Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Ignoring the fundamental issues

Bill Christison has some words of wisdom regarding how the 9/11 investigation is unfolding:

The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, chaired by former New Jersey governor Thomas Kean and better known as the 9/11 Commission, entertained news junkies across America with two full days of hearings last week. The ex-governor, chosen in part for his low visibility when a replacement had to be found for the controversial Henry Kissinger, did a creditable enough job as the entertainment MC. He and his mixed crew of good and not-so-good ex-officials, politicians, and perpetual staff aides spread before us not one but several partisan versions of how well or how badly the intelligence and foreign-policymaking arms of a Democratic and then a Republican administration performed over the past decade.

For students of politics and the internal workings of governments and bureaucracies, the exercise undoubtedly provided a few useful historical insights. The commission's final report, when issued in the summer of 2004, may even contain helpful recommendations for reorganizing governmental intelligence and foreign-policymaking mechanisms -- helpful, that is, to the leaders of the world's only nation-state that presently seeks military domination over the entire globe.

To the remaining citizens of the U.S. and the world, however, it was at best one more Roman circus distracting us from what should be our main goal: PERSUADING WASHINGTON TO SCRAP ITS FOREIGN AND MILITARY POLICIES THAT FOSTER U.S. GLOBAL DOMINATION AND AN AGGRESSIVE ISRAELI-U.S. PARTNERSHIP IN DOMINATING THE MIDDLE EAST. These are the dangerous policies that both Bill Clinton's and George W. Bush's administrations, with only minor differences of emphasis, have pressed on an unwilling world. Earlier administrations had similar goals, but serious policy steps toward fulfilling those goals became much more feasible -- or at least seemed to U.S. leaders to be more feasible -- after the disappearance of the Soviet Union. These policy steps also fitted nicely with the needs of the principal financial backers of both major U.S. political parties for more aggressive U.S. policies that would encourage a continuation and expansion of their own profits.
Likewise, the editorial board of the WSWS charges that, judging from last week's testimony, the commission is "engaged in a cover-up of the fundamental questions" surrounding 9/11:

Notwithstanding the heated controversy surrounding [Richard] Clarke’s appearance, the entire line of questioning from both the Democratic and Republican members of the commission showed that the basic premises of their investigation exclude any examination of the political and historical roots of the attacks that took the lives of some 3,000 innocent civilians.

Not one panel member broached the issue of US foreign policy in Afghanistan and the Middle East, and its role in fostering the growth of Islamic fundamentalist terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda. Nor was there any probing of the economic and geo-strategic interests that underlie the policy of succeeding US administrations toward Central Asia and the Persian Gulf. The word “oil” went virtually unuttered in the course of hours and hours of testimony.

Instead, the framework for the hearings was the assumption that 9/11 was the result of a “failure” of intelligence, or diplomacy, or military policy—or a combination of all three. From this narrow and disingenuous starting point, the thrust of both the witnesses’ testimony and the questioning by the panel followed: namely, that the proper response to the threat of terrorist attacks is to remove all remaining restrictions on US spying and covert operations abroad, including assassinations, intensify government spying within the United States, and apply the Bush doctrine of preventive war on an even more massive and bloody scale in the future.

The gist of the criticisms made of both the Clinton and Bush administrations—including those made by Clarke—was that they were too timid and squeamish in the pre-9/11 period, and too bogged down by considerations of US and international law. They should have used military force and covert violence sooner, more often and on a larger scale.
These analyses, I'm afraid, are on point. Unfortunately, the received wisdom seems to be that the US needs to pursue even more violent means to hunt down the evil ones, when the only thing that will temper the threat of terrorism is for the United States to relinquish its dreams of global domination and back away from the Israel-Palestine conflict so that some kind of just solution can be implemented.

Far from needing to get involved more in the activities of other states and regions, the world would be best served if the US retreated to, yes, an isolationist position. This is, of course, heresy for the globalists and the proponents of "benevolent hegemony," but it is the only course of action that will break the cycle of terror, force projection, and retaliation that is providing the perfect cover for policies which serve the military-industrial-petroleum complex. It would likely save an untold number of lives, as well.