Normally, I would not comment on these events, but it is apparent that there may be a need to say a few things regarding the events of that fateful day. One particular concern has been how a particular brand of nurtured fear within this government and country overcame the ability to reason. A question arising from this concern is the time-frame it will take to recover the ability to once again act as though we are a people mindful of our place in the world; indeed, mindful of who we are and the principles upon which this country was founded.
Eventually, it will become apparent that the ignorance of rage that characterizes our “War on Terror”, will betray this government, this nation and its people. We have thrown our natural rage into the game of war with those we consider “terrorists” and an immediate threat to our future however, in that rage we have overlooked several very important and perhaps critical issues that will affect our futures in ways that we are yet unaware.
In all the rhetoric, the hatred that we believe our enemies deserve and the reaction to their attacks we have, it seems, willingly played into their plans while pursuing our quest for revenge and “defense”. It is commonly stated that the devil is in the details, in this case that is absolutely correct. We have been confronted with an enemy that is not bound by convention, by international boundaries, by nationalities nor even by the values that we have long considered familiar in terms of Western or traditional warfare. There is a very important and critical disparity between the style and effectiveness of our enemies and those of our military efforts based upon our policies. This contrast is most distinct when viewing the degree of effort and expense used to affect each side of the conflict. There is also a very distinguishing difference between the ideals and motivations between the two forces; those differences are rarely taken into consideration and yet because of the nature of this conflict it plays an extremely important role in the overall effectiveness of each side in the conflict itself.
The main contrast, that is seldom mentioned or considered when judging the effectiveness of each side's role in this conflict, is the disparity of expenditures needed by each side to effect substantial damage on the other. In the case of the “terrorists”, the level of expenditure is miniscule compared to that of the United States. As is common with all national powers around the world, our response is natural to the characteristics of such power. In our eyes, the proper response is to throw everything you can at the enemy and it will, at least in our minds, do the job. The problem is that it rarely does in such cases and there is plenty of evidence to support that fact.
In the case of “al Qaeda” (real or fabricated) and other “terrorists” groups, the need to produce massive attacks is no longer required, especially after the events of 9/11. In fact, a “terrorist” group [or a political force that utilizes the fear of such groups as a proxy to advance a particular agenda] need not attack at all, but only use its ability to induce fear, sometimes massive fear, as the ultimate effective and extremely inexpensive tool of their trade. Because of such tactics of potential terror, they need only threaten and it not only achieves a predictable result, but also prompts their enemies to expend massive amounts of resources to defend against the perceived potential attack.
While the threat of physical attack is always to be considered real and dangerous, the more effective and therefore most insidious attack is that of psychological terror. Psychological terror, particularly if it is not recognized, is extremely dangerous because it has the potential of effecting drastic changes in the behavior and character of a society; not to mention the manner and means of the response that society willing to take both domestically and in its dealings with other nations due to such tactics of fear. Psychological terror causes the victim nation to react in ways that while appearing defensive can exacerbate the entire situation and increase both external and internal dangers. It causes reason to be set aside for reaction and places the country in a position where effective decision-making is compromised. When a nation's center of gravity is pushed off balance, its traditional character is morphed into a vision that eventually becomes unrecognizable and its laws become disposable. Eventually, the effects of the terror are a success and psychological conquest has effectively changed the way the people of the country see themselves, see others, live their lives, believe, behave and conduct their business and affairs. The country's politics too can easily become contorted, manipulated and, in some cases, extreme.
The mere mention of a potential threat, or what is perceived as an unusual package, device, behavior or even a look can close a business, a college, a government office, a port, harbor, airport, rail station or even Congress. It sets into motion extremely expensive measures that can cripple parts of cities, business, or industries for hours, if not days.
Both physical and psychological terror will find its ultimate use in causing the economic resources of the country to hemorrhage, bleeding the life-blood from the most vulnerable sectors of the society. Given the differences between the expenditures of the “terrorists” and our own expenditures, it is easy to see that eventually the expense of such a war will take an increasingly heavy toll. Once again, it doesn't take an actual attack to press a country into a massive and extremely costly response; it only takes the correct application of fear to implement its effectiveness on the country's resources.
While our rage, combined with degree political expediency, has caused us to choose to believe certain things about our enemies, many of those beliefs are not based upon fact or intelligent assessment, but solely upon that rage. In that rage we blind ourselves to a reality that is not only necessary to understand our enemy, but also to effectively counteract and defeat the potency of their methods.
We have, thanks to a very well-crafted campaign by our government, come to think of “our enemies” as little more then animals slashing out without any particular strategy, however, if we allow that campaign to succeed, it will do so at the peril of our safety and our Liberty. This is the case because many of us have a carefully manicured vision of the Islamic extremists. The fact is that those “crazed Islamofascists” have not only read various books on strategy, but they have instituted many of the principles found throughout volumes of political and military stratagems. One Islamic scholar on strategy, Abu-Ubayd al-Quarshi stated in his essay: “A Lesson in War”, that not only had he read it, but that “al Qaeda” would utilize those principles in its attack on the United States. Of course, in our rage, our anger, we rarely consider such facts or understand the importance of recognizing that our enemies are not just Islamic crazies, but warriors intent on using any and all methods to achieve their goal of defending their religion and their lands from what they view as invaders.
“We must understand the American essence and nature, and indeed his center of gravity. A conviction has formed among us that American public or political opinion is not the center of gravity. The actual American center of gravity is its economy. Supporting this penetrating strategic view is that the United States of America is a mixture of nationalities, ethnic groups, and races united only by the “American Dream”, or, to put it more correctly, the U.S. Dollar and the economic wealth of the nation. We must take away the “American Dream”. Furthermore, as we have seen, the entire American war effort is based on pumping enormous expense of its military machine therefore, the economy is the weakest sinew of its war effort.” Abu-Ubayd al-Qurashi [paraphrased]
“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.
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, still they are helpless. Second, despite the great devastation inflicted on the Iraqi people by the Americans, and despite the huge number of those killed, in excess of 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.
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.
The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies–civilians and military–is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it, in order to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy mosque from their grip, and in order for their armies to move out of all the lands of Islam, defeated and unable to threaten any Muslim.” The Osama bin Laden Fatwah
bin Laden once expressed a very clear statement about why we were attacked and he did so in the form of a rhetorical question: ” Why are we waging war against you? The answer is simple. Because you attacked us and continue to attack us.”
bin Laden also realized and understood, when he stated, that the value of knowledge depends on how you use it. He has successfully used his knowledge of the political and living conditions of Muslim populations to score a large degree of support and esteem from Islamic peoples around the world. It is estimated that nearly 90% of the population in Saudi Arabia hold bin Laden in very high esteem, similarly the Islamic world also hold highly respectful views of bin Laden even if they disagree with his methods. The primary reason for such esteem is that most Muslims view the policies and actions of the United States as oppressive and invasive threats.
His Fatwah against the perceived aggressions of the United States has given the Muslim world a very real enemy on which to focus its anger and attention. In addition, bin Laden has removed himself from the perceived corrupting influences of wealth and renounced it for a life of hardship and simplicity, this has endeared him in the hearts and minds of a vast majority of Muslims who view the excesses of most Muslim leaders, particularly those in the Gulf States as an improper use of the wealth of their people.
Of course, our own government does not help the image we have of “al Qaeda” and bin Laden; they promote a very shallow view that is readily acceptable, definitely palatable to the American public and politically expedient to the government's agenda. Such views however, ignore extremely important characteristics of the enemy that now confronts this country and does so at a potentially high price: our future security and economic well-being.
If we are so blind to understand that we are not just dealing with a wild, unfocused group of crazed “terrorists” as most politicians in this administration would like for us to believe, but a very deliberate group with leaders amply qualified with both intelligence and experienced in highly complicated and exacting strategies, then we will continue to follow a very stymied conventional path that will be continue to be ineffective, wasteful and unfocused.
As I stated before, the ignorance of our rage not only blinds us to a very important reality, but will, if not very careful, betray our future and us. Our government seems to fail to realize that the “terrorists” are not on a schedule and are not restricted by the need to execute a rapidly accelerating battle to accomplish their goals; they are patient and precise in their plans and the timing of execution. If indeed the goal of terrorism is do defeat us, then they possess a luxury that we will find we cannot afford. If our government is sincerely interested in defending this country against such threats then why have they pursued such a ill-planned program to accomplish that goal? I find numerous inconsistencies in the stated goal of this government and its actions.
The events of 9/11 however, are puzzling, to say the least. Imagine the fact that every single SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) within this government completely and absolutely failed, not once, numerous times. Every single procedure within the defense, intelligence, and political spheres completely failed on that fateful day. That fact is nearly beyond plausibility when you actually consider how intergraded the operating procedures are and how numerous the fail-safe triggers are that back those procedures. While I am yet to come to a conclusion about the possibility of complicity by anyone in the government to the events of 9/11, I do have numerous questions regarding the overt and unimaginable failures of this government to foresee such events or enact measures to prevent those events. Whether planned in the conspiratorial sense, or not, the events of 9/11 proved to be extremely convenient to several ideological forces in this country. It provided an open door to several shifts in American politics and policy. Where is the accountability? I have yet to see it!
What was our response after 9/11? Considering the enemy we are told we face, it was unprecedented in its scope and expense, an expense that we have failed to see could easily be a part of the overall plan of bin Laden and “al Qaeda” to eventually drain this nation's ability to wage effective war against the Muslim world. Suddenly and without much thought, the U.S. government implemented a massive restructuring of the military, security, intelligence and finance in this country; like all other plans our government has made in haste, the effectiveness of such plans are questionable.
We have yet to see the full impact of these extraordinary changes in this country, but we can be assured that our real security interests will eventually suffer. First, there has been such a massive expenditure just within the U.S., not to mention the escalation of military expenditures around the world. This massive and at times purely blind escalation has permanently expanded the size and cost of government, additionally it has created a massive conglomeration of “Homeland Security”. Another side of the equation that seems to be rarely considered is the way decisions are now made and why they are made as they are. The lack and in some cases a complete absence of accountability in such decision making processes pose untold dangers to the future stability of the functionality of our government on numerous fronts. Complexity usually foils efficiency, especially with the creation of a bureaucratic monstrosity the size of DHS which, by the way, was a product of numerous other bureaucratic monstrosities that were inefficient in their independent state prior to consolidation with DHS.
Its creation has required one of the largest expansions in the history of this government. There has been an explosion in every possible aspect of the federal employment, training, equipping and additionally there has even been the need to expand for the housing of such new agencies. The creation of DHS has also required a plethora of regulations that have forced even the smallest municipality to implement expensive and many times useless programs all in the name of “Securing the Homeland”. There are now extremely small municipal offices, in very rural areas, that are required by law to have security guards, metal detectors and codes that force every single person entering those offices to adhere to a barrage of intrusive actions and searches just to do business in an office that usually may see 5 to 10 visitors a week, the vast majority of whom are known on a first name basis.
The very character of the way business is conducted in this country and abroad has been transformed by the way the government has implemented “Security for the HomeLand”. Common sense be damned when it comes to the mind of the bureaucrat.
Along with the domestic expansion has come an expansion of our military interventionism into areas of the world that don't appear to be serving this nation well. If this country had used its military in a very precise and limited manner against “al Qaeda” in Afghanistan and pursued bin Laden's connections in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to cut off the head of the snake that would have proved far more effective then the action that was taken. Additionally, the expansion into Iraq, based upon purely political lies and misconceptions given to Congress and the American people to support the intervention has only added to the expense of this “war on terror”. Our costs have accelerated to levels that will eventually pose a threat, not to “al Qaeda” or Islamic extremists, but to ourselves. Once again, our economic “center of gravity” was the target of “al Qaeda”, not the Twin Towers for they were only the heinous first strike of an enemy against us. Remember, according to the battle plan of bin Laden and “al Qaeda” was to implement a war that would eventually strike at our economy, the foundation of all our power.
Another thing that few understand is that after the attacks of 9/11, the Federal Reserve was forced to lower interest rates to levels that had not been seen in this country for 40 years in order to ramp up the economic downturn after the attacks. It did indeed boost the economy and in the process it created a boom that we are now seeing deflate, and in some markets burst. We have yet to see the entire effects of what has happened in the economy due to this government's declaration of a “war on terror”, but we can be assured that the costs will continue to rise and if we ignore the fact that bin Laden counted on that fact then we are indeed a bunch of ignorant souls without rudder or helm. Even without a direct second attack on our shores, “al Qaeda” [or any other force or political proxy] can still put into effect a trigger of events, which requires the mobilization of resources at levels that would have been once unimaginable. Budgets can no longer be considered fixed at any level of government or even business because there is always the possibility of activating the requirements of “Homeland Security” and the unanticipated spending associated with such a response.
Al-Qurashi wrote that “Aborting the American economy is not an unattainable dream”. If we underestimate the foe we are dealing with and continue to play according to how fear and the ignorance that accompanies it dictate the “war on terror”, then we will pay a price far more expensive then we realize. Additionally, if this government and many of its people believe that our continued and expanding presence in the Middle East, our support, and in many cases direct influences the regions' oppressive and unpopular regimes, as well as our blind support for Israel, does not have consequences then we will continue to pay a higher price for such policies. If oil and the control of that oil is more important than the physical security of this nation and its people then we will continue to pay that high price as well. If our prideful arrogance is maintained beyond rational reality then we can only follow the folly of a foreign policy that has caused this country problems for over a century.
Until we awaken from the blindness that makes us believe we have a right to do whatever this government sets its pea-sized mind to do, and that the government “experts” have a complete grasp on the situation in the foreign lands, then we will continue to press into the same traps, entanglements and quagmires that have brought numerous empires down throughout history. It has never been within our national character to confront our mistakes, instead we choose to toss blame far away from our own shores, away from our own shoulders.
In fact, it is a mistake to avoid such blame, mistakes are just that: mistakes. The mistake is not to learn from those mistakes and it appears that we haven’t learned those valuable lessons to date. Our foreign policy mistakes have proven to be some of the most costly in terms of our financial, political and military standing in the world. Those mistakes have costs us far more then we are willing to recognize, but until we do recognize them for what they are then we will find ourselves in the same types of military tangles, the same types of dangerous situations over and over again. The key is to look differently at our position in the world and therefore our reactions will result in a very different solution to the issues as they arise. This Administration has made the same mistakes other administrations have made over the decades…the lights are on, but no one seems to be at home!
It is once again time to rethink our position, not only here at home, but abroad, especially in the Middle East. We must be willing to look at our polices in a very honest way and state that if those policies are not totally productive and in the actual best interest of the American People, not the government, not military contractors, not corporations or oil companies, but the American People then we should change those policies to meet such a requirement. If our policies even produce the potential for an increase in danger to the American People, then this government has neither the right nor business to pursue such policies.
I personally believe that Osama bin Laden's image has proven to be an extremely useful tool in the hands of certain political forces in this country. I firmly believe that bin Laden died years ago, but that his image has been effectively used by this government to continue with a particular agenda that is totally contrary to the ideals of Liberty.
Conspiracy? No, but such tactics have been used very effectively by our government before and I doubt that such a tactic is beyond use again. It is the very nature of The State to promote its own usefulness and it can, as it has, justify itself and its actions far better when there is a perceived external threat to engender fear in the hearts and minds of the general population, after all what good is a propaganda machine if you never use it?
Our presumptive arrogance, particularly within this government, will prove to be our undoing!
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