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The Lessons of 9/11 – according to Senator Levin

September 11, 2011

For those who think that Republicans and Democrats are worlds apart on US foreign policy, one only needs to look at how both parties view 9/11.

Virtually no member of Congress would publicly offer a critique of US policy since 9/11, not if they wanted to get re-elected. The virtual consensus in Washington is that the US was totally justified in attacking, invading and occupying Afghanistan after the terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001.

Afghanistan’s crime was that it would not turn over Osama bin Laden to the US. Indeed, the Taliban government was willing to turn over bin Laden, but to a neutral country to be tried in an international court, according to Noam Chomsky in his book 9 – 11 and former CIA analyst Michael Scheuer’s book Imperial Hubris.

Since the October 2001 US invasion/occupation of Afghanistan, the US has continued to justify its actions because of the claim that al Qaeda is in Afghanistan. However, even General Petraeus admitted during a CNN interview on May 10, 2009, that there was no al Qaeda presence in Afghanistan. The US is and has been fighting the nationalist insurgent movement known as the Taliban.

The justification for this ongoing foreign policy that has devastated Iraq, Afghanistan and to a lesser degree Pakistan over the past 10 years not only comes from the more hawkish members of Congress, it is a position that “liberal” members, like Carl Levin, have taken.

Senator Levin recently released a statement for the 10th anniversary of 9/11 entitled, Learning the Lessons of the Post-9/11 Decade. Levin talks about visiting the Pentagon after it was hit 10 years ago and then, “Most important, we’ve severely degraded al Qaeda’s ability to threaten us.” The only evidence that Senator Levin offers on his claim that al Qaeda is weak is the death of bin Laden and a comment from Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to say recently that we are “within reach of strategically defeating al Qaeda.” While the death of bin Laden may have been a blow to al Qaeda, there is no evidence that they are any less of a threat than before.

Levin goes on to say that the US has improved the intelligence sharing capabilities since 9/11 and that the US borders are more secure. In addition, he says the US must figure out ways to not allow terrorist groups to launder money anonymously, so that they will not be able to buy weapons so easily. This completely ignores the fact that the US is the number one trafficker of weapons worldwide. If this country were serious about weapons falling into the hands of “terrorists,” a serious reduction in arms sales would be in order.

Levin ends his post-9/11 comments by talking about the unity of the American people he felt when President Obama announced that bin Laden had been killed. “The unity we felt that night, joining thousands of people celebrating the news, was just as powerful as the unity we felt at the Pentagon on the day of the attacks. It was a great reminder that, in mourning or celebration, our nation is strongest when it is united.”

Such jingoistic sentiment is fairly meaningless to people in this country who are unemployed or underemployed while the rich get richer and Congress continues to spend more money on war than on social programs and working families.

In addition to what Levin said, it is also worth pointing out what he didn’t say as it relates to 10 years since 9/11. Levin doesn’t mention the human cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, his continued support for government surveillance and the Patriot Act and the ongoing intimidation and abuse of Arab Americans and Americans who are Muslims.

The lesson that we can learn from Senator Levin on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 is that he continues to be committed to the imperialist policies of this country.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Patricia permalink
    September 12, 2011 12:47 am

    We have turned off most so called news programing in our house. What is broadcast on the networks as news in this country is pure propaganda and entertainment. Politicians are pretty much all the same and not worth listening to. All the coverage of 9-11 for the past 10 days has been so over the top. We didn’t watch any of it. Enough.

  2. Terrence permalink
    September 13, 2011 2:38 am

    Yes, quite nauseating. I almost had to complain to the library downtown today,they had a display of 9-11 books none apparently skeptical of the official story. I was with my baby so I couldn’t verify that none of the books were skeptical. Maybe tomorrow,but its a sad state of affairs when a library is so afraid. The liberal institutions like NPR and the possibly the downtown library are not to be entirely trusted.

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