Failed Empire

Chronicling the collapse of a failed society

Tag Archives: war on terror

9/11 Ten Years On: The Lost Decade

building 7

It’s hard to believe that a decade has passed since the tragic events of September 11, 2001.  What we did not realize at the time was that the tragedy was only just beginning on that beautiful morning in late summer, as we were soon to embark on a lost decade which would eventually leave hundreds of thousands dead, eviscerate human rights both at home and abroad, destroy the national economy and squander trillions on multiple corporate wars of aggression.

So where are we now, and just what exactly has been accomplished since that fateful day?

We are embroiled in no less than five wars throughout the Islamic world:  Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya and Yemen.  More than 6,000 American soldiers are dead, tens of thousands more are permanently disabled.  Well in excess of one million civilians have been killed by our actions throughout the Muslim world, and the American economy has been sabotaged for generations to come by our multi-trillion dollar military expenditures.

The Patriot Act annihilated the very concept of civil liberties, while our Orwellian “War on Terror” has destroyed what few remnants there were of America’s standing in the world as a force for good:  Guantanamo Bay, indefinite detention without charge, torture, the now accepted Bush/Obama Doctrine of preemptive war.

The world is clearly a far worse place today than it was ten years ago.  The entire human race, thanks to the reckless actions of the corporatist Bush/Obama regime, has taken a giant step back.  2,700 dead on September 11, 2001 seems trivial in comparison.

But let’s look back on the events that triggered it all.  Just what do we know about the alleged attacks?  For starters, we know that the official story is completely false.  There are far too many questions which remain unanswered, and until these questions are answered no American can claim to know what really happened on that day.  While I do not purport to know what really transpired, I think the following questions require immediate answers:

1 – Why didn’t the official 9/11 report consider the source of funding for the attacks pertinent, particularly when there was clear evidence linking the hijackers to the Pakistani intelligence unit?

2 – What happened to Building 7?

3 – How is it possible that burning jet fuel caused two steel towers to collapse?

4 – What is Larry Silverstein talking about when he suggests “pulling it”?

5 – What happened to the remains of the plane in Pennsylvania?

6 – What happened to the remains of the plane at the Pentagon?

7 – Why won’t the Pentagon release the video of the plane striking it?

8 – What happened to the black boxes of the planes that struck the twin towers?

9 – What are we to make of the numerous eye-witness accounts which describe explosions in the basement, before the planes struck?

10 – What are we to make of the Project for a New American Century, and its document “Rebuilding America’s Defenses,” which cited the need for a new Pearl Harbor event nearly two years before the events of 9/11?

I am not necessarily suggesting a conspiracy of any sort, nor am I implying an inside job in which the twin towers were brought down by controlled demolition.  But short of concrete evidence to the contrary – or at least, evidence which supports the official story – I will not rule them out.  The CIA has routinely been involved in such attacks on nations throughout the world; what is to prevent it from carrying out a false-flag attack on US soil?  Anything is possible, particularly in a nation as corrupt as ours.  And until we have answers to the above questions and many more, we can hardly claim to live in a free and open society.

Anti-U.S. Protests Swell in Pakistan; Americans Slumber Soundly

anti-U.S. protests in Pakistan

As the corporate media gloats over the alleged assassination of yet another terrorist in Pakistan, the illegality of our military action and the justifiable outrage expressed by the people there remains largely ignored.  Yet thousands of enraged Pakistanis have taken to the streets in recent days, demanding an end to the Empire’s latest war of aggression:

 Once again, Pakistan echoed with high anti-US sentiments when thousands of demonstrators staged a sit-in in the port city of Karachi, the commercial hub of Pakistan.

The event was organized by Pakistan’s largest religious party, Jamat-e-Islami, to protest against US drone attacks in the country. …

The government of Pakistan sees the attacks as a clear violation of the country’s sovereignty. many observers, however, believe Islamabad has tacitly agreed up on the attacks while publicly criticizing it to avoid public backlash. They say Pakistan’s economic dependence is another reason for bowing down before United States.

The US has carried out hundreds of drone attacks in Pakistan’ tribal belt, since august 2008, which have killed over 2,000 people. According to reports by local witnesses, most of those killed in the attacks are innocent civilians, including women and children.

Think about that last paragraph, and what it actually says about American foreign policy.  The invasion of Afghanistan – which has subsequently spread to neighboring Pakistan – was supposedly motivated as a response to the events of September 11.  While the official narrative is clearly flawed, most Americans appear to believe it, particularly with regard to the war in Afghanistan.  The lives of 2,700 Americans were lost on September 11, 2001 – a terrible tragedy, to be sure, but hardly a figure which justifies the mass murder which has taken place at the hands of American forces since that day.  It now appears that nearly the same number of American civilians killed on 9/11 have now been killed by American military action in Pakistan, a country with which we are not even formally at war.

We have, in other words, replicated the atrocities of September 11 in another sovereign.  The people of Pakistan have done nothing to harm the United States or its citizens, and yet we have, wholly unprovoked, engaged in endless missile strikes that have resulted in the deaths of thousands of civilians.  We have become what we abhorred.

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The Myth of a “Strong Defense”: No Offense is the Best Defense

In its usual half-assed manner, the NY Times has finally broached the largely taboo topic of our indefensibly bloated military budget.  As with most issues deemed “controversial” by our ultra-conservative corporate press, the impression here is that the NY Times addressed the subject, via its opinion page, out of absolute necessity only.  In a time of such dire economic conditions, with the right and pseudo-left Dems screaming for budget cuts, even the NY Times realizes that it must at least mention what is obviously the most wasteful example of government spending.

Nicholas Kristof deserves some credit for daring to criticize the sacrosanct altar of military expenditures, and his piece, The Big (Military) Taboo, does address some critical issues:

• The United States spends nearly as much on military power as every other country in the world combined, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. It says that we spend more than six times as much as the country with the next highest budget, China.

• The United States maintains troops at more than 560 bases and other sites abroad, many of them a legacy of a world war that ended 65 years ago. Do we fear that if we pull our bases from Germany, Russia might invade?  …

• The U.S. will spend more on the war in Afghanistan this year, adjusting for inflation, than we spent on the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the Civil War and the Spanish-American War combined. …

It was President Dwight Eisenhower who gave the strongest warning: “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.”

Clearly, there are some powerful points here, points that need to be addressed on a much broader scale by both the MSM and the nation as a whole.  Kristof even highlights the oft forgotten fact that it was the presence of American soldiers in Saudi Arabia which, in part at least, precipitated the attacks of September 11.  But the problem with Kristof’s piece, as with most coverage by the NY Times which borders on being genuinely relevant, is that it doesn’t go far enough, and it’s couched in terms that reinforce the status quo:

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Biden Speaks Out Against WikiLeaks, Cites Bogus Link Between Secrecy and Security

The Obama administration grows more similar to the Bush regime with every day that passes.  Today we observed more of that transformation as smilin’ Joe Biden flashed his true, Cheney-esque colors:

Vice President Biden today said that by disclosing classified documents and diplomatic cables, Wikileaks has endangered lives and “done damage” to U.S. diplomacy. In an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Biden confirmed reports that the Justice Department is looking at possible charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Look, this guy has done things that have damaged and put in jeopardy the lives and occupations of people in other parts of the world,” Biden said. The Vice President went on to say that Wikileaks has “made it more difficult for us to conduct our business with our allies and our friends,” citing his own meetings with world leaders.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that those in positions of power are the most vocal opponents to WikiLeaks.  And unfailingly, the argument has to do with national security:  we need secrets, they claim, in order to protect the American people.  After all, there are evil boogeymen out there who are intent on destroying America merely because, in the words of the immortal ‘tard, “they hate our freedom.”

Sadly, the American people seem to be buying the lies:

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