Today marks the ninth anniversary of the infamous day notoriously referred to now simply as 9/11. This year's occurrence has been marked by the interesting coincident phenomena of the end of Ramadan and the Eid Holiday of Muslims occurring the day before. This, alongside the simultaneous controversy and commentary associated with the construction of a mosque at Ground Zero and a small town pastor wanting to burn the Quran, highlights the increasing animosities of the War on Terror. The press, in typical fashion, will focus on the patriotism this day and help to memorialize and commemorate in its typical simplistic fashion as social networking sites, youtubers, and other digital mediums so too will help to ritualize what once was just another day in September. Many will participate without even noticing that the majority of media coverage fails to acknowledge an all too important voice in the discussion; the voice of the "terrorists" themselves.
While mainstream media across the world mourns the deaths of the more than 3,000 people that died that day, little will be said about the hundreds of thousands, in actuality millions, that have died as a result of the United States' and its allies retaliatory aggression since. They will also comment little with regard to the reality of the very different world we live in today as a result of that event and its follow-up. But as individuals take time to reflect on the anniversary of 9/11, an anniversary that has come to mark the contemporary era, they base their reflections on their particular circumstance, experience, and worldview. As this year's anniversary rolls around, it is more important to emphasize the necessity that we look outside information and interpretations we are used to and rather to opposing views whenever we want ot fully grasp a particular phenomenon. It is only when we turn to try to understand opposing viewpoints that the same divisions and conflicts that have been perpetual both before and since 9/11 may finally be mediated.
One of the first things a supporter of the Global War on Terror led by the United States would recognize if he or she took the time to analyze the opposite spectrum in the clash of civilizations would be that the objectives of the "terrorists" have largely been recognized.
The eve of the 9-11 attacks witnessed the United States of America as a unipolar force in the world. The fall of the USSR in the early 1990's birthed an entire decade dominated by U.S. decision making. The idea of a neo-liberal new world order espoused by George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, conservative and democrat alike throughout the 1990's marked what many considered to be the beginning of the end to conflict in ideology and consolidation of the entire globe to the model of free markets and democracy. The world was covered in nation states, the major rival communist power had declined, and the phenomenon of globalization was ready to merge the world into the same dominant creed. The problem was that this new world order, its professed free markets and democracy, in actuality promoted nothing of the sort. Instead its model promoted the success of big business, multinational corporations, and global finance, while propping up dictators and despots from Mexico to Indonesia. Many of the authoritarian regimes supported by this model were over Muslim nations and what most don't realize is that 9-11 was as much a reaction, not to the espoused ideals of this international order, but to the actual effects the implementation of this order had in the real world.
Nine years after 9-11, the international arena is dominated by discussions about the War on Terror, as states have utilized the terror scare in much the same way the Iron Curtain rhetoric was utilized after World War II to pave the way for the Cold War. People across the globe today have less freedom and liberty as a result, and democracies are malfunctioning from East to West, including some of the most developed nations. For example, riots in Greece and similar conditions in many developed countries seem to foreshadow a reality of the civil unrest the United States could face itself someday. Already discussions about austerity are occurring in America alongside a nation divided politically. This as corporate and financial consolidation occurs across the globe and we speak not of democracy for all but of a new, authoritarian state capitalism competing with the neo-liberal model once considered the end of history. Domestic conflict and internal strife is one of the necessary existent variables the "terrorists" need for victory.
America is still embroiled in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. In Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and other countries like them, proxy wars fought today with mechanical drones and foreign armies, prepare citizens of today for perpetual, longterm war tomorrow. As billions are spent each month in the process and no one talks of cutting back military expenditure, as the fields, scope and expense of the war exasperate, it seems America and her allies may be stuck in a unsustainable quagmire that leads ultimately to failure.
The George W. Bush III era marked a complete alteration of global perceptions with regard to America and its effect on the world. Barack Obama has so far done very little to curb those perceptions, and bank bailouts and corporate subsidies alongside the foreign wars serve as proof to people everywhere that governments have become but tools of an elite corporatist military security complex that cares little about the everyday man on the street. Thus, the idea of an End of History has been put in the dustbin and people subsist on what has become normalcy in their lives simply because there is no alternative and certainly not because they are content with the circumstances of the present.
Despite the recent rhetoric of withdrawal from Iraq, progress in Afghanistan, economic recovery and other lies, it is becoming increasingly difficult to perpetuate American dominance alongside the fabrication that the United States is the vanguard of freedom and democracy in the world. Commemorations and celebratory speeches marking 9/11 may boost the morale of small segments of the people, but the speeches that most need heard and listened to are those that are blotted out from the mainstream. They are not the words of domestic dissidents benefiting as well from the comforts of empire. Nine years after the Global War on Terror's initiation it is time for people to finally listen to the words of the "terrorists" themselves.
CBS said it was committed to "responsible journalism that informs the public without jeopardizing American lives". This allowed the elite to promote the lie that America was attacked by religious extremists who hated her freedoms and democracy while nothing could be further from the truth. Instead, they would show clips of the press releases and statements that came in as a justification in the aftermath of 9/11, 2001. CNN, for example, continuously showed footage of Osama bin Laden saying: “If inciting people to do that is terrorism and if killing those who kill our sons is terrorism, then let history be witness that we are terrorists.” However, a review of bin Laden quotes from 9/11/2001 unto today shows that most of the stated causes of the attack on September 11, 2001 had nothing to do with western liberties and that the intended consequences of the attack have largely been realized. Today the causes cited by the "terrorists" preside due to the continuous press blackout, and the approach taken in the War on Terror continues to provide the fodder for which entire generations may find themselves in war.
Shortly after 9/11, bin Laden was interviewed by Tayseer Alouni of Al-Jazeerah (later put in Guantanomo for the coverage). In the interview he stated emphatically,
The wars will only be ended and security will only be returned once people take the time to address the grievances of the perpetrators of 9-11, to at least analyze the influence the United States continues to exert in the Muslim world. As long as people shun their message as propagandistic, rejecting it altogether because of the means they choose to utilize in reaction to their perceived oppression, so long as people neglect to recognize that most of the acronyms and adjectives used by Western leaders to describe the "terrorists" are as applicable to itself, then the clash of civilizations will forever go forth and all of humanity loses.
As the anniversary of 9-11 is commemorated this year, a pastor who wanted to burn the Quran is insulted and proclaimed insane by a mainstream press that worries about its contribution to the animosities of Muslims across the world. What no one is ready to recognize is that this man is a product of his environment, of a world that prevents any discourse creeping into the mainstream that fails to coincide with the view of an elite. The Quran burning pastor has little interaction with the complexities of a world that is not black and white and has no awareness of the variables that produced 9-11. In that sense he is little different than the majority and represents a very typical stance. Decrying the "terrorists" without any reflection, investigation and rational analysis of the claims of the attackers is typical of a dominant majority so too brainwashed by media propaganda. It is as true whether you prefer Fox News, CNN, or MSNBC. In so far as this ignorance continues, the only loser in War on Terror can be freedom, liberty, and human rights themselves. Perhaps that is what the "real terrorists" desire. Here is to the opening of minds to other views.