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The Next 9/11: coming soon.

I can still remember the morning of September 11, 2001, as if it were yesterday. A close friend and then-housemate of mine, who knew me and my sleeping habits very well, woke me up substantially earlier than he would have normally done on any other day. He knew better than most that I liked to sleep through most of the morning; I still prefer to.

"You have to get up." He said to me.

I started to grumble, but there was something in his eyes I had never seen before. I couldn't quite put my finger on what it could've been, but his seriousness startled me. After just those 5 words, he left again.

"What the hell could be so important..." I muttered to myself as I staggered, in my morning haze, out from my bedroom to the common room that was centrally located for the 6 of us who were sharing the accomodation. In that room and those that ajoined it, there were a total of five televisions (I was the only one who was unable to provide one, unlike the five lads I lived with). Every one was turned on, every one was on a different channel, and every one was showing the exact same thing.

The image was one that has since been permanently burned into my memory. There stood the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. In one there was a gaping hole, a hole the size of a very (very) large building. Out of that hole poured a mass of black smoke.

I was horrified. It had only been a few days since I had received the developed photos from an April trip to The City, in which there were some spectacular vistas from the Ellis Island ferry of The Towers reflecting a bautiful sunset across lower Manhattan and Battery Park.

One of my housemates, from Manhattan, immediately made a phone call to his mother, who could see the events that unfolded next while watching from her balcony.

We all looked on in shocked disbelief as a plane, a large jet of the 727 or 737 variety from Boeing, flew directly into the other tower. I lost my breath. No one spoke.

It seemed like an eternity of silence had passed when the second tower to be hit began to collapse, showering debris over nearly all of Lower Manhattan. At that moment the silence ended; people were rushing to phones to contact loved ones in the area, or emergency crews, or people they knew and trusted.

My phone began to ring: it was a call from another close friend, also from The City, whose mother had been in a car just up the street from the towers. As they went down, so did the largest mobile phone antenna in Manhattan, and as such mobile phones in the city summarily lost their signals. Her mother was just beside the towers, they collapsed, and the call ended; she was understandably in a panic.

The phone calls didn't end until I turned off the ringer of the phone at 11 that night. By that point, even MTV was broadcasting live news (for the whole day) from their Times Square TRL studio, with the famed Carson Daily playing anchorman/reporter. Stunned newscasters did their best to keep the world updated; government offices and universities were closed; many were evacuated. By the end of the day we were all still very much in shock.

When he made a televised statement late that day, the President echoed the feelings of most Americans. How could this happen to us? Why do they hate us?

The answer to that question is painfully obvious today. Less than 5 years since that horrendous act, the American government, through its actions, has more than assured that there will be a repeat of such an atrocity. They have done so by turning what was a global outpouring of support and empathy into a global wave of resentment and rage.

Since 9/11, The American Government has flattened 2 countries, killed tens of thousands of innocent civilians, interned and tortured thousands of young men, marginalised basic human rights, displayed a contempt for democracy and freedom (while simultaneously professing a love for democracy and freedom), marginalised basic human dignity, taken away personal freedoms and begun an Orwellian campaign to snuff out independent thought and rational views. They have committed unspeakable atrocities, and gone out of their way to ensure that those responsible go unpunished. All the while, they claim that all of these actions are being carried out as part of a global "War on Terror."

Why There Will Be Another Terrorist Atrocity Against America

There is an inherent human desire to see that things are put right, that justice has been served. Especially for those who are the victims, or the relatives or relations of victims, of acts of violence; we must know that those responsible have been punished.

After September 11th, Americans were told (without any evidence being provided) that their leaders were certain that those responsible were hiding in the arab nation of Afghanistan. They were served their revenge, or their punishment for those responsible, as we all watched the nation of Afghanistan be flattened to the ground. Somewhat understandably, the American media did not give much (if any) coverage to the average Afghani, who did not support those responsible for the 9/11 attack, losing their home or their lives; the american media naturally focused on what was important to Americans, that those responsible (or those viewed as responsible, or those viewed as helping those responsible) for the attack be punished.

What happened next was an act of near-criminal lunacy, from the standpoint of attempting to genuinely fight a "War on Terror." Those in charge in america summarily decided that, due to a less-than-perfect past relationship and a virtual gold mine of resources, the soverign nation of Iraq was also to be attacked.

That action, in addition to actions taken in the first war supposedly fought as part of this larger "war on terror," has been executed in such a manner as to ensure that people will be filled with so much hatred and rage towards America that they will be left no recourse but to attack, by any means necessary or available, American institutions, territories, and American Citizens. I find this absolutely horrendous.

September 11th broke my heart. People I had known, brave men who served in the Police Department and Fire Department of New York, lost their lives trying to do the right thing in a terrible situation: trying to save civilian lives. Their memories have been disrespected to the utmost by an administration that has enacted policies that lead to egregious loss of civilian life. I find that insulting beyond words.

Most disturbingly, the Bush Administration has enacted policies that all but ensure that, at some point in the not-too-distant-future, we will revisit the pain of the Ninth of September, Two-Thousand-and-One.

"Those responsible" for the attack, namely the Al-Qaida network's Bin Ladin and his associates, had this to say about why they carried out the attack:

"America is facing today is something very little of what we have tasted for decades. Our nation, since nearly 80 years is tasting this humility. Sons are killed, and nobody answers the call."

His (Bin Ladin, representing Al Qaida) anger was in relation to actions carried out by, or supported by, the American government, specifically in relation to Iraq (sanctions regime/ first Iraq war), Palesine and Lebanon (American-supported actions by Israel with American-provided military equipment), and even went back so far as to mention America's use of Nuclear Weapons against Japan in the second world war.

He explained that America had not been made to pay for its "war crimes," and as such he (and his network) would be the ones to take it on themselves to punish America.

That is an important point to note. It was American actions against civilians that were Bin Ladin's justification for the September 11th attacks. The number of things he referred to was a bit sparse in the statements that were released after September 11th, especially as it related to Americans attacking Muslims.

The American government has committed unspeakable acts, or encouraged/ allowed unspeakable acts to be carried out in their name, over the past five years. These acts engender rage, which leads people to want America to be punished. Those responsible are not being punished. It is logical to assume then, that if a small amount of support for Al-Qaida led to 9/11, then the rage against america prevalent today will lead to individuals subscribing to Al-Qaida's anti-american ideals will lead to increasing support and recruitment for them, and in turn an even larger more deadly 9/11 at some point in the near future.

For any Americans out there who still don't understand where I'm coming from, try thinking about it this way.

Imagine, for a moment, that a video surfaced of foreigners going around an American city shooting at random people. A video like the one below.

Now try to imagine how you would feel if you found out that absolutely nothing was going to happen to punish those responsible. Such as below:

"The U.S. military has concluded its investigation into a video that appeared to show private security contractors shooting at civilian vehicles driving on highways in Iraq and determined that no one involved will be charged with a crime, a military spokesman in Baghdad said."

Would that not make you really, really angry at the country responsible for bringing those people into your country, turning them loose, then ensuring that they would not be punished for their horrendous (using civilians for target practice) actions? Would you, perhaps, then turn to someone who was talking tough and promising action be taken against those responsible?

Or how about if a foreign military invaded America, then flattened entire towns, villages, and cities with carpet bombing, then proceeded to engage in the practice of executing civilians. Imagine if you saw a photo of a man holding the mangled corpse of a young child, and then you were told that those responsible for dropping the bomb that caused this
committed such an act for your own good (it was an attack on Zarqawi supporters! we swear!), and as such told you that you should thank them for having done so. Would that not insult your intelligence and lead you to contemplate ways to get back at these people for their murderous policies and justifications for them?

Or how about if a foreign military went house to house in an American city and killed the men, women, and children inside, numbering in the end nearly 25. Then lets say that representatives of those murderers started coming up with excuses and justifications for such a slaughter: one of their friends died, and they "snapped," or the bullets were fired into the rooms full of innocent people as "clearing rounds," or that the people riding in a taxi by the scen who were dragged out of their car and executed in the street were "suspected militants," and you began to realise that those responsible would get away with their crime. Would you not want to punish those responsible for allowing people to murder your countrymen?

Or how about if that military was responsible for additional such attacks and murders? If they were, as a matter of practice, breaking into homes and executing those inside, and that their superiors were saying that they "found no wrongdoing on the part of the troops." Would you not want to see those responsible punished? Or if the lives of your fellow countrymen were dismissed as "collateral" would that not anger and upset you?

Then, try to imagine seeing a video of murderous soldiers celebrating their slaughter of civilians through song; all laughing and cheering at the concept of murdering children, and at the concept of categorising an entire religion as terrorists (it was "communists" for the Nazis, it's "terrorists" for americans today), and making a big joke of your pain and suffering. Would that anger you?

Or, if your fellow countrymen were being taken from their homes and locked in prison without being charged with a crime. Then they were being humiliated and tortured during their internment. (I, for one, can say what kind of effect such policies have had in the past, in Ireland. They led to 20 years of bloodshed.) Imagine if you saw a foreign army doing this to your countrymen, to your people:

And then imagine if you found out that only about 10% of those responsible for such actions had been punished, and even they had only received a slap on the wrist. Would that not make you feel as though those responsible for these de-humanising practices were essentially telling you to fuck off, and that those who would commit such acts are to be left to continue to do so?

Imagine if these events kept repeating themselves again and again, and that those responsible were not being punished. At a certain point, wouldn't you eventually feel the need to take it into your own hands to see that those responsible are made to pay for their crimes?

Such actions incite rage. They make people want to go after those responsible. They increase recruitment and support for groups like Al-Qaida. They will eventually lead to more brutal attacks against american civilians.

The next time America is attacked by terrorists, no-one in America has the right to say "Why do they hate us?"

For more:

Osama Bin Ladin Speeches, Broadcast October 2001

US-led "war on terror" is increasing the risk of terrorist attacks and distracting governments from greater threats to global security such as climate change

The Price of Impunity from HRW
Abu-Ghraib is only the Tip of the Iceberg from HRW

This is only just scratching the surface of the number of examples of rage-engendering policies pursued by the U.S. government that will logically lead to attacks against america.

Those who would seek to commit terrorist attacks against those responsible (and those who help those responsible, or allow those responsible to continue committing these atrocities: I'm talking to you Europe) will likely do so because they feel there has been no justice served, that those responsible have not been appropriately punished.

$2500 was given to the families of those killed (the "collateral damage") by the recent american bombings. That's insulting to the families.

Those responsible for abuse of detainees, by a large margin, have not been sufficiently punished.

Those responsible, in the U.S. administration, for creating, allowing, or encouraging these policies have not been brought to justice.

The world needs justice. The International Criminal Court, War Crimes Tribunal, and national courts systems exist for a reason. Those responsible need to be punished the right way, before we are all punished the wrong way.

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