Afghanistan: Bin Laden Won

Reply Tue 7 Sep, 2021 09:46 pm
In The End, Bin Laden Won
He couldn’t have done it without us
By Michael Moore
I decided to go and meet the Taliban in the spring of 1999, two years before the 9/11 attacks. Most of us, including me, didn’t know much about the Taliban back then, nor did we want to. A decade earlier, the CIA funded and trained Muslim rebels to kick the Soviets out of Afghanistan after ten years of occupation. That made America happy — the Soviet Union defeated! Humiliated! Our pundits called it “their Vietnam!“ like we had actually learned a single damn lesson from Vietnam. As for what was left of Afghanistan, well, who friggin’ cared?
So in 1999, the Taliban landed on my radar. They had banned kite flying and made it illegal to watch TV, two of my favorite pastimes. What was wrong with these people? I decided to go and ask them.
I couldn’t figure out how to get over there without four plane changes and a couple of rented mules, so I settled for a meeting with one of their top leaders, Abdul Hakeem Mujahid, their ambassador to the United Nations.
At that time, the UN hadn’t officially recognized the Taliban-led government of Afghanistan, so Ambassador Mujahid couldn’t take his seat in the UN Assembly.
Undeterred, the ambassador and the Taliban set up their own UN consulate — in Queens. Next to a nail salon and an endoscopy clinic. So I headed out to the borough that gave us Donald Trump and Archie Bunker to hold a one-on-one meeting with the Taliban leader.
When I walked into their consulate, Ambassador Mujahid and his staff of all male secretaries were overjoyed to see me. My first thought: I think I am the first American to stop by and pay them a visit. I was their one-man Welcome Wagon, but without the banana bread. I did, though, bring other gifts: a parakeet, a kite, some Queens swag, a Mets t-shirt, a terminal map of LaGuardia and JFK (if you tell a joke before the tragedy occurs, is that too too soon?), and a portable television set. He accepted it all in good humor (though he wouldn’t touch the TV).
We sat down to discuss U.S.-Afghan relations. He was grateful for American weapons used back in the liberation of Afghanistan from the Soviets, and he mentioned that a Taliban delegation had visited Texas at the invitation of Governor George W. Bush's oil baron buddies to discuss energy and a "pipeline deal." They also served me some tasty almonds and a very, very sweet cup of tea. To their credit, they allowed me to film our historic meeting for my TV series, “The Awful Truth.”
My diplomatic mission with the Taliban ultimately failed. Afghanistan would soon turn on us by giving safe haven to the multimillionaire son of one of the richest families in Saudi Arabia, a man by the name of Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden. From Afghanistan he would build his al-Qaeda movement and plan (with his Saudi cohorts) his attacks on the United States. Attacks? Yes, attacks, because bin Laden knew one attack would not be enough to wake up the American infidels. So he blew up our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. But that killed mostly Kenyans and Tanzanians (224 dead, 4,500 injured) — so, like, no biggie. (If you think I’m being flip, tell me how many people died two and a half weeks ago in Hurricane Grace. Don’t sweat it if you don’t know. They were only Mexicans. All 14 of them.)
A couple years later, bin Laden tried to get our attention again with a kamikaze attack on the USS Cole — but that too would not be enough. Bin Laden knew he was dealing with a country that was clueless about the outside world and slowAF to respond. Ultimately he figured out that only a grand, cinematic Hollywood gesture would grab us by our tub of popcorn and make us spill our Goobers everywhere. His idea was simple, symbolic and deadly: Just take aim at the two things Americans and their leaders lusted for the most — money and military power — and then send your flying bombs at high speed right into them. Blow up their Pentagon and their Wall Street, watch their towers of power come crashing to the ground, watch Humpty Dumpty take a great fall.
It worked. But why? Why did he do it? We were told it was for religious reasons. We were told it was revenge for something. We were told he wanted our Army bases off Saudi and Muslim lands.
Here’s what I think. I think it was a guy thing. Men. Angry men. He and the other rebels had already done the impossible by bringing one of the world’s two superpowers to its knees — the Soviet Union. It was a fatal blow to the Ruskies, and just nine months later, the Berlin Wall came down and that was that for the Kremlin. Bin Laden was so pumped, so inspired — so why not be the ultimate baller and totally extinguish the remaining superpower — the U.S. of A.!
This is not to say he didn’t have a bonkers fundamentalist belief system with a well-designed political strategy. It was just a strategy we weren’t used to. It didn’t involve invading other countries the normal way. There was no plan to plunder and steal our natural resources. He simply sought to bankrupt us — financially, politically, spiritually. And to kill more of us. And get us to wipe out our American Dream.
He also wanted to neuter our military and show the world that we could be defeated by men in caves who possessed nary a single fighter jet, or a Blackhawk helicopter or a can of napalm to their name. He knew it would be easy to make us impotent, that we were all hat, all “I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow ya all down!”
He knew that unlike his own deep religious beliefs, ours were all talk, all show. He knew that our sect of Christianity is often just a big con — “love your neighbor” as long as they’re white like you; “the last in line (40 million in poverty)” shall be “first” and the Elon Musks and Mark Zuckerbergs “will be last.“ Ha! Never. “Blessed are the peacemakers,” as long they‘re not Chelsea Manning and Ed Snowden; “feed the hungry” (no raise in food stamps from 1962 until last week. Last week!).
The majority of Americans no longer attend church. So, score one for us. We do have our own fundamentalists and true believers, but no one here any longer is going to bow down and wash the feet of the bishop or blow Pastor Maloney. It was different for bin Laden—he wasn’t faking it. He knew the strength of his fundamentalism and knew that he could find some schmucks to sign up to fly planes into buildings in exchange for the promise of eternal glory. Bin Laden understood the way we used our Good Book — to ban abortion or police homosexuality — because bin Laden was doing the same thing, only even more capably and at an even more destructive scale.
Bin Laden and his gang were mad geniuses. He knew that those towers would collapse, in part because he was an architectural and civil engineer. And in part because he knew those buildings were probably built like crap — I mean, OBL was a friggin’ contractor! His family were the biggest builders of big buildings in the Middle East. And eight of his hijackers on 9/11 all had engineering degrees! The pilots, I’m guessing, had at one time flown for the Saudi Air Force. They didn’t learn to do what they did with such precision on a video game simulator in Arizona in between stops at the strip club. (President Biden has just announced he’s releasing the classified Saudi documents. We’ll see.)
But here’s the real tell of bin Laden’s prescience: How did he know we would start and stay in a 20-year war, offering up our young sons and daughters to him on the altar of our military-industrial complex?
Bush used to say dumbshit stuff like “better to fight ‘em over there than over here!” It turned out to be the other way around — bin Laden suckered us into fighting over there — so he could kill us over there.
How did he know we’d spend trillions fighting a frail man on dialysis who had split from Afghanistan before the bulk of our troops got there? A terrorist threat so large that it did not exist! BOO!
How did he know we’d pass legislation giving up our sacred constitutional rights — and call it a Patriot Act? How did he know we’d put a spy camera on every corner from Butte, Montana to Fort Myers, Florida — but not one on the main drag in Abbottabad, Pakistan where he lived “in hiding?”
How did he know we’d burn trillions on something we ironically called “Homeland Security” — the “Homeland,” where a half-million were homeless, and millions more with homes foreclosed on, their families evicted; and “Security,” where the majority of Americans lived from paycheck to paycheck, 40% of them with not more than $400 to their name.
Bin Laden wanted to blow up the idea of America, not the Mall of America. He did not have visions of empire. He never thought of invading the United States and taking over our NFL stadiums or burning down our Piggly Wigglys or outlawing the Girl Scouts. He hates women and girls, but I’ll bet he’d love those Thin Mints.
How did he know we would be so obsessed with him — to such an extent where we would massively, cruelly neglect the needs of our own people, denying them help like free health care — and instead, take their homes from them to pay off the hospital bills.
Was it really about the 3,000 dead that made us occupy Afghanistan for 20 years? I mean, c’mon, we’ve lost 3,000 on many days during this pandemic and no one is going to read their names every year at some memorial. And, no, we’re not invading the bat market in Wuhan. Hopefully not.
No, my friends, it’s something else. Bin Laden had our number. Killing him, disbanding al-Qaeda, may have made it look like we won. But in death, he is able to see the fruits of his labor. We, his mortal enemy, are in disarray, seriously at war with ourselves. Violence looms with us every day. Men, angry men, violent men, have now won the right to force the majority gender into giving birth against their will — birth slaves, who will now have no say of their own. SHUT UP AND PUSH! PUSH!! And speaking of slaves, the owners of America are freaking out because they don’t have enough slave laborers in 2021 because workers are refusing to come back to work for shitty wages and in Covid conditions that might get them killed. The end game? The eventual forcing of essential workers to show up and do their goddamned job — or else. So much for that parade we gave them. Yay heroes!
Osama, are you happy now? We were never “great” as the MAGA hats proclaimed, but we were good, we were, at least, most of us, trying. Of course the Black and Brown people know that’s not entirely true. They know that they may just have to save themselves and deal with us in the way we’ve dealt with them. Don’t worry white people — we’ve got 340 million+ guns in our homes! That’ll hold us for a while.
The sad truth is that we never bothered to fight our two true terrorist threats — 1) Capitalism, an economic system that is built on greed and thievery and kills people who must live in flooded basement apartments, and 2) what we call “climate” — but the window to reverse that has now closed, and our only chance to stop the climate catastrophe, an historic extermination event, from getting worse is now the decision we face. It is the first time that a species has decided to eliminate itself. That’s real terrorism, and while we may not be able to turn back now, we can at least get a grip on ourselves, halt the deluge, stop the greed, close the income inequality gap, reduce our glutinous consumption and eliminate the profit motive.
If we do that, bin Laden will have lost. And we may then learn to love and share the wealth and live in peace with each other. That would be the best way to commemorate 9/11.
Blessings to all whom we’ve lost.
Reply Tue 7 Sep, 2021 11:48 pm
can Michael say "Pyrrhic Victory: for bin Laden
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Reply Fri 10 Sep, 2021 12:11 pm

Professor Smartass🌹
Things that I will remember about 9/11:

1. It took us to the edge of fascism domestically

2. The media uncritically repeated the lies of a war-mongering administration

3. It was used as an excuse to kill over a million people in countries that had nothing to do with 9/11
Professor Smartass🌹
4. The country that funded & helped the hijackers the most according to the Joint Congressional Inquiry, Saudi Arabia, was not only let entirely off the hook, but the Bush admin did their best to hide their role, including classifying that portion of the Joint Inquiry report
Professor SmartassRose
5. It also taught me the meaning of habeas corpus, a little hearing to say why you are being held.

Before 9/11, I couldn't figure out why it even existed.

Then a bunch of Muslim Americans & even whole families were disappeared without explanation or representation
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Reply Sat 11 Sep, 2021 09:43 am
from Wikileaks

Former General of the US Army Wesley Clark on the military strategy after 9/11 attacks: "We are going to take out 7 countries in 5 years: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and finishing it off with Iran" [2007] #September11th
Reply Thu 16 Sep, 2021 09:20 am
Michael Moore wrote:
In The End, Bin Laden Won
He couldn't have done it without us

Yes indeed. Without the betrayal of progressive traitors, Afghanistan would still have democracy and human rights.
0 Replies
Reply Thu 16 Sep, 2021 09:35 am
Former General of the US Army Wesley Clark on the military strategy after 9/11 attacks: "We are going to take out 7 countries in 5 years: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and finishing it off with Iran"

This is a bit misleading. Clark was quoting from a memo provided to him by a general which described the Bush administration's intentions in the ME. Clark was critical of this military strategy.
0 Replies
Reply Thu 16 Sep, 2021 10:12 am
The sad truth is that we never bothered to fight our two true terrorist threats — 1) Capitalism, an economic system that is built on greed and thievery and kills people who must live in flooded basement apartments, and 2) what we call “climate” — but the window to reverse that has now closed, and our only chance to stop the climate catastrophe, an historic extermination event, from getting worse is now the decision we face.

While I do definitely agree with Michael Moore's sentiment that ultimately the terrorists won because we spend our resources on this so-called "Patriot Act" and killed off most of our brightest and best (leaving those left in America not exactly the cream of the crop), he still continues to be Michael Moore (i.e. a fat leftist idiot).

1. Capitalism is not built on greed an thievery. You are conflating capitalism with fascism. Fascism is corporate-state that sets two different laws for big businesses and small businesses. Fascism is why small business owners get to pay taxes twice, first as an employer then as an employee (increasing their taxes from about 6% to about 12%). Fascism is why there are so many taxes and regulations for private business, business permits/licenses for even things like mowing lawns or selling lemonade (the only reason you should need a permit is if you are doing something risky like taking apart a computer or doing construction on a house), making it so you need a loan for a business, and stupid laws like not being able to store rainwater. These are not set up in favor of free enterprise, that is the idea that anyone can make their own business, but in favor of forcing people to work for other people. The first idea is what capitalism is built on, and doesn't take one red cent from anyone who didn't give it in the first place. The second is built on exploiting people to do your work (by giving them poor options of going in business themselves), paying them a pittance while you get rich. Fascism also supports big military budgets (some of which is wasteful expenses like $2000 on paperclips), and rigid religious laws. We don't need gay marriage laws, because we don't need ANY marriage laws. Capitalism favors saving money by having the government butt out of people's lives. Real capitalists are educated on what capitalism actually is, and don't vote like RINOs. Bush was a classic RINO, who voted for laws that restricted freedom and actually screwed the US over.

2. The "climate change" narrative was never true. I can show pictures from newspapers and such of the many wrong climate predictions since the 60s or so. They have never been right. In fact, climate science is another sort of fascism, as it taxes water and air, meaning the already poor are strangely robbed by the people talking about how capitalism is thievery.

(We'll all run out of food by 1975, they said)

(We'll disappear in a cloud of blue steam, they said)

(Ice Age by the 21st century, they said)

(By 1980, we'll have to ration food and water)

(Acid rain will kill everyone... oh wait, it won't)

I could go on, but I don't have to.

Reply Thu 16 Sep, 2021 10:27 am
The "climate change" narrative was never true.

The examples cherry-picked from over fifty years ago by a notorious right-wing think tank have nothing to do with the current understanding of climate change. Ehrlich's predictions don't even mention the accumulation of greenhouse gases and their effect on the atmosphere and the oceans.

(Acid rain will kill everyone...

Nowhere does anyone make that claim.
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Reply Tue 21 Sep, 2021 11:14 pm
Slice through legal Gordian Knots
Refugee resettlement isn’t the only pending task facing the United States in the wake of the long Afghanistan War debacle. There are accountings to be given to the people of the United States and of the world. There are laws to uphold, in circumstances where systematic violation of the law make any proper legal process difficult to impossible. There are prisoners still held, a few of whom should be considered so dangerous that the world runs a great risk if it lets them walk away.
Consider the case of one Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, arrested in 2003 in Pakistan and reasonably thought to be the operational mastermind of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. He’s still held in Guantanamo, charged with many things and facing a trial before a US military commission and potential death penalty. “KSM,” as this defendant’s name gets abbreviated, did not start his career in crimes against civil aviation with these spectacular attacks. A bomb placed on a Filipino airliner in a “test” he allegedly ordered some years before killed a Japanese passenger.
Do we say that it’s an American thing, thus the USA is the place where jurisdiction must lie? People of many nationalities lost their lives on the four hijacked and crashed airliners, and in the World Trade Center and in the Pentagon when those planes hit. Some 3,000 people died in those attacks, a little fewer if you consider immediate deaths, perhaps more if you consider those who died later from things like exposure to toxic dust in the clearance of the rubble. Among those immediately killed were 372 citizens of countries other than the United States, 61 countries in all. There were 105 citizens of Latin American nations killed. There were innocent people from five Muslim-majority countries killed, and other Muslims from countries where they were members of religious minorities. If the United States, due to the misconduct of its government, is precluded from doing justice in this case, wouldn’t dozens of other countries have standing to try the alleged perpetrators?
By US law, much or all of the evidence against KSM is inadmissible. The man was tortured. From Pakistan he was sent to a US facility in Afghanistan, where among the indignities to which he was subjected he was repeatedly sodomized with a water hose. Then he was sent to a secret CIA torture chamber in Poland, where he was waterboarded 183 times. The abuse continued at another secret prison in Romania, until his 2006 transfer to Guantanamo. Any confession obtained under torture is clearly inadmissible if there is any US concept of due process of law. But not only that. Information obtained indirectly, by investigations following up leads gleaned under torture, is the “fruit of a poisoned tree” and is also inadmissible.
While KSM was still on the lam, at US behest his two sons were arrested by Pakistanis and tortured. They were aged six and eight years old at the time. Food and water deprivation, and putting stinging ants on their bodies, were the tactics used to get them to give information that might lead to their father’s arrest. Perhaps, pursuant to US law, all evidence seized as part of that series of arrest was based at least in part on the torture of children and is also the fruit of a poisoned tree.
All this, without even getting to the matter of whether trial by a US institution could ever be impartial.
There is, however, an International Criminal Court in The Hague. The United States, in part out of fear of Americans being tried for torture and other war crimes before it, does not recognize this court. As a matter of practical politics it would take a two-thirds vote of the US Senate to ratify the treaty, and that’s not going to happen because by and large the Republicans oppose international law other than that which protects US companies’ overseas investments.
Let’s step back and look at the whole of international law. There are treaties made and ratified, but that is not its only pillar. Another pillar of International law is the writings of legal scholars, which include the decisions of tribunals in cases brought under treaties and otherwise, as well as treatises and declarations. Then the third main pillar is customary international law. A maritime nation like Panama would have some familiarity with customary laws like universal jurisdiction against sea pirates, and the law of general average to sort out the losses when part of a ship’s cargo is lost. Customary international law is not only recognized by US courts, but it has been applied to people, institutions and nations that don’t recognize the applicable treaties — things long codified in treaties like the Geneva Conventions are imposed on those who reject them as customary law. With the United States having failed to ratify the UN Law of the Sea Convention, it has nevertheless declared it customary international law.
We can look at alternative bodies of law to also determine what is customary. That might sound arcane, but with respect to jihadi groups it’s absolutely relevant. Islam’s Prophet Muhammad bin Abdullah was, later in his life, a head of state and wartime king. Before that he was a merchant engaged in international trade. International law is and always has been part of the Muslim Sharia law. Attacking and killing non-combatant civilians was forbidden by Muhammad and it’s a war crime against the Sharia in our time.
The way out of a legal conundrum, and a stride toward US legal respectability, would be to hand Khalid Sheikh Mohammed over to the International Criminal Court. It would be a prudent exercise in customary international law. Would the United States, as a non-signatory of the treaty creating that court, lack standing? Many of the 61 other countries whose citizens were killed would not face such an issue.
Uphold and extend the rule of law. Bring KSM to trial for what’s arguably The Crime of this Century – a fair trial before an impartial tribunal. Send him to The Hague.
editorial by Eric Jackson
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