Allow me to ask a question: “How long will the attacks on September 11, 2001 be used as an excuse for murder and the repression of rights?”
Many people will think such a question is rhetorical and will answer with “never forget” or some other hollow reply aimed at degrading anyone who dares question the Global War on Terror. I ask this question, not only because it’s been 11 ½ years since the attacks on the Twin Towers and Pentagon. I ask because it’s the go-to excuse from the White House. On April 16, Amina Ismail asked White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, “Do you consider the U.S. bombing on civilians in Afghanistan earlier this month that left 11 children and a woman killed a form of terrorism? Why or why not?”
Carney replied, “Well, I would have to know more about the incident and then obviously the Department of Defense would have answers to your questions on this matter. We have more than 60,000 U.S. troops involved in a war in Afghanistan, a war that began when the United States was attacked … and more than 3,000 people were killed in that attack. And it has been the President’s objective once he took office to make clear what our goals are in Afghanistan and that is to disrupt, dismantle and ultimately defeat al Qaeda … we take great care in the prosecution of this war and we are very mindful of what our objectives are.”
The most conservative estimates claim “at least 16,725 Afghan civilians have been killed directly by the war’s violence” since it began in 2001, and those numbers have risen sharply since 2009. Does that sound like the military is taking “great care” and being “very mindful” of the objectives?
The War on Terror is also the excuse given for violating the human rights of the 166 people imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay. Richard A. Serrano of the LA Times reports, “Prison officials said 100 of the 166 detainees left at Guantanamo were engaged in some form in the hunger strike, with two dozen being force-fed. Officials have also acknowledged that much of the detainees’ angst is over their lost hope of the prison ever closing.” It is not known how many of the 100 men taking part in the hunger-strike are among the 86 prisoners who have been designated for release, nor is it known whether or not any of the men who are not allowed to die have been designated for release. I say, “not allowed to die” because the American military is force feeding these men. Can you imagine feeling so hopeless that you want to die, but have no means of killing yourself other than starvation, and then being force-fed to prevent you from dying?
To answer my original question: How long will the attacks on September 11, 2001 be used as an excuse for murder and the repression of rights? If history is any indication, the federal government will use it as an excuse for as long as they can get away with it.