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22 years do-over thought experiment

by Tom H. Hastings

If you happen to an grownup born after, say, 1995, you in all probability recall a good bit concerning the horrible occasions of Sept. 11, 2001.

For many People, the phobia assault which turned three industrial airliners filled with passengers into guided missiles got here as a bolt out of the blue, with no thought of why.

For fairly knowledgeable peace activists, the why was fully clear. Western powers had invaded, made struggle on, and exploited each place within the MENA (Center East and North Africa) for hundreds of years. From the Crusades to Napoleon to different European colonizers after which to the dominance of the U.S. in oil extraction, it added up. The resentment, bitterness, hatred and even the willingness to commit atrocity-suicide was a product of that international domination.

Understanding the motivation for terrorism is step one towards stopping it, simply as in any prison mischief. Simply as we wish researchers looking for a remedy for most cancers to deeply perceive how and why most cancers operates, peace researchers and activists keep nicely knowledgeable on why terrorists do what they do.

Those that studied peace and battle knew what bin Laden was demanding, however the overwhelming majority of People didn’t have any thought, in order that they have been weak to manipulation but once more.

What was bin Laden, founder and lead of al Qaida, demanding? Repeatedly, western journalists like Peter Bergen and Robert Fiske met with him and interviewed him earlier than Sept. 11 and he all the time had the identical 4 calls for:

1. Infidel troops (U.S. navy) out of probably the most holy nation to Islam (in his view), Saudi Arabia.

2. Palestine wanted their very own sovereign nation-state.

3. U.S. cease support to deprave MENA rulers, such because the royal household in Saudi Arabia.

4. U.S. cease navy support to Israel.

For years after Sept. 11, I’d write these 4 calls for on the blackboard however with out attribution. I’d ask college students, so, who made these calls for?

The guesses have been everywhere in the ballpark, from “Gandhi” to “Malcolm X” to “the Pope” to “Archbishop Tutu” and extra. Actually one pupil one time acquired it proper, an amazingly efficient, sensible, and savvy Marine corpsman.

When George Bush, Dick Cheney, and others informed People that al Qaida had attacked us as a result of they have been affronted by girls in bikinis, or our inclusion of homosexual individuals, or simply our “lifestyle,” that was one more pack of lies added finally to the opposite whoppers that acquired us to invade Afghanistan, then Iraq.

So right here we’re, 22 years after the most important terror assault ever dedicated by a nonstate actor (till Sept. 11, 2001, the educational literature on terrorism had precisely famous that the overwhelming majority of terrorism on the earth was ruthless dictators slaughtering their very own individuals). We don’t get a do-over, however what may a distinct path have produced, one which confirmed the world that such evil wouldn’t stand, however the U.S. would present that we have been in reality probably the most compassionate, deeply caring nation?

What if, as an alternative of killing greater than 4 million people within the subsequent struggle on terror, together with roughly 7,000 from the U.S. navy, we had addressed each the prison conduct of al Qaida and the grievances that led to it?

What if, as an alternative of spending $8 trillion on the struggle on terror, we had invested solely a fraction of that in a mixture of precise protection of the U.S. (eliminating abroad bases on different individuals’s sovereign soil), an finish to any help for dictators and main humanitarian support that uplifted tens of millions of the poorest individuals in locations the place they as an alternative affiliate U.S. support with oppressing them?

What if we the individuals would take note of what’s going on on the earth? What if we elected candidates who would vote in insurance policies, funding, and legal guidelines that introduced us peace and prosperity as a result of different peoples and nations would regard us as pals and helpers? Some say that is simplistic naiveté.

Yeah? How did that struggle on the Taliban go for us? How did it work out when Dick Cheney acquired Saudi Arabia to host U.S. troops in Gulf Warfare I, setting off the Wahabi/bin Laden rage that culminated a decade in a while Sept. 11, 2001?

Sorry, struggle defenders. Your concepts of peace by invasion and occupation are the true naïve ones.

Tom H. Hastings is the coordinator of Battle Decision diploma applications and certificates at Portland State College and PeaceVoice senior editor.