Financial And Military Symbols Destroyed As Ten Thousand Believed Killed In Worst Terrorist Attack In U.S. History
911: A WORLDWIDE ALERT TO THE CASUALTIES OF WAR
by Elombe Brath
Some time ago the brilliant rap artist Rakim Allah wrote the following:
Casualties of war; as I approach the barricade
Where's the enemy? Who do I invade?...
Cause I got a family that waits for my return
To get back home is my main concern
I'ma get back to New York in one piece
But I'm bent in the sand that is hot as the city streets
Sky lights up like fireworks blind me
Bullets, whistlin over my head remind me...
President bush said attack
Flashback to Nam, I might not make it back...
Now I'm home on reserves and you can bet
When THEY call, I'm going AWOL
Cause it ain't no way I'm going back to war
When I don't know who or what I'm fighting for
So I wait for terrorists to attack
Every time a truck backfires I fire back
I look for shelter when a plane is over me
Remember Pearl Harbor? New York could be over, G
Kamikaze, strapped with bombs
No peace in the East, they want revenge for Saddam...
from Casualties of War
by The God Rakim Allah!
from CD "Don't Sweat the Technique" 1992
When Rakim Allah penned "Casualties of War" nearly a decade ago, his genius for understanding the world we live in might not have been appreciated then. It should be now. But if it is not, then the lessons that we all have to learn about the tragic events of September 11- a virtual worldwide 911 alert - will not be learned. Worse yet, we will continue to blindly be pulled into a raging whirlpool of violence without attempting to sort out its root cause. An old adage comes to mind: "Peace is not the absence of war but the presence of justice."
While it is presumptious for an embarrassed U.S. military to rush to judgement and initiate some retaliatory punitive strike against their target of choice without any unquestionable evidence of guilt, an act that would further inflame the situation, let us assume - for the sake of argument - that the reason for the dastardly deed is related to the ongoing struggle in the so-called Middle East. This of course means the general feeling among Arabs that U.S. foreign policy is overwhelmingly tilted toward Israel and against the Palestinians. I doubt that anyone can honestly say that those who feel this way are making an unfair assessment. The fact of the matter is, that when people who feel that their quest for justice has been ignored by those they feel responsible for their plight, there is going to be a problem. One cannot expect them to continue to stand idly by and watch members of their own families be killed by Cruise and Tomahawk missiles, Apache helicopters, toxic agents, and other sophisticated means of mass destruction by superior military forces who invade their countries at will and destroy their loved ones with impunity. At some point they will say "no more." They in turn will devise their own methods to retaliate, steeled with a spiritual commitment, and use any means necessary to extract their vengeance.
According to the law of karma, what some see as terrorism, believe or not, others may see as heroism. Most of those who live in the U.S. regard this recent tragedy indeed as terrorism. However, some - not all - who lived in other parts of the world, don't share that view. We have seen them constantly on television screaming to no avail, covered with the blood of their relatives and friends who were killed after a midnight visit from the U.S. military. Those who America designate as terrorists are viewed as heroes to people who have been ignored, shown little or no respect, and are left to their own devises to express deep hurt and outrage. Some whose families have suffered for over the last five decades have been shown dancing in the streets of their occupied homeland. For the average American it was not a pretty sight. But their behavior does reflect a history in which U.S. foreign policy is seen more as part of their problem than part of the solution.
The U.S. is unquestionably the lone superpower in the world with the most potent and devastating military forces on this planet. However, the war that its military has brought to the shores of smaller, darker, less developed countries, killing countless numbers of faceless and nameless people who have been disgarded as collateral damage, may have invited an unbelievable response from an enemy that that seems to have been underestimated. The average American has a false and xenophobic pride that borders on arrogance regarding folks who are not fellow U.S. citizens. They have a blind allegiance that makes them feel overly secure because they have had the good fortune of being able to survive two world wars and a number of other so-called wars that have tore up the countries and the people where these conflicts were fought. U.S. citizens, denizens and residents have never had to endure the ravages of war visited upon them on their shores, in their homes. Apparently those days are over and we have to now understand that, un fortunately, sooner or later, as the saying goes, "chickens are known to come home to roost."
Whereas many of us who are against what is known as terrorism (i.e., acts of violence when the lives of innocent, noncombatants are taken with callous abandon), the difference between us and most others is that we feel sympathy not only when it happens to our own families, friends and compatriots, but wherever these acts of indiscriminate violence are carried out. Or, more plainly put, even when the terror that is used is generated from those who govern the country we live in. And because we all live in the U.S., it stands to reason that no one appreciates such acts occurring where we reside.
The same thing can be said that, no matter what our politics, whenever we travel and have to undergo stringent security measures before entering a plane, we want the security authorities to do a damn good job of making sure that once we board an airplane we can get to our destination unhindered and in complete safety. So we, like most of the people in the U.S., feel sympathy for those who lost their lives for reasons that they cannot even fathom. Like most people, our condolences go out to all who perished in such a disaster. And we commend those New York City civil service workers, particular the firemen, who courageously went to the aid of those who were injured, rescuing many.
While the U.S. leadership establishment is calling the perpretrators of Tuesday's coordinated attacks that killed perhaps thousands of people [several reports mentioned perhaps 10,000 people] "cowards", who is or isn't a coward must be interpreted in one's relative context. Oppressed people in developing nations think it cowardly for major powers to unleash their military forces on them, often under the cover of darkness, treating their defenseless population to the role of collateral damage as the invaders seek to destroy local leaders the U.S. deem to be unacceptable to western interests. It is rumored that some of the representatives of the federal government who made comments about cowardice, did so from safe, impenetrable bunkers. A "Threat Level Delta" order was issued, the highest state of alert. The departments of defense, state, justice, treasury and the CIA had their personnel evacuated, post-haste.
This was particularly true after the Pentagon was set afire, following the third hijacked plane, a Boeing 757 United Airlines Flight 77 originating out of Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C. and enroute to Los Angeles, crashed into the military's central headquarters, smashing through a wall, and killing as many as 800 military personnel - along with 58 passengers, 6 crew members, and an undetermined number of terrorists. President-select Bush was secreted from out of harm's way to Offutt Air Force Base [believed by some at first to have been temporarily hunkered down in a bomb resistant bunker deep in a mountain] somewhere in Nebraska. In any event, he later returned to the nation's capital to assume a more presidential posture.
In New York City, where the first attacks took place, all bridges and tunnels in Manhattan were closed immediately, isolating the island. The 110-story steel and glass World Trade Center Twin Towers, where 50,000 people were expected to have been at work, was set ablaze after an American Airlines Boeing 767, Flight 11, carrying 81 passengers and a flight crew of 11 enroute to Los Angeles, was hijacked in Boston, flown into New York airspace and crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center at approximately 8:45 a.m. In an obviously coordinated plan, a second plane, United Airlines Flight 175, also coming from Boston and heading to L.A., crashed into the south tower, about 18 minutes later, exploding into a huge fireball and created structural damage to the complex. [I have already mentioned the third attack which was against the Pentagon.] A fourth hijacked aircraft, United Airlines 93 enroute to San Francisco from Newark, crashed in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, southeast of Pittsburgh. It is believed that this flight was being redirected towards either Camp David, the White House or the U.S. Capitol building. [An African cultural activist and promoter, suggested that the choice of "American" and "United" airliners to deliver their deadly airmail might have had some political symbolism for the attackers.]
The immense heat from the fires caused by the explosions of the first two airliners [both were still carrying near full loads of fuel calculated for coast to coast flights, making the planes the equivalent of huge missiles of napalm] created tremendous pressure on the infrastructure of Wall Street complex. Subsequently, this would lead to the collapse of the south tower when its upper portion gave way, sliding down into the surrounding street. This was soon followed by its twin, as both were reduced to a mere ten stories and rubble, set in so much ash and dust that it made lower Manhattan look like it had just undergone a sudden early winter snowstorm.
Building number Seven, a 47-story structure, also at the World Trade Center, eventually imploded, disintegrating as easy as an American inner city ghetto project dynamited by demolition teams in Newark, Chicago or other urban centers seen on television. How many other buildings in the vicinity of the World Trade Center, whose structures have been severely damaged, will remain standing in the future is anybody's guess.
The sight of people either being blown, falling or jumping out of the Twin Towers, along with debris, along with plane and body parts, horrified onlookers. With the shocking loss of the two landmark buildings, which survived an earlier attack during a bomb blast in 1993, where only six people were killed and a thousand others were injured, Tuesday's catastrophe represented one the worst terrorist attacks in world history. Chris Yates, an aviation expert at Jane's Transport in London, stated that the only terrorist organization sophisticated enough pull off such a devastating attack, was al Qaeda, introducing the usual prime suspect, Osama bin Laden, the group's leader, as its architect.
The Jerusalem Post of Wednesday, September 12th, reported that the Israeli Foreign Ministry "received the names of 4,000 Israelis believed to have been in the areas of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon at the time of the attack(s). The list was made up of people who have not yet made contact with friends or family", according to Israeli Army Radio. If this turns out to be true, and there are numbers of Israeli casualties anywhere near the figures suggested by the Jerusalem Post, then one might reasonably believe that the "terrorist camp" [not all people who happened to be Arabs!] will surely view those who carried out the brazen act are now in Paradise. It is an ominous sign.
A caller to C-SPAN complained that, "This is a sign to America. We think we are the strongest country and they hit us; they knew where to hit us."
And that they did. The religious martyrs did their job. Did it well. Although it was a hateful, deadly act, as quite as it is kept, U.S. counterintelligence mavens actually marvel at the meticulous, clinical precision with which the operation was carried out. If the average person realized the amount of mutual respect that virulent opposing forces sometimes have for their enemies when they have been outfoxed, they would be flabbergasted.
Let nobody kid you. In spite of all of the bluff and bluster about beginning another Desert Storm operation to bomb some poor, unfortunate Muslim country into a parking lot, this nation is terrified, angry and frustrated. The two landmark structures representing U.S. financial and military power were targeted and hit: New York's Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, icon for New York's symbolic skyline for the last three decades, totally destroyed; and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. where firefighters stated that 800 personnel were killed alone, symbolically reflect the dimension of the loss. Airports shut down nationwide. Ground Zero emergency status established in the nation's capital, one report claimed snarling traffic all the way up to Alaska.
The Pentagon ordered five warships, including guided missile destroyers capable of shooting down in-coming aircraft (even those carrying American citizens held as hostages), and two aircraft carriers - the USS George Washington and the USS John F. Kennedy - from its Naval Station in Norfolk, Virginia to proceed up to New York and take up positions in the East River to defend the city against further terrorist attacks. And plans were made to seal off the U.S. borders with Canada and Mexico. Subway and railroad service entering and leaving New York City was suspended for a day. The New York Stock Exchange shut down. The Democratic Mayoral and municipal election primaries were postponed.
Urged on by opportunistic politicians race baiting media moguls, the U.S. is being stampeded into a seige mentality, figuratively speaking, drawing the wagons into a circle. A lynch mob mentality is openly being cultivated. "Islamaphobia" is being fanned throughout the country. An official declaration of a state of emergency seems to be on the way. The president, governor, mayor, who have emerged as the reigning Republican triumvirate, are rallying the citizenry around the flag, demanding fealty to the nation and singing hail to the chief. The emergency is being cleverly spun to establish legitimacy to George Dubya and his administration. He is asking Congress to give him the authorization to wage war by exercising preemptive strikes against America's enemies. Xenophobia and sabber rattling have became the order of the day. Emergency draconian plans are being contemplated. FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, was said to be on standby. Are these draconian measures signaling the coming of a fascistic new order in a National Security State?
When you start to scrutinize thess as usual. And believe me when I tell you, making war is one of the most profit making enterprises in the United States of America. It's time that those who have to fight these wars be better informed before they become so intoxicated by disingenuous propaganda that they become gung ho and, as former President George Herbert Walker Bush used to say, rush into "deep doo-doo!"
As Brother Rakim Allah mused:
Did I hear gunshots, or thunder?
No time to wonder, somebody's going under
Put on my fatigues and my camouflauge
Take control, cause I'm in charge
When I snapped out of it, it was blood, dead bodies on the floor
CASUALTIES OF WAR!
Much thanks to my sons Ramses D'zalines for reminding me of Rakim Allah's Casualties of War and Cinque Menelik for hippin' me to the September 11th [also his birthday]/911 hookup. Peace.