The mythology of 9/11

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The 10th anniversary of September 11, 2001 has come and gone. One could not help but notice the media was full of articles on the event, and of public officials and others holding forth on what it all meant, yadda, yadda, yadda. There was no opportunity passed up to pander to the fears and gullibility of the citizenry and feed them fantasies and half-truths. A propaganda event, in other words.

Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper, in his statement on the occasion, classified the event as a horrific act of terrorism. Fair enough, they all got that right, it was. But he also characterizes the acts on that day as senseless and cowardly. Really. I do not think that he is ignorant enough to believe that, but it is part of the official story that he hopes the public swallows.

The attacks made a lot of sense. If the goal was to suck the U.S. into overreacting and damaging its economy, they made a lot of sense. If one believes the conspiracy theorists that they were a false flag operation to give the U.S. an excuse to invade the Middle East and Afghanistan, they also make sense. Of course if the goal was to become a martyr and go to some heavenly paradise, that fantasy makes no sense, but I doubt that was much of a reason for any of those behind the attacks.

Down in the U.S. earlier this month, Vice President Joe Biden said that Al Qaeda "never imagined that the 3,000 people who lost their lives that day would inspire 3 million to put on the uniform and harden the resolve of 300 million Americans. They never imagined the sleeping giant they were about to awaken." Good sound bites, but again, propaganda. Whoever was behind the attacks, it was probably exactly what they were hoping for. You can believe that the response to the attacks by the U.S. was either that of a sucker caught in a sting, or of someone who finally got the break that they were looking for to justify what they wanted to do.

Another part of the propaganda message is the old story of defending freedom and democracy to justify the needless sacrifice of troops, the diversion of wealth from public good to private profit, and the death of countless civilians. No one out there is defending freedom and democracy any more, at least not at the level of national governments or big business. The troops might think that they are, but like the rest of the population, they are being fed fairy tales to make them feel good about getting the shaft. The fact is that, often as not, they are out there denying freedom and democracy to any popular movement that might threaten the ability of the big corporations to plunder.

The question is often asked, "What did the U.S. do to provoke the hatred that many in the world have for it?" -- a hatred that led to events like the 9/11 attacks. That is an uncomfortable question for those who wish to perpetuate the myth of an innocent, benevolent U.S. The response often is to characterize such question as repulsive and to denigrate any who might pose it. Of course attacking that question is an attempt to bury reality in favour of the myth.

History is a continuous thread of tribes and nations looting and plundering each other. Modern civilizations are built on the bedrock of conquest and exploitation reaching far back in time. Those who have any doubts should ask those who have been displaced and disposed of, often brutally, by conquering powers. All this was supposed to have changed with World War II. At the end of that war the United Nations was formed, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was proclaimed, and other actions were taken to secure those rights. But when it comes to choosing between human rights and profits, it is still profit that counts.

The fact that countries like the U.S. are immersed in hypocrisy, pretending to be one thing while following policies of domination that have caused a lot of damage and grief around the world, leaves us with no wonder about why there is hatred. The events like the 9/11 attacks may be unjustified, but they are not unprovoked assaults against the truly innocent. Until everyone admits their part in the problem and decides to forever put human rights ahead of profit and personal interests, events like the 9/11 attacks will continue to occur.

Jerry West is the publisher, editor and janitor for The Record, an independent, progressive regional publication for Nootka Sound and Canada's West Coast.

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