Sunday, September 11, 2005

Remembering 9/11

What will be made of this?

According to a text attributed to Saif al-Adel, a former Egyptian Army colonel now generally identified as bin Laden's military chief, "the ultimate objective was to prompt" the United States "to come out of its hole" and take direct military action in an Islamic country. "What we had wished for actually happened. It was crowned by the announcement of Bush Jr. of his crusade against Islam and Muslims everywhere." ("This is a new kind of evil," the president said five days after the attacks, "and we understand. . .this crusade, this war on terrorism, is going to take a while.")

The 9/11 attacks seem to have been intended at least in part to provoke an overwhelming American response: most likely an invasion of Afghanistan, which would lead the United States, like the Soviet Union before it, into an endless, costly and politically fatal quagmire. Thus, two days before the attacks, Qaeda agents posing as television journalists taping an interview murdered Ahmed Shah Massoud, the charismatic leader of the Northern Alliance, with a bomb concealed in a video camera - apparently a pre-emptive strike intended to throw into confusion the United States' obvious ally in the coming invasion of Afghanistan.
Isn't this "blaming America?" Yet, reading the article, what other conclusion can be drawn from these facts?

And then there's the view from Iraq:

"There is no war here," an American colonel told me a couple of days before in frustration and disgust. "There's no division-on-division engagements, nothing really resembling a war. Not a real war anyway."
Reality has a way of catching up with those who would ignore it; or reshape it for their own purposes. Only in a novel, or a truly totalitarian state, does a government have that much control over the governed. BUt clearly, we have met the enemy, and he is us. Or rather, we are represented by people like John Bolton, and our own willful ignorance:

Amid the barbed wire and blast walls and bomb debris of post-occupation Iraq, you could discern a clear strategy behind the insurgent violence. The insurgents had identified the Americans' points of vulnerability: their international isolation; their forced distance, as a foreign occupier, from Iraqis; and their increasing disorientation as they struggled to keep their footing on the fragile, shifting, roiling political ground of post-Hussein Iraq. And the insurgents hit at each of these vulnerabilities, as Begin had urged his followers to do, "deliberately, tirelessly, unceasingly."

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