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(DV) Random: Revisiting Afghanistan on 9-11







The Propaganda War: Revisiting Afghanistan on 9-11 
by Jack Random 
September 11, 2006

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“What kind of nation uses a terrorist threat to justify declaring war on three sovereign nations, however ruthless and despicable their leaders, having no relation and bearing no responsibility for the destruction we have suffered?” 

-- Jack Random, “The Great Destroyer” (Jazzman Chronicles, Volume II

There are two kinds of propaganda. One is guided by principle and strictly adheres to what it knows to be the truth. The other is guided by a political agenda and does not hesitate to distort, misrepresent and obscure the truth whenever it conflicts with that agenda. 

The former is an honorable tradition in the service of justice and democracy, a legacy distinguished by Tom Paine, Cesar Chavez, Martin Luther King and so many other less-trumpeted American heroes. The latter is the refuge of political hacks and demagogues exemplified by Karl Rove, Rush Limbaugh and Joe McCarthy. 
While the demagogues and partisans are invariably financed by the most powerful institutions in the nation, inheriting permanent seats at the table of mainstream media, the purveyors of truth face a constant struggle until finally their numbers are so many they can no longer be denied. 
On the fifth anniversary of the twin towers attack, all Americans need to be reminded that there is a war going on within the nation. It is a propaganda war, pitting truth versus power, and its outcome is anything but certain. In the balance of this struggle for the hearts and minds of America lies a future of constant war, fear and loathing, against an alternative vision of enlightened leadership. 
Five years after the attack on the twin towers, we remain fearful and angry because we have been denied the essential truths that would allow the healing to begin. 
The government propaganda machine kicked in almost immediately after the 9-11 attack with the omission from news reports of our president’s inexplicable seven-minute paralysis in a Florida kindergarten classroom. Within hours, Osama bin Laden was identified as the perpetrator as his image was cast over the still simmering ruins of Ground Zero.  Within days, we had determined not only to attack Al Qaeda but also to overthrow the government of Afghanistan for complicity in the crime. We delivered an ultimatum and when they countered with an offer to deliver the accused to a neutral country, we turned them down.  Within weeks of the attack, we launched a full-scale invasion. 
At the time, Americans were so determined to back the president on the path of vengeance that we were not allowed to ask the questions that needed to be asked. We were not allowed to question the government’s account of what happened on September 11. We were not allowed to ask: Why not accept the Taliban’s offer?  What more might we have learned with bin Laden in custody, facing trial by an international tribunal? 
Once the necessity of military action was determined, why did we choose to attack the nation as a whole rather than Al Qaeda? Why did we strike a deal with the opium-driven warlords of the Northern Alliance, choosing one darkness over another, rather than concentrating on our real enemies? Why did we choose to destroy and occupy an impoverished land if it was not necessary to our objectives? 
To this day, Afghanistan is considered the good war because the issues have never been raised and the assertions of power have never been questioned. 
We left Afghanistan a broken nation with a crippled government, eventually handing the job off to an inadequately prepared NATO alliance, in order to embark on the bigger war our government wanted all along. 
The deceptions, distortions and lies employed by the propaganda machine in the push to war with Iraq are too well documented for any serious observer to deny. The partial release of the Senate Foreign Intelligence Committee report on intelligence in the buildup to war shreds any remaining doubts that there was ever any connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda. 
There was no intelligence failure in Iraq. The intelligence community got it right.  Saddam Hussein was an enemy of our enemy in Al Qaeda. There was virtually zero probability that Iraq would ever use weapons of mass destruction against us or our allies even if he possessed them. There was no connection to 9-11. There was no threat. 
The propaganda war is still raging. As the old myths crumble, new ones are hoisted up in their place. The latest are that Al Qaeda and their kind are the great threat of the next century and that, if we fail in Iraq, the Al Qaeda types will absorb the greater Middle East. 
That these are mere puff and stuff to propagate the continuation and expansion of war should be self-evident.  In the event that it is not, consult those who have knowledge of Al Qaeda and the Middle East. Ask those who have no dog in this hunt. Ask the intelligence community when it is not serving at the pleasure of the president. 
Before we embark on yet another war, let us take a good look at where the path of vengeance has taken us. The war in Iraq is already lost and the occupation of Afghanistan is in shambles. Tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, have been sacrificed over and above the thousands that we lost on September 11, 2001. 
The central front in the “war on terror” is where Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden still reside.  When we withdraw from Iraq (as we must inevitably do), owing to the gross incompetence of our leaders, we will have little choice but to return to Afghanistan -- not to occupy but to complete the job and get out. 
The legacy of 9-11 should not be a perpetual reign of terror in which we are the great destroyer, the purveyors of violence and deception. Rather, the legacy of 9-11 should be a new awakening that will eventually serve to protect us all from such tragedies. 
The victims of that solemn day and their survivors deserve better. We all deserve better. In fact, we should demand it.

Jack Random is the author of Ghost Dance Insurrection (Dry Bones Press) the Jazzman Chronicles, Volumes I and II (City Lights Books). The Chronicles have been published by CounterPunch, the Albion Monitor, Buzzle, Dissident Voice and others. Visit his website: Random Jack.

Other Articles by Jack Random

J’ Accuse!: Israeli Crimes Against Humanity
* Liberation Ramble South of the Border
* Haditha, Zarqawi & the Politics of Distraction
* Misconceptions in the Immigration Debate: What Would Crazy Horse Do?
* Requiem for American Democracy
* Paradigm Shift: Embracing the Power of Green
* Remember the Bastille: A Response to Mickey Z
* Designated Fall Guy: Replacing Rummy
* Libertad Y Justicia Para Todo!: Liberty and Justice For All
* Barry Bonds and the Steroids Saga
* Defiling the Grave of an American Hero: The Censoring of Rachel Corrie
* Starving the Beast: Programmed Ineptitude
* Constitutional Suspension: An Abdication of Democracy
* Right and Responsibility Depictions of the Prophet Mohammed
* Open Letter to Cindy Sheehan: Challenging the Pro-War Democrats
* The State of the Union: A Stumbling Illusion of Strength
* The Presidential Power Grab
* Surrealistic Pillow: The West Virginia Mining Disaster
* Pataki & Bloomberg: How to Bust a Union
* The Imperial President and the NSA Spying Scandal
* France and the Burning Embers of Repression
* The Activist Court & the Neoconservative Agenda
* The Agnew Factor: Clearing the Impeachment Path
* Iraq and New Orleans: The ABCs of Police Lawlessness
* The Age of Catastrophe: Preparing for Disaster
* No Tears for Rehnquist: The Legacy of a Chief Justice
* Zero Tolerance: Bush Gets Tough as New Orleans Suffers
* Hugo Chavez and the American Slug: Pat Robertson’s Call for Assassination
* The Lie of a Strong Economy (Beneath the Towers of Avarice)
* Fooled Again: Major Party Turnabout
* The New War Candidate: Major Paul Hackett for Congress
* Free Judy! The Fine Art of Calling a Bluff
* Executive Blackmail: The Betrayal of Democracy in Haiti
* Blame the Democrats & Move On: The Federalist Court
* Against the Wind: The Inevitable End of the Iraqi Occupation
* London and Madrid: Reflections on the War on Terror
* Judith Miller: The Anti-Hero
* Schizo Scherzo: The Last Waltz
* The Last Throes: The Light at the End of the Tunnel
* Impeach Bush -- US Out Now!
* Recall the Governator
* The Gates of Hell: Occupied Iraq
* May Day: The Rise & Fall of the Middle Class
* The Papal Aristocracy: Confessions of a Nonbeliever
* No Citizen Left Behind
* A Marine Comes Home: The Untold Story of War
* The Compassionate Leader -- In a Time of Crisis
* In Defense of Barry Bonds
* Defending Dan? Rather Not
* David Went to Canada...& Johnny Got His Gun