by Norman Markowitz
This is ninth anniversary of the September 11 attacks. I have written about the attacks before, from the immediate aftermath on, on many occasions. These are some questions and possible answers that I think are of special importance for our readers as we try to use Marxism as a tool of analysis to relate the past to the present.
Question 1. Why did the Carter, Reagan and Bush I administrations enter into and then escalate the war in Afghanistan in the 1980s, which led directly to the formation of Al Qaeda and the Taliban?
Answer: At first Carter's advisors saw the war as a way to give the Soviets "their Vietnam; Reagan saw it as first a way to extend his policy of strengthening U.S. support for rightwing regimes through the world from South Africa and El Salvador to Pakistan and fighting low intensity wars, using groups like the Afghan mujahadeen and Nicaraguan contras as pawns in what was a recycling of classic imperialist policy. Bush I went beyond Reagan's settlement with Gorbachev, which was a victory for the anti-Communist forces with the collapse of the Soviet Union, to bring first brutal warlords and then the barbaric Taliban to power as an expression to everyone that the U.S. had the power to do what it wished anywhere, now that the Soviet Union was destroyed.
Question 2--why didn't the Commission investigating the 9/11 attack deal with the whole history of the CIA and its Pakistani underlings involvement with the individuals and forces that created Al Qaeda.
Answer. They could not have done that in any way without exposing to tens of millions of Americans both the purposes and policies of imperialism.
Question 3: Why didn't the U.S government use its power against the Taliban regime in Afghanistan when it was harboring bin laden and Al Qaeda, which had already launched attacks against the U.S, and its allies?
Answer: Afghanistan became very important for U.S. corporations as a route for an oil and gas pipeline that would skirt Russian and Iranian territory and permit U.S. based corporations to defeat their competitors in the battle to control the oil and gas of what were former Soviet Republics. The U.S did nothing to dissuade its Pakistani and Saudi "allies" from continuing to support the Taliban regime.
Question: why didn't the CIA and other U.S. military/police institutions take the Al Qaeda seriously after its early attacks?
Answer: All U.S. military/policy institutions were organized after WWII to fight socialist/communist/anti-imperialist movements and in effect to use groups like Al Qaeda as pawns in that struggle. Also, it is likely that the Saudi Regime and the Pakistani military and intelligence services, filled with backers of both Al Qaeda and the Taliban, were able to manipulate their longtime U.S. colleagues into what was a policy of disinterest?
Question: Why were the hijackers able to move freely through the U.S. take flight courses without even returning to learn how to land the plane, and carry out their attacks?
Answer: They came mostly from Saudi Arabia and other "allies" of the U.S., not from Iran or Iraq. Two decades of deregulation and the fact that they had all the money that they needed enabled them to buy everything that needed. In that sense they were not only blowback from the Afghan war, the Frankenstein monster created by Reagan policies, but also blowback from the "greed is good" open everything up to those with capital policy of the Reagan and subsequent eras?
Question: Why were members of the bin laden family given red carpet treatment while so many innocent people of Muslim faith were arrested in guilt by association responses?
Answer: The bin ladens are a big capitalist family, with the largest private fortune in the region as of 2001 and longterm connections with U.S. corporations, banks, brokerage houses, and the Bush family and its Texas allies?
Question:Why wasn't the disastrous immediate response of the Bush administration--in effect to protect itself by hiding rather than provide leadership--and the failure of the most expensive military in human history to shoot down the second suicide plan over New York or the plane that hit the Pentagon or the plane that would have tried to hit the White House had its heroic passengers not given their lives to bring it down--not seriously discussed.
Answer: See answer to Question 2 and ask yourself whose class interests media represents and how it, as Michael Parenti once wrote, "invents reality."
Patriotism is love of what is positive in a country, a civilization, not its ruling class or its state apparatus. Patriotism cannot really flower when fear and the herd mentality prevail.