On Aug. 6, 2001, President George W. Bush received a classified review of the threats posed by Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network, Al Qaeda. That morning’s “presidential daily brief” — the top-secret document prepared by America’s intelligence agencies — featured the now-infamous heading: “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” A few weeks later, on 9/11, Al Qaeda accomplished that goal. (The New York Times)
Looking back eleven years after the unforgivable suicide attack on the twin towers in New York, it is tempting to consider what the world would be like today if the warnings indicated by that security briefing placed in front of President George W had been given more attention. Historians will I think ponder this and will add it to the list of similar errors made by politicians which then led to more extreme suffering.
In October 2001 Operation “Enduring Freedom” commenced in Afghanistan after the Taliban refused to hand-over Osama Bin-Laden and close down the Al-Queada bases there. Since 1990 to that date almost 400,000 people (combatants and civilians) had already died in Afghanistan in various actions and the scene was now set for even more deaths which continue to this day.
It’s possible to argue that George W would still have found a way into Iraq to complete the “unfinished business” started by his father but that’s an easy speculation. However the frantic response which followed (and with the Weapons of Mass Destruction fiasco) seemed to galvanise the Western World into acting without any clear policy of how anger and revenge would bring about a peaceful and just end. The 9/11 Commission discovered that Iraq, had not been in league with Al Qaeda; It had not provided “substantial” assistance to Osama Bin Laden and his lunatic mass killers.
Now, the US is a civilised society, and in a less civilised country there would have been pogroms against Muslim and Arab people living in the US, with mass lynchings beatings and the like. This being the way of humanity for thousands of years, and the anger would have worn itself out. But this is a modern civilised anger and we send ship loads of attack aircraft, tanks, rockets and large army’s to punish and engage in a war well away from the civilian population which has been wronged. But it did use brutal measures that amounted to torture and it established secret prisons in other lands and set up the Guantanamo detention centre. And in accordance with modern warfare civilians got killed and maimed in the inevitable “collateral damage”. Soon whenever anyone accused the US of bad practice it rang true, and that is a shameful state of affairs for the world’s leading nation.
So things changed forever as they say on 11th September 2011; Bin Laden got his hatred sated (Americans got to ponder “why the hatred” and examined themselves) and Bush W got to Saddam Hussein and he was killed and later the US got to Bin Laden and he was shot on sight. Tony Blair must sit and worry about his legacy and fate.
Saddest of all a civilised society was tested to the full and found they had to use torture on a regular basis to bring about “justice”.
- New York Times report: Bush administration ignored early Bin Laden warnings (thegrio.com)
- ‘Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.’ (drudge.com)
- Bush Dismissed a Raft of 9/11 Warnings (newser.com)
- 11 Years After 9/11, U.S. And Al Qaeda Come Full Circle In Syria (disquietreservations.blogspot.com)