9/11: What the United States Failed to Learn

By TJ Roberts | United States

Seventeen years ago, Osama bin Laden recruited the entirety of the US military to fight for the agenda of al Qaeda: to destabilize the Middle East, to radicalize the inhabitants, and to revolutionize the region toward a totalitarian Islamic state. Seventeen years after 9/11, the U.S. is still too arrogant to see that its imperialist efforts not only created the fire of the bin Ladenites but also that its continued intervention in the Middle East only helps them.

Since 9/11, more than 5,000 Americans have died in combat in the Middle East, as far as we know. In Afghanistan, at least 30,000 civilians have died at the hands of the U.S. Military since 9/11. In Iraq, that number is at least 150,000. Entire civilizations have succumbed to the brute force of the American Empire. And worst of all, the people of America and the Middle East are neither freer nor safer due to these wars.

9/11 Was Not an Attack on Freedom

“They hate us for our freedoms!” That is what the warmongers say about the people of the Middle East. What they fail to mention, however, is that the United States sponsored al Qaeda in the Cold War in order to drive the Soviet Union out of Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden worked in close proximity to the Reagan Administration to fight the communists, and the Americans overstayed their welcome.

Very few people seem to remember Desert Storm and American intervention in the Middle East before September 11th, but the U.S. has been meddling with the Middle East since the early 1950s, during which they overthrew Iran’s regime and replaced it with the Shah. It is an undeniable reality that the U.S. is the aggressor in this conflict.

So no, they don’t hate us for our freedom (or what remains of it). What is an attack on freedom, however, is the treasonous PATRIOT Act that made a mockery of the sacred right to privacy and being left alone. What is an attack on freedom is the increased debt and taxation to pay for legalized mass murder around the world.

The War Drums Keep Beating

Despite the mistakes that America has made in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Libya, and so on, the neoconservatives are still trying to spread regime change as gospel. The atrocities in the Middle East are not because of Islam. They are not because of Russia. They are not because of Assad. Iran is not to blame. The American Empire is to blame.

Imagine if it happened here. Imagine if China invaded the U.S. What if they starved your community with sanctions? Imagine if a Chinese soldier slaughtered your family right in front of you. What if they overthrew your nation? Imagine if they forcefully repressed your culture. Would you think China has the right to do this to you? Would you retaliate and hit them where it hurts so that they can understand your pain?

Of course, you would. If not you, then someone else would. The Federal Government is using 9/11 to stir your emotions so that you allow them to hurl this nation into endless war. This is all for the goal of establishing an American Empire around the world. War will not reverse what happened 17 years ago today. If anything, it will provoke something even worse. It has already eliminated many of the freedoms Americans used to enjoy. Continued intervention can only get worse.

9/11: The Lesson

9/11 is now old enough to enlist in the military, and yet the U.S. refuses to learn what it actually taught. If anyone should have learned anything from 9/11, it is that the United States should never fund another revolutionary group, ever. It is that regime change always has failed and always carries catastrophic consequences. The United States is currently supporting al Qaeda in Syria right now. The U.S. is committing genocide in Yemen. The foreign policy that birthed ISIS must die. The people need to put foreign policy first and accept nothing short of non-interventionism, especially in the post-9/11 era.

This post was originally published in LIFE.

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