Another 9/11 has passed. Ever since the terrorist attacks on the twin towers of World Trade Centre on 11 Sep 2001, western media used to commemorate it and extol America's war on terror that followed it. But this time on the 19th anniversary of the New York event, such media narrative looked muted. The chief reason for this is that with the completion of almost two decades, the true colour of that 'war' has been laid bare before the world beyond denial. On top of it, the US is now going through the havoc of another type of terrorist attack.
The Covid-19 pandemic has also exposed the feebleness of global powers and empires. America, which spent 6.5 trillion dollars under the cover of wars on terror for military equipment, is now paying the price for not spending enough on health care. If the number of killed in the 9/11 terrorist attack was under three thousand, the massively brutal expeditions conducted by America in its name has killed 270 times that number. Today, nearly two lakh people have succumbed to the deadly Covid virus. Experts predict that by December, 3,000 Americans will die daily as victims of Covid, i.e. one Sep 11 every day.
Of course, a killer disease is not to be seen as equal to terrorist attacks. At the same time, the massive killings conducted by America and its allies is not to be underestimated. Some shocking figures have now come out from Brown University in a study titled 'Costs of War Project'. The number of people mercilessly killed by America in countries including Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan and Yemen exceeds 8 lakhs. In many regions, it sowed the seeds of conflicts that still crave for resolution. America gave not only an excuse, but also aid and arms for terrorist outfits that had not existed earlier. Prior to 2001, the bellicose imperialist interventions of the US had created widespread discontent and resistance sentiments in eastern countries. But then post the 'war on terror', terrorism and terrorist groups became a reality that could no more be ignored.
More significantly, the war on terror soon turned into a licence for regimes the world over for all forms of governmental high-handedness and human rights violations. The country that now looks the most flummoxed at the face of the pandemic is the same that was responsible for the most widespread terrorist act in history in Hiroshima-Nagasaki and in more recent history led the worst violations of human rights, i.e. America. The grave distortions in its priorities of governance and sense of justice, has exposed the hollowness of US hegemony for 19 years following 2001. Illustrations of this lie in the forms of torture used by Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), in the prisons and torture cells in Kandahar and Bagram in Afghanistan and in Guantanamo Bay – forms of state terrorism totally incompatible with any civilised society.
In addition to the prisoners under trial and prisoners of war, there is another category of prisoners created by US atrocities, whom the regime identifies as 'enemy combatants'; any one labelled in that category, even if innocent, was denied all protection of law or humanity. Three dozen innocents who had been detained in Guatanamo for eight to ten years and were subsequently exonerated by US courts, were only the lucky ones. Forty other prisoners are still languishing still in Guantanamo with no charge-sheet or trial. Soon, this practice of putting individuals in detention in extra-judicial manner came to be followed by other countries. Bullying other countries under threat of military power and imposing sanctions on them became acceptable methods; even the UN fell in line with it. And the event that was held up as justification for all this, i.e the 2001 terror attack, still remains a riddle with little definiteness about its origins and execution, even after multiple investigations.
Despite more than one probe by the US itself, there are no precise conclusions, but there is plenty of illogical presumptions. Even after 19 years, the there is no clear definition for the very term of 'terrorism' – not least because whatever be that definition, its fingers may get pointed at the US. For, what definition can be given to 'terrorism' that excludes Hiroshima-Nagasaki and the imperialist ferocity led by America over the last 19 years? Wars waged on terror has been begetting more terrorism. And Taliban, which was at one point classified as enemy number one by America on grounds of terrorism, is now sitting across the negotiation table for peace talks with US. It is time to admit that the terrorism committed by America is as merciless as the ones committed against it.