World Has Not Been the Same after September 11, 2001

By Hasan Afif El-Hasan

The Americans and people all over the world who still remember clearly the unfolding of the horrible events on September 11, 2001 day are commemorating with pain and anguish when 3000 Americans were murdered in cold blood ten years ago. Today the Americans and the rest of the world reflect on the attack and the cost of the wars that followed even when the whole story of that day has not been written yet because we’re still in its midst.

When evidence of Al-Qaeda’s connection to the September 11 atrocity was finally made public, the United States embarked on the first war of the 21st century. It unleashed its massive and relenting “war on terror” only twenty-six days after the attack, starting with a devastating blitz on the lair of Osama Bin Laden. The US waged military invasion against Al-Qaeda’s networks in northern Afghanistan and the Taliban regime that harbored them. Unlike the primitive weapons used by the September 11 terrorists, the US military employed satellite intelligence, logistical support, special-forces, air strikes and snatch squads; and the US politicians and writers demonized nations, Islam and its culture in the process. The US forces occupied the famine-stricken, war-ravaged Afghanistan using a totally disproportionate display of military might that perhaps best described so much as "awesome". The United States carried out a systematic world-wide campaign with sophistication, efficiency and lethality; and sought the cooperation of every country to track down the perpetrators, to kill or capture suspects or sympathizers and hand them to the US to rot in detention centers all over the world.

Sixteen months later, the US and the UK ignored the universal legal and ethical norms and decided that invading Iraq was the solution to terrorism. Iraq became a magnet for armed homegrown nationalists, sectarian militia groups and militant foreign Salafists including Al-Qaeda.

 Iraq was destroyed, millions were displaced, tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians and the invading soldiers died or injured and Iraqi and US resources were unnecessarily wasted. Many years after destroying Iraq, President Bush was asked in August 21, 2006 press conference: “What did Iraq have to do with September 11?” his answer was “Nothing.” Saddam wasn’t connected with 9/11, had no WMDs, and he was not poised to attack the United States or Israel. Because of the war on Iraq, the terrorists have recruited more Islamists, radicalized more people and raised funds from Muslims just by projecting U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq as an attack against Islam and the Muslims.”

Then the “war on terror” got a quiet linguistic makeover. It has become the “war on Islamic fascism.” "Islamo-fascism" is an emotional term, intended to get the Americans to think less and fear more. It presents the bewildering politics of the Muslim world as a simple matter of “US people versus evil madmen who want to enforce the Sharia laws and fly the flag of Islam over the capitals of the West.”

The people of the region who suffered from the “War on Terror” without being recognized are the Pakistanis and the Palestinians. The Afghan war spilled over into Pakistan where the number of Pakistanis killed and injured by the US predator drones and war-lords is no less than the invasion took in neighboring Afghanistan. Pakistan lost control of its borders and became a failing state with nuclear weapons. 

The US expanded its definition of “terrorists” to include the Palestinian nationalists who have been resisting the Israeli occupation. The Palestinians’ democratic experiment was aborted when the US labeled Hamas, the winner of the 2006 parliamentary elections, as a “terrorist organization”. A national unity government under Hamas failed to govern because the US forced complete boycott against it. Hamas eventually, had to use violence against the US supported Fatah faction to establish itself in Gaza Strip. The United States approved the crippling all-out siege of Gaza Strip by Israel and Egypt’s Mubarak regime under the pretext of war on terrorism since Hamas ruled it.    

Many tools were invented by the US to fight “terrorism”; some provoked national and international debate. They include Guant

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