Thursday, April 26 , 2018, 3:34 am | Fog 51º

 
 
 

Robert Scheer: 9/11 Unleashed American Barbarism

In blind retaliation, we wreaked havoc on Iraq and continue to slaughter peasants in Afghanistan

What if eight years ago the World Trade Center had been leveled by a small nuclear bomb that took out most of lower Manhattan, as well? How many millions of innocent civilians would we have killed in retaliation? Would we still be a free society, or would then-Vice President Dick Cheney have attained the power of a demented king, having moved on from snooping on our phone calls and outing honest CIA agents to destroying the last vestiges of the rule of law?

Robert Scheer
Robert Scheer

As assaults on a society go, the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, which left 3,000 dead and are sure to be described in this anniversary week as being among the greatest of historical outrages, were something less than that, given the world’s experience with the ravages of war.

The countless Russians and the 6 million Jews killed by those so finely educated Germans come to mind. The 3.4 million Vietnamese, mostly rice farmers, whom Robert McNamara admitted to having helped kill with his carpet-bombing of their country, are a forgotten footnote. Yet we who have never experienced such carnage on our home front all too easily poke out tens of thousands of eyes for each lost one of our own.

Surely two planes crashing into office buildings and another hitting the Pentagon doesn’t compare to the leveling of every major city in Japan with conventional bombing, capped off by the mass murder of hundreds of thousands more at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Speaking of eyes lost, mark the words of Hiroshima’s mayor two years ago: “That fateful summer, 8:15 a.m. The roar of a B-29 breaks the morning calm. A parachute opens in the blue sky. Then suddenly, a flash, an enormous blast — silence — hell on Earth. The eyes of young girls watching the parachute were melted.”

We assumed that the Japanese people would readily forgive us, and having been raised in the spirit of total obedience to their emperor, they accommodated our occupation quite well, even injecting industrial-grade silicon into their women’s breasts to satisfy the erotic appetites of our soldiers.

Americans who blithely claim the moral high ground with every pledge of allegiance to a flag that, because it is American, is assumed to have never been sullied by imperial greed or moral contradiction expect no less than instant and full forgiveness for our “mistakes.” Only last month, four decades after he led the massacre of 500 villagers in My Lai, Vietnam, did former Army Lt. William Calley express “regret” for his crimes. He served no time in prison for the point-blank shooting of toddlers, thanks to the commutation of his sentence by President Richard Nixon, who might have been anticipating his own need for a presidential pardon.

In blind and wrathful retaliation for Sept. 11, we wreaked havoc on Iraq, a nation that our then-president knew had not attacked us, and we continue to slaughter peasants in Afghanistan who aren’t able to find Manhattan on a map.

We, a people whose nation has never suffered a long and widespread occupation, easily gave vent to our most barbaric impulses, assuming the absolute right to arrest and torture anyone anywhere in the world without revealing his identity, let alone respecting a single one of those God-given rights that we claim for ourselves alone. And even when we identify the few we hold responsible for the attacks on our soil, we refuse them public and fair trials even after years of torturing them.

But we do have a saving grace for our experiment in democracy — although unfortunately it did not exist in the Supreme Court or Congress as a barrier to an imperial vice presidency. It is the power of the lone whistle-blower of conscience, occasionally given voice in what remains of our free press and which can influence presidential elections, as happened quite dramatically this last time around.

There are those like Joe Wilson, who exposed presidential fraud masquerading as national security concern over bogus Iraqi purchases of uranium from Niger, and more recently the truth-telling of Ali H. Soufan, a former FBI agent and lead interrogator of terrorists.

In Sunday’s New York Times, Soufan, who was involved in obtaining much reliable information from prisoners before they were tortured, observed that the recently released memos cited by Cheney to back his argument that torture was efficient actually “fail to show that the techniques stopped even a single imminent threat of terrorism.”

So, Cheney is again proved wrong, but if there had been a larger attack on Sept. 11, I doubt whether many free souls would be around now to tell him so.

TruthDig.com editor in chief Robert Scheer‘s new book is The Pornography of Power: How Defense Hawks Hijacked 9/11 and Weakened America. Click here for more information. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.


Maestro, Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover, Debit

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >