, we got Benard Lewis’ dream come true, the ‘war of civilizations.”

          What on earth are you talking about. I stated that the 9/11 attack was an act of asymetrical warfare perpetrated by unlawful enemy combatants. I said nothing about the “entire Middle East getting slimed with the Al Qaeda label,” nor did I suggest a public debate about Islam being a fake civilization.”

          If that’s what you read into my statement, you either have a hyper-active imagination or you should go back and carefully read it.

        • “Bill is big on contempt and ridicule. And also big on playing out the usual heavy trumps that lie so well on the American table, that bit about how all Arabs and Muslims and them people are irretrievably Evil Other, and we Christians are all just good and kind and all that. And once again “my country, or at least the part I run with, right or wrong.”

          You are in your usual “over the top” form. Please point out where I mentioned “that bit about how all Arabs and Muslims and them (sic) people are irretrivably Evil Other.”

          If you wish to critique my statement, at least get the facts of my statement correct. Do not use it as a platform to spew your own rants.

      • The 9/11 attacks are best framed as a war crime.

        This either/or thinking is misleading. The concept that an act of war can also be a crime is enshrined in the Geneva Conventions.

  3. I don’t know if this was due to the outdated theory that terrorism can’t exist without a state sponsor or that they desperately wanted to think that there was a state sponsor.

    • “I don’t know if this was due to the outdated theory that terrorism can’t exist without a state sponsor or that they desperately wanted to think that there was a state sponsor.”

      I know of no theory, outdated or otherwise, that states that “terrorism can’t exist without a state sponsor.” There are countless examples of terrorist groups and cells, from 19th century Russia to the Algerian FLN and beyond, that were not “state-sponsored.”

      On the other hand, Al-Qaeda’s terrorist activities, both planning and execution, while in Afghanistan were certainly “state-sponsored.” The Taliban, then ruling the country, were actively complicit in providing training camps and support for Al-Qaeda’s activities. The situation did not exist because the US (or any other government) “desperatly wanted to think that there was a state sponsor.”

      • The Taliban were not a proper state and they depended heavily on al-Qaeda for money and for expert fighters (the Arab 55th Brigade). If anything, al-Qaeda backed them! Talking about the Taliban as a state backer of al-Qaeda is faintly ridiculous.

    • The only sense in which the Taliban wasn’t the state sponsor of al Qaeda is their questionable status as a legitimate state.

  4. A coupe of days after 9/11/2001, I sent an e-mail to all my friends. It was about the Indian Mutiny of 1857, and how it turned Great Britain into a doomed beast. At that moment Brtiain had the choice; it could walk away from the disaster caused by its greedy corporations and growing cultural imperialism, and allow India to be a collection of sovereign states with which it traded freely, or it could militarize its lucrative business in opium and other goods by conquering these states. Up to this point, the Empire consisted of lands taken from unrecognized nations by colonists, or of profitable ports seized from local rulers while leaving them with the rest of their kingdoms, or of lands won in war from other European empires. To conquer India meant to be responsible for it, to put white people on top of a vast sea of non-white people on the assumption of inherent superiority – and thus abandoning any principle that non-white states had any rights, or that non-whites had any rights to have states.

    They took the wrong course, they were poisoned by the illusion of glory and the costs of responsibility, and 90 years later they lost India anyway.

    I believe I mentioned at this point that I didn’t think America’s vengeance empire would last anything as long as Britain’s. But even I am shocked at how fast America is wrecking the bases of its power.

  5. I don’t see how you could pursue the destruction of al Qaeda without going to war against the Taliban “state” in Afghanistan. By that point, the two were one and the same, with bin Laden’s organization training the state’s military, and al Qaeda cadres helping to fight the Taliban’s Northern Alliance enemies.

  6. It’s unfortunate that you marred an otherwise solid article with the misstatement They do not have congressional authorization.

    The war against al Qaeda was authorized by Congress on September 20, 2001: link to google.com

    The argument The Iraq War squandered American blood and treasure on a fruitless quest to impose American empire on the Middle East (Iraq was not related to 9/11). is significantly undermined when you later go on to argue that going after those responsible for 9/11 is equivalent to the Iraq War.

  7. “Iraq was not related to 9/11.”

    The opposite is true. The 9/11 attacks were a direct response to the hundreds of thousands of deaths caused by U.S. sanctions on Iraq during the 1991-2001 period. Iraq had everything to do with 9/11, just not in the sense that Dick Cheney hoped for.

Comments are closed.