What September 11 Has Left Us

US discourse on terrorism bears little relation to reality

September 11 is just another box on the calendar. But history has been responsible for filling this space with events that mark the fate of entire peoples.

Even as the firefighters and rescue workers were still searching for survivors in the rubble of the World Trade Center, and well before the warmongering speeches by President George W. Bush, the Co­man­dante en Jefe Fidel Castro stated in Havana: “None of the problems affecting today’s world can be solved with the use of force, there is no global, technological or military power that can guarantee total immunity against such acts.”

History once again proved him right. What lessons can be drawn from the failure of U.S. policy and what can be done to break the vicious cycle of violence and death that threatens global stability?

STATE TERRORISM IS THE WORST POSSIBLE KIND

This September 11 marked the 35th anniversary of the assassination of Cuban diplomat Félix García at the hands of a terrorist in the UN headquarters in New York.

His murderer, Eduardo Arocena, was a member of the Omega 7 organization, operating from U.S. territory with the consent of the authorities.

In their efforts to overthrow the Cuban Revolution, U.S. administrations did not hesitate to use or allow the use of the same methods they claim to fight across the world today.

Similarly, Washington encouraged and supported the coup against Salvador Allende in Chile, also perpetrated on September 11, 1973.

The torture, assassinations and persecution used by the Chilean military dictatorship and others on the continent were justified with the alleged objective of halting the spread of communism. Little did it matter that Allende had been democratically elected at the polls.

Several decades later, these same methods are applied with slight variations against countries with progressive governments in the region such as Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and Argentina, without considering the possible consequences.

FIRE ISN’T FOUGHT WITH FIRE

Recent years have demonstrated that the use of force does not resolve the underlying problems. Two unsuccessful wars, Iraq and Afghanistan, with billions of dollars spent and hundreds of thousands dead, are the greatest proof of this.

A new type of unconventional warfare was intended in the case of Libya, where millions of dollars and weapons were supplied to armed gangs of radicals with the aim of overthrowing the government of Muammar Gaddafi.

The country went from being an example in terms of social indicators to a lawless hell where the force of arms commands. Libya also became a meeting point for extremists and mercenaries who then migrated south on the continent, destabilizing neighboring countries and others as far afield as Mali.

Syria is fighting terrorists and at the same time must deal with illegal groups with Western training and funds to overthrow the legitimate government.

In Europe, the example of Ukraine is also proof that violence generates a vicious circle. The West supported the most extremist sectors in Maidan Square, including neo-Nazi groups, which led to the rupture of constitutional order and sparked a civil conflict that seems to have no end.

A dead child washed up on European beaches has become the symbol of the millions displaced by violence in the worst migration crisis since World War II.

TERRORISM HAS NO RELIGION

One of the ideas being imposed today is the link between terrorism and religion, but a simple review of history takes this thesis to pieces in an instant.

U.S. authorities spend billions on foreign conflicts and scarcely devote any resources to solving the causes of their own internal violence. There are more than 400 extremist groups inside the country, many of them white supremacists and neo-Nazis.

Recent terrorist acts on U.S. soil have been perpetrated precisely by members of these groups. The most recent of these occurred in a church in Charleston, South Carolina, where a white supremacist opened fire and killed nine people in a town that was emblematic of the civil rights movement in the United States.

Returning to the Middle East, it is very simplistic to address the phenomenon of Islamic fundamentalism without analyzing the evolution of a region with thousands of years of history, subjected to a colonial and neocolonial regime in the recent past.

Arab nationalist projects, many of them secular and progressive, were undermined by Washington for fear of losing its control over the region’s energy resources. It was easier to dominate a fragmented and radical region. It is also in the interests of its strategic ally, Israel, to prevent the development of its neighbors which exceed it in terms of population and resources.

It is striking that the plans and projects of terrorist groups are nonexistent or incomprehensible, even to their fellow countrymen and women, beyond the false messianic project of a global caliphate. Terrorism is quintessentially irrational and violence is an end in itself, responding to dynamics of exclusion and marginalization that have only increased in recent times.

Speaking 14 years ago, Fidel noted: “This international struggle against terrorism cannot succeed by killing a terrorist here and another one there, that is, by using similar methods to theirs, sacrificing innocent lives. It is resolved, inter alia, by putting an end to state terrorism and other repulsive crimes, by putting an end to genocide and by honestly pursuing a policy of peace and respect for established moral and legal standards. The world cannot be saved unless a path of international peace and cooperation is pursued.”

What might the news this September 11 have been if that path had been followed?

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