Ποιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do

911 - Salvaging Memories or the Manipulative Use of a Tragic Event in 2006

To elevate everything into the false promise that the victims would be replenished by America by unleashing a vindictive spirit, so as to give ‘revenge’ the greatest say in foreign policy, means to justify the going to war without fear of consequences because apparently a justified war of revenge.

As New Yorkers and many others around the world attempt to remember what took place that terrible morning, they may be distracted. Recently Oliver Stone tried a first reconstruction by producing a film based not on fiction but on claim of authenticity. His claim is based on the fact that he used two survivors as consultants on the film set.

If not fiction, what is it then, if not a new kind of propaganda? It may well be suited to Bush’s political tactics before this year’s mid-term election in Congress with all seats in the House of Representatives up for grabs, while one third of the Senators need to go hit the campaign trail after six years of disillusionment. Indeed, democratic politics has become since then nearly impossible in a country united around a president who made 'war against terrorism' into the top priority.

Yes, 9/11 is in 2006 a kind of nostalgia in terms of remembering back then, when it happened, that the country was not merely united around its President but willing to give him a blank check to fight off further terrorism. Thanks to that the Commander-in-Chief could become after 9/11 the war lord banishing democracy around the globe. He did so by putting everything ‘either for us or against us’ category. It was demand for a kind of Patriotism to replace Democracy. It means in clear language 9/11 transformed “America, America” into “go bomb them” and so they did first in Afghanistan, then in Iraq.

A sample of that blank check everyone gave to the Bush administration is the highly politicized effort to transform everything after 9/11 into the language of victimization. The terrible thing is that it give the administration full justification to seek revenge. Johnny Cash said in an interview on Larry King Live when seeing on television the planes flying into the Twin Towers, that “whole of America was under attack” and secondly, “who would dare to do such a thing and think he could get away with that”.

Indeed, 9/11 stands for the lust of revenge which has ruled ever since America and with it the world. As Michael Moore put it in “Bowling for Columbine” there is this 'business with fear'. That has been made much easier since ‘terrorism’ could be evoked as prime enemy. Its play on 'insecurity' can be evoked any time. Consequently the level of fear has been rising steadily to unknown heights. It is the same mechanism by which everything gets larger, faster, more profitable and vindictive. Essentially it means war can be waged without fear of consequences, and, therefore, regardless how many innocent people die, how many human rights abuses are incurred, for this fear makes new levels of business with war possible.

Quite another image of 9/11 emerges when newspapers report about a growing health problem of those who rushed to help. They exposed themselves to Toxic waste as the towers came crushing down. That means 'illegal' building materials were most likely used even though that is not admitted when reference is made by politicians to the victims of 9/11. In other words, the 'victim' is not specified. Also that term should be used with reluctance when to justify military actions. There can be recalled the statement made immediately after the Towers had collapsed by an international lawyer whose husband died that day; she said plainly into the running cameras, ‘her husband did not live to become a victim, in order to justify over his dead body the going to war’.

Clearly that says the going to war was not by necessity, but a conscious political choice. Moreover to go on an all out attack has still other consequences. For once American forces had invaded Iraq on March 23, 2003, their size grew quickly to 145 000 troops, it resulted in a rising death toll amongst US soldiers but more so amongst civilians. In this context should be remembered what Grace Boggs had said in Detroit: by transforming 9/11 into the story of victims, America was freed from the need to analyze why such an attack took place in the first place.

The sad thing is that the world has not learned much since 9/11 or even worse bomb blasts fuel more attacks from the air and on the ground, the latest example being the Sixth Middle East war in Lebanon. Besides the nuclear issue looming largely on the political horizon, Noam Chomsky named the widening discrepancy between official policy and public opinion as the most alarming development in recent years. It testifies that mere puppet governments are being installed everywhere. They have to follow orders from Washington rather than remaining democratic in both spirit and practice.

Thomas Mann said one can tell a democrat by shaking his hand and see if body and mind are one. This is not possible in a shaky world of deceptions and propaganda being renamed as ‘public diplomacy’. In this post 911 world, spin doctors map out argumentative strategies to convince the general public of the policy adopted by those in power. The implementation thereof is developed and delivered by paid intellectuals. Mistakes are not reported. It is presumed that they have no conscience of their own, no independence of mind and, therefore, lack the human spirit. That was equally the case during the Cold War waged by paid informers.

The same happens with climate change. The huge problem for the environment and future of the earth is downgraded by scientists who receive funds from corporations and think tanks to counter the arguments of the ecological movement. They question the integrity of those who warn about catastrophic impacts upon the environment, especially if the world continues to develop the way it does.

But no matter what, Israel could still bomb the oil refinery near Beirut and spill tonnages of oil into the Mediterranean sea. For sure, war and environment are not compatible, nor do tanks heed cultural heritage, especially when they grind through the gates of Babylon in Iraq to set up there a military camp, that is in the midst of an ancient archaeological site.

Yes, destruction of life, earth, human settlements and optimistic visions of man's future is becoming more common due the technologically induced power allowing for a much more reckless strategy. By the same token, it seems as if cultural identities have no longer their validity. They are destoryed and with them invaluable sources of knowledge. Indeed, it seems that it is a deliberate military strategy to make sure sources of independence, and that means knowledge of another reality, are the first ones to be attacked. That is not any different when the Talibans destroy the Buddha statues since they do not fit into their religious scheme and would provide evidence that still other realities exist. The nuance of destruction lies, therefore, in this 'total' sense insofar as anything countering the own version is wiped out and erased from the surface of the earth.

In that equation of 3000 killed on 9/11, and countless more traumatized, or now many more to be counted due to specific health risks due to exposure to toxic wastes, there is something missing. If all suffered or are still suffering the consequence of war or war like attacks, why then conduct still another war? Especially leading to just more revenge and, therefore, to a permanent war? But that is exactly what Rumsfeld wants. Gone is thereby the ability to stop not only this but any war, and  although by now already the body count of not only soldiers killed in battle, but innocent lives killed in the process, exceeds by far the number of 3000. To be more precise, it is stated that an estimate of 50 000 civilians have been killed in Iraq alone, never mind the rising death toll in Afghanistan and elsewhere. Whenever does an equation seeking revenge make sense, if 3000 cannot be balanced out by 50 000, and the number of death still climbing? And that does not include those who have been wounded or driven into exile? It is said alone from Afghanistan have fled over 4 million people!

The inability to stop the war is the outcome when politicians avoid the real issue and merely debate whether or not to leave Iraq now, in near future or at some moment in an still undefined future. In reality, stopping the war would have to mean not delivering any more, for example, cluster bombs to Israel. They have been used during the final days of the war against Lebanon, and clearly in violation of Human Rights just before the tentative truce was installed. The truce was needed to cease the senseless destruction of Lebanon and especially of the rockets being fired into Northern Israel by the Hezbollah.

Taking out of circulation such weapons would mean going at the core of war, namely the weapons trade and the production of weapons as a way of doing a business which needs always war to just continue making huge profits.

No wonder then that sustainable development is no longer the credo of the world. The world agenda has been co-opted by global business. Clearly the business with weapons cannot sustain peace. It needs enemies galore and if not existing since terrorists are really invisible, the production of new enemy pictures is outdoing by now even Hollywood.

To all of that the language about ‘evil’ by a war president has to be added. Bush uses it to fulfill a mission: the destruction of democracy, in order to install his ‘rule of law’. Practically it means the freedom to conduct war without fear of consequences. He conducts this war, so his claim, in order to avoid a repeat of 9/11. By now there is for sure real fear dominating Washington that other and new forms of reprisal will follow all the injustices and inhuman acts having been inflicted by American troops upon innocent civilians. That makes the unrealistic politics of Bush into a realistic prospect for the near future. That leaves as sole option a permanent war to suppress that inner fear. It does not make this world any more secure than what was already the case before 9/11, or rather the opposite effect will mean the war economy will grow and reproduce an enormous inefficiency. This then will have even more unforeseen consequences as indicated already by the growing US state deficit after Bush lowered the taxes for the very rich.

Hatto Fischer


Originally published by heritageradio under the category 'reflexions'


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