Learned Nothing Since 9/11?
In these days before the
tenth anniversary of 9/11, I keep scratching my head and
wondering if we have learned anything about our enemy.
Fanatical Muslims who focused
more on their faith than their own lives, led by Osama bin
Laden, achieved those spectacular plane crashes into the World
Trade Center, the Pentagon, and another was likely targeting the
Capitol where my son was working that fateful day.
It was a brilliant terrorist
act, striking terror into the American heart. First we feared
that there would be more 9/11s, and created an enormous “War on
Terror” to counteract any such possibilities. That was both
wise and surprisingly successful. There has not been even a
minor follow-up act, not even a successful car bombing.
However, America has
overreacted. We have launched two major wars and many smaller
covert ones on the apparent assumption that war will bring
democracy to peoples who have shown no interest in it.
Understandably, we focus on our losses, 4,474 dead in Iraq. In
Afghanistan, 1,380 U.S. troops died.
But do you know how many
Iraqis have died? Officially, the estimate is between 102,000
and 112,000. But a noted British poll, Opinion Research
Business, interviewed 2,400 Iraqis in 15 of 18 provinces. (They
were not allowed into the most volatile regions.) People were
asked if anyone in their household died as a result of the
conflict. One in five said yes. That would be over one million
And what did we gain? We
never found those “weapons of mass destruction.” Some say we
helped bring democracy to an Arab state. In the last election,
President Maliki lost, yet he is still in power.
More important, our wars have
fueled a new generation of Muslim fanatics who hate America.
The scale of this challenge is only now becoming visible in
country after country impacted by the “Arab Spring.”
Americans who believe deeply
in democracy and the right of every citizen to have a voice,
naturally looked upon the ousting of dictators such as Mubarak
and Gaddafi as progress. We hoped for the liberation of common
people. However, we know almost nothing, for example, about the
rebels fighting in Libya.
In a March column, I noted
that Osama bin Laden was originally hired by the CIA to recruit
35,000 non-Afghan mercenaries to fight the Russians who occupied
Afghanistan in 1980. He recruited many of them in Egypt, set up
training camps with the help of Al-Zahawiri who led Jihad Islami,
now loosely translated as the Muslim Brotherhood.
“Freedom movements arise and
assert themselves. They’re doing so on almost every continent
populated by man in the hills of Afghanistan, in Angola, in
Kampuchea, in Central America…(They are) freedom fighters,”
proudly proclaimed President Reagan, knowing our CIA was funding
When the Russians were
defeated and left, bin Laden and Al-Zahawiri remained behind and
their fighters became the Taliban, that imposed harsh Islamic
law on easy-going Afghanis. Of course, they were the architects
The killing of bin Laden was
an important victory, but remember that the U.S. created him in
the first place – a point I have rarely seen reported. We must
also take responsibility for Al-Zahawiri, who now runs Al-Qaeda.
There is no comparable person
in Libya, Egypt, or Syria. But the Muslim Brotherhood or Jihad
Islami has already emerged as a major anti-American,
anti-Israeli force in Egypt in upcoming elections. This has
thoroughly frightened the Copts, who are Christians, some of
whom have already been killed by Muslim fanatics.
Fundamentalist Muslims are
gaining control among Libya’s rebels. After they took over
Tripoli, a Libyan imam preached hatred against even the U.S. who
helped them oust Gadaffi.
Raouf Ghattas, an Egyptian
Christian and his American wife, Carol, were missionaries to
Muslims for 20 years. He is horrified by developments. He
writes about the “same scenario taking place in Syria, Yemen,
Morocco, Jordan, Bahrain and throughout the whole Arab world.
We are actually helping the cause of Islam around the world.
“If the President learned
from watching what happened in the first country, where
fundamental Islam took over, his decisions and statements for
the next countries would have been different. What we see
happening is that he is insistent to topple governments with
moderate Muslim leaders knowing that more fundamental Muslim
leaders will rise to power.
“The President’s reasoning is
that we want to bring democracy into the Muslim world. There is
no democracy in Islam.”
Ghattas has no hope
of influencing Obama, but says, “I’m writing this to the only
institution that can take a stand against evil in the world –