September 12, 2006
HOW WE EVALUATE THE DEAD AFTER 9/11/01
After watching the fifth memorial service for those killed on September 11, 2001 and the televised
diffusion of the service around the world one might come to the conclusion the lives of these 3,000
victims must be more precious than the lives of millions killed by far more horrendous massacres. Few
of these other mass killings are ever commemorated with such emotion, with the exception of the
One could argue the U.S. now has its own â€˜mini-holocaustâ€™ to justify its own
bellicose adventures in pursuit of its own hegemonic designs.
Still there are those who consider the annual mourning on Ground Zero as evidence an
American life must be more valuable then the lives of other members of the human species, for
example the 30,000 dead - nearly all of them also innocents - in the Iraq and Afghanistan â€˜Wars of
Retaliationâ€™. No day of mourning has been set aside for them.
And of course there are those who consider the September 11 memorials a vital
contributor to pro-war propaganda.
What better rally cry to maintain permanent war against the terror that caused this
tragedy then by annually reliving and regurgitating the horrors of the attack on the Twin Towers? Who
would not feel outrage? Who would not agree the terrorist monster must be stopped from doing it
Today the September 11 memorial services are not just held at Ground Zero by
Americans convinced they must mourn their dead but also by those allies of the United States that
have sent their own troops to reinforce Washingtonâ€™s punitive â€˜peaceâ€™ missions in
Afghanistan and Iraq. These countries hold their own ceremonies on September 11, officially to mourn
with their ally, more practically to prop-up their own pro-war policy which is gradually being eroded by
public opposition, especially in Europe. The message is clear: See what could also happen to us if we
donâ€™t eradicate the terror?
The ceremonies were larger and more publicized this year in Europe then in previous
years, perhaps a counter offensive, since more and more Europeans now view the U.S.-led wars as
futile, even counter-productive. Worse, the European public has become aware the military expense
of sustaining these missions has cut deep into their social services and inflated their cost of living.
People anywhere in the world may be willing to put up with bizarre foreign adventures but not for long
if their wallets are aching.
Criticism of the wars is growing as more evidence surfaces the attack on the Twin Towers
was not an attack against America but against American occupation abroad through its military bases.
Worse, statistics are proving the expensive wars on terror have produced more terror and the killing
of so-called â€˜terroristsâ€™ have produced more â€˜terrorists.â€™ The final indignation is this:
These wars, from a military point of view, are already lost.
In Afghanistan the Taliban, the hosts of Usama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda network,
have already retaken by force most of the South leaving the North to the warlords and the newly
elected â€˜democraticâ€™ chieftains who have always run that part of the country. In fact within a
short time Afghanistan may return to the status quo before the U.S. attacked the country in 2003.
In Iraq the allied troops are in defensive positions while a civil and religious conflict rages
outside their bunkers. Even Israel, despite massive and disproportionate use of force, has lost the war
in Lebanon, a psychological defeat that has given militant Arabs and defiant Iranians an injection of
All evidence these days points to the sad fact what we call terror is mainly resistance to
the U.S. presence in the Middle East while terrorâ€™s most effective weapon, the suicide terrorist,
was created either by indignation over this â€˜occupationâ€™ or by the anti-terrorist wars which
caused numerous civilian victims, the destruction of homes and the demolition of national
Robert A. Pape, Chicago University professor of political science and author of the much
disseminated paper â€œSuicide, Terrorism and Democracy: What weâ€™ve learned since 9-11â€™
argues in an opinion piece in the Chicago Tribune: â€œWe must understand that suicide terrorism
results more from foreign occupation than Islamic fundamentalismâ€¦.. â€œ
And he adds: â€œMost Americans would like to believe that Western counter-terrorism
efforts have weakened Al Qaeda, but by the measure that counts â€“ the ability of the group to kill us
â€“ it is stronger today than it was before September 11.â€�
This is a chilling assessment from one of the great experts on suicide terror and proves
once again: The war against terror is running on the wrong track.