"This is a proud day for America. By God,
we've kicked the Vietnam Syndrome once and for all."�President George
H. Bush, [End of Gulf War, 1991. The Independent, March 2, 1991.]
Numbers are fascinating: take them
out of our culture, and everything would instantaneously cease to
function�literally. Numbers have mystique, power, purpose, and meaning,
depending on who is using them and why.
Take the American war against
Iraq, for example: how can Cheney or Bush conduct their war without counting
how many soldiers they sent to Iraq, the money they spent to destroy it, the
money they stole from it, the Iraqis they killed in trying to conquer it, or
the Americans that Iraqis killed in resisting conquest?
U.S. imperialism celebrates its power, it invokes numbers and dates. The
following is an overview and brief discussion of nine dates with special
significance to the empire: (1) 00/00/0000, (2) 7/4/1776, (3) 12/7/1941,
(4) 8/6/1945, (5) 8/11/1945, (6)12/8/1991, (7)
9/11/2001, (8) 3/19/2003, and (9) 12/26/2004.
(1) 00/00/000: This
is Jesus� date of birth. My purpose in putting all zeros in this date is purely
argumentative to expose ideological determinism in the culture of imperialism.
For example, when one asks, when
George Washington was born, there could be at least three answers: 273 years
ago, on 2/22/1732, or 1732. But when one asks when Jesus was born, there is only
one answer: 2,004 years ago. Decidedly, we cannot say that Jesus was born
on 12/25/0000. There is a problem with these numbers though; although the month
and day are not factual but used as per tradition, the year (0000) has
no value since it is the starting point to count time.
Although, the date of Jesus� birth
has universal recognition, we still have a problem: method of comparison. For
example, did you ever hear anyone speak of Jesus� date of birth in relation to
another event? Or, did you ever hear one say that Jesus was born 44 years after
the assassination of Julius Caesar? Conclusively, therefore, the yardstick, 0000
is a reference point on the timescale.
Since Pope Gregorio XIII abolished
(1582 a.d.) the more scientific,
yet inaccurate Julian calendar, and replaced it with what we now call the
Gregorian or Christian calendar, Jesus� year of birth has become the universal starting
point for timekeeping worldwide. Say something had happened 3,000 years
ago, and your listener would understand that you meant, one thousand years
before the birth of Jesus.
Ideologically though, by replacing
the rational observation of Earth orbiting the sun as per Julius Caesar�s calendar,
with the assumed birth date of Jesus to tally the passing of time, Pope
Gregorio XIII inadvertently or purposefully imposed Christ (and by extension
Christianity) as a perpetual emblem for universal timekeeping. It does not
matter at this point if some want to change the convention of b.c. and a.d.
with secular euphemisms such as the BCE (before the Common Era) or ACE
(after the Common Era)�Christianity and Christ are implicit.
The adoption of Jesus� birthday as a timekeeping reference
point is not the problem at all. Its ideological use has become the problem
since European Crusaders invaded Palestine and the Middle East in his name.
Jesus� date of birth, however, has immense implications when studying the
American empire and its evolution, especially in the age of hyper-imperialism.
and Calvinist-like Christian theology in 20th -21st century America moved
systematically with the transformation of imperialism thus giving Jesus a
meaning and scope that go beyond religion. As a result, American Evangelists
transformed Jesus from a teacher of ethics to God, to a rationalization for
empire. From a secular Ronald Reagan, who courted Southern born-again
Christians to win the presidency, to Pat Robertson, who every day counts the number
of Muslims he could covert to Christianity, and to George Bush, who tells how
the Lord often comes to him in a vision, Jesus has became a tool and alibi in
the hands of U.S. imperialists.
After Hitler used the divine to
justify Nazism, how could it be that an unparalleled teacher, such as Jesus,
becomes a tool of U.S. imperialism? My answer is because ideology can create
religions, iconographies, and purposes, then ideology can modify their
functions for specific objectives. To implement such objectives, the U.S.
created a series of consequential paradigms: we are great by the grace of our
Lord Jesus; since we are great, we are superior; since we are superior, our
society, culture, and ethics are superior; because we are superior and have the
technology to prove it, we are entitled to dominate.
From Manifest Destiny to Billy
Graham and son, to Jimmy Swaggart and son, to Jack Van Impe, to Pat Robertson
and son, to the born-again Christian class, all chapters of humanity that
predate or postdate Jesus� year of birth including evolution of societies,
people, cultures, civilizations, religions (with the exception of Judaism,)
have become worthless, arcane, and ungodly.
As for selective rationalizations
applied to timekeeping parameters in relation to Jesus� assumed date of birth,
Pat Robertson is an excellent example. While Robertson considers Islam a
�Christian heresy� because Mohammad founded it in the a.d. era, he, as a structured fundamentalist, does not
consider Christianity as a Judaic heresy, or Judaism as Babylonian heresy.
(2) July 4, 1776:
This is the birthday of the United States. Within 228 years since
its foundation, the U.S. has transformed from 13 colonies to become a mammoth
hyper-militarized, unprincipled and a violent state whose wars, ideology, and
interventions killed millions of people around the globe. Again, U.S.
ideologues of empire, anchored that date as if the world begins and ends with
(3) December 7, 1941:
This is the date when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Since that day,
F.D. Roosevelt and U.S. ideologues called it the �day of infamy.� But in 1944,
the Army Board issued the following statement on that attack: everything
that the Japanese were planning to do was known to the United States . . . ,"
meaning the U.S. knew about an impending Japanese attack.
Pearl Harbor: Mother
of All Conspiracies citing Mark
Emerson Willey�s massive research states: �President Roosevelt (FDR)
provoked the attack, knew about it in advance and covered up his failure to
warn the Hawaiian commanders. FDR needed the attack to sucker Hitler to declare
war, since the public and Congress were overwhelmingly against entering the war
in Europe. It was his backdoor to war.� (Compare that to 9/11.)
The meaning of December 7, 1941,
however, is monumental. In the eyes of Harry Truman, the killing of 2,335
American military personnel and 68 civilians was reason enough to incinerate
hundreds of thousands of civilian Japanese. In retrospect, it is reasonable to
speculate that U.S. ideologues of empire of that time, rejoiced for the attack
against Pearl Harbor�it gave them the pretext to drop the atomic bomb and
expand the frontiers of the American Empire.
(4) August 6, 1945:
This is the day when Truman dropped the nuclear bomb on Hiroshima
with the following consequences. First, it ushered the world into the era and
ideology of mass destruction, which, incidentally, became the preferable option
to eliminate the civilian population of an adversary. Second, it lifted the
taboo and remorse from killing tens of thousands of people in seconds. Third,
it made the United States come close to dominating the planet, had it not been
for Stalin and Communism that managed to postpone that imperial project until
the collapse of the Soviet Union.
(5) August 11, 1945:
This is the day when Truman incinerated Nagasaki. Several meanings
distinguished that nuclear holocaust. First, by switching the bombing from
Kokura to Nagasaki because of weather conditions, Truman demonstrated that
nuclear targeting was independent from military rationales, as long as the U.S.
could still inflict huge enemy loss by mass incineration. Second, it is a
double demonstration of America�s determination to �shock and awe� the world,
especially the Soviet Union. Third and most importantly, it demonstrated that
the U.S. could annihilate any city regardless of military necessity.
(6) December 8, 1991:
This is the day when Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin announced the
dissolution of the Soviet Union . . . Finally the empire is free to roam the
(7) September 11, 2001:
This is the day when an �external� attack on U.S. soil (attributed to Arab
Muslim individuals believed to be hostile to U.S. military encroachment in the
Middle East) killed 3,000 people. Nine-eleven unleashed the dormant colonialist
project, sharpened the instinct of militarist imperialism, coalesced
imperialism with Zionism, hurled U.S. Christian fundamentalists into a collision
course with Islam and Arabs, and placed dangerous ideologues of empire in firm
control of the United States.
(8) March 20, 2003:
This is the day when the United States invaded and occupied Iraq
under the pretext that it had WMD. The invasion of Iraq is another starting
point in U.S. history. With it, the U.S. began the countdown for the future
date where it aspires to complete devouring the world and place it under its
Zionist, Christian fundamentalist, and imperialist iron fist.
(9) December 26, 2004:
This is the day when a cataclysmic Tsunami devastated South East Asia facing
the Indian Ocean. Just as man-made pretexts (Pearl Harbor and 9/11) provided
the opportunity to expand the empire, a nature-made Tsunami provided the U.S.
with the opportunity to invade a Hindu Sri Lanka, a Muslim Indonesia, and a
But the prize is Indonesia where
thousands of U.S. Marines landed without permission on various Indonesian
islands under the pretext of helping the survivors. Notice that Indonesia is
not just any Muslim country, it is the most populous Muslim country in the
world, and if the U.S. would succeed in consolidating its partial occupation of
it, most of the Muslim world, in spite of nationality, would be laying under
Exploiting natural or social
disasters to implement imperialism is not a new item in U.S. foreign policy. In
the 1980s, the U.S. exploited the famine in Somalia to set roots in the Horn of
Africa; and when an earthquake hit Iran on May 28, 2004, the U.S. offered to
help, if Iran would stop criticizing the American occupation of Iraq.
Therefore, if it is true that
numbers and dates have power, then, how did Cheney translate 9/11 from a place
and date of a huge crime into metaphysics for empire? To comprehend the process
of translation, we have to reprise the study of his imperialist paradigm. In
part 23, I divided Cheney's rationales for the conquest of Iraq in three parts: (1)
U.S. imperialistic objectives, (2) justificatory platform for empire, and (3)
U.S. Imperialistic Objectives
As I argued previously, Cheney summarized his road to
hyper-imperialist colonialism with three words: �mission� (Iraq�s takeover,)
�undertaking� (the takeover of the Middle East,) and �larger mission� (control
of the world.)
Justificatory Platform for Universal Empire
In his remarks to the Heritage Foundation, Cheney used
9/11 to justify the invasion of Iraq, just as Truman justified Hiroshima and
Nagasaki to avenge Pearl Harbor, with a fundamental difference though�Japan
attacked the United States, Iraq did not attack nor threaten U.S. soil or
interests. Cheney, therefore, considered 9/11 as an opportunity to put the empire
back in motion. And, as U.S. imperialists of yesterday rejoiced in the attack
on Pearl Harbor because it gave them the pretext to subjugate an imperialist
rival, U.S. imperialists of today rejoiced in 9/11 because it gave them the
pretext to reintroduce colonialism into the oil-rich Middle East.
With media that immortalize it,
with televangelist ministers deeming it a biblical revelation, with demagogic
leaders who inhale it instead of air, with wars that rage because of it, and
with Zionists inundating the airwaves to exploit it, 9/11 has metamorphosed
from a material event into a metaphysical abstract entity that transcends all
events in history.
If you say nine-eighteen or
nine-twenty-one, no one has any idea what are you talking about; but if you say
nine-eleven, the meaning is clear: you mean 9/11 or the attack on the World
Trade Center (WTC). Finally, 9/11, despite all questions surrounding it, has
reached the place where U.S. imperialists wanted it to be: deeply planted
inside the unconscious mind of the American people . . . a set of numbers that
will pass from one generation to the next.
What ideological device did Cheney
use to make 9/11 work for hyper-imperialism? Answer: vulnerability. Indeed,
Cheney categorically stated that U.S. �vulnerability for the threats of the
new era� warranted the invasion of Iraq. This is deception. If John Doe 1
Kills John Doe 2, why should the police arrest John Doe 3 who does not know
either of them? For instance, because 15 among the alleged perpetrators who
attacked the United States on September 11, 2001, were Saudi citizens, why did
Cheney invade Iraq and not Saudi Arabia? And if Islam and Muslims are
responsible, why did he not invade or attack the entire Muslim and Arab
countries at the same time?
If �vulnerability� is the concern
of Cheney, then let us have a look at it. It is important to view that concept
in historical perspective. Since its inception, the quest for absolute security
against fabricated or real threats guided U.S. colonialist and imperialist
expansions. In short, �vulnerability,� has become the immutable, convenient
rationale for expansion, a pretext for intervention, and the cornerstone of its
The most instructive example was
the strategy to over-militarize the United States to counter the �perfidy of
the so-called: implacable Soviet enemy. But, while U.S. militarists kept crying
for filling the gap with an assumed Soviet superiority, in the process they
turned the United States into an impregnable mega fortress. Notice that in the
post-cold war era, where arming down should have become imperative, the U.S.
opted to go in the opposite direction, that is, further massive militarization.
This fact does not prove an
obsession with security but something else: U.S. politicians sought to amass
sufficient military means and technology to subjugate the planet to their
order, therefore creating a new super enemy to replace the Soviets became
imperative. The choice this time was not a political state, not an ideology,
not a person, but a religion�Islam. The choice of Islam as an adversary of U.S.
imperialism is not coincidental. It has three confluent backing forces:
Zionism, Christian fundamentalism, and traditional doctrines of empire.
The question remains: Is the
United States vulnerable as Cheney claimed?
Let us see: with nuclear forces
that included 550 ICBMs, 432 SLBMs, 115 Heavy bombers, 1,097 launchers, and
6,000�6,500 warheads; and with an active work force of 1,401,000 people, 30
mobilizable divisions, 2,725 combat aircraft, and 224 naval combatants, the
U.S. is hardly �vulnerable� as a state. [Source]
Does 9/11 prove U.S.
The answer is an absolute no for
one elementary reason: Nine-eleven is still an unresolved question as is the
assassination of John F. Kennedy. The Warren Commission told us that Lee Harvey
Oswald acting alone killed Kennedy; but it never told us who Jack Leon Rubinstein
(Jack Ruby) really was, and why he killed Oswald. Even more intriguing, did
Rubinstein die in prison because of cancer or by causes other than disease?
Likewise, did the commission that investigated 9/11 truly tell us everything on
that attack? If commissions are integral parts of the system, are we supposed
to expect that system would expose its projects, machinations, and decisions?
Along this line of enquiry, the
authoritative Washington Report on Middle East Affairs once stated that in
early 1963 Kennedy was planning to curb the influence of the Zionist lobby in
the Congress, the question then is: �Did that lead to his assassination later
Congruently, therefore, when
discussing 9/11, a fundamental question that an independent or unbiased person
must ask is, �Who would benefit from the military confrontation between the
United States and the Arab world while the Palestinian uprising against the
Israeli occupation of Palestine was at its highest point?� When we answer this
question, we must factor in it all the following: the history of the Middle
East, colonialism, the division of the Arabs in weak states, the installment of
anti-historical Israel on Arab soil, oil, crusading born-again Christian
theology, and imperialism.
Therefore, because 9/11 is still
an outstanding issue, it cannot be a litmus test for U.S. vulnerability or
proof of weak defenses. Many contradictions in U.S. accounts of the attack
leave legitimate questions open to suspicion and speculation, resulting in deep
holes in the credibility of the administration�s version of events.
Indeed, questions related to the
identity of the perpetrators, the dynamics of the attack, and if it was an
inside job or not still remain unanswered. All we know is that the U.S. said,
�al-Qaeda did it,� and it provided alleged details that many logical
facts did not substantiate. More than that, the U.S. did not provide evidence
to prove its case, notwithstanding doctored videotapes, spurious audiotapes,
and a paper passport (allegedly, belonging to one of the �perpetrators�) that
survived a flaming inferno and flew six blocks away from the burning buildings.
Despite all doubts and uncertainties, and assuming that
9/11 was, indeed, an �external attack� against the United States by forces
hostile to it, can a singular breach of U.S. super-impregnability be
interpreted as �vulnerability� as Cheney stated? Nine-eleven however poses
another fundamental issue for discussion. If U.S. vulnerability to an external
attack re-charged the drive for colonialism and led Cheney to occupy Iraq as a
preventive measure to protect U.S. security, then let us consider the
following: Are there structural differences between the Oklahoma City bombing
attack (internal) and the (external) attack on the WTC from the standpoint of
action and reaction? And must such an attack, if were to happen, be the
passport to empire?
Next, Part 27: Dick Cheney,
numbers and the de-mystification of 9/11
B. J. Sabri is an Iraqi-American antiwar activist. Email: