"As far as the Americans were concerned, the Iraqi people were sub-human, untermenschen. You could almost split the Americans into two groups: ones who were complete crusaders, intent on killing Iraqis, and the others who were in Iraq because the Army was going to pay their college fees."– Ben Griffin, former SAS soldier.
"They make a desert, and they call it peace." — Publius Tacitus, De vita et moribus Iulii Agricolae
So another September 11th has come and gone. The most recent marks the eight year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
In the USA, Sept. 11th has been designated "Patriot Day" by the American government. It’s a kind of memorial day for the nearly 3000 people killed.
All US flags are mandated to fly at half-staff, and Americans are supposed to observe a moment of silence at 8:46 AM EST, the moment when the first airliner hit the World Trade Center in 2001.
The media broadcasts its tributes.
And patriotic Americans wave their flags.
But for all its nationalistic piety, this "Patriot Day" is completely misnamed. It should be called Propaganda Day.
Because Sept. 11th served as the political pretext for the USA and its allies to launch a global war of conquest based upon lies and deceit.
Without the "new Pearl Harbor" that was 9/11, there would be no Western invasion of Afghanistan and no invasion of Iraq. No Abu Ghraib torture and no Gitmo Gulag. No Patriot Act and no Homeland Security. No "Long War" that will supposedly last decades.
In short, there would no War on Terror in general.
But the most Orwellian thing?
That would be the deception that the Anglo-American "War on Terrorism" is actually about fighting terrorism, when it clearly is not. Then there are those nagging questions about the events of 9/11 itself, which have been relegated to the realm of "conspiracy theory" by the Mainstream media and society.
All told, this Western-led war has murdered well over a million people, maimed countless more, displaced greater numbers as refugees, and destroyed entire nations in everything but name.
Afghani child turned into NATO "collateral damage."
In Afghanistan, over 1000 civilians have been killed in the first half of 2009 alone, according to a UN report. This is up over 24% since the same period in 2008.
One of the latest atrocities committed by NATO forces was the air strike in Kunduz, where at least 90-100 Afghanis were killed in early Sept. 2009. Some of these people were incinerated alive when German troops called in F-15 missile strikes on fuel tankers below.
This is nothing new.
This latter crime is similar to the sexual exploitation perpetrated by the infamous US "military contractor" company Blackwater (now rebranded as Xe) in Iraq. Only in the Blackwater case, the victims were Iraqi children. Thus, sworn statements by former employees "describe Blackwater as 'having young girls provide oral sex to Enterprise members in the 'Blackwater Man Camp’ in exchange for one American dollar.’"
These things are but a drop in the ocean and do not even include the 2001 Mazar-i-Sharif Massacre in which American troops are said to have tortured and killed 3000 Taliban POWs:
One Afghan, shown in battle fatigues, says of the treatment of prisoners in the Shibarghan camp: "I was a witness when an American soldier broke one prisoner’s neck and poured acid on others. The Americans did whatever they wanted. We had no power to stop them."
Another Afghan soldier states, "They cut off fingers, they cut tongues, they cut their hair and cut their beards. Sometimes they did it for pleasure; they took the prisoners outside and beat them up and then returned them to the prison. But sometimes they were never returned and they disappeared, the prisoner disappeared. I was there."
And still, this doesn’t begin to address the historic crime that has been committed by the Coalition of the Willing against Iraq–where Iraqi dead number over 1 .3 million, with 4.5 million displaced from their homes (or 1 out of every 6 Iraqis), 1-2 million widowed, another 5 million orphaned, and depleted uranium poisoning the land.
They’re all part of the crime of the century.
Meanwhile, most citizens of the self-styled Free World can barely stifle a disinterested yawn, rousing only to complain that the war is no longer worth fighting because of the high cost in blood and treasure … for themselves.
Commenting about the Roman Empire, the great historian Tacitus once wrote, "To ravage, to slaughter, to usurp under false titles, they call empire; and where they make a desert, they call it peace."
For our times, his insight is just as relevant, but it must updated for the Anglo-American Empire of today: "To ravage, to slaughter, to usurp under false titles, they call democracy; and where they make a wasteland, they call it freedom."
Larry Yu is a writer and activist involved with Asian American and antiwar issues in the USA.