Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Vote for Christopher C. Boardman/Nine years, two wars, hundreds of thousands dead - and nothing learnt



If you are a registered Democrat in Maryland's 2nd District, consider voting for Christopher C. Boardman, candidate for U.S. House of Representatives, 2nd District.  He is Democratic candidate with a B.A., MLA in History & RN and has worked in Congress, been a writer/editor for 20 years, and is currently a nurse for 14 years.  This is his platform: FOR JOBS, NOT WAR: Cut military, reduce deficits, rebuild country & economy. Save environment, go green and banish war from the planet.






Robert Fisk: Nine years, two wars, hundreds of

thousands dead - and nothing learnt


Did 9/11 make us all mad? Our memorial to the innocents

who died nine years ago has been a holocaust of fire and blood . . .


Saturday, 11 September 2010


Independent [London]



Did 9/11 make us all go mad? How fitting, in a weird,

crazed way, that the apotheosis of that firestorm nine

years ago should turn out to be a crackpot preacher

threatening another firestorm with a Nazi-style book

burning of the Koran. Or a would-be mosque two blocks

from "ground zero" - as if 9/11 was an onslaught on

Jesus-worshipping Christians, rather than on the atheist West.


But why should we be surprised? Just look at all the

other crackpots spawned in the aftermath of those

international crimes against humanity: the half-crazed

Ahmadinejad, the smarmy post-nuclear Gaddafi, Blair

with his crazed right eye and George W Bush with his

black prisons and torture and lunatic "war on terror".

And that wretched man who lived - or lives still - in

an Afghan cave and the hundreds of al-Qa'idas whom he

created, and the one-eyed mullah - not to mention all

the lunatic cops and intelligence agencies and CIA

thugs who failed us all - utterly - on 9/11 because

they were too idle or too stupid to identify 19 men who

were going to attack the United States. And remember

one thing: even if the Rev Terry Jones sticks with his

decision to back down, another of our cranks will be

ready to take his place.


Indeed, on this grim ninth anniversary - and heaven

spare us next year from the 10th - 9/11 appears to have

produced not peace or justice or democracy or human

rights, but monsters. They have prowled Iraq - both the

Western and the local variety - and slaughtered 100,000

souls, or 500,000, or a million; and who cares? They

have killed tens of thousands in Afghanistan; and who

cares? And as the sickness has spread across the Middle

East and then the globe, they - the air force pilots

and the insurgents, the Marines and the suicide

bombers, the al-Qa'idas of the Maghreb and of the

Khalij and of the Caliphate of Iraq and the special

forces and the close air support boys and the

throat-cutters - have torn the heads off women and

children and the old and the sick and the young and

healthy, from the Indus to the Mediterranean, from Bali

to the London Tube; quite a memorial to the 2,966

innocents who were killed nine years ago. All in their

name, it seems, has been our holocaust of fire and

blood, enshrined now in the crazed pastor of Gainesville.


This is the loss, of course. But who's made the profit?

Well, the arms dealers, naturally, and Boeing and

Lockheed Martin and all the missile lads and the drone

manufacturers and F-16 spare parts outfits and the

ruthless mercenaries who stalk the Muslim lands on our

behalf now that we have created 100,000 more enemies

for each of the 19 murderers of 9/11. Torturers have

had a good time, honing their sadism in America's black

prisons - it was appropriate that the US torture centre

in Poland should be revealed on this ninth anniversary

- as have the men (and women, I fear) who perfect the

shackles and water-drowning techniques with which we

now fight our wars. And - let us not forget - every

religious raver in the world, be they of the Bin Laden

variety, the bearded groupies in the Taliban, the

suicide executioners, the hook-in the arm preachers, or

our very own pastor of Gainesville.


And God? Where does he fit in? An archive of quotations

suggests that just about every monster created in or

after 9/11 is a follower of this quixotic redeemer. Bin

Laden prays to God - "to turn America into a shadow of

itself", as he told me in 1997 - and Bush prayed to God

and Blair prayed - and prays - to God, and all the

Muslim killers and an awful lot of Western soldiers and

Dr (honorary) Pastor Terry Jones and his 30 (or it may

be 50, since all statistics are hard to come by in the

"war on terror") pray to God. And poor old God, of

course, has had to listen to these prayers as he always

sits through them during our mad wars. Recall the words

attributed to him by a poet of another generation: "God

this, God that, and God the other thing. 'Good God,'

said God, 'I've got my work cut out'." And that was

just the First World War...


Just five years ago - on the fourth anniversary of the

twin towers/Pentagon/Pennsylvania attacks - a

schoolgirl asked me at a lecture in a Belfast church

whether the Middle East would benefit from more

religion. No - less religion! - I howled back. God is

good for contemplation, not for war. But - and here we

are driven on to the reefs and hidden rocks which our

leaders wish us to ignore, forget and cast aside - this

whole bloody mess involves the Middle East; it is about

a Muslim people who have kept their faith while those

Westerners who dominate them - militarily,

economically, culturally, socially - have lost theirs.

How can this be, Muslims ask? Indeed, it is a superb

irony that the Rev Jones is a believer while the rest

of us - by and large - are not. Hence our books and our

documentaries never refer to Muslims vs Christians, but

Muslims versus "The West".


And of course, the one taboo subject of which we must

not speak - Israel's relationship with America, and

America's unconditional support for Israel's theft of

land from Muslim Arabs - also lies at the heart of this

terrible crisis in our lives. In yesterday's edition of

The Independent, there was a photograph of Afghan

demonstrators chanting "death to America". But in the

background, these same demonstrators were carrying a

black banner with a message in Dari written upon it in

white paint. What it actually said was: "The

bloodsucking Zionist government regime and the Western

leaders who are indifferent [to suffering] and have no

conscience are again celebrating the new year by

spilling the red blood of the Palestinians."


The message is as extreme as it is vicious - but it

proves, yet again, that the war in which we are engaged

is also about Israel and "Palestine". We may prefer to

ignore this in "the West" - where Muslims supposedly

"hate us for what we are" or "hate our democracy" (see:

Bush, Blair and a host of other mendacious politicians)

- but this great conflict lies at the heart of the "war

on terror". That is why the equally vicious Benjamin

Netanyahu reacted to the atrocities of 9/11 by claiming

that the event would be good for Israel. Israel would

now be able to claim that it, too, was fighting the

"war on terror", that Arafat - this was the

now-comatose Ariel Sharon's claim - is "our Bin Laden".

And thus Israelis had the gall to claim that Sderot,

under its cascade of tin-pot missiles from Hamas, was

"our ground zero".


It was not. Israel's battle with the Palestinians is a

ghastly caricature of our "war on terror", in which we

are supposed to support the last colonial project on

earth - and accept its thousands of victims - because

the twin towers and the Pentagon and United Flight 93

were attacked by 19 Arab murderers nine years ago.

There is a supreme irony in the fact that one direct

result of 9/11 has been the stream of Western policemen

and spooks who have travelled to Israel to improve

their "anti-terrorist expertise" with the help of

Israeli officers who may - according to the United

Nations - be war criminals. It was no surprise to find

that the heroes who gunned down poor old Jean Charles

de Menezes on the London Tube in 2005 had been

receiving "anti-terrorist" advice from the Israelis.


And yes, I know the arguments. We cannot compare the

actions of evil terrorists with the courage of our

young men and women, defending our lives - and

sacrificing theirs - on the front lines of the 'war on

terror". There can be no "equivalence". "They" kill

innocents because "they" are evil. "We" kill innocents

by mistake. But we know we are going to kill innocents

- we willingly accept that we are going to kill

innocents, that our actions are going to create mass

graves of families, of the poor and the weak and the



This is why we created the obscene definition of

"collateral damage". For if "collateral" means that

these victims are innocent, then "collateral" also

means that we are innocent of killing them. It was not

our wish to kill them - even if we knew it was

inevitable that we would. "Collateral" is our

exoneration. This one word is the difference between

"them" and "us", between our God-given right to kill

and Bin Laden's God-given right to murder. The victims,

hidden away as "collateral" corpses, don't count any

more because they were slaughtered by us. Maybe it

wasn't so painful. Maybe death by drone is a more

gentle departure from this earth, evisceration by an

AGM-114C Boeing-Lockheed air-to-ground missile less

painful, than death by shards from a roadside bomb or a

cruel suicider with an explosive belt.


That's why we know how many died on 9/11 - 2,966,

although the figure may be higher - and why we don't

"do body counts" on those whom we kill. Because they -

"our" victims - must have no identities, no innocence,

no personality, no cause or belief or feelings; and

because we have killed far, far more human beings than

Bin Laden and the Taliban and al-Qa'ida.


Anniversaries are newspaper and television events. And

they can have an eerie habit of coalescing together to

create an unhappy memorial framework. Thus do we

commemorate the Battle of Britain - a chivalric episode

in our history - and the Blitz, a progenitor of mass

murder, to be sure, but a symbol of innocent courage -

as we remember the start of a war that has torn our

morality apart, turned our politicians into war

criminals, our soldiers into killers and our ruthless

enemies into heroes of the anti-Western cause. And

while on this gloomy anniversary the Rev Jones wanted

to burn a book called the Koran, Tony Blair tried to

sell a book called A Journey. Jones said the Koran was

"evil"; Britons have asked whether the Blair book

should be classified as "crime". Certainly, 9/11 has

moved into fantasy when the Rev Jones can command the

attention of the Obamas and the Clintons and the Holy

Father and the even more Holy United Nations. Whom the

gods would destroy...


11 Sep 2001


The World Trade Centre and the Pentagon are hit by

aeroplanes hijacked by al-Qa'ida terrorists. George

Bush says that America will stand with "all those who

want peace and security in the world".


7 Oct 2001


The US and Britain launch air strikes against



13 Nov 2001


The Northern Alliance liberates Kabul from the rule of

the Taliban.


11 Jan 2002


The first prisoners arrive at Camp X-Ray at Guantanamo

Bay in Cuba.


9 Jan 2003


Top UN weapons inspector Hans Blix tells reporters that

"we have now been in [Iraq] for some two months and? we

haven't found any smoking guns".


15 Feb 2003


Protests are held across the world against impending

war in Iraq.


20 Mar 2003


US-led coalition launches invasion of Iraq.


9 Oct 2003


Toppling of statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad is

taken as symbol of coalition triumph.


11 Mar 2004


A series of bombs explode within minutes of each other

on four commuter trains in Madrid, killing 191 people

and wounding a further 1,841.


29 Apr 2004


Photographs emerge showing the abuse of Iraqi prisoners

by US soldiers at Abu Ghraib, inflaming anti-US



2 Oct 2004


Video footage appears of British hostage Kenneth Bigley

being beheaded by Iraqi militants.


2 Nov 2004


Dutch film-maker Theo van Gogh is murdered after making

a film about violence against women in Islamic



7 Jul 2005


Four suicide bombers kill 52 passengers and injure

almost 800 others in a series of attacks on London's

transport network.


30 Sep 2005


A series of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohamed are

published in a Danish newspaper. The pictures are

reprinted elsewhere amid widespread outrage and violent

protests in the Muslim world.


30 Dec 2006


Saddam Hussein is hanged in northern Baghdad for crimes

against humanity.


21 Sep 2009


A leaked report by Gen Stanley McChrystal, commander of

US forces, suggests that the war against the Taliban in

Afghanistan could be lost within a year unless there

are significant increases in troops.


29 Nov 2009


A ban on building minarets is voted in by the Swiss

public, reflecting a hostile attitude to the country's

rising Muslim minority.


21 Jan 2010


43 per cent of Americans say they feel some negative

prejudice towards Muslims, according to a poll by



1 Sep 2010


At the end of a month in which 295 civilians were

killed by violence, Barack Obama declares that the US

combat mission in Iraq is at an end.




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