- The invasions took away exactly two and a half times more US lives than those lost on 9/11! “I don’t know why!” would have been the likely response of Sri Lanka’s famed singer late Sunil Perera!
- The object was war and wars as long as possible and not capturing the enemy that would lead to the US having to finish off the wars, to the detriment of the arms industry!
The world’s most powerful country, the United States remembered the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks last Saturday while Sri Lanka, supporting the remembrance, expressed solidarity with the US. Significantly, the truth that emerged from the post-9/11 wars; in terms of deaths, of refugees and of those who benefitted from the wars that the US-NATO launched in response to the attacks, are absolutely shocking when compared with the figures relating to 9/11!
Clearly the US-NATO counter attacks appear unbelievably more catastrophic than the 9/11 attacks, blamed on US educated Saudi businessman Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda. In four coordinated attacks, 19 hijackers working in four groups, wantonly targeted the Twin Towers and the Pentagon with hijacked planes leaving in all 2, 977 persons dead. According to Newsweek as at April 2021, the subsequent US-NATO led counter-attack invasions left an additional 7,442 persons dead from the US and allied forces plus American contractors. The invasions took away exactly two and a half times more US lives than those lost on 9/11! “I don’t know why!” would have been the likely response of Sri Lanka’s famed singer late Sunil Perera!
What about the destruction on the side of the attacked? No clear record or estimate of the number of Afghans, including civilians killed in the US led war, is available from Afghan sources but Western estimates place it, at between 1/4 to 1/2 million deaths! According to Nicolas Davies writing for Mint Press News, the Bush-Blair aggression in Iraq, without Security Council approval, caused an estimated 2.4 million Iraqi deaths!
Davies wrote, “But no crime, however horrific can justify wars on countries and people who were not responsible for the crime committed, quoting former Nuremberg prosecutor Benjamin Ferencz” of the United States.
The US, Watson Institute of International & Public Affairs has disclosed 30,177 suicides among US services personnel and veterans who returned after war assignments post 9/11, citing among others difficulties in re-integrating to civilian life. 30,177 suicides versus 7,442 deaths in combat are shocking figures, indeed! Today elements within the Taliban, after confronting 43 years of wars and foreign occupation are struggling to re-integrate back to civilian life!
What about the refugees and the displaced? The studies by Watson Institute has also disclosed that the invasion of Afghanistan had resulted in 2.61 million refugees, 1.84 million internally displaced (IDPs) and 33 asylum seekers totaling 4.78 million! Total number of refugees and IDPs in Iraq were 3.25 million and Syria 12.59 million, all of them arising from the US led invasions post 9/11!
The challenge before the countries that the Western powers invaded, killing over an estimated three million, rendering as refugees several millions with many more millions internally displaced, all of whom had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks are many. Most urgent priority would be, how to rebuild the lives of the surviving millions and in the case of Afghanistan additionally on how to prevent its economy crashing!
Of the refugees, 1.3 million are in Pakistan, 2 million in Iran, 3.5 million in Turkey and the balance in Europe! They are the innocents dehumanized by the Bush-Blair aggressions, when they could have easily captured bin Laden if they had sub contracted the job to the Israeli Air Force and the Mossad. Bush and Blair were fully aware of how on 4th July 1976, the Israelis successfully launched a counter-terrorist hostage-rescue mission at the Entebbe airport in Uganda rescuing 102 out of 106 Israeli hostages.
If bin Laden was in fact the master mind of 9/11, that “changed the world”, surely nothing prevented his capture to discover invaluable intelligence of his operations and network! It would soon be evident as to why the US did not want to capture bin Laden, when the unarmed man was in the hands of the US marines and did nothing to countervail!
It is noteworthy that of the 19 hijackers, none were from Afghanistan! Importantly, the Taliban condemned the 9/11 attacks, soon thereafter, which was ignored by the Western powers! The Taliban’s offer thereafter to facilitate the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to put Osama bin Laden on trial in a neutral country was also rejected by the US. But then the object was war and wars as long as possible and not capturing the enemy that would lead to the US having to finish off the wars, to the detriment of the arms industry!
Felix Salmon in a piece dated 11th September 2021 in Axios says that after 9/11, defense contractors made $7.35 trillion (equivalent to Sri Lanka’s annual foreign revenue for 350 years at US $ 21 billion per year)! The vast majority of this money, he says, came from the Pentagon. The top five US arms manufacturers who benefitted from the fruits of 9/11 are Lockheed Martin, Raytheon Technologies, Boeing, Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics.
Countries which manufacture arms and explosives include the USA, UK, France, Germany, Israel, Russia, China, Australia, Japan, India, South Korea, UAE, Norway, Sweden, Canada, Turkey, Singapore, Brazil, Spain, Italy and Ukraine. They are the beneficiaries of wars fought in other peoples’ lands, often on false accusations.
Many foundations, fronts and forums are allegedly funded by the arms industry. Substantial sections of the Western media are also in the forefront beating the war drums. People believe the conversations marketed through the electronic and print media, with no time to cross check the false stories often planted by vested interests. Very few journalists in third world countries have time, ways or means to cross check the stories. Hate and prejudices are built up over time against the victims of wars and conflicts. ‘I don’t know why!’
They have amongst war veterans, academics and other so called experts who create false perceptions, hatred and conflicts amongst people in otherwise peaceful countries. People who resist are portrayed as extremists and terrorists. Ultimately countries which need peace, harmony and unity to revive their economies and the quality of life of their people, find themselves embroiled in worthless conflicts. These conflicts are engineered by agents who mislead those in power and authority probably getting kick -backs from the agents of these powerful forces, who hop around in vulnerable countries.
But there are the exceptions. They are not known nor are they even duly heard. Barbara Lee in 2001 was the only member of the US Congress to vote against the War on Terror. On September 14, three days after 9/11, Lee voted against the 2001 ‘Authorisation for Use of Military Force’ (AUMF) that started the 20 year war in Afghanistan, even before any credible investigations into 9/11 could even begin! Twenty years later, on 15th August 2021 the US-NATO forces abandoned an economically collapsing Afghanistan!
Lee said on 9th September 2021, “Each hour, tax payers were paying US $ 32 million for the total cost of wars since 2001 and these wars have not made the Americans safer or brought democracy or stability to the Middle-East… For too many years we have outsourced our foreign policy to the Pentagon. I cast the lone vote in Congress against the authorization because I feared it was too broad, giving the President the open ended power to use military force anywhere, against anyone.”
(The writer is a former Member of Parliament and can be reached at email@example.com)