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The Truth About 9/11 - Fifteen years of war and not a lesson learned?

By Richard B. Muhammad and Askia Muhammad -Final Call Staffers- | Last updated: Sep 13, 2016 - 12:53:50 PM

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Little optimism, hope for change on fifteenth anniversary of 9-11 tragedy

President Barack Obama, left, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, second from right, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, right, bow their heads as a prayer is said at a Sept. 11 memorial observance ceremony at the Pentagon, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016. Photo: AP Wide World Photos

WASHINGTON—Flanked by his top military brass, President Barack Obama delivered remarks at the Pentagon marking the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, as the society at large continues to grapple with fallout from multiple, misguided wars, and even with questions about who is actually responsible for the attacks.

The neo-conservative as well as the neo-liberal policies, which grew out of that single day, have plunged the United States into perpetual war.

The war is not only abroad but at home as civil liberties have been curtailed and lingering questions of whether Americans and the world are safer remain. The outlook for the future and any future change in policy is bleak.

“We will be talking about endless war and perpetual war unless there is a major radical change in American society,” predicted Brian Becker, national coordinator for the Answer Coalition, which is opposed to war and racism.

“President Obama came into office seven years ago promising to end the Iraq War once and for all and he’s leaving office, eight years later with the promise that the U.S. will be engaged with endless war in Iraq,” he continued.

“In fact, sadly Obama administration has adapted the basic outline and narrative, foundational narrative, that was operative during the George W. Bush years, which is the view or the vision of the long war, the perpetual war, a war without end called the War on Terror. Which isn’t really a war, it’s a slogan underneath which the United States arrogates to itself to perpetually carry out military operations against people in countries the U.S. has not declared wars against. This last weekend there were military drone strike in six different mostly Muslim countries,” he said Sept. 12 while protesting the opening of a hotel by GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump in Washington, D.C.

he “In Memoriam” exhibition honors the Americans killed as a result of the attacks of September 11, 2001.Photo: MGN Online

Thousands of young Americans joined the military after a declaration from then President George W. Bush—standing in the ruins of the twin towers—that the world would soon hear from America. Photo: MGN Online

“These drone strikes are in fact a form of terrorism. That people who sit in Arlington, Va., with a joystick and a button are deciding who lives and who dies thousands of miles away and then they go home on the weekend and see their kids and drink beer. When you have a society where this becomes acceptable and commonplace, you can’t expect from the powers that be there is going to be some new, hopeful, progressive transformation that rids the country of its currently catastrophic and ruinous policies. On the contrary it says that these policies are institutionalized.”

Look forward to a 20th anniversary of war on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the anti-war activist added.

Mr. Becker and others decried 15 years of war initiated by the lie that Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi dictator and longtime U.S. ally, was responsible for attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon and an airliner that crashed in Pennsylvania. The image of the jets crashing into skyscrapers and reports of hijackings of other commercial aircrafts and civilian deaths shocked the United States, which had seemed invulnerable to such attacks.

Anger and solidarity gripped the country and expressions of international sympathy flowed in as the world expressed shock and revulsion at the deaths of some 3,000 civilians for no just cause. Next came a declaration from then President George W. Bush—standing in the ruins of the twin towers—that the world would soon hear from America.

It did.

But instead of striking Al Qaeda, which the U.S. insisted was responsible for the attacks, war was initiated against Iraq.

Observers question how America, with it’s massive and state-of-the-art defense technology, could be struck at the heart of her military operations, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Photos: MGN Online

Like the opening of a bloody Pandora’s Box military conflict and instability spread—Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Egypt, Libya, Yemen. The War On Terror spawned ugly children, refugees and leeched over into Africa and other parts of the world.

“We’ve been at war with terrorism for 15 years and terrorism is doing just fine; it’s people and cities and countries that are not,” commented Phyllis Bennis of the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Policy Studies. The most important date is Sept. 12, 2001, when President Bush decided to pursue the strikes inside America as a war and not a crime, she said.

From left former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, former Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates former President George W. Bush and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff U.S. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen arrive at the Pentagon Memorial Dedication Ceremony Sept. 11 2008.
The war footing gave the U.S. license to strike unchecked, sowing seeds of reciprocal violence, retaliation and shaking the Middle East, said the analyst. If the U.S. had treated the assaults as a crime more could have been done to bring the world into a quest for justice and strengthen the International Criminal Court, which the American president tried to weaken, she said.

Ms. Bennis believes the American people have learned that war is not the way, but neither of the two top party candidates, Democrat Hillary Clinton nor Republican Donald Trump, seem to have learned the right lessons.

Both have indicated, in different ways, a propensity to pursue policies similar to the Obama administration, Ms. Bennis observed. Mrs. Clinton plans to escalate the Obama “overseas contingency operations,” a change to the War On Terror in name only, she said. Meanwhile Mr. Trump vacillates between isolation and a military response but either way he’s doomed to fail, she said.

The only answer to this crisis is diplomacy, said Ms. Bennis. And while it may not sound macho, diplomacy can work, she said, citing the nuclear deal with Iran and growing normalization of relations with Cuba.

Dr. Boyce Watkins, an economist and founder of the Black Business School, sees a lesson in how U.S. policy around the world has created enemies. You cannot embrace capitalist greed that allows you to embrace policies that exploit and put you at odds with other nations, he said.

America’s massive economic power has protected her, allowing for defense spending that outpaces the Chinese economy, but at some point that power will end, he warned. And, he added, unfortunately arrogance has put the U.S. in an awkward position as the world’s bully. Bullies typically don’t feel compassion until they are punched in the face and America is facing a backlash, Dr. Watkins said.

While there is certainly room for empathy for the victims and families of 9/11, Blacks face a 9/11 tragedy every year or two with 500 homicides in Chicago and hundreds dying regularly, he noted. “What we have to walk away from is to mourn for others but to accept tragedy as simply a way of life for us,” Dr. Watkins said.

Questions remain as to how such a coordinated attack could be launched and how after 15 years many of those questions remain unanswered by former and current U.S. leaders.
“Since September 11 of 2001, secrecy and lies, endless war, torture, and a frightening ‘surveillance state’ have become the new normal,” said Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein. “Fifteen years later, American troops are still in Iraq and Afghanistan. The pretext of ‘humanitarian relief’ was used to invade and devastate Libya. And the escalating violence has intensified the Syrian civil war into a disaster of the highest order.”

Trillions of U.S. dollars have been spent as some 4,000 servicemen lost their lives, thousands more were injured and suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and over a million people were killed in Iraq alone.

The “dogs of war” loosed a reservoir of deplorable conduct—torture and humiliation of prisoners such as occurred at the Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq—conduct with which psychiatrists willingly collaborated.

Meanwhile, in this country, a new tally has confirmed that White supremacists and other non-Muslim fanatics have killed far more people in the United States since 9/11 than Muslim extremists. The report by the research center New America finds, since 9/11, White supremacists, antigovernment extremists and other non-Muslim figures have killed nearly twice as many people as Muslim extremists.

Despite the intense focus by the Obama administration on Muslim communities, non-Muslims have carried out 19 terrorist attacks since September 11, 2001, while Muslims have been responsible for only seven.

The American Civil Liberties Union and others have condemned Islamophobia that started running rampant in America assisted by government spying on Muslims, government informants sent into mosques and curtailing of basic rights.

Some of the top 10 abuses of power since 9/11 sometimes cited by the ACLU are warrantless wiretapping; torture, kidnapping and detention by the U.S. government of prisoners and “enemy combatants” without charge; assaults on the privacy of ordinary Americans and government secrecy; abuse of a statute which allowed the government to gather and detain people; and attacks on academic freedom to keep scholars with contrary political views out of the United States.

“America is very good at putting lipstick on a pig,” said Dr. Ray Winbush of Morgan State University, an historically Black university in Baltimore, Md. “I mean they just renamed, if I’m not mistaken, 9/11 is going to be called ‘Patriots Day’ or something like that. … Because again it’s like putting lipstick on a pig; it’s making it appear as is all is well in this nation everything is O.K. Race is not a problem on these kinds of days. This again is why Brother Colin (Kaepernick’s) protest is so important and spreading because it goes at the truth of what America is all about—historically a racist nation.”

The San Francisco 49ers quarterback has sparked serious conversations about unjust U.S. policy, oppression and racism by refusing to stand for the National Anthem.


Dr. Winbush believes the truth is going to come out about Israeli intelligence, Mossad, and U.S. government connections to the fall of the towers in New York. “We’ll see how the Mossad was also involved in the assassination of Muammar Gadhafi. And this is going to be history 40-50 years from now and between now and then people will be referred to as conspiracy theorists; those who talk about an Israeli connection to the crisis in the Middle East and so-called era of the Arab Spring. 

“I always tell people if you’re not a conspiracy theorist, you’re a coincidence theorist. Because there’s too many coincidences that have occurred with regard to the Israeli connection to 911,” said Dr. Winbush, who is a member of Scholars for 911 Truth. 

From men identified as Israeli nationals who photographed the destruction of the Twin Towers, to questions about insurance windfalls because of the attacks, doubt and scientific evidence that the jet fuel could not have imploded the towers, reports of some Jewish workers warned not to go to work and U.S. officials warned to avoid commercial flights and other questions have grown over the years.

Africa has suffered as a result of the War on Terror with the U.S. military present in about 34 of the 54 nations of Africa, an incredible increase just under the Obama administration, added Dr. Winbush. “The nations of Africa have become proxy sites for so-called terrorism, Boko Haram and other places. But much of this stuff has its roots in the killing of Gadhafi and a whole lot of stuff,” said the director of the Institute for Urban Research at Morgan State University.   

“Instead of curbing terrorism, the U.S. policies have been the biggest contributor to the rise of terrorist organizations in countries where they had not previously existed, specifically ISIS or Daesh exist now in Iraq and in Libya and in Syria and it did not exist in those countries 15 years ago on Sept. 11. But today their existence, again created as a consequence of U.S. policy, becomes a new pretext for endless war by the U.S. military industrial complex mostly directed against Muslim countries that are either resource rich or geo-strategically located,” said Brian Becker of the Answer Coalition. 

“How people feel and how they think and how they react has largely been shaped by the mainstream media presentation in the United States. The promotion of an image that Muslims are synonymous with terrorism, for instance, has led to wave of bias, religious and racist bias against Muslims and Middle Eastern communities,” he said.

“It’s a reaction that has been shaped by the corporate-owned mainstream media’s narrative. If, for instance, the people had been told the U.S. had tens of thousands of troops in Saudi Arabia, if United States had not had not had those troops in Saudi Arabia, if the United States had not carried out the bombing of Iraq and literal destruction of a sovereign, independent secular government in Tripoli, than its very likely that peoples’ public perceptions and public opinions would be entirely different. We in anti-war movement are trying to counteract the false narrative of the mainstream media by reaching the America people with the truth if the U.S. willy nilly invades, occupies and bombs peoples lands it can only escalate the cycle of violence,” Mr. Becker said.

“Lots of people in this country are fed up with war. Lots of people recognize that war has failed. We need stronger movements against war and the way to do that is to link those movements against war with the movements that are already on the rise against racism, for immigrant rights, for LGBT rights, all of those things that are much stronger right now than the anti-war movement. Anti-war forces will be stronger by making links with all of them,” argued Ms. Bennis.

But absent a mass movement from the bottom, the horror and hell of war is likely to continue to rain down from the top.