Sunday 10 September 2006

All warfare is based on deception

That fateful day

Let us really break this war on terror down into its fundamentals and understand what really happened to us after the ninth day of September 2001.

A number of foreigners mostly of Saudi origin had over months before the attack been learning how to fly planes in flying schools in America, a rather expensive hobby to have but generally inconspicuous as part of a terror plan.

The important thing was that they had already gained access to America and when they regrouped, they boarded planes that were flying inter-state in America; none were intercontinental because they wanted to wreak havoc on American soil.

On that fateful morning, they hijacked four planes, two flew into the twin towers, one into the Pentagon, the fourth which probably was on its way to the Capitol or the White House crash-landed in Pennsylvania with the convenience of the talk of heroism from passengers and crew of the plane than the possible shooting down of the same on authority of the American government.

The words leading to war

This tragedy of that day left 2,973 dead and 24 declared missing a majority of who were Americans. The President first made a broadcast to the nation that day to comfort the American People, prioritise the issues of rescue, help and succour, then stressed the need to return to normalcy in families, in the federal agencies and financial markets – This was the beginning of the making of the Bush presidency.

Nine days on, on the 20th of September 2001, the President addressed a Joint Session of Congress and the American People outlining a number of points, the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security to be run by the governor of the state where the fourth plane crash landed – Tom Ridge, he also demanded that the Taliban hand over all terrorists of the Al Qaeda clique and give Americans access to all terrorist training camps in Afghanistan to ensure they was not one terrorist left in Afghanistan. This is a thinly veiled sovereignty issue on analysis.

Picking at a the speech

The speech was a rallying call and the sounding of defiance in the light of this atrocious attack and a number of quotes stand out in the speech.

Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen”. They are still ongoing and the cost now exceeds the number of lives lost on American soil, but that does not matter, they have been lost in foreign lands fighting terror.

What is expected of us? I ask you to live your lives, and hug your children”. However, we would change your lives with the doctrine of fear and threat to emasculate your freedoms and liberties – thinking aloud.

I ask you to uphold the values of America, and remember why so many have come here. We are in a fight for our principles, and our first responsibility is to live by them”. Does this cover Guantanamo Bay, Extraordinary Rendition and CIA Secret Prisons or Unwarranted Surveillance? – Thinking aloud, again.

“But this country will define our times, not be defined by them. As long as the United States of America is determined and strong, this will not be an age of terror”. Speak volumes without need for additional commentary.

A date in Kabul

It was obvious when the Taliban at first did not respond to the President’s demands on religious grounds and then vacillated about giving up Osama bin Laden and even offered to extradite him to some neutral state, they sincerity was suspect and there was no further recourse than to go to war to capture the leaders of Al Qaeda and punish the Taliban.

In general, global opinion was on the side of America to seek the annihilation of Al Qaeda and consummate regime change where the Taliban had become a totalitarian theocracy without any of the trappings of 20th Century civilisation and a handbook of rules that would have made the Spanish Inquisition look like a kindergarten finger-painting class.

That war ended without the capture of Osama bin Laden of Al Qaeda or Mullah Mohammed Omar of the Taliban, they are still at large 5 years on, they are definitely America’s most wanted fugitives, and we have more problems in the world than to confer on them the epithet of the World’s most wanted fugitives.

Now that we’ve done Afghanistan

The main success of the war in Afghanistan is the uprooting of the Taliban regime who recently have been in insurgency leading to a call from NATO for more troops and equipment.

A fragile democracy exists in Afghanistan but that regime hardly has full control of its territorial limits and in many areas warlords run autonomous and tyrannical leadership over their local citizenry – it can hardly be called a roaring success.

Besides, the war dispersed both Taliban and Al Qaeda personnel who could have crossed into the tribal lands of Waziristan in Pakistan.

The prime objective of the Bush administration from the onset was to prevent another attack on American soil at all costs and this is how that was executed.

The American People would have required that the Taliban be defeated in Afghanistan that was accomplished, however, to be able to fight terrorists overseas rather than in America, a staging ground is required to concentrate terrorist manpower and resources.

Seeking a new terrorist haven

Afghanistan could no more be engaged as a host to that scenario, Pakistan had aligned with America in their war on terror so they were exempt, Iran had a kind of reformist regime and engaging them would have been inflammatory. However, there was unfinished business in Iraq, as it transpired the decision to attack Iraq was probably made within 2 days of 9/11.

In principle, if America were to attack Iraq on the basis of the pre-emptive war doctrine, or under the supporters of terrorism collective blanket and the weapons of mass destruction pretext, they would have carte blanche to run over the country, however, one unforeseen consequence is that it has now become a cauldron of terrorism with Americans engaged to dealing with an Iraqi insurgency and a thriving Al Qaeda murder machine.

It should then not be surprising that American soil has not been attacked since 9/11, there is no need to; the terrorists are still killing Americans as well as innocent Iraqis in Iraq. Iraqis have paid a larger price moving from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein to a pseudo-civil war where probably over 40,000 lives have been lost.

The supposed sham of a democracy that they have would require the strong arm of coalition support for years to come, the jury is out on if this experiment of democratising the Middle East would work, at least Vladimir Putin pointed said in the presence of Mr Bush in July, Russia does not want that kind of democracy. No country should aspire to that kind of democracy either.

What lies did for Iraq

Three and a half years into the war in Iraq the death toll continues to rise and this situation did not temper the resolve of America and Britain to restrain Israel from another loss of 1,000 Lebanese and 150 Israeli people due to American policies over the 5 years.

We now learn like we all knew before that Saddam Hussein had no links with Al Qaeda, no Al Qaeda operative met with any Iraqi official, there were no weapons of mass destruction, Iraq was not building a nuclear bomb and neither had they ordered yellow cake from Niger.

Mr Bush contends that Saddam Hussein was aiding suiciders (sic), let us review that issue again, suicide bombers having committed their atrocities in Israeli towns were identified, then Israel instituted a collective punishment policy of destroying the homes of property of the suicide bomber’s survivors.

In some cases, these suicide bombers owned nothing, but this punishment as a result of their act brought loss, anguish and destitution on their family and relations. There probably is a case for considering this act a deterrent, but conversely it can also be an effective recruitment tool for a new terrorist.

What Saddam Hussein did was to compensate those who had suffered loss for the actions of others and probably they were not in anyway culpable and were entirely innocent, whilst some might twist that into sponsoring terrorism, it could be argued that this was preventing the suffering of innocent people and the creation of a vengeance syndrome.

The premise of war

As Sun Tzu, the Chinese mathematician says in The Art of War on military strategy – “All warfare is based on deception” – Iraq is no less an example of how we have been lied to, cajoled, hoodwinked, robbed and disposed by evidence that turns out to be false at best and fabricated at worst.

Mr Bush and Mr Blair already have their places in history; it is unlikely they would be treated kindly when we look at the big picture of the New World Order in the 21st Century.

References - Senators: CIA dismissed Saddam-al Qaeda ties before war

Saddam 'had no link to al-Qaeda'

Senate: Saddam saw al-Qaida as threat

A dossier of lies to pursue the Iraqi war

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