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The Splendid Failure of Occupation Last Updated: Jan 4th, 2007 - 01:08:31

Part 27: Demystifying 9/11
By B. J. Sabri
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Feb 12, 2005, 20:19

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� . . . And that should remind all of us who are lucky enough to have been�to be on the right side of the freedom divide, that we have an obligation to them to support the efforts that they are making now to build that democratic future. And so I don't think we want to talk in terms of exit strategies. Of course, the goal is to have a self-sufficient Iraq that can sustain itself in terms of its security as well as all other aspects of its political life . . ."�Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, Interview with Reuters and Agence France Press

As I maintained throughout this series, the Bush administration mystified 9/11 and elevated it from a crime to an alibi for imperialist colonialism. But demystifying an ideology, policy, motivation, claim, tale, interview, or event is not that complicated. All we need to do is remove intrusive rhetoric and subjective determinism from the object of study, and redefine it in relation to the material reality that formed it.

For example, in the above quotation, what did Rice mean by �the right side of the freedom divide,� and who is the party that asked her to �support the efforts they are making,� and where did she mention ending the occupation of Iraq as a symbol of Iraqi freedom after the so-called elections?

Karl Marx provided insight on how demystification works. To the question, �if he believed in God,� he replied, �Let us leave God in heaven, and resolve the problems of humanity on earth.� In essence, Marx did two things: (1) he sent the ontological discussion on God, back to the metaphysics of Aristotle, and (2) he proposed to discuss, instead, the objective reality that defines humanity�s existence.

Perhaps, not too many people know the Syrian-born Michel Afflack, the co-founder of the Baath Party that ruled in Iraq until the American invasion and is still ruling in Syria. Afflack was infatuated with demagogy and political abstractness. He once defined the concept of �Arab nationalism� as follows, �It is love before everything.� Definitely, Afflack mystified the meaning of nationalism, reduced it to inconsequential romanticism, and denatured its historical, societal, and human dimensions. How can we demystify Afflack�s metaphysics? Simple: redefine nationalism in concrete ways.

In no other place as in the U.S. Declaration of Independence has the metaphysics of meaning and purpose reached a high level of inconsequential, rhetorical idealism. Many magnificent principles of the declaration that successive American generations swear by as if it were a cosmic cult have always contrasted with the reality and praxis of the American state which are, exploitation, colonialism, racism, international violence, interventions, imperialism, and wars of domination.

A passage from the Declaration that Thomas Jefferson authored, reads, �We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness . . ." [Italics added]

Obviously, Jefferson did not practice what he preached. If Jefferson believed that God created all men equal, why did he then enslave and exterminate God�s creations: Africans and Native Indians? In the following quotation, Jefferson answers by faulting God for the creation of skin color and calling it �unfortunate.� And if George Bush invaded Iraq to enable the Iraqis to have the right to life, liberty, and happiness, why did he kill over 100,000 Iraqis, destroy their cities, declare the U.S. the occupying power, and build permanent military bases? George Bush answers by claiming that building �democracy� in Iraq is necessary so that those people will think like us and stop attacking us.

From Thomas Jefferson to George Bush, the patterns of language that distinguished the announcements of U.S. presidents went from one form of racism and chauvinism to another. Wrote Jefferson in his Notes on The State of Virginia

I advance it therefore as a suspicion only, that the blacks, whether originally a distinct race, or made distinct by time and circumstances, are inferior to the whites in the endowments of both body and mind. It is not against experience to suppose, that different species of the same genus, or varieties of the same species, may possess different qualifications. Will not a lover of natural history then, one who views the gradations in all the races of animals with the eye of philosophy, excuse an effort to keep those in the department of man as distinct as nature has formed them? This unfortunate difference of color, and perhaps of faculty, is a powerful obstacle to the emancipation of these people. [Italics added]

While Jefferson, a slave-owner who preached the rights to life, liberty, and happiness, did not disdain from denying those rights to his slaves, he added insult to injury by moving from ignorance and suspicion on the �unfortunate difference of color� of enslaved Africans, to justify racism and define the early years of the American state. Then we have George Bush, who while bragging about freedom, is enslaving the Iraqis to his imperialist dictatorship. Bush, having no doubt on the goodness of what he called America�s mission, now moves with unshakable certainty on the purpose of his brand of empire: spreading freedom . . .

Considering how the U.S. relies on abstract idealism, metaphysics of purpose, and mystification of its world role, how did Dick Cheney, as symbol of US hyper-imperialism, lay down his case for an aggressive expansionist empire?

To debunk Cheney and Bush�s metaphysics for 9/11 and the occupation of Iraq, I previously laid down for discussion three questions:

  1. Can a singular breach of U.S. super-impregnability be interpreted as �vulnerability� as Cheney stated?
  2. Are there structural differences between the Oklahoma City bombing attack (internal) and the attack (external) against the World Trade Center (WTC) from the standpoint of action and reaction?
  3. Must an alleged external terrorist attack be a U.S. passport to empire?

The Pretext of U.S. Vulnerability

Cheney and neoconservatives trumpeted 9/11 as proof of U.S. �vulnerability� in front of a new type of warfare they called �terrorism.� Vulnerability, however, is not a straightforward issue and requires discussion. Take the example of Syria. In the current world situation the axis, Israel-U.S.-U.K, is militarily controlling the entire Asian-Arab Middle East, Syria exemplifies the concept of �vulnerability.� Indeed, at any moment the duo U.S.-Israel could attack Syria exclusively for Israeli motives.

Syrian vulnerability, therefore, is real. In fact, while pro-Israel U.S.-U.K. forces are occupying Syria�s neighbor, Iraq, Israeli forces are occupying its Golan Heights thus squeezing it in the middle. Syria�s vulnerability is also real because it has no powerful regional or international allies that can provide deterrence.

Categorically, while Syria is effectively vulnerable, we cannot say the same thing of the United States. To be vulnerable, structures, institutions, and societies must be already militarily weak or dependent, economically debilitated, or just incapable of mounting a counter attack against an external enemy.

Nevertheless, vulnerability of any system, natural or manmade, is always a distinct possibility: scientifically and statistically, there is no absolute fail-safe in any system. David Morrison, a NASA scientist, explained this fact as when he theorized on the possibility that an asteroid can hit Earth. In an interview, Morrison stated, �A large impact is not something we expect to happen in our lifetime, in our children�s' lifetime, or even our grandchildren�s' lifetime. It would be very bad luck if it did happen. But it could happen at any time." [Italics added]

Another example, still on asteroids, that can help us refute the administration�s pretensions of vulnerability, is frequency of impact with Earth. A study by the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, Texas, calculated that the larger a celestial body, the larger the diameter of the crater it makes, and that frequency of impact is proportional to size and mass. The key phrase is that frequency of impact depends on size and mass. If this can happen in nature, then what is the situation with political states when they possess size, mass, power, and imperialist ideology?

After comparing the size and power of Costa Rica with that of the United States and taking into consideration the frequency of interventions and wars: �Which one, Costa Rica, or the U.S., could be a potential target for a hostile attack?�

Contrary to the United States that can create any ruse to intervene in or attack any state, Costa Rica has no history of empire, and, since its inception as a modern state, it never intervened in or attacked any state in Africa, Asia, or the Middle East. Consequently, while the odds that an African, Asian, or Middle Eastern country would attack Costa Rica are nil, the odds that someone would attack the United States are extremely high.

But size or power of a state does not define its exposure to danger�a qualification must exist first. A country can face danger only when it is aggressive and interventionist. Canada for example is large and to a certain extent is militarily capable, yet it did not make enemies and no one wants to attack it despite its association with NATO. Australia, on the other hand is active in the imperialist system and its interventions. Consequently, those who decide to fight active imperialism would probably include it as potential target or enemy.

It is reasonable to conclude, therefore, that the more the U.S. intervenes and makes wars on foreign countries because of its size, power, and ideology of imperialism, the more these foreign countries or their citizens would retaliate and make wars against it. It is a matter of action and reaction, and no one can change that law. In this regard, the calculus of probability that a reciprocal attack can happen between adversaries is an unforgiving possibility.

Can the United States give incontrovertible evidence backed by statistical certainty that its violence abroad would never generate backlash and violence against American interests abroad or at home? If the American pop culture from western movies to manipulated historical epics to soap operas, indulges and pivots around the idea of revenge, then how could US ideologues of active imperialism ignore or discard the same human feelings in individuals or societies they attacked, subjugated, or occupied?

To expand the question: �if a state, any state, is privy but lacks the details about an imminent retaliatory attack by an adversary, can it avert it preventively? Nine-eleven itself proved that this is impossible. The case of the war on Iraq is even more significant: Iraq and the world knew that the US and Britain would attack at any moment prior to the invasion, yet no one could prevent it.

I would argue the matter further by citing a recent event that would decidedly refute the possibility of potential or definitive prevention. This event is the explosion of the shuttle Columbia in February 2003. Can any one ask NASA to guarantee that future shuttles would never explode for any fathomable reason?

No one at NASA can give such a guarantee for one reason: scientifically, it is impossible. Accordingly, if it is impossible from the viewpoint of statistical probability that a specific event would never occur within a system, then why did Cheney and Bush attribute one attack such as 9/11 as an irrefutable, empirical demonstration of U.S. vulnerability?

Answer: science, mathematics, and logic do not apply to the ideology of imperialism, colonialism, and empire. These have different paths, existence, and finality. In addition, imperialism, for example, is a process of multiple rationalizations having specific objectives. Categorically, the concept of U.S. �vulnerability,� as advocated by Cheney, is only a super ruse to implement imperialism.

To uncover the absurdity of Cheney and the neocons� theorem of vulnerability as a hidden rationale for empire, consider the following situation: to cover up the motives of the confrontation that unleashed Arab and Islamic nationalists against its hegemonic agenda, the U.S. ascribed the attacks against U.S. targets overseas and at home to innate violence in the Islamic religion. Consequent to this policy of deliberation, the U.S. is pressing Arab nations to revise the Quran and eliminate from it all Suras (chapters) containing reference to antagonism toward Jews.

But, did the U.S. occupy Iraq: (1) because Iraq was allegedly possessing WMD, (2) because of oil and empire building, (3) so Arab Muslims would cease their hostility toward Israel, or (4) because some chapters of the Quran are not tolerant toward the ancient Hebrews (not to be mixed with European Jews or Zionism)?

Here is a problem with this �war of religions�: as Jews believe that the Torah is HaShem�s (God) word, as Christians believe in the Jewish Bible and the New Testament to be the word of God, Gott, Dieu, Dio, Dios, (all meaning God,) Muslims believe in the Quran to be the Word of Allah (God.) So what does Bush want to do? Does he want that people to change their historical religious beliefs to suite his agenda of empire? Or does he want to immerse the world in a bloodbath to purify the heretics thus suiting his imperialist Inquisition?

This is not a diatribe about theology or religion, nor am I trying to prove or disprove any belief. What I am arguing here is dialectical reciprocity: if the Bush administration and proponents of the �clash of civilizations� want Muslims to change the Quran because of its assumed violence and hostility toward the ancient Hebrews, then we have to argue two things. (1) Change the Bible and delete from it all reference to Armageddon and to the enemies of Israel, and (2) current Jews are not the ancient Hebrews of the Bible, and most importantly, Judaism is not Zionism, although some secular European Jews established it. This is equivalent to say, Islam is not al-Qaeda, although some fundamentalist Muslims allegedly established it.

To expand the argument, let us consider the situation with Zionism that theorized and implemented colonialism in Palestine. Because Zionists killed and dispossessed tens of thousands of Palestinians to reach that target, then Palestinians could demand, for example, the alteration of the Jewish Scriptures to ban over all references to the angel of death that Jehovah sent to kill the enemies of ancient Hebrews, restructure or abolish the Jewish yeshivas, and declare Judaism as a violent religion.

Since this proposal is below the bottom tier of acute ideological dementia because Judaism is not violent but Israel and Zionism are, therefore, the attack on Arabs, Islam, and the occupation of Iraq as a response to an attack attributed to Muslim Arabs with the implication that Islam is the source of endemic violence is another act of dementia.

In historical perspective, if the structural vulnerability of former colonial nations in Asia, Africa, both Americas, and Australia allowed militarized Christian Europe to occupy, colonize, and decimate their people, and if Cheney�s theorem of vulnerability is universal, then a host of new implications could emerge. For example, aside from a legitimate demand for compensation, those nations should advance a deranged proposal requiring Christian nations to outlaw the Bible (old and new testaments) that Christians used as a �justification� for colonialism, and banish Christianity as a symbol of oppression that permitted colonialism.

As a result, the Bush administration�s rationalization of 9/11 as a symptom and prognosis demonstrating the vulnerability of the United States is not only baseless and contradictory, but also a monumental lie upon which colonialist imperialism created the international and domestic conditions to reprise its interrupted march.

It is baseless because the U.S., as I said, is an impregnable fortress, and one single breach of security is not endemic. If the U.S. seeks absolute security in the mathematical sense, and total deterrence against a world that it has been harassing for over 130 years, then it should envelope its territory with a geodesic dome where no one can come in or get out. The other choice is rational: dismantle the pretense and structures of empire, stop interfering in the world, bring our troops home, respect the world for what it is, renounce state terrorism, and lead by example and not by violence, fascism, and Zionist arrogance.

It is contradictory because while, it considered the Oklahoma bombing a criminal case and treated it as such in a court of law, it considered 9/11, as a fatal breach of national security. The fact remains that the Oklahoma bombing was also a breach of national security�it was an attack against a building owned by the federal government of the United States. Regardless, my firm belief is that neither attack was a demonstration of U.S. vulnerability. An attack can succeed or fail depending on countless objective and circumstantial conditions. Suppose that the United States succeeded in foiling both attacks before they could happen, would that mean the U.S. is invulnerable? The answer is still no; success or failure are unpredictable variables and depend on countless conditions and decision-making.

Finally, it is a lie because the myth of U.S. vulnerability was only a pretext for advancing U.S. imperialistic objectives.

Oklahoma City Bombing, vis-�-vis the WTC

The Oklahoma City bombing presents the objective observer with a special viewpoint to compare it with the attack against the WTC. Both attacks were hostile to the United States, although one is internal (perpetrators were American citizens) and the other is external (perpetrators were alleged foreign citizens.) While the U.S. treated Timothy McVeigh and Terri Nichols as criminals, prosecuted McVeigh, and put him to death; it did not take any action against his family, city, state, American Catholics, Catholicism, Irish-Americans, Ireland, or Europe.

In other words, while the U.S. considered Islam, Muslims, and Arab states all culprits thus punishable, it did not consider any entity correlated to McVeigh, guilty by association or implication.

Pointedly, because both, the Oklahoma City bombing (internal attack) and the WTC attack (assuming it is an external attack) are terroristic attacks, is it conceivable they share basic similarities? We shall discuss that next.

Next, Part 28: Imperialist expansions and 9/11

B. J. Sabri is an Iraqi-American anti-war activist. Email:

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The Splendid Failure of Occupation
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Part 45: How the U.S. engineered the Iraqi holocaust
Part 44: Burning the cradle of civilization
Part 43: The scheme behind the bombardment of Iraq
Part 42: Postwar aftermath or imperialist mutatis mutandis?
Part 41: The choice: obedience or annihilation
Part 40: A one-way bombardment called Gulf War
Part 39: Iraq: The second stage of conquest
Part 38: Inside America's lab of horror
Part 37: Iraq, America�s Lab of Horror
Part 36: George Bush occupies Iraq
Part 35: When an American Hulagu invades Mesopotamia
Part 34: Iraq, another chapter of American fascism, colonialism, and extermination
Part 33: Facing East: Iraqi hating and empire building*
Part 32: From Alexander Hamilton and Iroquois to George Bush and Iraqis
Part 31: Achtung! We can invent a pretext to conquer you
Part 30: Iraq Occupation, pretext, encroachment, and colonialism
Part 29: Iraq Occupation, anatomy of pretext
Part 28: Imperialist expansions and 9/11
Part 27: Demystifying 9/11
Part 26: Dick Cheney, numbers and the metaphysics of 9/11