Our Mystery Enemy
In my internet surfings during this week of the second anniversary of 9-11, I came across an interview given by Usamah binLaden to a Pakistani publication, Ummat, on Sept. 28, 2001.
It was interesting on two fronts. First, because Usamah denied that he or al-Qaidah had anything to do with the attacks. He stated, "I am thankful to the Ummat Group of Publications, which gave me the opportunity to convey my viewpoint to the people, particularly the valiant and Momin [true Muslim] people of Pakistan who refused to believe in the lie of the demon. I have already said that I am not involved in the 11 September attacks in the United States. As a Muslim, I try my best to avoid telling a lie. I had no knowledge of these attacks, nor do I consider the killing of innocent women, children, and other humans as an appreciable act. Islam strictly forbids causing harm to innocent women, children, and other people. Such a practice is forbidden even in the course of a battle. It is the United States, which is perpetrating every maltreatment on women, children, and common people of other faiths, particularly the followers of Islam. All that is going on in Palestine for the last 11 months is sufficient to call the wrath of God upon the United States and Israel."
He thought that perhaps it was the Jews or maybe the intelligence agencies, who needed an enemy to justify a large budget. It wasn't a problem while the Soviet Union was intact, "...but after that, the budget of these agencies has been in danger. They needed an enemy. So, they first started propaganda against Usamah and Taliban and then this incident happened."
The second point that struck me was that he had a better grasp of the ways propaganda was used than many Americans.
According to binLaden, "The Western media is unleashing such a baseless propaganda, which makes us surprised but it reflects on what is in their hearts and gradually they themselves become captive of this propaganda. They become afraid of it and begin to cause harm to themselves. Terror is the most dreaded weapon in the modern age and the Western media is mercilessly using it against its own people. It can add fear and helplessness in the psyche of the people of Europe and the United States. It means that what the enemies of the United States cannot do, its media is doing that."
There is tremendous insight in that statement. Terror is indeed a most dreaded and effective weapon. Adding fear and helplessness in our collective psyche is exactly what the White House propaganda machine systematically set out to do. Our media reinforced it.
BinLaden made that statement just a couple of weeks after 9-11. It would be interesting to know what he thought of the months of that same terror our own government heaped on us. Bush's speeches were geared to keeping us crippled by the grip of fear, as were repeated terror alerts. "What our enemies couldn't do...", binLaden said. Is our greatest enemy our own government?
If the perpetrators of 9-11 were indeed our intelligence agencies, it would certainly explain why Bush said finding Usamah was not a priority. If he were captured or killed, we would once again be without an enemy for us to focus on or give an importance to various agencies that would justify large budget expenditures.
Having a common enemy is the main principle of keeping a stable society, according to the Straussian Neo Cons, such as Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Libby, Perle, Abrams, and other senior officials and advisors holding key policy making positions in the Bush administration. According to Leo Strauss, the Neo Con guru who taught at the University of Chicago, a stable society depends on unity and men will only unite against an outside threat from a common enemy. If none exists, one must be manufactured. BinLaden certainly filled that bill, didn't he? Our fear of an outside threat of another attack like 9-11 allowed the government to wage two wars in 18 months to "keep us safe" and to alter the Constitution through the Patriot Act.
If a truly honest investigation of the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were carried out, would we find the insights of Usamah binLaden closer to the truth than the official story put forth by Bush et al, which is so full of holes and unanswered questions? If Usamah did carry out the attack, it would be out of character not to take credit for it and defeat its purpose of generating publicity as retaliation for perceived wrongs. But, . . . if not Usamah, . . . then who?