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4 Sep, 2005

On 9/11 Anniversary, Look at the Whole Picture

Originally Published: 4 Sept 2005

A week today, the arrival of yet another anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy will see the global media again reverberate with the “war on terror” rallying cry.

But before rolling up the sleeves and swinging into action against Islamic ‘jihadists’ or ‘Islamofascists’ or whatever else one wishes to call them, do log on to http://www.alternet.org/story/16274/ — lest one forget that accountability is a two-way street.

The story is headlined, “Ten Appalling Lies We Were Told About Iraq.”

Published not by an Islamic “disinformation” outfit but a fast-growing independent media websites, it is a flashback to the real disinformation project — the very public comments made by Messrs Bush, Cheney, Powell, Tenet and Rumsfeld as part of “a systematic campaign to frighten the hell out of us about the threat of (Saddam) Hussein, and almost none of it was true.”

If the 9/11 anniversary is to serve as a reminder of the need to remain vigilant in the “war on terror,” it is equally important to be vigilant about the lying leaders of the Judeo-Christian world whose vicious falsehoods are responsible for more deaths and mayhem than “Islamic terrorism” but who continue to get away scot-free.

In corporate terms, a company loss on the balance sheet is described as “red ink,” “bleeding,” or “hemorrhaging”. At shareholder meetings, chief executives are invariably grilled to explain why.

In Iraq, both red blood and red ink are flowing in abundance as costs and casualties escalate, with no apparent end in sight.

Nearly 2,000 US troops have been officially recorded as dead and thousands, repeat thousands, more injured. The actual number of dead is said to be much higher because the official figure does not record those who may have died later as a result of their injuries.

So, even the casualty count is a lie, a piece of fiction, just like those weapons of mass destruction. As for the poor Iraqis, their blood does not even figure on the balance sheet of casualties suffered at the hands of the occupying troops and suicide bombers since the start of the Iraq war.

According to a study by the Washington DC-based Institute for Policy Studies, the cost of the Iraq War could exceed $700 billion. In current dollars, the Vietnam War cost U.S. taxpayers $600 billion.

“Operations costs in Iraq are estimated at $5.6 billion per month in 2005. By comparison, the average cost of U.S. operations in Vietnam over the eight-year war was $5.1 billion per month, adjusting for inflation,” says the study released last month.

“Staying in Iraq and Afghanistan at current levels would nearly double the projected federal budget deficit over the next decade.”

In a company, such staggering losses would have led to the CEO either quitting or being fired.

At Thai Airways International a few weeks ago, all it took was one quarter’s worth of red ink for the president to be sidelined. At the Bangkok Post, one editor has resigned and others are under pressure for inadvertently getting a single story wrong.

But at the global level, shareholders appear to be very tolerant of management lies and losses. They are being urged to ignore both, as well as a decline in the corporate image, reputation and prestige, on the grounds that it’s for a good long-term cause.

Management does not want minor distractions to trip up a good disinformation campaign. Its job is to keep the world focussed on the “war on terror” and the need to battle “Islamic extremists”, “reform Islam” and stop the “preaching of hate.”

In the US, a mother who lost her son in Iraq can’t even get a second meeting with President Bush. Accountability, too, is to be sought only from Islamic madrassas and mullahs, not Judeo-Christian leaders whose noble cause is the pursuit of “freedom and democracy”.

9/11 anniversaries are also opportune times for the convening of global seminars where self-styled anti-terrorism “experts”, mainly Western, claim to have all the appropriate answers.

One of the biggest mistakes they make is to portray an implicit sense of social, cultural and political superiority about their own ‘values’.

A classic example is that of Peter Costello, the Australian leader-in-waiting. Addressing the Australian American Leadership Dialogue Forum in Sydney on August 20, he twice dismissively referred to the sense of injustice felt by the Palestinians, the Arab World and Muslims at large as being “perceived.”

If the leaders of Australia, a US cohort in Iraq, hold such views, it becomes easy to understand why terrorism persists.

For those who want to hear the counter-perspective of a Muslim leader, log on to http://app.com.pk/n26.htm and read the speech by Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf at an international seminar organised by the Institute of Regional Studies, Islamabad.

The speech is a frank admission of everything that is wrong within the structure of the extremist Islamic ideologies. But another part of his message says the West should correspondingly acknowledge its own policy flaws and take a much broader view.

Says Gen Musharraf, “To deal with the subject holistically, in all its dimensions, we first of all have to understand the entire complexity of the problem and then only can we come to rational conclusions on how to address it.”

Particularly noteworthy are his references to the “root causes” of terrorism and the “core of the core” issues, both themes that have been repeatedly stressed in these columns.

Thai policy-makers seeking solutions to the conflict in the south will find the President’s roadmap well worth analysing and examining in detail.

And as for anniversaries, I am waiting to see if anyone will commemorate the upcoming 10th anniversary of the assassination of former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by a Judeofascist terrorist named Yigal Amir by organising seminars to highlight acts of terrorism by non-Muslims.

Maoist terrorists are active in the Hindu kingdom of Nepal. And terrorists in the Buddhist majority country of Sri Lanka recently assassinated the foreign minister.

Not much hoop-la about these terrorists, is there?