Understanding the Real Meaning of 9/11

August 30th, 2011

By Seth Forman

Remember 9/11Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic has a wonderful piece on “The Real Meaning of 9/11.” As he should, Goldberg places the “meaning” at the feet of Islamist hatred. He skewers the intellectuals who defend them and build a scaffold of ideology to excuse this murderous horde. But, as any well-intentioned centrist, he also takes his shot at the intellectuals (read “neocons”) who view this as a “war” between democracy and fascism. Goldberg utilizes the Arab uprisings and his own interview with the father of one of the 9/11 hijackers to support his claim that large majorities of Muslims have rejected Bin Ladenism and that we must now loosen our wartime posture.

No acknowledgement that the Arab “uprisings” would not have been possible without direct U.S. military intervention in the Middle East, that there would not have been and will not continue to be these kinds of demands for change (if not democracy) without the example of Iraq and the certitude of American firepower deployed with the sense of purpose reflected in the term “war.”

No acknowledgement that, in fact, Islamists have dominated the very “uprisings” where U.S. wartime purpose has been lacking (Egypt, Libya).

No acknowledgement that growing numbers of Muslims continue to radicalize in Europe, America, and elsewhere, that the Sinai is in danger of becoming the new “Somalia” without strong leadership in Egypt, that the Taliban continues its atrocities, that Pakistan is in the throes of Islamist revolt, that Iran and Syria remain intransigent.

If Goldberg’s logic is followed to its end point, all we must do now is build a few mosques near Ground Zero, throw a few more sanctions in the way of Syria’s Assad, and let the “international community” handle the mullahs of Iran.

There’s not even a hat tip to the role that this misguided “war” played in Bin Laden’s killing. Bin Laden was killed by way of information gleaned from terrorists held at Guantanamo and military deployments that were skewered by “centrists” and leftists alike — the identity of the courier whose false step gave up Bin Laden was provided by al Qaida facilitator Hassan Ghul, captured in Iraq in 2004 and interrogated by the CIA.

Goldberg mentions that by this time most of al Qaida’s victims have been Muslims. But he doesn’t acknowledge that this might not have been true if the U.S. did not bring this war to the heart of the Middle East. None of this would have been possible without the “war on terror” Goldberg now seems to feel is no longer necessary. If more Muslims now side with America against Islamism than before 9/11, it is because the U.S. has waged the kind of war Goldberg now suggests is so debilitating.


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