On September 11th, four passenger aircraft were hi-jacked in the skies over the USA. Two of the planes were flown into the sides of the two immense skyscrapers in New York called the World Trade Centre. 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 the four planes, perished. There were also thousands of fatalities in the two skyscrapers both of which subsequently collapsed. There were also fatalities in the Pentagon. What follows is not so much a thought, rather a working out of my reactions to the event.

It was clear that the hi-jackers had intended to sacrifice their own lives in carrying out the operations. It was 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 members of the country’s politicians.

As the news broke I began to monitor my own thoughts on the dramatic and unexpected 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 re-action. The Taoists say, ‘to be involved is to suffer.’ 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 or distress. One learns to feel pity for others unknown through experience and a linkage between the intellect and the emotion that considers the consequences of the catastrophe of 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 ask, ‘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 question for me to tackle was, ‘why?’ That is a question the politicians will never openly ask, let alone address.

To get to the apex of my various layered thinking 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 thoughts on the 24th March of this year on the subject of global trigger points; and here was a trigger point ‘par excellent’ acted out in the Western hemisphere, which I had not mentioned, but involving or due to involve, three of the trigger points that I had. One was Iraq, the second Pakistan and the third was Palestine/Israel. Another, Afghanistan, will almost certainly be drawn in and possibly the whole region of Muslim States in the Near East. And who knows, who or 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 power unjustly in the view of some people. Individuals in the societies affected by these injustices have struck back. In other words, ‘the bully is getting a taste of his own medicine,’

Would most Americans agree with this conclusion? Certainly not. They would see themselves as the World’s honest policeman and the ones who had struck this blow as evil terrorists. An emotional response that will be milked for all that it is worth by the politicians to enact fierce retribution against some Muslim Countries and tighten their position in 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, create World institutions – which they aim to control – buy influence in the governments of other countries, threaten, coerce and even occupy non-compliant States. They will do what they have to do to maintain their World supremacy through these measures to achieve their aims. And these aims are what the American people want them to go after and were the politicians to falter or fail in this 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 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 between the West and the Soviet Union their governments were able to use considerable bargaining power to play off the protagonists, 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 was encouraged to attack her neighbour, Iran. At the conclusion of a bloody, ten year war there was a stalemate and Iraq, now a prodigy of the West, was led to believe that its reward was to be allowed to take over the oil-rich Statelet of Kuwait – an artificial country, created by the British from the Ottoman Empire.
When Saddam Hussein, the Iraq dictator, sent his army into Kuwait it was straight into a CIA ‘sting’ operation and an American led alliance was formed to smash Iraq which was followed by open-ended sanctions on that country.

Before this, Russia (USSR) had invaded Afghanistan to head off the attempted USA involvement there. 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, seeing the Russian exit from the region being replaced by an increasing presence of the Americans, turned his impressive leadership qualities to form a network of guerrilla cells around the world to harry, damage or destroy American targets wherever these might be, Bases were attacked, embassies blown up, warships damaged.
Iraq was smashed and sanctions imposed on her; no-fly zones were set up by the Americans and British over Iraqi territory. The Americans negotiated with the Saudi government for the establishment of military bases on their territory. The Israelis were backed by America in their occupation of parts of Palestine and in Israeli’s other disputes with their neighbours. So the Near East was no nearer to ridding itself of the economic and military foreign dominance in spite of the co-operation the Muslim countries had afforded the USA in Afghanistan.

The American response to the bin Laden inspired attacks was swift, un-coordinated and mostly misplaced. Targets in different countries thought to be harbouring bin Laden or those sympathetic to his objectives were bombed and pressure was put on governments to expel him wherever he sought sanctuary. The Saudi government was also pressured to withdraw his citizenship.Eventually bin Laden finished up by returning to Afghanistan under the protection of the fundamentalist Taliban regime and it is most likely that the inspiration, guidance and planning 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. To many Muslims in the Near East he is another Saladin and the nineteen suicide hi-jackers are martyrs in the on-going struggle to liberate their countries.