So what came before September 11?

Accord­ing to Jack Straw, in response to George Galloway’s quite reas­on­able point that the cow­ardly attacks on Afgh­anistan and Iraq increased the threat of ter­ror­ist attack in Bri­tain, “People have to remem­ber that 11 Septem­ber was in 2001 before the mil­it­ary action.” This cheap little chunk of self-deluded spin is an attempt to weave the story that the Septem­ber 11 attacks came out of the blue.

Such cheap spin con­veni­ently ignores the actions of West­ern gov­ern­ments before Septem­ber 11. It’s no secret that many of those glued to their tele­vi­sion screens on Septem­ber 11, 2001, were not only shocked (because the bombs were point­ing the other way for once) but also unsurprised.

You only have to read Osama bin Laden’s very own state­ment on why the Septem­ber 11 attacks took place to real­ise that the Septem­ber 11 attacks did not come out of the blue.

… we fight because we are free men who don’t sleep under oppres­sion. We want to restore free­dom to our nation, just as you lay waste to our nation. So shall we lay waste to yours.

I say to you, Allah knows that it had never occurred to us to strike the towers. But after it became unbear­able and we wit­nessed the oppres­sion and tyranny of the American/Israeli coali­tion against our people in Palestine and Lebanon, it came to my mind.

The events that affected my soul in a dir­ect way star­ted in 1982 when Amer­ica per­mit­ted the Israelis to invade Lebanon and the Amer­ican Sixth Fleet helped them in that. This bom­bard­ment began and many were killed and injured and oth­ers were ter­ror­ized and displaced.

I couldn’t for­get those mov­ing scenes, blood and severed limbs, women and chil­dren sprawled every­where. Houses des­troyed along with their occu­pants and high rises demol­ished over their res­id­ents, rock­ets rain­ing down on our home without mercy.

The situ­ation was like a cro­codile meet­ing a help­less child, power­less except for his screams. Does the cro­codile under­stand a con­ver­sa­tion that doesn’t include a weapon? And the whole world saw and heard but it didn’t respond.

In those dif­fi­cult moments many hard-to-describe ideas bubbled in my soul, but in the end they pro­duced an intense feel­ing of rejec­tion of tyranny, and gave birth to a strong resolve to pun­ish the oppressors.

And as I looked at those demol­ished towers in Lebanon, it entered my mind that we should pun­ish the oppressor in kind and that we should des­troy towers in Amer­ica in order that they taste some of what we tasted and so that they be deterred from killing our women and children.

And that day, it was con­firmed to me that oppres­sion and the inten­tional killing of inno­cent women and chil­dren is a delib­er­ate Amer­ican policy. 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, and it means the throw­ing of mil­lions of pounds of bombs and explos­ives at mil­lions of chil­dren – also in Iraq – as Bush Jr. did, in order to remove an old agent and replace him with a new pup­pet to assist in the pil­fer­ing of Iraq’s oil and other outrages.

So with these images and their like as their back­ground, the events of Septem­ber 11th came as a reply to those great wrongs, should a man be blamed for defend­ing his sanctuary?

Is defend­ing one­self and pun­ish­ing the aggressor in kind, objec­tion­able ter­ror­ism? If it is such, then it is unavoid­able for us.

This is the mes­sage which I sought to com­mu­nic­ate to you in word and deed, repeatedly, for years before Septem­ber 11th.

And you can read this, if you wish, in my inter­view with Scott in Time Magazine in 1996, or with Peter Arnett on CNN in 1997, or my meet­ing with John Weiner in 1998

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