Tuesday 11th September 2001

What did today, the last day of the World Trade Center, demonstrate? The hideous inhuman depths to which the United States has driven its enemies. No one becomes a person who can plan, train for, and cold-bloodedly execute the deaths of thousands of people by accident. Such people are created by unimaginable suffering and oppression.

Everyone on the news is saying that the attacks could not have been prevented, except by some cloak-and-dagger feat of the 'intelligence' agencies. This is clearly not true. Even having locking doors to the flight decks would probably have foiled the attempt, and probably applying international standards of passenger checking to internal US flights would also. Given that flights have been being hijacked for many years, it seems implausible that no one in the air industry has thought of these ideas before now. Of course the reason not to implement them has been cost, and/or inconvenience to travellers, and the loss of profit that implies. Ironically, profit, in the shape of oil, is also what has led the US and its allies to brutalise much of the Middle East to such a degree that suicide bombers have become commonplace.

Ian McEwan writes in the Guardian that if the World Trade Center hijackers had been able to empathise with their victims, they could not have carried out the attack. Maybe so. But if empathy is so important, let's try to empathise with the hijackers. What can bring people to such an appalling conclusion? How can someone be so brutalised by their life that they feel it worth trading for a single act of cruelty, no matter how cataclysmic? Such events are no accident, such people are not simply 'evil'; they are the direct product of, for example, the pitifull oppression of Palestine, the bombing of an air-raid bunker full of women and children in Iraq, the selling of weapons to both sides in the Iran-Iraq war, the dumping of grain while millions starve.

Let's not follow blindly the lust for vengeance of the so-called Christian state across the Atlantic. Let's not choose our roles from Hollywood. Let's be honest about how the US and Britain have created the conditions for such acts, and let's look for a different way to run our shrinking world before it implodes completely.


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