Chris Hedges: “On 9/11 the United States came under attack for its geopolitical hypocrisy. “

The hijackers who carried out the 9/11 attacks, like all radical jihadist groups in the Middle East, spoke to the United States in the murderous language they taught them.

Source: Consortium News, Chris Hedges

Translated by the readers of the site Les-Crises

Original illustration by M. Fish.

I was in Times Square, New York, shortly after the second plane banked and crashed into the South Tower. The crowd watching the giant screen were dismayed at the billowing black smoke and the fireball billowing from the tower.

There was no longer any doubt that the two attacks on the Twin Towers were acts of terrorism. The previous hypothesis that the pilot had a heart attack or lost control of the plane when he crashed into the North Tower seventeen minutes earlier vanished with the second attack.

The city fell into a state of collective shock. Fear throbbed in the streets. Will they strike again? Where ? Was my family safe? Should I go to work? Should I go home? What does that mean ? Who could have done that? Why ?

The explosions and collapsing towers, however, were intimately familiar to me. I had seen it before. It was the colloquial language of the empire. I had seen these inflammatory messages fall on southern Kuwait and Iraq during the First Persian Gulf War and befall with thunderous commotions in Gaza and Bosnia. The empire’s calling card, as it was in Vietnam, consists of tons of lethal ammunition dropped from the sky.

The hijackers spoke to America in the language we taught them.

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The remains of the World Trade Center. (Kafzeil / Wikimedia Commons)

The ignorance, disguised as innocence, of Americans, especially white Americans, was sickening. It was the worst attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor. It was the greatest act of terrorism in American history. It was an incomprehensible act of barbarism. The astounding rhetoric of naivety, which saturated the media, kept blues artist Willie King sitting all night writing his song “Terrorized.” “

“Now you talk about terror,” he sang. I have been terrified all my days. “

But it was not only black Americans who knew the rampant terror embedded in the cogs of white supremacy, capitalism, and empire, but also those overseas that the empire had sought for decades to subdue. , dominate and destroy.

They knew there is no moral difference between those who fire Hellfire and cruise missiles or pilot militarized drones, destroying wedding parties, village gatherings or families, and suicide bombers. They knew that there is no moral difference between those who bomb northern Vietnam or southern Iraq, and those who throw planes into buildings.

The virtues of lying

In short, they knew the evil that generates evil. America was not attacked because the hijackers hated us for our values. America was not attacked because the hijackers followed the Koran – which prohibits the suicide and murder of women and children. America was not attacked because of a clash of civilizations. America has been attacked because the virtues we advocate are a lie.

We have been attacked for our hypocrisy. We have been attacked for the mass killing campaigns which are our primary way of speaking with the rest of the planet. Robert McNamara, the Defense Secretary in the summer of 1965, called the bombings, which would ultimately kill hundreds of thousands of civilians north of Saigon, a form of communication with the Communist government in Hanoi.

The lives of Iraqis, Afghans, Syrians, Libyans and Yemenis are as precious as those of those killed in the Twin Towers. But this understanding, this ability to see the world as the world saw us, escaped the Americans who, refusing to recognize the blood on their own hands, instantly divided the world between good and evil, us and them, them. blessed and the damned.

The country has drunk on the dark elixir of nationalism, the heady upliftment of the noble and wronged people. The flip side of nationalism is always racism. And the poisons of racism and hatred have infected the American nation to propel it into the greatest strategic blunder in its history, from which it will never recover.

We have not understood, and still do not understand, that we are a reflection of those we seek to destroy. We, too, are killing with burgeoning fury. Over the past two decades, we have extinguished the lives of hundreds of thousands of people who have never sought to harm the United States or who have never been involved in attacks on American soil. We too are using religion, in our case the Christian faith, to mount a jihad or a crusade. We too go to war to fight ghosts of our own creation.


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The results. (US Navy / Photographer’s Mate Eric J. Tilford)

That morning I walked down West Side Avenue and saw the lunar landscape that the Twin Towers had become after they collapsed. Climbing over the rubble, spitting and coughing from the toxic fumes from the burning of asbestos, kerosene, lead, mercury, cellulose and construction debris, I saw the tiny pieces human flesh and body parts that were all that remained of the approximately 3,000 victims of the towers. It was evident that no one in the towers when they collapsed had survived.

The manipulation of the images, however, had already begun. The dozens of “jumpers,” those who jumped to their deaths before the collapse, have been censored from live broadcasts. They seemed to be waiting their turn. They often fell alone or in pairs, sometimes with improvised parachutes made of curtains, sometimes reproducing the movements of the swimmers.

They reached a speed of 240 kilometers per hour during the ten seconds before they fell on the sidewalk. The bodies make a deafening, sickening noise on impact. Everyone who saw them fall has spoken of this noise.

Collective suicide was one of the landmark events of September 11. But he was immediately redacted from public consciousness. The jumpers did not fit the myth the nation demanded. The desperation and distress were too disturbing. They exposed our smallness and our fragility.

They illustrated that there are levels of suffering and fear that lead us to willingly embrace death. The “jumpers” reminded us that one day we will all be faced with only one choice, that of our death and not of our life.

The story made from the ashes of the Twin Towers was a story of resilience, heroism, courage and self-sacrifice, not collective suicide. Thus, murder and mass suicide have been replaced with praise of the virtues and prowess of the American spirit.

The nation, nourished by this story, quickly repeated the clichés about terror. We have become what we hated. The deaths of September 11 were used to justify the invasion of Afghanistan, Operation Shock and Awe, targeted assassinations, torture, offshore penal settlements, elimination of families at checkpoints, strikes air, drone attacks, missile strikes and the murder of tens, then hundreds, then thousands, then tens of thousands and finally hundreds of thousands of innocent people.

The corpses piled up in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Pakistan, justified by our beatified deaths. Twenty years later, these deaths haunt us like Banquo’s ghost.

War as poison

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Bush on the rubble calling for war. (Eric Draper / courtesy of George W. Bush Presidential Library)

The intoxication of violence, the harmlessness of war, is poison. She condemns critical thinking as a betrayal. Its appeal to patriotism is little more than a collective cult of self. It confers divine power and a license to destroy not only things but other human beings as well.

But war is ultimately about betrayal, as the defeat in Afghanistan shows. Betrayal of the young by the old. Betrayal of the idealists by the cynics. Betrayal of soldiers and marines by war profiteers and politicians.

War, like all idols, begins by requiring the sacrifice of others but ends with the requirement of self-sacrifice. The Greeks, like Sigmund Freud, understood that war is the purest expression of the death instinct, the desire to exterminate all systems of life, including, ultimately, our own.

Ares, the Greek god of war, was often drunk, quarrelsome, brash, and a lover of violence for herself. He was hated by almost every other god except the god of the underworld, Hades, to whom he provided a constant stream of new souls. Ares’ sister, Eris, the goddess of chaos and discord, spread rumors and jealousy to fan the flames of war.

The defeat in Afghanistan did not force us to take stock. The media coverage fails to acknowledge defeat, replacing it with the absurd idea that by withdrawing we have defeated ourselves. The plight of women under the Taliban and the frantic efforts of elites and those who collaborated with foreign occupation forces to flee are used myopically to ignore the two decades of outright terror and death we have perpetrated against the Afghan people.

This moral fragmentation, where we define ourselves by tangential and often fictitious acts of kindness, is a psychological escape route. It allows us to avoid looking at who we are and what we have done. This willful blindness is what psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton calls “duplication,” that is, “dividing the ego into two functional parts, so that the partial ego acts as an entire ego. “

This duplication, Lifton notes, often occurs “outside of consciousness.” And it is an essential ingredient in the realization of evil. If we refuse to see ourselves as we are, if we cannot break the lie perpetuated by our moral fragmentation, there is no hope of redemption. The most serious danger we face is that of alienation, not only from the world around us, but also from ourselves.

Chris Hedges: Chris Hedges is a journalist. A Pulitzer Prize winner, he was an overseas correspondent for the New York Times for 15 years, where he served as head of the Middle East bureau and the Balkans bureau. He previously worked overseas for the Dallas Morning News, the Christian Science Monitor, and National Public Radio. He is the host of the show On Contact of Russia Today America, Emmy nominee.

Source: Consortium News, Chris Hedges, 13-09-2021

Translated by the readers of the site Les-Crises

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Chris Hedges: “On 9/11 the United States came under attack for its geopolitical hypocrisy. ”