Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 Years of Death and Drama

We've heard these all-too-familiar lines from the Presidents of US about the courage shown by the US military and intelligence officials and the never-die attitude of the Americans in the face (frankly, idiotic) threats over the last 10 years, since the first anniversary of September 11, 2001 attacks. Unsurprisingly, on the eve of 11th September, this is what President Barack Obama has to say, again:

“Thanks to the tireless efforts of our military personnel and our intelligence, law enforcement and homeland security professionals, there should be no doubt: today, America is stronger and Al Qaeda is on the path to defeat”

He further continued to say, or rather further continue to scare his own people:

“Yes we face a determined foe, and make no mistake -

they will keep trying to hit us again. But as we are showing again this weekend, we remain vigilant. We're doing everything in our power to protect our people, and no matter what comes our way, as a resilient nation, we will carry on.”

I suppose it's only right to say now that the more you look at the events that took place on 11th September, 2001, the more you start to doubt the version of the story of the US government and its media presented to the world, and even more you start to see a hidden hand of some unknown personalities behind that day's heinous crimes against humanity. In fact, let's not conclude and become judgmental straight away about it.

For once, I do not wish to disrespect the ones who died on that fateful day when Twin Towers collapsed on to the ground like nine-pins. I do not want to hurt the sentiments and emotions of the people who lost their loved ones on September the 11th, as it goes without saying, that those who died on that day, weren't at fault. They just happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time and we share their agony. But what about those who've died after 9/11 thousands in number for no obvious reason because of the War that ensued in countries like Afghanistan and Iraq? Who is going to share their agony? Who is going to put a protective arm around them and condole and comfort them? More importantly, who speaks for them?

The purpose of this write up is to raise those questions to the US, more importantly, to the President of United States of America – Barack Hussein Obama, that every Muslim seems to have inside them. There are repercussions for such a large-scale war, and that seems to have been forgotten by the US President, especially when you involve the entire world in this “War on Terrorism,” by hook or crook. Barack Obama might have words to soothe the pain of those who lost their family, friends and relatives on 11th September, but like his predecessor, George W. Bush, Mr
Obama doesn't utter a word for those innocent people - men, women and children - who have died needlessly in the countries the US troops are fighting in.

After 9/11, former US President Bush went into Afghanistan, and later Iraq, to eliminate the direct threat that Al Qaeda purportedly posed to the US and its citizens. And perhaps we forgot to question him or it slipped from his mind to tell that it was only a war against Al Qaeda - which honestly, is another self-made tool of the US – and not against the innocent civilians who still continue to be killed in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan, by the US forces; covertly or overtly; directly or indirectly; intentionally or unintentionally.

Since the start of the War in 2001, there is a burgeoning number of civilian casualties wherever the US and its allies have set their feet on. According to report by Conflict Monitoring Center (CMC), 2,043 Pakistanis have died because of US drones since 2006, with the report further adding that most of them were innocent civilians. The figures on the covert operation of drone attacks on Pakistani soil are nothing less than startling, and for Pakistanis, a source of depression and hatred towards US.

There have been around 115 U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan in 2010 (by mid
December), compared with 53 in 2009, 34 in 2008, and 9 attacks which took place between 2004 and 2007, according to The Nation. The strikes have increased during the administration of President Barack Obama and are a major source of anti-American sentiments in Pakistan. According to a poll conducted by the New America Foundation in 2010, most Pakistanis oppose the U.S. drone strikes. According to a July 2009 report by the Brookings institution, the drone attacks in Pakistan have killed ten civilians for every militant killed. According to Pakistani sources, the attacks kill almost 50 civilians for every militant killed - a hit rate of 2 percent. In June 2010, the UN's special investigator on extrajudicial killings, Philip Alston, criticized targeted killings using weapons such as drones as posing a growing challenge to international law.

The former US President, George W. Bush wanted to enter into Iraq on the pretext that they had “solid evidences” against Saddam Hussain's direct involvement, along with Al Qaeda, in the September 11th, 2001 attacks and to further their claims to invade Iraq, they even created a false-scare of Saddam Hussain on the brink of releasing Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). All of which later turned out to be completely baseless, untrue and to some experts, even ridiculous. But who would have thought that this is going to happen! Looking at the US-led invasion of Iraq, in 2003, according to Iraq Body Count project (IBC), cited as the most reliable database of Iraqi civilian deaths by Jonathan Steele (of The Guardian), includes deaths attributable to coalition and insurgent military action, sectarian and criminal violence. Put simply, deaths attributable to US troops and its allies. The number for civilian deaths in Iraq's case are even more disturbing, as in 2006 alone, over 24,000 civilians had lost their lives, thus making it the most bloodiest of the years since 2003. However, it is to be mentioned that 2004 onwards, Iraq experienced civilian deaths due to deteriorating situation of law and order which is also attributable to the invasion, so that makes US indirectly involved in all those deaths since 2005 to date because experts say these death hadn't taken place if the US hadn't invaded Iraq. Prior to 2004, a large number of civilian deaths can be directly attributable to US troops, as the War had started in 2003 and the US and NATO forces would had dropped bombs, fired missiles and shot dead people indiscriminately in the wake to bring down Saddam Hussain's regime. To further the claim of innocent people being killed in this, frankly, unjust war on the people of Iraq for never-existent WMDs, the whistleblower website, WikiLeaks, posted a video footage from Iraq, where US soldier aboard a US military helicopter, killed 12 people (2 of them from Reuters) and wounded 2 children. There have been numerous stories coming out from Iraq, no less than from US soldiers themselves, who share to tell the barbarism and unprovoked slaughtering of Iraqi civilians by the US soldiers. One of them, Jason Washburn, a corporal in the US Marines who served three tours in Iraq, appeared in front of the panel at the Winter Soldier hearings that took place in March 13-16, 2008, testified:

“During the course of my three tours, the rules of engagement changed a lot. The higher the threat the more viciously we were permitted and expected to respond. Something else we were encouraged to do, almost with a wink and nudge, was to carry ‘drop weapons’, or by my third tour, ‘drop shovels’. We would carry these weapons or shovels with us because if we accidentally shot a civilian, we could just toss the weapon on the body, and make them look like an insurgent.”

This and many such appalling revelations were made by none other than US troops themselves, fighting an unknown enemy, especially after the fall of Saddam Hussain. (To know more visit the link:

Similarly in Afghanistan, the numbers and figures of civilian deaths raise more questions for the US President, who wasn't tired of praising on the efforts of soldiers   ordered to kill civilians. Even repeated protests and warnings from the Afghan President Hamid Karzai didn't deter the US and ISAF forces from their, apparently, “real-task” - killing innocent civilians. According to Marc W. Herold's database, Dossier on Civilian Victims of United States' Aerial Bombing, between 3,100 and 3,600 civilians

were directly killed by US bombing and Special Forces attack between October 7, 2001 and June 3, 2003. Professor Marc W. Herold also estimated civilian deaths attributable directly to US/NATO bombing and airstrikes to be at least 3,857-4,634 from 2005 to 2009. These figures do not include civilian deaths due to displacement, terror or criminal violence; they only include the number of Afghan civilians who have lost their lives due to US invasion of Afghanistan and its forces using a heavy hand on unarmed and innocent civilians.

So for what reason do we find US President Barack Obama acknowledging the efforts of soldiers who couldn't differentiate between an innocent civilian and a possible threat? If even after 10 years into the war, Barack Obama continues to feed in to the Americans that US is still under threat, then who is to be blamed for it? I would ask Americans citizens, to put their hands on their heart and for once, tell the truth that if a foreign force enters into your territory, without solid evidences, and starts killing innocent people after people, will you sit and watch it happen or will the emotion of hatred envelope you to fight against the invaders? If your reply the latter, then put the people of Iraq and Afghanistan into perspective, who consider US-led forces as invader of their homeland and they are fighting against the invasion. This War on Terrorism has just bred more hatred, violence and disharmony among people, especially for the US and the President of US seems oblivious of this fact.

The US has lead the entire world in to this “War on Terrorism,” even those poor and innocent civilians of countries like Pakistan, who have borne the brunt of this War equally violently. When it has been said by one and all experts, that the events on 9/11 changed the outlook of the entire world, then it was important that President Barack Obama shouldn't had forgotten to mention and recognize the efforts and lives of non-American forces and civilians, especially in Afghanistan and Iraq. If it is a War that involves all countries and civilians, then it might be necessary for the US to remember their sacrifices also. The US President shouldn't had been wiping tears of pain of his fellow Americans only, but also of those hundreds of thousands of people who have lost their loved ones due to this, rather illegitimate invasion of countries and bombing innocent people to death. He shouldn't had been talking about threats and security of United States only, he should had been man enough to admit his mistake on the eve of September 11, and acknowledge the effort of those in Afghanis and Iraqis, who had nothing to do with anything that happened 10 years ago, today. If 9/11 was a major world event, then President Obama should also talk about the world security rather than US security. According to official figures, 2,977 people died on September 11, while on the other hand the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq and covert missions in Pakistan have claimed lives many times more than those died on 9/11, mentioned above. Perhaps a word of appreciation from the US President wouldn't have harmed him; in fact, if anything it would had set a positive precedent for future US Presidents as well as had been a source of comfort for those who, like the Americans, lost their family, friends and relatives in the aftermath of the War.

However, as we speak, we are also aware that this isn't going to happen any time soon. It might just be a little too much to ask for from the US Government, who has pushed the Afghanis, Iraqis and Pakistanis into the War, without realising the cost the people of these countries have to pay for. So we brush aside these dramatised and emotional words of President Barack Obama for his troops, his countrymen and his country, and look for answers and heads to roll for the deaths of hundreds and thousands of harmless civilians. Isn't the President aware of how the US soldiers have carried out crimes against humanity; of how the US soldiers have time and again changed the rules of engagement (ROE) at their own discretion; how the US troops have gone about killing harmless civilians on the basis of a possible threat, without much to back their claims. Mr. President, a few mindless terrorists might have attacked the US on 9/11 – which still people doubt it seriously - but the fact is that, you, your troops and your allies have killed and subjected to torture far more people than those who died on 9/11 and for that sole reason, you and your country would continue to have threats to your security. You risked the security of, frankly, similar innocent American people by engaging in a War which created more enemies for the US than friends. One does beg a question that with the fall of Saddam's regime and after his death, with the fall of Taliban in Kabul and Osama bin Laden’s death (presumably) on May 2nd, 2011, what are the US soldiers still doing in Iraq and Afghanistan? Questions will be posed, voices will be raised, actions will be taken, and one day you and your nasty soldiers would have to answer the questions, listen to the voices and face the action from those who've lost their loved ones for no reason at all. Your policies are a threat to the entire world's peace, not those poor people in the rugged mountains of Afghanistan and on squeaky chairs in Iraq.

But if former President George W. Bush said to the world “Either you're with us or you're with the terrorists,” and if the result of being with the US is extrajudicial killing of civilians, then I think I better die fighting than being on the side who will one day kill me any way.

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