MY REACTIONS TO THE ATTACK ON THE TWIN TOWERS AND THE PENTAGON

What follows is not so much a thought – rather a working out of my re-actions to a recent event, On September 11th four passenger air-craft were hi-jacked in the skies over the USA. Two of the planes were flown into the sides of the two immense skyscrapers called the World Trade Centre in New York. A third plane was crashed into the Pentagon building in Washington and a fourth plane crashed in Pennsylvania. All the passengers, crews and hi-jackers in all four planes perished. There were also thousands of fatalities in the two sky-scrapers, both of which subsequently collapsed. There were also deaths in the Pentagon building.

It was clear that the hi-jackers had intended to sacrifice their own lives in carrying out the operations. The attack came as a devastating shock to American public opinion and a source of incredulity to non-Americans as the escalating drama was shown around the world on television. The American President, Bush was whisked away to some nuclear bunker and there was an initial scattering of the top echelon institutional members of the country.

As the news broke I began to monitor my own thoughts on the dramatic and un-suspected episode. It was clear that were I an American citizen or had been caught up personally in any way in the catastrophe, or had any close or loved ones involved, I should have experienced an emotional reaction. The Taoists say, ‘to be involved is to suffer.’ But I was not directly involved and I did not suffer. I was not there nor were any loved ones and so I could see no aspect of the event that need engage my emotional side.

This is not hard-heartedness. My view is that one can only feel loss and sorrow for the fear and suffering of others through an intellectual capacity when the victims are unknown. It is not the same as the instinctive emotionalism one experiences for oneself or one’s loved ones in danger. One learns to feel pity for others unknown and their loved ones through experience and a linkage between the intellect and the emotion that considers the consequences of the catastrophe as a conceptualised event.

What were the questions to ask, following this tragedy? The one the politicians started off with was ‘who?’ As did the media. Strategic planners asked, ‘what if?’ ‘Scientists ask, ‘how?’ ‘Business people ask, how much?’ Travellers ask, ‘when?’ or ‘where?’ But, interested as I was to know the answer to the question, ‘who?’ I thought I already knew the answer. The question for me to tackle was, ‘why?’ That is the question the politicians will never ask, let alone address.

To get to the apex of my many thoughts in the matter took two or three days. I had to sift through my knowledge bank of past information stored there as well as conclusions arrived at earlier, and my own life experience. It was strange, I thought, that I had begun writing my blog on 24th March of this year on the subject of global trigger points. And here was a trigger point ‘par excellence’ acted out in the Western Hemisphere which I had not mentioned but involved, or was due to involve three of the trigger points that I had mentioned. These were, 1. Iraq, 2. Pakistan. 3. Palestine/Israel. Another, Afghanistan will almost certainly be drawn in and possibly the whole number of Muslim states in the Near East and who knows, where else? But I am running ahead of myself and the attempt to answer the question, ‘why?’

The USA is the most powerful country in the world. It has used its powers unjustly in the view of some people. Individuals in the societies affected by these injustices have struck back. In their view, ‘giving the bully a taste of his own medicine.’

Would most Americans agree with this summary? Certainly not. They would see themselves as the honest policeman and the ones who had struck this blow as evil terrorists. An emotional response that will be milked for all it is worth by the politicians to enact fierce retribution against some Muslim countries and tighten up on their control of the region and, of course, their own country.

The politicians know that it is their job to use American power to ensure access to a ready supply of needed raw materials – including oil – from wherever it is to be found in the world. They also have to maintain, voluntarily or under duress, the flow of trade and financial instruments with the USA. To do this they are prepared to sign treaties or trade agreements with the most reactionary governments, create world institutions which they have to control, buy influence in the governments of other countries, threaten, co-erce and even occupy or violate non-compliant states. They will do what they have to do to maintain their country’s world supremacy to achieve these aims. And these aims are what the American people expect them to go after and were the politicians to falter or fail they would be replaced by others more subtle or more ruthless.

The people of the Arab and Muslim countries see themselves as victims of the Western powers – principally of the USA. The greatest oil reserves in the world are to be found in the near East and the world runs on oil. The peoples in the countries having this oil have seen successive Western  countries dominate and colonise the region. At the height of the Cold War their governments were able to use considerable bargaining power to play off the protagonists – Russia (USSR) and America (USA)  – one against the other. However, they were always in danger of being used as pawns in the Cold War power struggle.

Iraq was armed by the West and encouraged to attack her neighbour, Iran. At the conclusion of a bloody 10 year war there was a stalemate. Iraq, now the prodigy of the West, was led to believe that their reward was to be allowed to take over the oil-rich statelet of Kuwait, artificially created by the British after the break-up of the Ottoman Empire.

When the Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein sent his army into Kuwait it was straight into a CIA ‘sting’ operation and a subsequent American created alliance smashed Iraq following this by a ‘no-fly zone’ and sanctions.

Before this, Russia (USSR) had invaded Afghanistan to head off the USA proposed involvement in that country. The West responded by financing an army of 20,000 recruited from all adjacent Muslim countries to fight the Russians. After 10 years of attrition the Russians withdrew from Afghanistan, worn down.

After the Russian withdrawal Afghanistan disintegrated into factionalism and out of this grew a Muslim fundamentalist regime called Taliban. A key figure in the expulsion of the Russians had been a Saudi Arabian citizen named Osama bin Laden and he sdaw the Russian exit from the region being replaced by an increasing presence  of the Americans. Iraq was smashed and sanctions imposed on her as well as a no-fly zone over her territory policed by the Americans and British. At the same time the Americans negotiated with the  Saudi government for the establishment of military bases on their territory. The Israelis were backed by America in their aggression against the Palestinians and other neighbours so the near East was no nearer to ridding itself of the economic and military foreign dominance in spite of all the sacrifices made.

Bin Laden turned his impressive leadership qualities to form a net-work of guerilla cells around the world to harry, damage or destroy American targets  wherever these might be. Bases were attacked, Embassies blown up, warships damaged. The American response was un-coordinated and misplaced to begin with; targets in different countries thought to be harbouring Bin laden or those sympathetic to his aims  were attacked usually by bombing raids; pressure was put on governments to expel him and on Saudi Arabia to withdraw his citizenship.

Eventually Bin laden returned to Afghanistan  under the protection of the fundamentalist, Taliban regime and it is most likely that the inspiration, guidance and leadership for the horrendous attack on American mainland targets originated from him.

To the Americans he is an evil terrorist with innocent blood on his hands whilst to many Muslims in the Near East and beyond he is another Saladin and the 19 suicide hi-jackers are martyrs in the on-going struggle to liberate their countries.

September 11th 2001