This essay is chapter 14 of Kevin Barrett, John Cobb Jr., and Sandra Lubarsky, eds., 9/11 and American Empire: Christians, Jews, and Muslims Speak Out (Olive Branch Press, 2007).
A CLASH BETWEEN JUSTICE AND GREED
The apparent clash between Islam and the West is not a clash of civilizations. It is a mirage deliberately created after the collapse of the Soviet Union in order to justify US “defense” spending, and to provide a pretext for controlling the world’s resources and markets through military aggression against Muslim-majority countries. This fabricated clash between Islam and the West may be summed up in three words: justice versus greed.
Muslims, Christians, and Jews
Islam teaches that “the most excellent jihad is for the conquest of self.” It teaches Muslims to speak out against oppression, and to fight if necessary for justice. This is jihad. The Qur’an—the Word of God for Muslims—states:
“O mankind! We created you from a single soul, male and female, and made you into nations and tribes, so that you may come to know one another. Truly, the most honored of you in God’s sight is the greatest of you in piety.” (49:13)
Thus, Islam, perhaps like no other religion, declares to Muslims the sanctity of all “nations and tribes.” What may surprise Christians and Jews, and even many Muslims, is that the Qur’an refers to members of all three traditions as “muslim.” Muhammad Asad, born Leopold Weiss in Poland in 1900, wrote in his interpretation of the Qur’an:
“When his contemporaries heard the words islam and muslim, they understood them as denoting man’s ‘self-surrender to God’ and ‘one who surrenders himself to God,’ without limiting himself to any specific community or denomination—e.g., in 3:67, where Abraham is spoken of as having ‘surrendered himself unto God’ (kana musliman), or in 3:52 where the disciples of Jesus say, ‘Bear thou witness that we have surrendered ourselves unto God (bianna musliman).’”1
In Arabic, this original meaning has remained unimpaired, and no Arab scholar has ever become oblivious of the wide connotation of these terms.
The three faiths share the Abrahamic heritage, the same values, and revere many of the same prophets. The prophets of Judaism and Christianity are also Islam’s prophets.
Muslims, Christians, and Jews once lived in peace in Palestine, with all three referring to God using the same Arabic word, Allah. The three faiths thrived in Muslim Spain until its fall to Christian armies. Maimonides, highly revered among Jews, studied and practiced in Muslim Spain. With the fall of Muslim Spain to Christian armies in 1492, Muslims and Jews were expelled or forced to convert to Christianity. The Jews who chose to convert and remain in Spain were called maranos (pigs) by the Christians.
Coerced conversions are banned by the Qur’an and largely absent from Islamic history. From the very earliest Arab conquests more than 1,300 years ago, when conquered Jews and Christians were encouraged to retain their faiths and allowed self governance under Muslim protection, forced conversions have been anathema to Muslims. And for the past 1,000 years, Islam has spread mainly through conversion-by-example, with little help from conquests by Muslim rulers. Indonesia has more Muslims than any other country, yet no Muslim armies ever invaded Indonesia. Indeed, Christianity has spread with the help of conquest far more than Islam has, especially during the past 500 years of European global imperial-colonial domination.
Following the still-mysterious events of September 11, 2001, virtually every Muslim country supported the US “war on terrorism” until it degenerated into an excuse for a crackdown on Muslims by governments across the world. Once it became clear that 9/11 had been a pretext for repression, tyranny, and preplanned wars of aggression, voices of morality from all backgrounds and traditions began to speak out for justice. While leading Christian evangelicals, and the hawks in US government, pushed for war on Iraq, predominantly Christian Europe opposed it. Church leaders including the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, questioned the legality and morality of an American-led assault on Iraq. And because of Likkud-governed Israel’s increasing repression of Palestinians, which could not have happened without the so-called war on terrorism that 9/11 seems to have been designed to trigger, Presbyterians are divesting from Israel, and Anglicans have called for sanctions on Israel. Jews, Christians, Muslims, and others around the world have demonstrated together against the wars on the Iraqi and Palestinian people. More recently, as this volume shows, religious people from widely varying traditions have been speaking out for 9/11 truth and global justice.
It is important for Muslims and others to understand that many honorable Jewish voices, representing an extremely broad diversity of viewpoints from pro-Zionist to anti-Zionist, have joined the call for peace and justice in the Middle East. Many Jews support statehood for the Christians and Muslims in Palestine. “Britain’s chief rabbi, Jonathon Sacks, head of the Jewish community in the U.K. and the Commonwealth for 11 years, warned that Israel’s stance towards Palestinians is incompatible with Judaism,” reported BBC News.2 The moral misgivings of much of the world’s Jewish population toward Israeli policy extends, in some cases, to forthright Jewish anti-Zionism. Jews Not Zionists is one well-known group, while Naturei Karta International, an Orthodox Jewish organization, has printed on its stationery: “Pray for the peaceful dismantling of the Zionist State.”3
Clashes Between Peoples and Nations, and within Civilizations
But there have been, and perhaps there always will be, clashes both among and between peoples and nations, and within civilizations. The clash between the Dalits—the lowest Hindu caste in India—and the upper castes is a clash that has persisted for centuries. Europe, throughout its history, has been ravaged by clashes within Christianity. Muslims have fought wars with Muslims.
For the most part, the underlying reason for these clashes is economic. Economics, more specifically greed, is the primary reason for the clash between Islam and the West. This is not surprising, since it is usually the major factor in wars between developed countries and developing countries. The current American wars of aggression fit the pattern. The US desire to control the world’s resources and markets, its abject surrender to the Zionist agenda, and the virtual exclusion of dissenting voices from the national dialogue were key factors that led to the US war on Iraq. September 11 merely provided the pretext.
Control of the World’s Resources and Markets
Following the fall of Muslim Spain in 1492, Europeans spread out over the world—to the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Australia.4 Millions of natives in those continents were brutalized, enslaved, or killed. By some accounts, 15 million natives of North America, 50 million natives of South America, and 100 to 200 million Africans perished, since ten people had to be killed for one to be taken alive during capture by the slave-dealers. By the end of the eighteenth century, the Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, British, and French ruled much of the world. In the mid-twentieth century, when the British empire was crumbling, as the colonial powers pulled out of Asia and Africa, they drew up national boundaries for their continuing benefit, and the US empire began to take shape.
The US has fought for control of the world’s resources and markets while keeping the true reasons for war from Americans. Major General Smedley D. Butler, recipient of two Congressional Medals of Honor, described his experience in the US Marine Corps:
“War is just a racket... I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909... I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.”5
George Kennan, recipient of the Albert Einstein Peace Prize, chairman of the Policy Planning Staff at the State Department, wrote in the top-secret Policy Planning Study No. 23:
“We have about 50% of the world’s wealth, but only 6.3% of its population.... Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity.”6
While US policy advisors may differ on the specific timing and means, this militant foreign policy—often backed up by assassination of opponents (aka “regime change”), military coups, terrorism—has powerful proponents.7 Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security advisor to President Carter, writes in The Grand Chessboard (1997):
“A power that dominates Eurasia [the territory east of Germany and Poland, stretching all the way through Russia and China to the Pacific Ocean—including the Middle East and most of the Indian subcontinent] would control two of the world’s three most advanced and economically productive regions. A mere glance at the map also suggests that control over Eurasia would almost automatically entail Africa’s subordination.... About 75 per cent of the world’s people live in Eurasia, and most of the world’s physical wealth is there as well, both in its enterprises and underneath its soil. Eurasia accounts for 60 per cent of the world’s GNP and about three-fourths of the world’s known energy resources.”8
The key to controlling Eurasia, says Brzezinski, is controlling the Central Asian Republics. He adds:
“The three grand imperatives of imperial geostrategy are to prevent collusion and maintain security dependence among the vassals, to keep tributaries pliant and protected, and to keep the barbarians from coming together.”9
According to the Los Angeles Times:
“Behind a veil of secret agreements, the United States is creating a ring of new and expanded military bases that encircle Afghanistan and enhance the armed forces’ ability to strike targets throughout much of the Muslim world... Since Sept. 11, according to Pentagon sources, military tent cities have sprung up at 13 locations in nine countries neighboring Afghanistan.”10
Chalmers Johnson, author of Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire, and The Sorrows of Empire, writes: “the Pentagon currently owns or rents 702 overseas bases in about 130 countries.”11 It is reported that the US is constructing 14 new bases in occupied Iraq.
Uncritical Support of the Apartheid State of Israel
The unresolved issue of Israel helps keep Zbigniew Brzezinski’s “barbarians,” presumably the Muslim nations of the Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia, from coming together. The US—which displayed exceptional zeal in implementing UN Security Council resolutions against Iraq—has displayed the same zeal in blocking implementation of UN Security Council resolutions against Israel. UN Security Council Resolution 242 of 1967, which emphasizes “the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war,” and requires the “withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict,” has yet to be implemented.
While the US pushed for war on Iraq, and maintained no-fly zones in northern and southern Iraq, under the US interpretation of UN Security Council Resolution 687 (an interpretation with which most other nations disagreed), the US ignored Article 14 of the same resolution, which has “the goal of establishing in the Middle East a zone free from weapons of mass destruction and all missiles for their delivery and the objective of a global ban on chemical weapons” for all the nations in the region—including Israel, which is known to possess chemical and biological weapons, as well as 200 to 400 nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them.12
The United States, which claims to promote democracy around the world, continues its uncritical support of the apartheid state of Israel and the unlawful occupation of Palestine.13 Israel has cost the US about $1.6 trillion since 1973, estimates Thomas Stauffer, a consulting economist.14 A survey conducted by the Guardian of 500 people from each of the European Union’s member nations included a list of 15 countries with the instruction, “tell me if in your opinion it presents or not a threat to peace in the world.” Israel was reportedly picked by 59 percent of those interviewed as a threatening nation.15
Poll: US Greatest Danger to World Peace
Now the “barbarians” and most of the “civilized” world appear to be standing on the side of justice and against not just Israel, but its American sponsor as well. A poll conducted by Time magazine’s Europe edition asked: “Which country really poses the greatest danger to world peace in 2003?” With 673,027 responses received by March 10, 2003, the results were: North Korea 5.6 percent; Iraq 6.5 percent; the US 87.9 percent.16
BBC World (April 9, 2004) asked 1,500 viewers of its news and international channel for the biggest problems in the world. Fifty-two percent said the US and globalization.17
The Independent (October 18, 2004) reported the findings of a new survey of African attitudes, thought to be the biggest-ever of its kind. Fifty-four percent of the interviewees—not just among Muslims—saw the US as a threat.18
US “Defense” Spending
According to the Center for Defense Information (February 3, 2003), “the United States and its allies account for two-thirds of world military expenditures.” Not counting the $200 billion for the war on Iraq, the $399 billion US “defense” budget is equal to that of the next fifteen biggest spenders combined—six times bigger than Russia’s (the second biggest spender), eight times bigger than China’s, and 52 times bigger than Canada’s! The defense spending of the “rogue states,” or “axis of evil,” pales in comparison. In 2001, Iran spent $4.8 billion; North Korea 2.1; Iraq 1.4; Libya 1.2; Syria 1.0; Cuba 0.8; Sudan 0.6—a total just under $12 billion.
Former Defense Secretary McNamara, in his 1989 testimony before the Senate Budget Committee, said US military spending could safely be cut in half.19 This “peace dividend” was unacceptable to powerful entrenched interests. With the demise of the Soviet Union, it became necessary to find or create new enemies. The choice was between the Yellow Peril (East Asia) and the Green Peril (Islam). Islam was selected. Over the next decade this evolved into the “war on terrorism.”20
Multibillionaire George Soros writes in Open Society: Reforming Global Capitalism: “The United States has become the greatest obstacle to establishing the rule of law in international affairs.”21 According to a survey done for the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations and the German Marshall Fund of the US, “a majority of people in six European countries believe American foreign policy is partly to blame for the Sept. 11 attacks.” The US stands virtually alone against the world in efforts to build a safer, better world. For example:
1. International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (1966): unanimously approved by the UN General Assembly but not ratified by the US.
2. Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (1972): signed and ratified by the US and USSR, but overturned by President Bush
3. Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (1979): ratified by more than 150 governments but not the US
4. UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982): supported by 130 governments but never ratified by the US
5. Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989): ratified by 187 governments but not the US;
6. Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (1996): signed by President Clinton, ratified by all NATO allies and Russia, voted down by the US Senate, and opposed by President Bush
7. Kyoto Protocol (1997): sets targets for emissions that cause global warming; awaits ratification by the US
8. Chemical Weapons Convention (1998): crippled by the US, which limits what may be inspected in the US
9. Biological Weapons Convention (2001): signed by 144 countries, but the US rejected the “verification protocol.”
10.Nonproliferation and Test Ban Treaties (2002): jeopardized by the US by its announced intention to build and use small, tactical, nuclear weapons.
11.International Criminal Court (July 1, 2002): backed by 74 countries, signed by President Clinton, but fiercely opposed by the US unless American citizens were given immunity from war crimes prosecutions.
The opposition by a signatory to the treaty undermines the entire system of international law. Meanwhile, the US continues to develop new nuclear weapons, microbes to wipe out entire cities, genetically engineered fungus, genetically engineered materials-eating bacteria, and to test warheads containing live microbes. The US “government has been planning to test warheads containing live microbes in large aerosol chambers at the US Army’s Edgewood Chemical Biological Centre in Maryland,” wrote George Monbiot in the Guardian (March 19, 2002).
September 11, 2001: America Attacked
The 110-story towers of the World Trade Center were obliterated. The Pentagon suffered massive damage. This much is clear. Much else remains a mystery.
According to the official story: On September 11, 2001, American Airlines Flight 11, a Boeing 767 out of Boston and headed for Los Angeles, crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York at 8:48AM. Eighteen minutes later, United Airlines Flight 175, a Boeing 767, headed from Boston to Los Angeles, crashed into the south tower. American Airlines Flight 77, a Boeing 757 from Washington’s Dulles International Airport bound for Los Angeles, crashed into the western wall of the Pentagon at 9:40AM. United Airlines Flight 93, a Boeing 757 flying from Newark to San Francisco, crashed near Pittsburgh.
Europol’s director, Jürgen Storbeck stated: “It’s possible that he [bin Laden] was informed about the operation; it’s even possible that he influenced it; but he’s probably not the man who steered every action or controlled the detailed plan.”22 President Bush, however, ignored Europol’s doubts, reneged on Secretary of State Colin Powell’s pledge to provide evidence, and named Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda as the perpetrators.
As for the nineteen alleged hijackers, their names do not appear on the Associated Press September 17, 2001 “partial list of victims” on the hijacked flights—the final list has not been made public.23 On September 23, 2001, the BBC reported that four of the suspected hijackers were alive, and that “FBI Director Robert Mueller acknowledged on Thursday that the identity of several of the suicide hijackers is in doubt.”24
The 9/11 Commission Report
On July 22, 2004, the Commission charged with investigating the events of September 11, 2001, released its final report, which “provides a full and complete account of the circumstances surrounding the September 11th, 2001, terrorist attacks, including preparedness for and the immediate response to the attacks.”25
The report is an egregious failure.26 Among its many shortcomings, the conspiracy theory set forth in The 9/11 Commission Report makes no attempt to clear up questions surrounding the alleged hijackers’ identities, its explanation of the collapse of the Twin Towers and WTC 7 fails to answer the issues raised, and it appears to contradict publicly available evidence regarding the Pentagon crash site.
In the Pentagon crash site photos, there is little or no evidence of the airliner that allegedly struck the Pentagon. I live about one-half mile from the Pentagon. The first question that I asked other onlookers as we viewed the crash site was, “Where’s the plane?” Indeed, early reports claimed that a truck bomb had exploded, and the damage was similar to that inflicted on the USS Cole in Yemen. The gash in the hull of the USS Cole was reported to be about 30 feet by 40 feet.
The Pentagon crash may be the only commercial airline crash in modern history for which so much of the available video evidence has been withheld from the public. Five video frames from Pentagon cameras raise more questions than they answer—no Boeing 757 is visible.27
In the publicly available photos, the hole in the Pentagon wall—prior to the collapse of the roof—appears much too small to accommodate a Boeing 757. If only the fuselage penetrated the Pentagon, then the wings would have remained outside. But no large debris—anything resembling the wings and Boeing 757 engines—is visible on the Pentagon lawn, and the lawn itself shows no sign that a Boeing 757 skidded across it or struck it.28
How does one reconcile the relatively minor damage to the Pentagon by a Boeing 757 (the Pentagon’s reinforced concrete walls are eighteen inches thick), with the total destruction of the World Trade Center by two Boeing 767s (each tower was built with 236 exterior columns and 47 core columns—all made of steel and connected to each other by steel trusses)?
Though a majority of eyewitnesses do report having seen a large plane hit the Pentagon, and a few are reported to have seen a commuter plane, one eyewitness account should take precedence over those of passersby. Arlington County Fire Chief Ed Plaugher—at a Department of Defense news briefing with Assistant Secretary Victoria Clarke on September 12, 2001—when asked, “Is there anything left of the aircraft at all?”, said, “There are some small pieces of aircraft... there’s no fuselage sections and that sort of thing.”29
Didn’t Chief Plaugher see the plane’s engines? The engines would have survived the impact and heat. An engine from a plane that struck the World Trade Center was shown on network television, and so was an engine from American Airlines Flight 587, which crashed shortly after takeoff from New York on November 12, 2001. A photo from the Pentagon crash site shows what could be an engine part about 30 inches in diameter outside the Pentagon—but a Boeing 757’s engines are eight or nine feet in diameter. Another photo shows what could be an engine part (its size is difficult to determine) inside the Pentagon. Were these parts, and another piece of debris on the Pentagon lawn, traced to Flight 77? We don’t know.
Another question put to Chief Plaugher at the briefing was: “Chief, there are small pieces of the plane virtually all over, out over the highway, tiny pieces. Would you say the plane exploded, virtually exploded on impact due to the fuel...?” Plaugher responded: “I’d rather not comment on that.”
How did “small pieces of the plane” end up “out over the highway” when the plane is reported to have disintegrated inside the Pentagon after it crossed the highway? If it disintegrated outside the Pentagon, why is there nothing that looks like a Boeing 757 on the Pentagon lawn? If it disintegrated either inside or outside the Pentagon, what caused the hole in the third ring? The landing gear or some other part?
It is curious that at this news briefing, held approximately 24 hours after American Airlines Flight 77 departing from Dulles airport is said to have crashed into the Pentagon, the words “Boeing,” “Dulles,” “flight,” and “passengers” were not even mentioned. The word “plane” was mentioned once, but Chief Plaugher would “not comment on that.” It is even more curious that national news media failed to follow up on Chief Plaugher’s comment that “there’s no fuselage sections and that sort of thing” when dozens of onlookers, relatives, and firefighters were interviewed on network television about the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center.
Photos and videos of the Pentagon reveal yet more curious sights: one apparently shows about 50 men, dressed like FBI officers, walking shoulder to shoulder in line apparently looking for small items; another shows office furniture and a computer monitor which survived the fire that is alleged to have vaporized the Boeing 757, but left human bodies in good enough condition to be identified (highly improbable, if not impossible).30
The issue of whether or not a Boeing 757 crashed into the Pentagon could be settled by examining the photos and videos taken between 9:35AM and 10:15AM on September 11, 2001, by cameras located inside and outside the Pentagon, the cameras at the nearby gas station and the Sheraton, and the Department of Transportation cameras. These have not been made public. And we still require an explanation for the “complex maneuver” made by the alleged Arab pilot of the Boeing 757, Hani Hanjour. The New York Times quoted his flight instructor as saying, “He could not fly at all,”31 while CBS News reported:
“Radar shows Flight 77 did a downward spiral, turning almost a complete circle and dropping the last 7,000 feet in two-and-a-half minutes. The steep turn was so smooth, the sources say, it’s clear there was no fight for control going on. And the complex maneuver suggests the hijackers had better flying skills than many investigators first believed. The jetliner disappeared from radar at 9:37 and less than a minute later it clipped the tops of street lights and plowed into the Pentagon at 460 mph.”32
September 11, 2001: Were We Deceived?
Is it possible that the US government, or rogue elements within the government, were in some degree responsible for the events of September 11? Were others involved?
Professor David Ray Griffin, in his book The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions about the Bush Administration and 9/11, and former investigative producer for ABC’s World News Tonight James Bamford in his book A Pretext for War, make a convincing case that the Bush administration was looking for a pretext for toppling Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.
Indeed, neoconservatives within the Bush administration were following a script first drafted by them for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and later rewritten for the Bush administration as a report of the Project for the New American Century.33
On the day of the attack on America, the Washington Times quoted a paper by the Army School of Advanced Military Studies, which said that the Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service, “Has capability to target US forces and make it look like a Palestinian/ Arab act.”34 Dozens of Israelis were reported to have been arrested during 2001 both before and after 9/11, but the role played by this “huge Israeli spy ring that may have trailed suspected al-Qaeda members in the United States without informing federal authorities” remains unclear, and “it is no longer tenable to dismiss the possibility of an Israeli angle in this story.”35
Field reports by the Drug Enforcement Administration agents and other US law enforcement officials on the alleged Israeli spy ring have been compiled in a 60-page document. John F. Sugg of the Weekly Planet reported that “DEA agents say that the 60-page document was a draft intended as the base for a 250-page report. The larger report has not been produced because of the volatile nature of suggesting that Israel spies on America’s deepest secrets.”36
James Bamford, formerly Washington investigative producer for ABC’s World News Tonight with Peter Jennings, and who has written investigative cover stories for the New York Times Magazine, the Washington Post Magazine, and the Los Angeles Times Magazine, describes an operation which suggests that even the US armed forces may be suspect. Mr. Bamford’s book, Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency from the Cold War Through the Dawn of a New Century, reveals that the US Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) drew up and approved plans for “launching a secret and bloody war of terrorism against their own country in order to trick the American public into supporting an ill-conceived war they intended to launch against Cuba.” Mr. Bamford writes:
“Codenamed Operation Northwoods, the plan... called for innocent people to be shot on American streets; for boats carrying refugees fleeing Cuba to be sunk on the high seas; for a wave of violent terrorism to be launched in Washington, D.C., Miami, and elsewhere. People would be framed for bombings they did not commit; planes would be hijacked. Using phony evidence, all of it would be blamed on Castro, thus giving Lemnitzer [Chairman JCS] and his cabal the excuse, as well as the public and international backing, they needed to launch their war.”37
September 11, 2001: Windfall for the Military-Industrial Complex
9/11 was a godsend for the US military-industrial complex. It led to an open-ended “war on terrorism,” which helped justify enormous increases in “defense” and “security” spending, and the passage of “anti-terrorism” legislation long desired by some in the Justice Department. A $48 billion increase in the defense budget sailed through both houses of Congress, bringing US military spending to $379 billion. This, according to the Washington Post (January 27, 2002), represents “the biggest one-year rise since the Reagan buildup two decades ago and a suspension of ‘the peace dividend.’” The post-9/11 US military budget now matches the combined military spending of the fifteen countries with the next biggest defense budgets, and the proposed increase alone is about the same as the entire defense budget of the next biggest spender—Japan. It would roughly match, in inflation-adjusted terms, the US defense budget in 1967, at the height of the Vietnam War.
By 2005 the defense budget had reached $419 billion. Congress approved $350 billion to fight terrorism and for combat and reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan—an amount that matches the total cost of the Korean War in today’s dollars.
The events of 9/11 led to the US war on Afghanistan—a war apparently planned prior to 9/11, and possibly after US negotiations with the Taliban for a pipeline broke down. According to the BBC, Niaz Naik, a former Pakistani Foreign Secretary, was told by senior American officials in mid-July that military action against Afghanistan would go ahead by the middle of October.38
The invasion secured the pipeline deal for the US. According to the Irish Times (February 11, 2002), “The Pakistani President, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, and the Afghan interim leader, Mr. Hamid Karzai, agreed yesterday that their two countries should develop ‘mutual brotherly relations and cooperate in all spheres of activity’—including a proposed gas pipeline from Central Asia to Pakistan via Afghanistan.”
It’s curious that these two leaders, who only later vowed to “bury the recent history of poisonous relations” between their nations (Washington Post, April 3, 2002), could agree so quickly to the pipeline. Afghanistan’s interim president Hamid Karzai, as well as Zalmay Khalilzad, the Bush-appointed special envoy to Afghanistan, may have facilitated the agreement.
The American invaders of Afghanistan made little or no attempt to capture Osama bin Laden. Their real objective was to secure Central Asian oil reserves. According to George Monbiot: “Both Hamid Karzai, the interim president, and Zalmay Khalilzad, the US special envoy, were formerly employed as consultants to Unocal, the US oil company which spent much of the 1990s seeking to build a pipeline through Afghanistan.”39 Zalmay Khalilzad drew up Unocal’s risk analysis on its proposed trans-Afghan gas pipeline, according to the Irish Times. The Taliban, after initially negotiating with Unocal, had begun showing a preference for Bridas Corporation of Argentina. Could this possibly be the reason why the Bush administration has let Argentina’s financial crisis spiral out of control?
While relevant questions regarding 9/11 went unanswered, without the benefit of UN resolutions, and despite the fact that the Taliban stated their willingness to give up Osama bin Laden for trial to an international court, the US launched its war on Afghanistan—one of the world’s poorest countries, already devastated by 23 years of war and civil strife following the Russian invasion of 1979.
The war in Afghanistan created a million new refugees (adding to the existing five or six million) and caused the death of 4,000 civilians (about 2800 civilians were killed in the September 11 attack).40
President Bush seems intent on continuing his father’s crusade. Former President Bush is reported to have told US troops in Kuwait that they were “doing the Lord’s work.”41 With his post-9/11 endless war that began as Operation Infinite Justice, President Bush vows to save civilization itself. He expanded his “crusade” to the brutally repressed Moros of the Philippines. Yet five years after the US launched its “war on terrorism,” hard evidence regarding the 9/11 attacks remains scarce. FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, in his April 19, 2002 talk at the prestigious Commonwealth Club of California, said: “In our investigation, we have not uncovered a single piece of paper—either here in the United States, or in the treasure trove of information that has turned up in Afghanistan and elsewhere—that mentioned any aspect of the September 11 plot.”42
The absence of convincing evidence for the “nineteen Arabs” conspiracy theory, and abundance of evidence for the competing “inside job” theory, has grown more obvious with each passing year. George Nelson, Colonel USAF (ret.), wrote on April 23, 2005:
“Every military and civilian passenger-carrying aircraft have many parts that are identified for safety of flight.... these parts are individually controlled by a distinctive serial number and tracked by a records section of the maintenance operation and by another section called plans and scheduling... The government alleges that four wide-body airliners crashed on the morning of September 11, 2001, resulting in the deaths of more than 3,000 human beings, yet not one piece of hard aircraft evidence has been produced in an attempt to positively identify any of the four aircraft. With all the evidence readily available at the Pentagon crash site, any unbiased rational investigator could only conclude that a Boeing 757 did not fly into the Pentagon as alleged. Similarly, with all the evidence available at the Pennsylvania crash site, it was most doubtful that a passenger airliner caused the obvious hole in the ground and certainly not the Boeing 757 as alleged. Regarding the planes that allegedly flew into the WTC towers, it is only just possible that heavy aircraft were involved in each incident, but no evidence has been produced that would add credence to the government’s theoretical version of what actually caused the total destruction of the buildings, let alone proving the identity of the aircraft... As painful and heartbreaking as was the loss of innocent lives and the lingering health problems of thousands more, a most troublesome and nightmarish probability remains that so many Americans appear to be involved in the most heinous conspiracy in our country’s history.”43
Dissent and Dialogue Needed
The voracious US appetite for resources and markets, the desire to control those resources and markets, uncritical US support of Israel, and the need to justify military spending drive US wars. These are bound to create more “terrorists,” who may, with or without help from US leaders and intelligence agencies, succeed in inflicting substantial damage. The terror myth could become a self fulfilling prophecy.
Those who stand to benefit by war have characterized opposition to US domination as a “clash of civilizations.” The “war on terrorism” is a cover for far more destructive state-sponsored terrorism—the US war on Iraq.
Fortunately, due to an increasingly multicultural society, and to the Internet, the world is waking up. Many see the apparent clash between Islam and the West for what it is: a clash between justice and greed. Dialogue, and national and international forums for dissenting views, are urgently needed so that we may not succumb to the official lies, fear mongering, and mythologizing that followed the attacks of September 11, 2001. As Thomas Jefferson, third president of the US, who at age thirty-three drafted the Declaration of Independence, said: “I have sworn upon the altar of god, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”44
1 Muhammad Asad, The Message of the Quran (The Book Foundation, 2004).
2 Jonathan Sacks, “Rabbi Warns of Israel’s ‘Tragic Path’,” BBC News, August 27, 2002 (news.bbc.co.uk/1/low/uk/2218571.stm). Accessed September 8, 2006.
3 For an ongoing dialogue involving this volume’s editors and contributors on the discomfort provoked by our widely differing views on Zionism and the question of Palestine, see: mujca.com/newbook.htm.
4 For a broad and nonjudgmental account of the genocidal and ecocidal European colonization of most of the world’s temperate zones—the most salient feature of the past 1,000 years of history—see Alfred Crosby’s Ecological Imperialism. Crosby argues that Europeans could only successfully colonize lands that were sparsely populated, temperate, and very far away; all European settler-colonial ventures in other areas (with the perhaps temporary exception of the Zionist effort in Palestine) have failed. 5 Smedley Butler, “War is a Racket,” the Wisdom Fund, September 11, 2001 (www.twf.org/News/Y2001/0911-Racket.html).
6 Thomas H. Etzold and John Lewis Gaddis, Containment: Documents on American Policy and Strategy, 1945–1950 (1978), 226-227. From “Memo PPS23 by George Kennan,” Wikisource, the Free Library (en.wikisource.org/ w/index.php?title=Memo_PPS23_by_George_Kennan&oldid=204558).
7 For a recent description of this policy from the viewpoint of a former ground-level operative see John Perkins, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man (San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2004).
8 Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives (New York: Basic Books, 1997), 31.
9 Ibid., 40
10 William Arkin, Los Angeles Times, Jan. 6, 2001. 11 Chalmers Johnson, “America’s Empire of Bases,” published by TomDispatch.com, Jan. 15, 2004 (available at www.commondreams.org/views04/0115-08.htm).
12 Michael Barletta and Eric Jorgensen, “Israel: Weapons of Mass Destruction Capabilities and Programs,” the Center for Nonproliferation Studies, May 1998 (cns.miis.edu/research/wmdme/israel.htm). Accessed September 8, 2006.
13 On Israeli apartheid, see Uri Davis, Israel: An Apartheid State (London: Zed Books, 1987). On Israeli violation of UN Resolutions, see www.un.org/Depts/dpi/palestine/.
14 David R. Francis, “Economist Tallies Swelling Cost of Israel to US,” The Christian Science Monitor, December 9, 2002 (www.csmonitor.com/2002/1209/p16s01-wmgn.html).
15 “Israel Outraged as EU Poll Names It a Threat to Peace.” Guardian, November 2, 2003 (www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,2763,1076084,00.html).
16 The numbers posted as this book is going to press (September 2006) are almost identical, with 86.9% saying the US is the greatest threat to peace. See “The Biggest Threat to Peace,” Time Europe (www.time.com/time/europe/gdml/peace2003.html).
17 “Globalisation ‘Bigger Threat than Terror,’” BBC News, April 9, 2004 (news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/3613217.stm). 18 “Us and Them,” Independent, October 18, 2004. 19 Michael Klare, “In Pursuit of Enemies: The Remaking of US Military Strategy,” ThirdWorld Traveler (online) (www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Book_Excerpts/InPursuit_RSNO.html).
20 See Nafeez Ahmed’s essay in this volume for a discussion of how the Cold War-era state-sponsored “leftist” terrorism of Operation Gladio and its epigones has morphed into the state-sponsored “Islamist” terrorism of al-Qaeda, as part of a “strategy of tension” aimed at facilitating Western and especially American access to geostrategic resources.
21 George Soros, Open Society: Reforming Global Capitalism (New York: Public Affairs Press, 2000), 333.
22 Ambrose Evans Pritchard, “Europol has doubts on bin Laden conspiracy,” Daily Telegraph (London), September 15, 2001.
23 “Partial list of victims,” Associated Press, Sept. 17, 2001 (www.boston.com/news/daily/13/victims_list.htm#aa77).
24 “Hijack ‘Suspects’ Alive and Well,” BBC News, Sept. 23, 2001 (news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/1559151.stm).
25 See www.9-11commission.gov.
26 See David Ray Griffin, The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions (Northampton, MA: Olive Branch Press, 2005).
27 See 911research.wtc7.net/talks/pentagon/video.html.
30 A good place to start looking at the Pentagon photos controversy is: www.scholarsfor911truth.org/Resources.html.
31 Jim Yardley, “A Trainee Noted for Incompetence,” New York Times, May 4, 2002.
32 CBS News, Sept. 20, 2001 (www.cbsnews.com/stories/ 2001/09/11/national/main310721.shtml).
33 The Netanyahu-commissioned A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm, whose authors included neoconservatives and PNAC members Richard Perle and Douglas Feith, called for Israel to institute the principle of pre-emption and overthrow the government of Iraq: “This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq—an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right—as a means of foiling Syria’s regional ambitions.” In this it eerily foreshadowed PNAC’s Rebuilding America’s Defenses as well as Bush’s unprovoked invasion of Iraq. See www.informationclearinghouse.info/article1438.htm; and www.iasps.org/strat1.htm.
34 Rowan Scarborough, “Army Study Suggests U.S. Force of 20,000,” Washington Times, Sept. 11, 2001.
35 “French Reports: US Busts Big Israeli Spy Ring,” Reuters, March 5, 2002 (available at www.commondreams.org/headlines02/0305-05.htm).
36 John F. Sugg, Weekly Planet (Tampa, FL), April 22, 2002.
37 James Bamford, Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency (New York: Anchor Books, 2002).
38 BBC, Sept. 18, 2001.
39 George Monbiot, Guardian, Feb. 12, 2002.
40 Geov Parrish, “Who Counts? New Estimates of Afghanistan’s Civilian Dead,” In These Times, Dec. 26, 2001 (available at www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=12143).
41 Agence France Presse, Jan. 19, 2000.
42 Transcript available at www.commonwealthclub.org/archive/02/02-04mueller-speech.html.
43 George Nelson, Colonel, USAF (ret.), “911 and the Precautionary Principle: Aircraft Parts as a Clue to their Identity” (www.physics911.net/georgenelson.htm).
44 Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Benjamin Rush, Sept. 23, 1800 (available at etext.virginia.edu/jefferson/quotations/).
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Enver Masud is an engineering management consultant who has worked for the US Department of Energy, the World Bank, EBRD, and USAID in Albania, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Indonesia, Latvia, Pakistan, Russia, and Tanzania. He is the founder and CEO of The Wisdom Fund, a think tank and information outlet based near Washington, DC, dedicated to advancing social justice and interfaith understanding by presenting the truth about Islam. He is also the author of 9/11 Unveiled (2008).