The U.S. has lost a large number of personnel-- mainly military-- in various wars around the globe, starting last century from World War I. However, this huge country has never fought a war on its own soil. Its population has thus no idea of the ravages of war in a war-torn country. The incidents of 11 September 2001, executed by Islamic radicals from the late lamented Osama bin Laden-led ‘terrorist’ group, Al-Qaeda, were the closest to a war-like bombing raid. The short-lived drama shocked the Americans and provoked its leaders into organizing a serious hunt for the heads of the Al-Qaeda hierarchy. Statistically speaking, the number of casualties and damage to property is negligible, when compared to those occurring in an actual prolonged war. Some seven months later, bin Laden published his justification for the attacks and followed it up with an open letter to the American people on the same lines. This post analyses the build-up to and rationalization of the 9/11 attacks by Al-Qaeda before presenting its findings.
By means of this document we send a message to America and those behind it. We are coming, by the will of God almighty, no matter what America does. It will never be safe from the fury of Muslims. America is the one who began the war, and it will lose the battle by the permission of God almighty. Al-Qaeda Statement, April 24, 2002.
Though the proclamation supra was made seven and one half months after that horrific day, I shall use it as my “theoretical framework” to analyze the events leading to the ibid statement (www.mepc.org), also published by Arab websites like www. tawhed.ws, abu-qatada.com and mtj.tw, among others (www.fsboa.com). The publication in Arabic was in early Muharram 1423 according to Al Hejira, the Islamic calendar, corresponding to 24th April 2002 (www.islamicfinder.org). I shall also restrict my analysis to events preceding that fateful day and venture into the seven-month gap or just beyond only to prove a point, ultimately penning my findings and opinion.
The Americans have lost a large number of predominantly military people in wars all over the globe, starting World War I. However, no contemporary war has ever been fought in this vast country and its people thus have absolutely no idea about what the ravages of war can do to the psyche of the human being in a war-torn country and the country itself, both through the war and after it. Post World War II and its aftermath, Korea, Indo-China, Vietnam and Bosnia Herzegovina are prime examples of how once-proud countries could come to their knees. The general consensus around the world is that the U.S. has unilaterally taken over the role of Globocop (Lobe, 2003a, 2010c). The U.S. does not deny this fact (Lobe 2005b). How did they usurp this role and by whose say so? This theme features repeatedly in how Islamic clerics and radicals see the U.S., with 9/11 as a distant yet pertinent adjunct (n.p.). I can see why the clerics are in such turmoil. As a dispassionate observer, I too would like to know what gives the U.S. the right to act as they please, while barring the others from following suit?
A few essentials need to be understood before progressing to personalities and their perspectives on 9/11. Westerners link Muslim origins with mainland Arabia, specifically Saudi Arabia, which houses their holy cities of Mecca and Medina and the Hijaz, whose people were the first to rally to the new faith and blow its trumpets (Wasserstein, 1998). They do not know that the center of the Islamic world and the scene of its major achievements was Iraq, where the Abbasid Caliphates ruled for half a millennium (750-1258 CE)─ the longest stretch in Islamic history (historymedren. about.com). For Muslims, land once added to the realm of Islam cannot be renounced; none compares in significance with Arabia and Iraq (Wasserstein, 1998).
Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Laden
Al-Qaeda was led─ till his capture and execution─ by Osama bin Laden, with the Egyptian Emir of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) Group, Ayman al-Zawahiri (deceased) his deputy (www.pwhce.org). Unhappy with the manner in which they saw Muslims being persecuted and killed all over the world, he, along with al-Zawahiri and other Jihadi leaders from various Muslim countries issued a ‘Fatwa’(Edict) which was printed in an Arabic newspaper in London, Al-Quds al-'Arabi on 23 Feb 98 (www.mideastweb.org). [Al-Quds is the Arabic name of Jerusalem (islam.about.com); Jihad means holy war] This Fatwa authorized wanton killings of all Jews and Americans, ordering the Muslim populace to “Fight and slay the pagans wherever ye find them, seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war)” (ibid). The Fatwa listed three reasons for the decree (ibid):
- For over seven years the United States has been occupying the lands of Islam in the holiest of places, the Arabian Peninsula, plundering its riches, etc.
- Despite the great devastation inflicted on the Iraqi people by the crusader-Zionist alliance and the huge number of those killed, which has exceeded 1 million……
- If the Americans' aims behind these wars are religious and economic, the aim is also to serve the Jews' petty state and divert attention from its occupation of Jerusalem and murder of Muslims there.
I will not go over the events of this catastrophic day, except to say that three thousand lives were lost, with a similar number of injuries in the four buildings attacked. How many native lives were lost in Korea? Nearly two million (encyclopedia.farlex.com). The economic and social devastation experienced by the Korean nation was inestimable. In Vietnam? Over five million, leaving behind a desolate country (www.vietnam-war). In Bosnia? Over a hundred and ten thousand (warinbosnia.info), two million or more Indochinese victims of the US (www.wagingpeace.org) and one million Iraqi dead (warinbosnia.info). How then does three thousand even begin to compare?
Osama justified his actions of 9/11 from a higher ground, though he twists the interpretation of the Quran to suit the situation. After glorifying his ‘martyrs’ (www.mepc.org), he asks:
1. What kind of authority did America possess on the day it destroyed Afghanistan by killing and banishing the Muslims in it? It established an unjust blockade under the cover of the United Nations. Under the same cover it tore apart Indonesia and deported the Muslims of Timor to the Moluccas Islands and Poso. Under the same protection, it entered Somalia, murdered, and took possession of the land of Islam there (ibid).
2. America's status among Muslims is the same as that of the Jews -- they are both people of war. How then is it right for the enemy to occupy the land of Palestine? (ibid) Osama adds that many protected people were among the victims of 9/11, but they did not fall outside the conditions that permit killing them which he briefly mentions. He stresses that it is not necessary that all conditions be met; only one suffices (ibid). These conditions allow:
3. Muslims to kill protected ones among unbelievers as an act of reciprocity. If the unbelievers target Muslim women, children, and elderly, it is permissible for Muslims to respond in kind and kill those similar to those whom the unbelievers killed (ibid).
4. Muslims to kill protected ones among unbelievers on the condition that the protected ones have assisted in combat, whether in deed, word, mind, or any other form of assistance (ibid).
5. Muslims to kill protected ones among unbelievers in the event of an attack against them in which it is not possible to differentiate the protected ones from the combatants or from the strongholds (ibid). Most Indian Army casualties in their ill-fated 1987 foray into LTTE territory in Sri Lanka were caused by girls and women, who used hand-grenades after inviting the soldiers into their homes for a cup of tea/snacks/meal (Singh, 1992).
6. Muslims to kill protected ones among unbelievers when they are using heavy weapons that do not distinguish between combatants and protected ones (www.mepc.org).
7. Muslims to kill protected ones among unbelievers in the event of a need to burn the strongholds or fields of the enemy so as to weaken its strength in order to conquer the stronghold or topple the state.
8. Muslims to kill protected ones among unbelievers when the enemy is shielded by their women or children (ibid). This tactic savaged the Indian army in Sri Lanka (Singh, 1992).
Osama went to great length in explaining why civilians, including women and the possible child were considered as enemies he strove to attack. He then wrote a comprehensive document which was published by scores of Arab websites on 24 November, 2002. The British newspaper, The Guardian translated this ‘Letter to the American People’ and printed it in its online version the same day (www.guardian. co. uk) and it makes fascinating reading. Osama explained his decision in no uncertain terms and warns them to mend their ways lest they be hurt again. There are over one hundred points in this particular article, including those quoted by me, which is highly recommended for reading and getting a glimpse of the Islamic fundamentalists’ mindset.
The clinching argument was the U.S. Defense Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld’s first reaction. Instead of mobilizing all available resources to assist in rescue operations and damage control, he is on record as saying, “Find Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussain and take them out”(Julian Borger, 2006). Having studied all data collated, I find that if the U.S. could justify its multiple depredations against the many countries mentioned earlier, Osama bin Laden had valid reason for 9/11. Yes, some of his theories are far fetched and unrealistic, like universal conversion to Islam, adopting the Sharia and its inflexible rules, punishing promiscuity, etc. However, a greater percentage of his observations hold water. It stands to reason that if you want to become self-appointed Globocop, then be prepared to face Globocrime! This is not to say that I love and revere America any less, but, misquoting Brutus, “I love my life and freedom more.