9/11: Ten Theses on Ten Lost Years

EDITORIAL, 12 Sep 2011

#181 | Johan Galtung

Thesis 1The atrocious violence against the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington DC did not communicate. 9/11 itself set the tone for the decade: violence as a tool of politics backfires.  Some Arabs-Muslims had grievances (thesis 5).  A nonviolent demonstration of Muslim women dressed in black encircling relevant US embassies (there may be many) demanding dialogue, calling the themes, contacting the media, would have communicated infinitely better. What happened was a united resolve not against the US government for its errors but against the attackers. Of course, the US kept the attackers’ letter secret.

Thesis 2Explanations in terms of “evil” and “terrorism” block understanding, making the “war on terror” counterproductive.  The immediate US analysis was in terms of Good (us) vs. Evil (them); using the word “terrorism”–evil actors with terror as project, with whom dialogue is impossible.  “9/11 has nothing to do with anything we have done” was a basic theme, with the exception of a faint “blowback” theme recorded some places.  This non-analysis is highly unintelligent as we cannot understand an event of that magnitude in capability without understanding the intent–elementary security analysis. With that lack of intelligence in the US reaction theses 9 and 10 follow.  And the war on terror produces more terrorists than it incapacitates.

Thesis 3:  The invasion of Afghanistan 7 October 2001 used 9/11 as pretext, was based on lies, and is counterproductive.  No proof has ever been offered that 9/11 was prepared from Afghanistan (as opposed to violence in Chechnya and Kashmir), nor that bin Laden was organizer (as opposed to a gifted commentator).  The true goals seem to be bases (established immediately) and a pipeline from Turkmenistan to the Indian Ocean via Afghanistan-Pakistan (established in May 2003).  The war is against Muslims who will never capitulate to infidels, is against an umma (community of the believers) of 1,560 million Muslims in 57 countries committed to defending Islam with the sword when trampled upon, and against a triple motivation: to protect Islam against secularism, to protect local autonomies from Kabul and from domestic and global forces using Kabul to enforce a unitary state, and against being invaded.  The war produces more resistance than it eliminates, and US-NATO produces its own insecurity due to high likelihood of revenge.

Thesis 4The invasion of Iraq on 19/Mar/2003 used 9/11 as a pretext; it was based on lies, and is counterproductive.  No proof has ever been offered that Saddam Hussein cooperated with Al Qaeda, nor that he was in possession of weapons of mass destruction.  The true goals seem to be oil (not only pipelines) and bases.  Iraq is an artificial country constructed by the UK to have Kirkuk-Mosul and Basra oil within one colony, split between Kurds and Arabs, with Arabs split between sunnis and shias. The Kurds have strong attachments to Kurds in Turkey-Iran-Syria, and the shia Arabs to shia Arabs in Iran. Any imposition of a unitary state is doomed to fail; so also any rule from Baghdad.  The war produces more resistance than it eliminates, and US-NATO produces own insecurity through revenge.

Thesis 5:  The conflict underlying the atrocious 9/11 violence is between the USA and Saudi-Arabia, over the oil accords of March 1945 and the use of Saudi Arabia as staging area for wars on Iraq in the 1990s.  In the Holy Land of Islam, where the Prophet ran a city-state from 622-632, wahhabism is the national religion with such ideas as “the good life is the life at the time of the Prophet” and “there will be no two religions in Arabia”.  Hypothesis: “9/11 was the execution of two buildings for having sinned against Alla’h”; compatible with the official version that 15 of the 19 young hijackers were Saudis, that there has been no follow-up of that kind, as punishment is executed once only, and with the choice of buildings.  Was the fourth plane heading for the CIA in Langley, VA?

Thesis 6:  The conspiracy thesis of 9/11 being an inside job by USA(-Israel) to mobilize against the Muslim world is untenable.  There are many unanswered questions, and the Commission report, focusing on US acts of omission, not commission, adds even more.  But the general experience with the almost 250 US interventions since 1805 (in Tripoli) is that the USA invents pretexts and pliant media cooperate; with no need for killing 3,000 and destroying much of value.

Thesis 7There has been no serious effort to solve the underlying conflict through mediation and reconciliation; like for 7 July 2005 in London, but not for 11 March 2004 in Madrid–both of them atrocious, totally unacceptable acts. PM Zapatero withdrew Spanish troops from Iraq, travelled to Rabat for a dialogue with King Mohammed VI, legitimized close to half a million illegal Moroccan immigrants (provided they had found jobs), and initiated with PM Erdögan of Turkey under UN auspices an Alliance of civilizations.  An example to follow.

Thesis 8:  The media reported war-violence with no analysis, no proposals.  An analysis of the excerpts in World Press Review for fall 2001 shows detailed description, solidarity with the USA as victim, but no explanation except “poverty”, and no proposals.  No peace journalism.

Thesis 9:  The US Republic has come far in destroying itself through its reaction to 9/11.  The Patriot Act I and II, surveillance of the US population and others, torture and extraordinary renditions, all destroy the spirit of democracy from the inside, on top of the destruction of the economy, also through the three extremely expensive wars in 2-4.

Thesis 10: The US Empire destroyed also itself in the way it reacted to 9/11.  The coalitions of the willing followed suit, but many became unwilling.  The rest was watching, keeping distance.  The economic contradictions accumulated, as did military non-victories, increasing non-attention, and increasing lack of faith in the USA as “exceptional”. The magic was gone.  But not only that.  Countries like Turkey-Iran-Russia-China start working, something is already on the horizon: not victory, dictating the end result, nor defeat; they will withdraw before that.  Something worse: US-NATO irrelevance.

This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 12 Sep 2011.

Anticopyright: Editorials and articles originated on TMS may be freely reprinted, disseminated, translated and used as background material, provided an acknowledgement and link to the source, TMS: 9/11: Ten Theses on Ten Lost Years, is included. Thank you.

If you enjoyed this article, please donate to TMS to join the growing list of TMS Supporters.

Share this article:

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a CC BY-NC 4.0 License.

4 Responses to “9/11: Ten Theses on Ten Lost Years”

  1. I agree with Mr. galtung.

  2. Susanne Urban says:

    Ten Lost Years? Not if you see it from the point of view of militarism and weapon-pushers. After 10 years of “war on terror” weapon production an arm-trade seems to grow limitless. The cycle is perfect: selling weapons to both sides in growing conflicts, escalation, bombing of infrastructure by USA-Nato, and then: rebuilding by western firms and new weapon deals. It’s exactly like in kindergarden: build up to destroy, to build up again.

    BUT: which strategy can challenge this mechanisms?
    How to address the heart of peace rather than challenging the mind of violence?

  3. Diplomacy is the only sustainable way forward, and strengthening within our own countries (not that of others) in its legal practices the view that all are equal before the law. The UK, and within the UK, England, still has a long way to go on this issue. Within England sexism still makes many men and women deaf to what women say. Within England the MHAct enable paternalism and undermines medicine and psychiatry (a branch of medicine not of societal control) and ruins many lives, certainly those of women. I know less of the damage done to mens’ lives by the MHAct. Perhaps they commit suicide more effectively. It is the act itself not attitudes that kills people. Our own legislation destroying our own citizens. Our internal economic balancing needs a lot of review also. In addition our international trade monitoring and inspection could be strenghthened to save a lot of lives that would not then need to be spent on the battle field, but in doing so we need to remember that paperwork errors do not necessarily mean incompetence or crookedness. And our combative legal and parliamentary system alienates many citizens. I am not argueing against oppositional debate or legal practise, but for more time out to clarify understanding and the meaning of words and their context. People without realising might be talking about the same thing, but without the mediation there is direct and indierect pain which could be avoided. And saying that one doesnot know something does not make someone stupid. It simply means individuals are not omniscient.