Here is an old piece I wrote shortly after the first reports of Osama bin Laden’s death.
So Osama bin Laden is dead, apparently. America and its allies have scored a Great Victory, apparently. America, with the largest military budget in the world, has taken ten inept years to finally get its revenge for 9/11. And all it took was a war that caused the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent Afghanis at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars.
By far the most disturbing element of the last decade is the way in which the mainstream media has rarely questioned why 9/11 happened. Instead it has been fixated on the details of the War on Terror, for the most part never questioning whether the War on Terror actually does prevent terrorism. The question we should ask is: has martyring Osama bin Laden made any difference at all?
It is quite clear why 19 terrorists hijacked planes and flew them into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon; all that is required is to read what they themselves have told us of their motivations. Osama bin Laden gave us the clearest account of why 9/11 happened:
[I]t had never occurred to us to strike the towers. But after… we witnessed the oppression and tyranny of the American/Israeli coalition against our people in Palestine and Lebanon… Destruction is freedom and democracy, while resistance is terrorism and intolerance.This means the oppressing and embargoing to death of millions as Bush Sr did in Iraq in the greatest mass slaughter of children mankind has ever known. So with these images and their like as their background, the events of September 11th came as a reply to those great wrongs.
These were the expressed grievances that led to the tragedy of 9/11. Yet as the sycophantic high-fives for America and the Obama administration flow in, the greatest tragedy of all is that the reasons why 9/11 happened have not been addressed. In fact, Islamic terrorists are now more likely than ever to attack America. The Afghanistan and Iraq wars, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo – these have not made the world a safer place for America and its allies.
Make no mistake, there will be a second 9/11 – and a third, fourth and fifth. There will be as many 9/11s as there needs to be before the United States ceases to support Israel’s smashing and slaughter of Palestinians, puts an end to propping up conveniently-oil-producing dictatorships like Saudi Arabia, and stops interfering in the Middle East. I for one am terrified what a fear-palsied American public will allow their Government to get away with when it is made blindingly obvious that killing Osama bin Laden has achieved not a jot of good. The underlying reasons for 9/11 remain the same. America, however, has changed – for the worse. Since 9/11, the U.S. Government has suspended habeas corpus for suspected terrorists and enacted the Patriot Act which, among other things, legalizes wiretapping of its own citizens.
We need to get away from dismissing al-Qaeda and Islamic terrorist organizations as ‘religious extremists’. That is not the full story. To disregard them like this is to eliminate the possibility of rational dialogue, to reduce the enemy to mad evil machines that cannot be dissuaded and must be destroyed. They, like all terrorists, have turned to violence because they face an overwhelmingly powerful enemy (America) and have no peaceful, political recourse. Their violence is not primarily religious but political, though it is couched in Islamic eschatology. I agree for the most part with Osama bin Laden’s criticisms of American evils, just not with how he went about seeking to redress those. Saying that, before we condemn al-Qaeda for 9/11 we should bear in mind we have never been on the receiving end of America, save for its many unwatchable movies and pop “music”.
More alarming than the spastic death throes of the dying American empire is what the fallout of a continuing War on Terror will mean for Australia. Like Hitler’s girlfriend, we will stay with America to the cyanide end. It can therefore be reasonably expected that we willbecome an increasingly attractive target for terrorists. It doesn’t take an oracle to foresee public support for the rollback of our civil liberties exploding once we are attacked by terrorists. It is also obvious when this happens that we will ratchet up our efforts in the War on Terror, meaning more Australian boots on the ground in far-flung hellholes. The inevitable mistakes our soldiers will make, like the 5 Afghani children Australian soldiers killed in February 2009, can only serve to foment greater anti-Australian sentiment and increase the likelihood of more bloodshed on Australia soil. This is going to be a downward spiral of abridgments of freedom and Australian military action in foreign countries. Welcome to the vortex.
It doesn’t have to happen like this. The fact remains that we in Australia live in a free and open democracy and, ultimately, the Government must respond to the concerns we articulate. As a public, as a people, we ought to do everything short of violence to get our troops out of Afghanistan and this doomed Americanjihad. If America insists on continuing to wage its War on Terror, Australia should chuck a sickie. The War on Terror can only escalate from here. Killing Osama bin Laden changed nothing. Like sawing the top off a shotgun, killing the head of al-Qaeda only means things are going to get uglier.