Mistrust of the government ought to be people’s reasonable, default position.
With such lies as Saddam Hussein manufacturing weapons of mass destruction or that Vladimir Putin put a bounty on our soldier’s heads, it is no wonder that citizens began to think that 9/11 was not what it seemed.
Certainly, the al-Qaeda extremists did not simply attack us because they hated that we were able to petition our government or girls could wear jeans. They didn’t attack us for our freedoms, but the events were not fake. They certainly happened.
Loose Change was not very accurate, and it is very damaging to the antiwar movement to placate kooks who make such ludacris claims. People died, there were planes (in fact, the Ron Paul Institute’s Executive Director was a witness to the Pentagon crash), and acting as if it wasn’t al-Qaeda throws away an important lesson to U.S. foreign policy.
During the 1970s and 80s under the Carter and Reagan administrations, the CIA began arming the Afghan Mujahideen, a militant Islamic guerilla group, in an attempt to drag the Soviet Union into an insurgency war in Afghanistan. The goal was to bog the Soviets into a draining war that would exhaust their empire. Amongst the groups native to Afghanistan were the Arab Afghans, which included groups connected to Osama Bin Laden. The United States would end up training, as well as arming the groups that would become the Taliban, and al-Qaeda (which were distinctive, separate groups).
Following this, George Bush Sr. would engage in the Gulf War, which would see a power vacuum emerge at the border of Iran and Iraq. The United States, fearing Iranian control of Iraq, allowed Saddam to crush Shiite rebels which would give the U.S. pretext to maintain bases in Saudi Arabia, by claiming they must defend dissident Shiite Muslims. Sanctions implemented after the 1991 war would lead to the deaths of 300,000 Iraqi children, a decision that Secretary of State Madeline Albright would deem “worth it.”
Osama Bin Laden, in his1996 Declaration of War against the United States stated his motives behind his hatred:
First, for over seven years the United States has been occupying the lands of Islam in the holiest of places, the Arabian Peninsula, plundering its riches, dictating to its rulers, humiliating its people, terrorizing its neighbors, and turning its bases in the Peninsula into a spearhead through which to fight the neighboring Muslim peoples
If some people have in the past argued about the fact of the occupation, all the people of the Peninsula have now acknowledged it. The best proof of this is the Americans’ continuing aggression against the Iraqi people using the Peninsula as a staging post, even though all its rulers are against their territories being used to that end, but they are helpless.
Second, despite the great devastation inflicted on the Iraqi people by the crusader-Zionist alliance, and despite the huge number of those killed, which has exceeded 1 million… despite all this, the Americans are once against trying to repeat the horrific massacres, as though they are not content with the protracted blockade imposed after the ferocious war or the fragmentation and devastation.
So here they come to annihilate what is left of this people and to humiliate their Muslim neighbors.
Third, if the Americans’ aims behind these wars are religious and economic, the aim is also to serve the Jews’ petty state and divert attention from its occupation of Jerusalem and murder of Muslims there. The best proof of this is their eagerness to destroy Iraq, the strongest neighboring Arab state, and their endeavor to fragment all the states of the region such as Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Sudan into paper statelets and through their disunion and weakness to guarantee Israel’s survival and the continuation of the brutal crusade occupation of the Peninsula.
Bin Laden hated the foreign policy of the United States; its war in Iraq, bases in Saudi Arabia, Israel’s subjugation of the Palestinians, and U.S. support for dictators in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan. From this starting point, he formed al-Qaeda and carried out several attacks against the United States including the World Trade Center Bombing, the 1998 embassy bombings in East Africa, and the USS Cole bombing. Ultimately, Bin Laden decided the only way to enact revenge against the United States was the September 11th attacks. In a 1996 interview with ABC, Bin Laden would state:
“We fought against the Russians and the Soviet Union until-not to say we defeated them, but God defeated them-they became non-existent. There is a lesson to learn from this for he who wishes to learn it,” and, “Our battle with the Americans is larger than our battle with the Russians. The Americans made a very stupid mistake that no one has made before.”
Bin Laden wanted to bog the United States down into a Soviet-Afghan style guerilla war. His son would tell reporters that, “As soon as America went to Afghanistan, his plan worked. He [Osama Bin Laden] has already won.” Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia were all simply desserts to Bin Laden, who intended to bankrupt and break the world empire.
So what does it really mean to reject this story? What does it mean to say, “Our government demolished those buildings,” or “It was a missile strike,” or even, “It was all a hologram”? To reject the idea of there being angry terrorists in planes is to reject the very history and crimes of our politicians. It is to say that the crimes of U.S. foreign policy have no real consequences, that there will never be blowback for the government and their actions overseas.
One can argue over the minutiae, such as what intelligence agencies may or may not have known. But just believing the opposite of the government will lead you down rabbit holes that ultimately miss the point and damage the real antiwar movement. Anyone who wants accountability for the actions that the military has taken to provoke radicals could be deemed as such a kook. Without planes, without terrorists, without the dark history of our foreign policy in the Middle East, there is no accounatbility for these crimes. Without planes, Ron Paul’s Giuliani moment is meaningless, no longer a bold stand against a manipulative government.
It’s time to stop listening to kooks just because we distrust the government—we need to be grounded in reality and make sure there is real accountability for how politicians are actually responsible for 9/11.