On Sept. 11, 2001, the psychological heart of the American republic was attacked without warning. The World Trade Centre and some neighbouring buildings were reduced to rubble, and the Pentagon was turned into a tetragon. (The intended target is now thought to be the White House. Another plane that crashed in Pennsylvania was destined for Air Force One.)
Like all victims, the survivors are trying to understand how it could happen. Why was there no warning? How could four domestic aircraft be hijacked with military precision and turned into flying bombs?
In a rush to make sense out of what appears to be a senseless act of terrorism, commentors and analysts have drawn allusions to the 1941 Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, both because of the heavy losses of life and because it was the last time American soil was bombed by a foreign power. (Hawaii was a territory at the time; it became a state in 1959).
There are two problems with this comparison.
First, there is reason to suspect that President Franklin Roosevelt had foreknowledge of the Japanese attack and allowed it to happen to create a pretext to defeat domestic isolationist sentiment and openly join the Allied war effort. In the New York/Washington D.C. attacks, U.S. Intelligence agencies were caught utterly clueless.
Second, the U.S. was a non-combatant before the Pearl Harbor attack, and had no hostile relations with the Empire of Japan. In the New York/Washington D.C. attacks, and the U.S. is deeply involved in the Middle East, politically and militarily, and it is because of this involvement that the terrorists attacked. Informed speculation has it that the mastermind is Saudi Arabian dissident-in-exile Osama bin Laden, though no concrete proof linking him or his organization to the attack has been turned up.
For a more useful analogy we have to go back to Jan. 31, 1968. We have to revisit to Vietnam. “The enemy offensive during Tet, the Lunar New Year, began on Jan. 31 with an attack on the United States Embassy in Saigon; for a day enemy guerillas held the embassy compound,” wrote New York Times reporter E.W. Kenworthy wrote in The Pentagon Papers. “The attacks spread rapidly to almost all the cities and major towns of South Vietnam….
“The Pentagon study [of the attack]…says that the offensive took the White House and the Joint Chiefs by surprise, ‘and its strength length and intensity prolonged the shock.'”
For North Vietnam, the Tet Offensive was a military failure that cost thousands of lives, but it was a complete psychological victory. Even though U.S. and South Vietnamese forces recaptured all lost ground and repulsed the attack, the North Vietnamese proved that they could get to the most sensitive part of the United States–the embassy.
In March 1968, the U.S. government was forced to concede that the massive carpet bombing of North Vietnam (Operation Rolling Thunder) had done nothing to degrade the north’s ability to stage operations in the south. The U.S. then began to scale back its involvement because it could not see an end to the war. On March 31, two months to the day after Tet started, President Lyndon Johnson announced he would not seek re-election. America, to all intents and purposes, admitted defeat.
The NYC/DC bombings also claimed thousands of lives and exposed America’s vulnerability in places thought to be inviolable. Here, too, America is a major belligerent; it props up Israel; tacitly condones the Zionist entity’s decades-long terror campaign against Palestinian civilians; and is engaged in a sadistic, illegal beggaring of Iraq.
To radical opponents of U.S.-backed oppression of Arab peoples, the U.S. is a legitimate target. They are right. In saying this, I do not excuse the attack or condone it in any way, but the U.S. has a penchant for inviting attack from those whom it wrongs in the name of U.S. self-interest, and then reacts with stupefaction and belligerence when the expected happens.
Sen. John McCain was correct to call the NYC/DC bombings an act of war, rather than an act of terrorism. What he did not say, though, was that the U.S., through its support of Israel, has been in a de facto state of war with the Palestinians for decades, and that an attack of some sort was to be expected.
Of course, the immediate aftermath of a horrendous attack is no time for candour. The minds of everyone are with the dead, missing and bereaved. World governments, including those of Arab nations, rightly condemned the bombings unequivocally. It would make no sense to countenance such a wanton act of domestic murder because it plays into the hands of anti-Arab Zionists more than it champions the cause of Palestinian liberation.
Then again, there is never a good time for candour about the Middle East. The Jewish lobby has the U.S. government by the balls and pro-Israeli interests and strongarm groups virtually dictate the tone of media coverage. Small wonder Former Secretary of State James Baker III called Congress “the Little Knesset.”
Now the U.S. is living through another Tet-like attack, but one immeasurably more serious. It also faces the prospect of another indefinite war against an enemy it cannot see, much less understand.
The U.S. labours under the conceit that it can do no wrong and that whatever it does is by definition moral. The U.S. recognizes no limits to its power, not even international law, which it chooses to ignore at will. Small wonder that it is is incapable of understanding why many nations and people dislike it.
In the absence of understanding, the U.S. nurtures illusions–“The NYC/DC bombings were the acts of madmen.” “They want only to destroy the Western way of life.” If the bombings can be stripped of political context and recast as acts of negative moral absolutes, then understanding is unnecessary.
This is why the Pearl Harbor analogy fails: it allows Americans to take refuge in the illusion of unqualified victimhood, but it’s an illusion the media and government are only too willing to foster. Once accomplished, the public can be mobilized for revenge. All eyes will be on “the enemy,” whoever or wherever they may be. Nobody will have the time, or courage, to ask if the enemy is us.
So long as AIPAC and other Zionist pressure groups are allowed to pervert the American government to serve Israel, more terror attacks on American soil are a virtual certainty. No missile shield can stop a dedicated bomber armed with a razor knife.
What options does the U.S. have? Live in a state of permanent paranoia? Intern Arabs the way the Japanese were interned in the 1940s?
No. American citizens can retain their freedom if they do one thing –get rid of the cause of antagonism between the Arab world and the U.S. It must disengage completely from Israel — no more aid, no more arms, no more vetoes in the Security Council.
It’s time the American people knew that tens of billions of their tax dollars annually go toward the brutalization of Arabs, the theft of Arab land, the destruction of Arab homes, and the arming of “settler” thugs who terrorize Arabs the way Ku Klux Klansmen terrorized the Blacks.
Israel is a parasite that gives nothing and takes everything. Those who still believe in the fiction of a “Jewish homeland, should see my previous essay, Israel: A Monument to anti-Semitism, in which I prove, using almost exclusively Jewish sources, that Zionism is racist and based on Nazi-like racial superiority.
No state should give in to terror attacks, but that doesn’t mean it can’t learn from one. Think of the NYC/DC bombings as a lightning strikes and Israel as a lightening rod.
You figure it out.