The late Egyptian novelist Zuhair al-Shaieb, who by himself translated the encyclopedia “Description of Egypt,” wrote a short story in which a farmer had a patch of land bordered by weeds. He brought in dirt from the landfill and cut off the weeds’ access to water. The move succeeded, and the weeds yellowed and dried. But at night the wind swept up the dry plants and scattered them into the good patch. As a result, the weeds supplanted the vegetation.
Such a simple and eloquent story symbolizes the 13th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001 in New York and Washington. It is the event that marked the beginning of the third millennium, when the world changed dramatically. The neoconservatives who ruled the White House and the advisers in control at the Pentagon used the events to launch the “Enduring Freedom” campaign in which they invaded first Afghanistan then Iraq, while cajoling and intimidating us with the slogan, “If you’re not with us, you’re against us.”
Why was the saying fashionable on the lips of American officials and spokesmen for the State Department, White House and Department of Defense? Because the United States promised to do whatever it would take to support its allies and make the world a better place? Has the world become any safer?
The U.S. responded to its wounded dignity and went to war without the consent of the United Nations and outside the framework of international law. It was a costly revenge, including military spending, as well as the heavy loss of lives of civilians and soldiers in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.
America’s image was sacrificed, in addition to international laws, as the U.S. committed human rights atrocities, including secret prisons, egregious torture in Guantanamo Bay and shameful spying even on its own people.
The American war on terror, within the framework of Operation Enduring Freedom, not only did not make the world safer but has also made terrorism more rampant: an attack in Britain and two in Spain, as well as those in India, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Kenya, the Egyptian Sinai, Libya, Tunisia, Niger, Mali, Nigeria and Indonesia.
The most dangerous new strain of terrorism was born and raised by the world’s panic. Meanwhile, the United States has again begun talks for an international alliance similar to that of 2001 to counter the Islamic State radicals controlling parts of Syria and Iraq, who have a lot of money, attract foreign fighters from Western countries and can travel to the West unhindered.
The former British chief of staff, General David Richard, described the Islamic State as seasoned, making their predecessors look like “young scouts.” He added similarly in regards to an earlier quote by U.S. President Barack Obama that the Islamic State has “grown and is no longer a JV team.”
Regardless of the conspiracy theories of 9/11, which killed nearly 3,000 people in the United States, U.S. retaliation killed more American soldiers, along with their allies in Afghanistan and Iraq. So when it comes to numbers, why does the American administration, captive to its brutal capitalist system, not take into account the 30,000 Americans who fall victim to the right to bear arms?