Part 27: Demystifying 9/11
By B. J. Sabri
Journal Contributing Writer
Feb 12, 2005, 20:19
� . . . 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
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]
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 . . .
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:
a singular breach of U.S. super-impregnability be interpreted as
�vulnerability� as Cheney stated?
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?
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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: email@example.com.
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