By Jan Oberg
September 11, 2018
Today marks the 17th anniversary of what could be called the most counter-productive, if not stupid, war in modern history: The Global War On Terror, GWOT.
Today that war is much much more dangerous to the world and its future than the terrorists it allegedly aims to hunt down. And it has caused thousands of times more suffering, death and destruction than September 11 did.
As yu’ll see below – the image above and below – the U.S. has been able to market itself as the innocent victim – which it isn’t. While countries and peoples who have been innocent victims and to a much larger extent do not have similar resources and control over the media narratives told worldwide.
We’ve heard a lot about “9/11” and that is only right, it was a terrible crime.
But why don’t you remember, equally well at least, “10/7” (US-led war on Afghanistan 2001) or “3/20” (US-led war on Iraq 2003) or “3/19” (NATO-led war on Libya 2011) or 4/7 (US bombing of Syria 2017 with military involvement beginning already 2011)?
Right! – these wars were not branded to create sympathy for victims. On the contrary.
The war on terror was wrong from Day One. It’s not a war on terrorism but on terrorists which is as smart as trying to fight all diseases by killing all patients.
And it’s a war fought without any consideration of the one big question: Why did they do it and why do they do it? Media and politics only asking: Who did it? How was it done? Where? How to respond? Never the Why question? Because that question would raise to issues: Could they have a point? (not defending their methods but understanding their motivations) and did we ourselves do anything to provoke such feeling in other peoples and religions?
Without an intelligent, comprehensive diagnosis of 9/11, it could only go wrong. And it has. And it will.
The next problem was that ‘terrorism’ was suddenly defined by states as anything non-state that threatens society and states. Governments and the UN (which consists of them) conveniently omitted terrorism as a term for what states do and have done on a regular basis and on a much larger scale. Such as the nuclear balance of terror, a term that was delibreately taken out of the political vocabulary because it indicarted and important truth: that states practise terror.
About 400 people were killed annually and worldwide before 9/11 according to US State Department statistics – which, by the way, was discontinued stopped in 2004 when figures soared after the War On Terror gained momentum.
However, according to the 2015 Global Terror Index – the number is now 32,000 – and the far majority killed outside the West. So, the problem has increased exactly 80 times(!)
And the Western leaders who continue this war has no idea about how to stop it or do something more productive and intelligent. Primitive tit-for-tat and disproportional responses has substituted what was once called statesmanship.
And it was predictable that such an almost anti-intellectual approach would be a fiasco!
Many both inside and outside the U.S. came up with different diagnoses, prognoses and proposals for responses to the cruel attacks on Washington and New York. So did TFF Associates. Below you’ll find just a selection of articles in English (we also wrote in Scandinavian languages and spoke in radio and television interviews) – posted within the first three months after 9/11 and then later).
We make them available for those who care about the world, about terrorism and for those who also have the moral courage to ask: How come that small independent organisations often predict the future much better than huge “intelligence” agencies, state research institutes and private so-called think tanks with multi-billion dollar budgets?
The answer is found in the question: independence, free exploration and free thinking. The opposite of the group think and political correctness that characterise most state- and corporate-financed research.
And why did – and do – media listen to those who advocated a violent response and to the masters of successive wars on Afghanistan or “10/7″, on Iraq or “3/20″ and on Libya and Syria – and drone warfare?
Further, why did virtually none of the larger media listen to any of those of us who argued in favour of a political self-reflection and a response to 9/11 in accordance with international law, ethics and the common good worldwide?
And why are all the leaders of the global War On Terror that has brought unspeakable suffering to the world and killed so many innocent people still at large?
An image illustration
Finally an illustration of the 9/11 propaganda machine that – mistakenly – is supposed to be helpful to the West:
The picture on top of this article is what you get by using a search engine for “September 11 – images”.
Below is what you get when you search “October 7 – images” – the day the US started the war on Afghanistan.
Clearly, you are supposed to remember one and forget the other – and so too the wars on and destruction of Iraq, Libya and Syria. No sympathy for the victims there – of our wars – and no empathy with the asylum seekers and the refugees from these regions.
Here is the selection of relevant TFF articles over the years:
Rocio Campos, September 12, 2001
Wisdom needed to avoid a bigger war
Jonathan Power, September 12, 2001
For the arrogance of power America now pays a terrible price
Daisaku Ikeda, TFF associate, September 16 & 17, 2001
Initial perspectives on the terror – a plea for nonviolence
Peter Jarman, September 17, 2001
The terrorist attacks in the USA. A personal view
David Krieger, September 20, 2001
Reflections on the terrorist attacks
Jonathan Power, September 20, 2001
Is it possible for America to say ‘Sorry’?
Jan Oberg & Jorgen Johansen, September 25, 2001
Constructive thoughts two weeks after September 11
Richard Falk, September 27, 2001
A just response
Jonathan Power, September 30, 2001
Terrorism cannot be defeated by terrorism
Chaiwat Satha-Anand, October 1, 2001
Understanding terror and making the right choice
Radmila Nakarada with Miroslav Pejulic, October 1, 2001
The tragedy of a tragedy – global terrorism and repressive globalisation
Jonathan Power, October 3, 2001
A sensible, less militaristic, way is possible
Jan Oberg, October 9, 2001
Sweden and September 11
Daisaku Ikeda, 18 November, 2001
A spiritual response to September 11
Evelin Lindner, December 12, 2001
The lessons of humiliation
Johan Galtung, 19 February, 2002 but written during autumn 2001
September 11: Diagnosis, Prognosis and Therapy
Johan Galtung and Dietrich Fischer, September 6, 2002
To end terrorism, end state terrorism
Johan Galtung, June 18, 2002
September 11 – October 7, 2001 and its aftermath: Three discourses
Jan Oberg, May 3, 2002
Three minutes silence for the dead in Afghanistan and three other peacemaking suggestions
Christian Harleman & Jan Oberg, June 7, 2002
A U.S. war against Iraq must be prevented now
Jan Oberg, April 2, 2003
Losing all three wars on Iraq
Jan Oberg, September 11, 2003
11 things to remember on September 11
Jan Oberg, September 10, 2006
September 11 Five Years: 9 problems, 11 solutions
Jan Oberg, February 26, 2015
Terrorism – small dot in the larger picture
TFFs Associates publish about 200 analytical articles per year, so literally thousands since September 12, 2001 – on 9/11 itself and the War On Terror, on Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, drone wars etc. – all available at our two sites – TFF’s Old homepage and TFF’s former until 2018.
We continue addressing these issue here at The Transnational, our homepage-magazine that was launched on january 1, 2018.
The Global War On Terror is self-defeating for the West
One – increasingly important – result of this war is the systematic undermining of democracy, human rights, freedom of expression etc. in the Western world – as well as an increase in all types of surveillance, monitoring and intrusions into our private lives and misuse of fearology as a main tool against one’s own population.
Scared people stop participating in their society and their democracy and turn to info-tainment and escapism.
Western taxpayers have financed this war now for 17 years. The only thing they got is a much dangerous and unfree world.
Perhaps it is time to do a mass boycott of tax money that goes to war in your country? And let those who want to continue the War on Terror do so on the basis of voluntary contributions via crowd-funding?
In the long run, the War On Terror is likely to be more self- than other-defeating.
We are living in what Chris Hedges has recently called the new illiteracy, the post-literate society in which large segments of citizen can no longer distinguish between lies and truth. It won’t make it easier to stop the madness of the War On Terror – or the Western build-up to war with Russia for that matter – which both Stephen Cohen and Michael Klare and even former MI-6 agent, Alistair Crooke believe the world could be heading for thanks predominantly to the over-militarization of NATO countries and their hubris policies.
And why do I mention the new Cold War here at the end?
Because there is a connection. After the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, president Carter’s national security adviser Zbiegniew Brzezinski, got the great idea that the US should supply Stringer missiles to jihadists there and thus help them fight the Russians. So there is a connection at the beginning and today: the ongoing support by the West to some terrorist groups either directly or via allies such as Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and Turkey.
To put it crudely: that’s what Syria is also about and that is why there is only one Western mainstream narrative about that conflict and why that narrative has very very little to do with the much more complex reality. The West de facto supports terrorists – with propaganda, regime change policies, arms and ammunition, training etc. – under the narrative of fighting them.
One must therefore wonder how much of the War On Terror is actually a war on “our own” and what purpose, if any, that could possibly serve.
One of course would be to always conveniently have at hand a pretext for new bombings, occupations, secret forces and regime changes somewhere – in short a terrorism perpetuum mobile feeding on itself.
At least, that is, until the US Empire has vanished, NATO been closed down and the West accommodated to being a partner among equals in a future, more balanced and peaceful multi-polar world order.
May that day come sooner rather than later.
What about 3 minutes of silence for the victims of the Global War On Terror?
In short, the policies in the wake of 9/11 is the problem that we should address.
It’s time we wake up and see through 9/11, see through the fearological bluff it has been misused to create. The “re-action” to 9/11 is mega-terrorism and more harmful to the world – all of us – than whatever happened on 9/11 and whoever did it.
The event on 9/11 caused many to observe 3 minutes of silence. How many hours would we need in remembrance of the people killed in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria and other places for, literally, not one good reason?
This is a revised version of TFF PressInfo 388 from 2016.
9/11 was one of the most deadly examples of global terrorism. The whole world condemned that atrocity. A more farsighted policy, trying to discover the root-causes of Islamist terrorism which go back to the creation of the Mujahideen and the Taliban in Afghanistan to fight against Soviet forces that had attacked that country, and to the atrocities that were committed during the Desert Shield and Desert Storm campaigns against Iraq, could have helped get rid of the scourge of terrorism and would have saved millions of lives. Instead, the “war on terror” has created a number of failed states and has given rise to even more vicious forms of terrorism as we have seen in Syria and Iraq. Maybe even now it is not too late to start thinking of a global strategy that is based on cooperation and understanding, rather than on war and bloodshed.
Many thanks! I could – of course – not agree more. And, yes, we should work on a constructive counter-strategy and on something like dialogue-of-civilisations, but as long as major Western countries are addicted to militarism, I believe things have to get worse before somebody influential wakes up and begin to think and begin to stop this policy. And remember, that this war has also given governments unprecedented control over their citizens – in the name of protecting them (from the consequences of their own policies). It’s a very very sad situation for all, including the West itself which will be considered more and more grumpy and dangerous by virtually everybody else. And for good reasons… While Asia and BRICS and many others are building new road – including the new Silk Road – with a constructive vision (at least), the West only offers the world threats, sanctions, warfare, demonisation, trade war – and arms and ammunition to murky forces.