Saturday, September 09, 2006

The so-called war on terror - the real hijackers of 9/11

My first thought when I think about 9/11 is how appalled I was at how quickly the American people and their duly elected representative "leaders" signed up for and jumped on the bandwagon for the agenda of the Neoconservatives and the rest of the Pro-Israel Lobby. I fully expected an all-out effort against the perpetraters of the 9/11 attacks and that the U.S. would proceed to focus intense resources on tracking down each and every member of al Qaeda and its supporters, especially Osama bin Laden. But, that is not what happened. Bin Laden is still at large, and we are in Iraq.

Instead, the Neoconservatives and the rest of the Pro-Israel Lobby hijacked American foreign policy and used it to pursue their grand "vision" of democratizing any country which posed a perceived security threat to the security of Israel.

If the so-called "War on Terror" or "Global War on Terror" or "War on Global Terror" or "War on Terrorism with a Global Reach" were really about rooting out the cause of the 9/11 attacks, our prime focus would be going after bin Laden, and we are led to beleive that he is hiding out in Pakistan, not Iraq.

When one looks at the overall picture of the administration's conduct of the so-called "War on Terror", the first phrase that immediately comes to mind is "What's wrong with this picture?" If the 9/11 attacks were truly the triggering event, why are we in Iraq and making noises about going after Iran?

Going after Iraq was very high on the agenda of the Neoconservatives and the Pro-Israel Lobby long before 9/11. The neocons would have gone after Iraq eventually, but 9/11 gave them the rally-around-the-flag excuse that they needed.

I was spending a lot of time in Washington, D.C. from 1998 through 2003, and I had observed first-hand the intense lobbying for going after Iraq. The standard line was "We need to finish what [former] President Bush failed to complete in the [first] Gulf War." People would talk about how big a mistake it had been that we hadn't "gone to Baghdad" when we had a chance. The clock was ticking. It was only a matter of time.

Iraq was clearly in the gunsights of the Neoconservatives and the rest of the Pro-Israel Lobby on September 10, 2001. The events of the following day were a perverse combination of an unwelcome distraction from "the main show" and a convenient excuse to accelerate their primary agenda which had nothing to do with a Qaeda.

Hey, they even had me half-convinced. I recall talking to a Dutch reporter near The Mall in front of the Capital (actually, The Mall is technically behind the Capital and the Capital faces away from The Mall) at around 11:00 a.m. on 9/11 and saying that I assumed that Iraq was behind the attacks. At the time, I was surprised at how quickly al Qaeda was fingered as the main culprit. I had heard no "official" news at that time and certainly was unaware that a month earlier the administration had a briefing paper (PDB or Presidential Daily Briefing) with the title "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States" and that the adminstration had in fact ramped up couter-terrorism efforts. By the next day or week, everybody was talking about bin Laden, and only the Neoconservatives and the rest of the Pro-Israel Lobby were mumbling about continuing to plan for going after Iraq.

I think the term "Axis of Evil" is perfectly reasonable to describe al Qaeda and its supporters, but I was surprised and initially baffled when President Bush spoke of the axis as being comprised of Iraq, Iran, and North Korea. On further reflection it was obvious that the Neoconservatives and the rest of the Pro-Israel Lobby were very anxious to get their bandwagon rolling before it could get sidetracked in a more focused "War on al Qaeda."

And when the administration tossed Hamas and Hezbollah under the same umbrella with al Qaeda in the so-called "War on Terror", it was abundantly clear that the agenda was the security of Israel and not the forms of terrorism that resulted in the domestic attacks of 9/11 in New York and Washington.

To end on a positive note, our policy in response to 9/11 should have had (and still should have) precisely two elements:

  1. Quitely and stealthily going after the leadership and support organization of al Qaeda, including surgical strikes and covert operations. A noisy campaign seems only to inflame and otherwise rouse the passion of terrorists and their supporters. Better to listen quietly in the shadows and encourage them to be less stealthy and suspicious in their own operations so that we can more easily catch them. Some of these qualities were in play for the recent raids in Britain, but unfortunately too big a deal was made in the press and media. My view is that we should have a strict ban on press coverage of counter-terrorism efforts whenever there is a perceived threat level such as where we are now. We are not trying to train terrosits to avoid the mistakes of their past. If anything, we would like terrorists and would-be terrorists to continue to repeat the same mistakes over and over again. Publicizing their mistakes in The New York Times is an incrediblly stupid thing to do. We are unwittingly handing them a how-to guide on a silver platter. But the Neoconservatives and the rest of the Pro-Israel Lobby do not care since they would like al Qaeda to be in the limelight as long as a "cover" as long as radical democratization and pursuing the security of Israel is the real agenda.
  2. Making a determined diplomatic, cultural, educational, service-oriented approach to understanding and addressing what is driving so many people to participate, encourage, assist, and otherwise support the flow of people into the arms of al Qaeda and al Qaeda-like organizations.

The Neoconservatives and the rest of the Pro-Israel Lobby would have us believe that Iran is behind it all, but their reference to Iran as "The Terror Masters" just doesn't stand up to scrutiny. Iran may indeed be capitalizing on the work of terrorist groups, but they are hardly the root cause of the terrorist movement.

I personally do not subscribe to any of the conspiracy theories regarding the events of 9/11, but the agenda for the so-called "war on terror" and its almost non-existent connection to 9/11 is another story entirely.

The biggest threat to peace in this world is not terrorism (al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, et al), but the distinct lack of moral leadership by the United States of America. And, I think the Democrats are as much to blame as the nominally evil-er Neoconservatives and the rest of the Pro-Israel Lobby.

-- Jack Krupansky


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