The Splendid Failure of Occupation
Part 26: Dick Cheney, numbers and the metaphysics of 9/11
By B. J. Sabri
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Jan 28, 2005, 02:26

"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?

When 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.

Explanation: Puritan 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 it.

(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 planet undeterred.

(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 Buddhist Thailand.

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 U.S. control.

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) supportive arguments.

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 upward militarization.

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. vulnerability?

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 that year?�

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:

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