A prevalent claim expressed by George Bush, CBS anchorman Dan Rather, and many other supporters of the U.S. system, is that the September 11 aircraft attacks were inspired out of jealousy or envy for what the U.S. and its allies have (i.e. prosperity and relative security), and that those behind the aircraft attacks, and implicitly the independent Muslim world, want to take them away.
I think right away in understanding this claim is that it does not make sense that simply jealousy or envy of the U.S. and west’s prosperity and security would inspire individuals to make a lethal attack on the U.S. on the scale of the September 11 aircraft attacks. The cause and effect simply do not follow. What this point reveals is a denial on the part of George Bush and others of the real causes for the aircraft attacks, namely the hatred that has steadily grown over the U.S. support for Israel, the gross human losses from U.S. sanctions on the Iraqi people and its bombing of them, the U.S. military, economic, and political presence in the Muslim world, and the U.S.’s overall bias and even racism towards Muslims as illustrated by the U.S. government and its press’s readiness to blame Muslims for any attacks on the U.S. (e.g. Oklahoma bombing and W.T.C./Pentagon aircraft attacks), and even value the loss of Israeli life over the loss of Palestinian life. (e.g. Israeli politician Rehavam Zeevi over the leader of the Palestine Popular Front, Abu Ali Mustafa)
But if we examine further, the claim that the ‘aircraft attackers and the independent Muslim world want to take what the U.S. and west have’, may simply be propaganda to scare and thereby unite the Western populous behind the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, by manufacturing a threat which directly effects every Western citizen. If that is the case, then the U.S. government is using the aircraft attacks to its perceived advantage to further its foreign aggression and exploitation.
Yet, if Bush and the others really believe that the independent Muslim world wants to take away what the West has, then they are in denial about the suffering the U.S. system has inflicted on Muslim people, and ignorant of the fundamental Islamic way of life.
In either scenario, propaganda or belief, by Bush and others making the claim that the aircraft attackers and implicitly the independent Muslim world want to take away what the west has, creates from a western perspective and as George Bush implicitly expressed the just conflict or crusade by the west against the independent Muslim world. Though from the other side, as Osama bin Laden has made perfectly clear, all the independent Muslim world wants is the same peace and security that the Americans and the west have, and that as long as the independent Muslim world does not have it due to U.S. foreign policy, the U.S. people will not have it either. So in some sense there is a threat to take away what the U.S. people have, but not out of jealousy or envy, but out of a genuine and necessary need to stand up to the U.S. and its allies and assert in both words and actions that the U.S. will not continue take away our Muslim peace and security, without us Muslims in return taking away its own. It is here we see a crystal of the U.S. as the aggressor against the independent Muslim world, and why Osama bin Laden, as the spokesperson for the independent Muslim world, is correctly viewed by many Muslims and even Asians and Westerns like myself, as a hero for having the courage and intelligence to effectively act out resistance to U.S. aggression.
(Note, to understand why Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda’s September 11 aircraft attacks are justified, assuming they are behind it, we need to look at it on an individual level–imagine a man named Ali at home, and an armed assailant enters his home, and Ali is cornered in his kitchen with the only option of defending himself to physically harm the assailant or face his own death. In this life-threatening situation, I think Ali is entitled to self-defense even if he kills the armed assailant, otherwise what would his life be worth?! Now, in consideration of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda, I believe the independent Muslim world is similarly cornered as Ali is, except by the U.S. and its allies who are intent on destroying the independent Muslim world by depriving it of its independence. Therefore, I think the independent Muslim world, through Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda, is entitled to self-defense even if it physically harms or even destroys the U.S. and its allies.
To respond that the independent Muslim world is not entitled to self-defense because Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda are terrorists ignores that they are fighting for a cause (i.e. the survival of the independent Muslim world from U.S. aggression), and that if Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda are viewed as terrorists then the U.S. government must be viewed as a terrorist as well. More important, Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda have not directly gone after U.S. civilians, but have targeted symbols of the American system, World Trade Center and Pentagon, just as the U.S. have supposedly attempted to avoid Afghan civilian casualties.
Civilian casualties appear to be an unavoidable, unfortunate consequence of self-defense and war, when pertaining to high level conflict between nations and even civilizations.
Could the civilian casualties from the aircraft attacks been avoided, and the independent Muslim world still be able to defend itself? Could the U.S. avoid Afghan civilian casualties, and still be effective against the Taliban and al-Qaeda? We are in the quagmire of waré.)
The irony in this conflict is that in fact it is the U.S. and its allies who want to take away the independence of the independent Muslim world. The tragedy is that many people in the U.S., Afghanistan, and other places of the world, have died and will continue to die because of it. The solution in my view lies in one way or another, with the U.S. as the primary aggressor and oppressor in its defeat.
Mr. Stephen Garvey is a philosopher and writer, and publisher for Inexpressible Publications who resides in Canada.