A Tale Of Two Terrorist Attacks

Moronic Response To 9/11

The First Attack

Like most people aged over 20 in the Western World, my memories of the September 11 2001 terrorist attacks are strong. It was obvious from the day of the attacks that America’s retaliation would be huge and violent; my memory of the carnage inflicted globally by the Reagan regime had taught me the lesson of what savagery a Republican government with an excuse for war could be capable of. As a user of Usenet (a collection of early global discussion groups pre-dating web forums or Twitter), I could take the US pulse and watch the rage grow. The near-unanimous response – at least, the one that was heard internationally – was a scream demanding revenge. Almost no American I encountered tried to understand bin Laden’s motivations, and none cared anyway. Those who wanted to understand were called “appeasers”. The Bush regime fed the climate of hate-filled ignorance by providing a moronic non-explanation that satisfied morons: “They hate our way of life.”

The American moron already knew everything he needed to know: America had been attacked; the attacker was a brown-skinned Muslim currently believed to be resident in a country of brown-skinned Muslims. Afghan? Saudi? What’s the difference? And who cares? Donald Rumsfeld provided the final required piece by claiming that Al Qaida had 100,000 followers around the world and constituted a declaration of war. Morons didn’t pause to consider that they hadn’t heard of Al Qaida prior to the attack. It didn’t dawn on them that Rumsfeld may have inflated the size of the “enemy” by well over a hundred-fold. They didn’t stop to question when the religious-conservative Pashtun Taliban was conflated with the dissident terrorist Saudi group Al Qaida. Never did they ask why thousands of US troops were already resident in Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries, or how Arabs might feel about that presence.

The online response was tragic but predictable. People wanted Afghanistan “bombed to a sheet of glass” (never minding that it already had been, by American and Soviet weaponry). Maps circulated showing “Lake Afghanistan” in place of the country. The rage allowed the attack on Afghanistan in 2001, and continued into 2003 to allow the attack on Iraq. It was still present in 2004 when Bush was re-elected. Only in 2005 did the American mainstream begin to question the slaughter being conducted in their name – or more accurately in the names of the almost 3,000 people who had died on September 11.

The Second Attack

I’d been on the huge anti-war demo in London in February 2003: the largest demonstration ever seen in the UK. I knew that the UK mood was angrily against the Iraq war, and was turning against Tony Blair, who had committed support to Bush without the backing of the British people. I also spent a few days in Barcelona in April 2003, during the initial Iraq invasion, and the Spanish anti-war mood was even more militant – there were several protests per day around the city, including, every evening, the Argentine-style beating of pots and pans to make noise that echoed across Barcelona. While over 60% of Brits opposed the Iraq War, in Spain opposition topped 90% (but José María Aznar, the Prime Minister, had also committed his support to Bush).

On March 11 2004, 10 bombs exploded on four trains in Madrid, killing 191 people and injuring almost 2,000. As with America’s attacks, the initial response was shock and outrage. But from there, the two cultures couldn’t have behaved more differently. In the following two days, an estimated 11.4m people (28% of Spain’s population) came out onto the streets to demonstrate not just against terrorism but against war as well. This was the striking contrast between the US attacks and the Spanish attacks: Americans shouted for vengeance, the Spanish called for peace.

The war party have smeared the Spanish people as cowards for voting Aznar out of office a few days after the Madrid bombings, but this doesn’t reflect reality. The Spanish people didn’t turn on Aznar immediately after the bombings, but after he was caught lying about the perpetrators; he had blamed the domestic terrorist group ETA, thinking that would aid his electoral chances, although he’d already been informed that the attacks had most likely been committed by Al Qaida.

As someone who has visited both Spain and the US many times, the difference in responses isn’t a surprise. The US is quite obviously an overall more frightened and more violent society than Spain. As to why the two cultures are so different? My guess is that Spain is more advanced in terms of its relationships with the rest of the world. The Spanish Empire had mostly died by 1900. The British Empire faded in the 1950s and 1960s. In 2001, the US Empire was at the height of its powers (though in 2011 it appears to be in the early stages of decline). Post-imperial societies seem to have stronger belief in fairness and the rule of law, while imperial societies clearly have much to gain by ignoring it. The US, perhaps, will go through a re-evaluation of its role in the world as it loses the impulse to control everything, everywhere. And if Spain and the UK are anything to go by, this will create a better America.

Morons, War and Oil Reserves

Sometimes it’s hard to keep track of which countries the US is at war with, or to guess who might be next. Without understanding the global picture, morons often believe the justification for each war individually: Afghanistan was because of 9/11; Iraq was about WMD; Libya was about protecting civilians… and so on.

Last week’s Economist magazine (a great read if you haven’t tried it) included a handy little table showing known oil reserves by country. Surprisingly (for morons anyway), the table correlates tightly with US foreign policy. As well as the bar showing the absolute number of barrels, the number on the right shows how much longer the oil will last, based on current rates of extraction.

A key statistic here is the size of the US reserves: only 11.3 years of home-produced oil left. Given that the US is hopelessly addicted to oil, and is by far the world’s largest consumer, it becomes easily understandable why America spends so many dollars (and military lives) on securing those territories that have most of the remaining oil.

Let’s run through the top ten countries in the list:

  1. Saudi Arabia: the US maintains a conservative Islamic dictatorship with a terrible human rights record. The presence of 5,000 US troops in Saudi Arabia led to the 9/11 attacks (15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi).
  2. Venezuela: as every moron knows, Hugo Chavez is an evil dictator. Except in reality he’s been elected repeatedly in free and fair elections. In 2002, the Bush Administration attempted (and failed) to have Chavez removed in a military coup. America can’t tolerate a democratic regime outside its control sitting on 200bn barrels of oil – watch this space.
  3. Iran: they’re trying to make nuclear weapons! And the free world can’t have that, can we? Iran’s last democratic government was toppled by a CIA-backed coup in 1953. Sorry Iran, we simply can’t afford to let you have democracy.
  4. Iraq: over 100,000 civilians and 4,780 US troops have been killed to secure these 100bn barrel reserves.
  5. Kuwait: a US “ally” like Saudi Arabia (meaning a dictatorship backed by US military). Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990 triggered the first US Gulf War).
  6. United Arab Emirates: another US “ally” (two of the 19 9/11 hijackers were from the UAE).
  7. Russia: these reserves are probably beyond US military reach. Sorry America!
  8. Libya: we’re only bombing to defend the poor civilians, honest! (On the other hand, civilians in Syria, Palestine, Sri Lanka, Bahrain and elsewhere will just have to look after themselves).
  9. Kazakhstan: borders both Russia and China. Perhaps this reserve partly explains the long-term US presence in nearby Afghanistan.
  10. Nigeria: a country corrupted almost beyond repair by its large oil reserves. Other West African countries such as Ghana are also finding large amounts of oil. Watch out Africa, China and the US like the look of your oil!

Today In History: US Withdraws Troops from Saudi Arabia

Eight years ago today, the US withdrew its military presence (at least the non-secret part) from its ally, and the world’s top oil producer, Saudi Arabia. “Big deal”, you may say. But this event is a crucial one in the global war that America has been pursuing since (at least) 9/11.

The facts behind 9/11 and the ensuing “war on terror” have been lost in the fog of US propaganda in the past few years. Perhaps the most important fact-they-want-you-to-forget is this: Al Qaida’s attack on 9/11 was in protest at the presence of US troops on Saudi soil. At the time of the 9/11 attacks, the US was occupying Saudi Arabia with between 5,000 to 10,000 troops. Osama bin Laden’s strike was aimed at ending the US occupation as a step to overthrowing the Saudi dictatorship.

This was never made clear to the American people, who were instead told by Liar-In-Chief Donald Rumsfeld that Al Qaida was a huge, global organisation that wanted to destroy America’s way of life (this was true only to the extent that America’s “way of life” included the forcible creation of an Empire including the oil-producing Arab lands).

In the days before “war on terror” propaganda had been fully absorbed by the media, the BBC’s report on the Saudi withdrawal was remarkably honest;

But our correspondent says the US troops have become a potent symbol of Washington’s role in the region, and many Saudis see them as proof of the country’s subservience to America.

Saudi Arabia is home to some of Islam’s holiest sites and the deployment of US forces there was seen as a historic betrayal by many Islamists, notably Osama Bin Laden.

It is one of the main reasons given by the Saudi-born dissident – blamed by Washington for the 11 September attacks – to justify violence against the United States and its allies.

This anniversary is a reminder of important facts:

  • 9/11, however murderous and unjustified, wasn’t an unprovoked attack, but a response to long-standing US aggression against Arabs, and Saudis in particular.
  • The “war on terror” was of America’s choosing; Rumsfeld and the neocons deliberately confused the issues in order to create a new, never-ending version of the Cold War.
  • America’s perpetual war will run until America ends it – and while it runs, the risk of terrorist attacks on the West climbs ever higher.
  • The US has chosen to roll the war out to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen and now Libya. This is never in response to aggression and always in pursuit of expanding the empire.

The war isn’t being conducted by “Al Qaida”, “Terrorists”, “The Arabs”, “The Muslims” or “Islam” – it’s America’s war and will end when America chooses. You’re wondering why the US withdrew? Because a month earlier, it had invaded Iraq with the goal of creating a large, stable and permanent military presence there – the after-effects of which we’re still feeling worldwide.

Obama and Blair: Fallen Heroes

When Labour came to power in the UK in 1997, the left/centre majority heaved a sigh of relief after 18 years of Conservative rule. Britain had become a far more progressive place in those years, and the feeling that our leaders were finally in tune with us was elating. Anti-gay laws were repealed, police were subject to more control over their street behaviour, pay of teachers and nurses rose and massive investment was pumped into the crumbling education and health services. “Cool Britannia” was announced, and top music stars were seen rubbing shoulders with government ministers.

It was all so much fun that we chose to ignore the parts we didn’t want to see. Labour wasn’t going to re-nationalise any privatised industries, however messy or unwise the privatisations had been; most of the new schools and hospitals were built under a “Public-Private Partnership” regime that would work out more expensive in the long run; Blair and his top ministers seemed to love the company of Bankers and CEOs, and the rich-poor divide was allowed to widen even further.

I voted Labour in 1997 and again in 2001. And then came 9/11, and Blair’s fangs appeared. His religious mania started to be slowly unveiled (religion is a vote-loser rather than a winner in UK politics, and his spin-doctors played it down as best they could). Days after 9/11, it became obvious, to those who watched, that Iraq was in the cross-hairs of the neocons, and by mid-2002 there was no doubt that an attack on Iraq was in the planning stages (we later learned that Blair had already committed in early-2002). A large anti-war march was held in London in October 2002 (while Blair was still pretending that all options were on the table) and a huge march was held in February 2003, a month before the war. But Blair ignored the marchers, ignored the facts, ignored the majority within his own party, and took Britain to join one of the least justified, most brutal wars in modern history.

From that moment, he was widely hated by the British people, and the hatred steadily increased. When, in July 2005, terrorists killed 52 in London, and injured 700 more, most people held Blair’s Iraq adventure partly to blame, and his popularity fell further. It wasn’t just that he had carried out an unforgiveable act – it was that he had come to power as a progressive, and our eyes had finally been opened to reality. When Blair left power, exposed his deep Catholic fundamentalism, and began to profit from oil and other companies who had benefited from the Iraq war, the transformation was complete.

In the UK, we were as elated as American progressives by Obama’s election in 2008 – Bush had been hated here and worldwide for his moronic foreign policy, long before the majority of Americans turned against him. We knew, though we didn’t want to acknowledge it, that America is more than the President, and that Obama’s main reforms would be on domestic ground. Sure enough, America’s murderous behaviour towards Afghanistan and Pakistan was little changed – some things (such as drone attacks on civilians) became even worse. But we tried to ignore these, and enjoy the knowledge that Obama was more intelligent, more progressive than Bush could ever be.

So now we have a bombardment of Libya. We want to cling on to the idea that this is being done to protect civilians, but even as the bombing started, civilians were being shot dead in the streets of Yemen, Syria and Bahrain with barely a word of condemnation. It becomes increasingly clear that far from boosting the Arab revolutions, this attack on Libya will deliberately undermine them.

American progressives are going to increasingly feel about Obama the way we felt about Blair in 2003. It was easy to hate Bush – he gave us plenty of reason to, and he’d been elected by morons anyway, but Blair and Obama were ours. We can try to justify Obama’s capitulation – we already knew that America’s democracy is no longer strong enough to represent the will of the people over the interests of corporations and the military. But whichever way you look at it, betrayal hurts.

The Moron Guide to Uprisings

Morons love a world of simple black-and-white facts. So when the world does unpredictable things, this can cause great trauma and distress. For example: when you’ve been brought up believing that the US or Britain are the defenders – no! the creators – of democracy, then actual events in the real world may seem somewhat confusing.

So here is a short guide advising morons as to where they should stand on the various uprisings taking place in the Middle East and North Africa.

Iran

We’ll start with an easy one. Since the Iranian revolution of 1979 overthrew the Western-backed murderer known as the Shah, Iran has created a theocratic system that’s hostile to Israel and Western interests in the Middle East, as well as suppressing and brutalising its own people.

Score (out of 10): Brutality: 10, Islamist: 10, Oil reserves: 10, Hostile to Israel: 10, Hostile to US/UK: 10, Crazy leader: 10, Exporting terror: 3

Summary: you can totally support this uprising.

Iraq

Much trickier. Having overthrown a genuinely brutal dictator, Saddam Hussein, the US established a colonial authority in Iraq, and gradually hand-built a puppet “democracy” that the old British Empire would have been proud of, while allowing the country’s infrastructure to gradually collapse. The Iraqis are now protesting against the corruption, nepotism and brutality of their new regime! Yes, the one that cost the US taxpayer almost $1tn! Ungrateful wretches!

Score (out of 10): Brutality: 5, Islamist: 3, Oil reserves: 10, Hostile to Israel: 3, Hostile to US/UK: 4, Crazy leader: 2, Exporting terror: 1

Summary: although the people of Iraq may think they deserve a real democracy, they don’t. We paid for it, so it’s ours now.

Egypt

The overthrow of Mubarak greatly confused morons. On the one hand, yes he did rob, torture and kill his own people. On the other hand, the Muslim Brotherhood sounds really scary.

Score (out of 10): Brutality: 9, Islamist: 1, Oil reserves: 0, Hostile to Israel: 1, Hostile to US/UK: 1, Crazy leader: 9, Exporting terror: 1

Summary: Besides him being a complete bastard, there seems no other good reason to support the overthrow of Mubarak. However, it’s already happened, so best pretend you support democracy in Egypt (while warning that the Brotherhood will eat Christians’ babies).

Tunisia

See Egypt.

Libya

Very tricky – on the one hand, we’ve been told that Gaddafi is a crazy, evil Muslim dictator for decades, and he seems to have had a hand in the Lockerbie bomb/plane crash. On the other hand, Tony Blair suddenly decided that we like him after all, which had nothing (I repeat, nothing) to do with BP wanting to get their grubby hands on Libyan oil.

Score (out of 10): Brutality: 10, Islamist: 3, Oil reserves: 10, Hostile to Israel: 8, Hostile to US/UK: 7, Crazy leader: 10, Exporting terror: 10

Summary: There’s no good reason not to support this uprising. However I’m sure our leaders will suddenly discover an Islamist threat lurking behind the scenes (in other words, they want the oil, and Gaddafi will give it to them).

Bahrain

Nasty, oppressive regime that took the first possible opportunity to shoot protesters, even while sleeping. Sounds easy right? Wrong – the US Navy has a huge base there.

Score (out of 10): Brutality: 10, Islamist: 9, Oil reserves: 10, Hostile to Israel: 5, Hostile to US/UK: 3, Crazy leader: 7, Exporting terror: 1

Summary: although this seems easy, this is a major oil state and host to the US Empire. You need to sit on the fence, and just pretend you support whatever happens next.

Saudi Arabia

There is no sane reason to support the Saudi regime. It seems to represent everything that freedom-lovers everywhere should despise. It is the birthplace of extremist Wahhabi Islam, which has led to the creation of Al Qaida and to the events of 9/11. There are few human rights, and women’s rights are non-existent. So this should be easy…

Score (out of 10): Brutality: 10, Islamist: 10, Oil reserves: 10, Hostile to Israel: 6, Hostile to US/UK: 6, Crazy leader: 8, Exporting terror: 10

Summary: Despite everything, maintaining the vile, terrorist regime in Saudi Arabia is highly important to the US Empire in the Middle East and elsewhere. The fall of the Saudi regime may be as critical to America as the loss of India was to the British. Do NOT support this uprising. If anyone asks you why, call them a Commie asshole.

Arab Uprising Exposes Right-Wing Hypocrisy About Democracy

Remember 2003? How the West (well, the US and Britain) marched in to Iraq to depose the dictator Saddam Hussein and bring “democracy”? Obviously the democracy part hasn’t really bedded in yet, but overall, aren’t we Westerners nice? We spent over $1 trillion of our own hard-earned money to liberate those poor, oppressed Iraqis.

Cynics pointed out that the American/British love of “spreading freedom and democracy” (to use Bush-speak) was a little inconsistent: what about all the other Arab dictatorships? How about the central Asian dictators like Islam Karimov, America’s “friend” in Turkmenistan, who had a thing for boiling his opponents alive? And what about the fact that America has backed so many nasty dictators in the past, in Latin America and elsewhere? Perhaps most of all, what about the American/British love-in with the brutish, fundamentalist regime in Saudi Arabia (and its huge oil reserves)?

But let’s not be too cynical – didn’t America cheer (and lend a quiet hand) as the Berlin Wall fell, and then revolution after revolution swept Eastern Europe? Yes, it did. Didn’t rightwing media and politicians join the left to support the Iranian uprising after the rigged elections of 2009? Again yes.

And now here comes something just as world-changing, and probably even more genuinely spontaneous than those Eastern European uprisings: in the space of a few days first Tunisia, then Egypt, and now Yemen too, rose up against the dictators who have terrorised their populations for so long. The Arab world, so long criticised for its lack of democracy, freedom and human rights, appears to finally be finding its voice.

Of course, those rightwing commentators who cheered Bush and Blair into Iraq, who cheered the pro-democracy uprisings in Ukraine, Iran and elsewhere, are positively delighted with this turn of events. Of course!

Not.

The problem is that, while the fall of Russian or Iranian influence helps European and American interests, those Arab torturers are… well how can I say this… (it’s a little embarrassing) – defending US, European and Israeli interests in the region. So the chance of democracy in Arab countries isn’t exactly what the West wants right now… or (to be honest) ever.

So if you’re puzzled by the lack of excitement on Fox News, or your favourite “pro-freedom” media outlet, well: you have the right to be. The problems are twofold:

  1. Oil – there’s a LOT of it, especially in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE. Currently all this oil is controlled by moron dictators, who in turn owe their allegiance to the US.
  2. Israel relies on corrupt Arab dictators, with the help of bribes (did I say bribes? I meant aid) from the US, to prevent the Arab people lending support to the Palestinians.

What this means is that the US state and right-wing news sources are kind-of reluctant to cheer on the pro-democracy movement that’s gathering pace. of course, they don’t SAY that. What they say, or at least hint at, is that these uprisings contain… brace yourself… ISLAM! And we know (or at least indoctrinated right-wing morons know) that Islam is bad, m’kay? So the very people who scream Freedom and Democracy at every opportunity are now decidedly reluctant to support the Freedom and Democracy sweeping the very part of the world where it’s most sorely needed.

Here are some examples of how it plays out:

Far-right botox’d Muslim-hating moron Pamela Geller writes a blog post entitled Fall of secular regime in Tunisia paves way for Islamic revolution. Note how a torturing, murdering dictatorship becomes a “secular regime” and a call for democracy becomes an Islamic revolution. She says “Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was warning American officials about the dangers posed by radical Islam”. Well yeah… so the suckers send him weaponry and aid to fight the “Islamist threat” rather than try to topple him.

In a truly hilarious fence-sitting attempt to kind-of look like they support democracy, rightwing rag The National Review says in an editorial Mubarak Should Go – But Not Yet. Strange that it’s the right who accused the left of “appeasement” for opposing the toppling of Saddam, now calling for a blood-stained dictator to stay in his place.

Here at MoronWatch we wish the revolt every success. But have no doubt that US advisers are already in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Israel looking for ways to deflate the rage that’s now exploding through the Arab world.

9/11 Tweetathon

9/11 is one of the most significant events to affect America in the past few decades; and yet so few Americans seem to understand why it happened, or know anything about the events leading up to it. On September 11 last year, I posted one tweet per hour throughout the day on the subjects of 9/11, terrorism, the so-called “war on terror”, and world events in the preceding decades that played a part in building up global anger towards America.

I’d like to thank @dbudlov, a twitter user who has collated my 24 tweets into one block, and regularly reposted them to Twitter; here’s the whole set of tweets, with extra notes added in italics.

1) In memory of the almost-3,000 innocents, killed in New York by morons 9 years ago

2) 16 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis. None were Afghan or Iraqi
(It’s amazing that Bush/Rumsfeld ignored this point, and most commentators still do. The attackers weren’t a mix of “Muslims” or “Arabs” – they were almost all Saudis, as is Osama bin Laden).
3) Most of the hijackers were Saudis. In 2001, the US had 10,000 troops in Saudi Arabia (fighting which war?)
(Let’s ask again: more than a decade after the end of the Cold War, what legitimate reason did America have for a military occupation of Saudi Arabia? Wouldn’t Saudis be a little… well, pissed off, to be under foreign occupation?)

4) Al Qaeda originated in Saudi Arabia, the world’s #1 oil producer, friend of America, and creator of fundamentalist Wahhabi Islam
(So… blame Afghanistan, right?)

5) On Sep 11 1973, the elected Chilean govt was overthrown by the army with help from the CIA. Around 3,000 people were later killed
(Coincidentally, America took part in an illegal attack against a democratic government on September 11, 28 years earlier. You couldn’t make this stuff up…)

6) The Taliban were never involved in the 9/11 attacks, although this was never made clear by the Bush admin.
(By blurring different groups with distinct ideas and aims, the neo-cons created the illusion of a powerful enemy, intent on attacking America. Mixing up Al Qaeda, a Saudi terror group, with the Taliban, a fundamentalist Afghan group, was part of this propaganda exercise.)

7) Iran’s last elected govt. was overthrown in 1953 by a UK/US-backed coup. Which kinda explains why Iranians don’t trust America
(Iran has never attacked another state in modern history. On the other hand, America has been repeatedly involved in destabilising Iran, and creating propaganda about Iran being a “threat”. Iran also has the 4th biggest oil reserves; these facts are probably related.)

8 ) The only chemical weapons used in the Iraq war were deployed by US forces in the city of Fallujah http://bit.ly/cC3Dsb
(Ironic huh? Given that “Saddam’s WMDs” were the reason given for attacking Iraq… click the link above to read about the aftermath of using chemical weapons in a city of 300,000 people.)

9) Around half of Americans wrongly believed Saddam was involved in 9/11. The Iraq war claimed at least 97,000 civilian lives
(If you’re going to support a war, shouldn’t you understand why the war is happening first?)

10) Like Iraq, the Vietnam War was started by a lie. An estimated 4m civilians died
(You’d assume the US would have learned something from Vietnam, wouldn’t you?)

11) In the 1980s, Reagan backed terrorist groups throughout Central America, resulting in around 200,000 civilian deaths
(3,000 deaths in New York bad. 200,000 deaths in Central America best-not-to-mention.)

12) In 1988, US missiles took down Iran Air Flight 655, killing 290 civilians inc. 66 children http://bit.ly/cx5DQw
(Terrorism is bad, m’kay? Except where it’s our terrorism.)

13) 1976: terrorist Orlando Bosch and 3 others with CIA support blew up Cubana Flight 455, killing 73 civilians. He lives in Miami
(Terrorists are assholes m’kay? Except for our terrorists.)

14) 1979 Iranian revolution removed The Shah, America’s torturer, from power. US still seeking an excuse for revenge
(How dare a Middle Eastern country refuse to be ruled from Washington?)

15) The terrorist IRA killed over 3,000 civilians in Britain and Ireland from the 70s to the 90s, with money from American supporters
(NORAID raised money for the Provisional IRA in the US, while the IRA were blowing up civilians in Britain and Ireland. Apparently some terrorism is worse than others.)

16) Both Saddam and bin Laden were American agents who went astray – pick your friends more wisely?
(The US helped bring the Ba’ath Party to power in Iraq via a 1963 coup, and later encouraged and supported Saddam Hussein in his illegal war against Iran. When Saddam gassed Kurdish civilians in 1988, the US response was muted and support for Saddam continued until Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990. The Arab and Afghan mujahideen that became Al Qaeda and the Taliban was supported and trained by the US, partly in Pakistani “madrassas” during the 1980s. The results of US cold war policy in the region are clear today.)

17) Occupations always create terrorists. The US has over 1,000 military bases on foreign soil
(…in over 150 countries. People don’t like foreign troops on their soil – no doubt Americans would also object if it happened to them.)


18) Half a million Iraqi children died under US-led sanctions in the 90s, usually through shortages of medicine
(A total of around a million Iraqis died under the sanctions regime. In hindsight, this was done to weaken Iraq enough to attack it with minimal military resistance. This helps explain why Iraqis were less enthusiastic about the US invasion than expected.)


19) 1,271 Afghan civilians were killed in 1st 6 months of 2010 alone
(3,000 deaths in New York changed the world. Thousands of deaths elsewhere can be ignored.)

20) It’s not about Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia or Yemen. The terrorist problems emanate from Saudi Arabia and Israel
(The neo-cons turned America’s post-9/11 fear and loathing against convenient targets, avoiding the 2 sources of most anger and discontent in the region. The Saudi regime is among the world’s most tyrannical, but sits on massive oil reserves. Democracy in Saudi Arabia is a pre-requisite for Middle Eastern peace, and also a threat to US oil interests. Israel is America’s most reliable regional ally, and hence gets away with murder – literally.)

21) The “Saudi royal family” was a creation of the British Empire and later adopted by the US. Oil beats democracy
(As the British Empire collapsed, it appointed puppets to continue maintaining British interests. With the rise of the US Empire, these switched from being UK clients to US clients. If Saudi Arabia had no oil, America would call for democracy there, as it does for Syria and Yemen.)

22) The top Middle Eastern oil reserves and US control: 1) Saudi (check) 2) Iran (in progress) 3) Iraq (check) 4) Kuwait (check)
(The list of oil reserves by country reads like a checklist of America’s foreign policy priorities.)
23) In 2001 Rumsfeld said Al Qaeda had 100,000 followers. In reality, less than 1,000. The lie of the decade?
(The end of the cold war by 1990 threatened the power of the US military, intelligence community and arms industry. A new enemy had to found, whether real or fabricated. 9/11 gave the pretext: a small terrorist group took advantage of lax airline security to carry out a massive terrorist attack. Rumsfeld’s big lie laid the basis for the “global war on terror”. Acceptance that Al Qaeda numbered no more than a few hundred activists would have precluded a military response. The Al Qaeda brand was largely created by the US response to 9/11 – had YOU heard of it beforehand?)

24) The war machine sucks up tax dollars that could create the world’s best health and education systems. Just Say NO
(The “cold war”, the “war on drugs” and the “war on terror” were all chosen as pretexts to allow an endless American war. In 1942, hundreds of thousands of US troops were deployed to fight Japan and Germany, but the end of WW2 was a strategic turning point. Rather than bring the troops home, they were kept overseas, and remain to this day: 369,000 US troops are based in over 150 countries, maintaining the biggest empire the world has seen. While the empire drains America’s pockets, it creates trillions of dollars of wealth for America’s richest; the Global American War can be viewed as a massive redistribution of American wealth, from poor to rich. It can happen because Americans allow themselves to be frightened by a never-ending list of new enemies. As European empires collapsed, Europe was able to invest in health, education, transport and housing while America fell behind. Now it’s America’s turn.)