Remembering the 9/11s

 Posted by at 12:54 pm  Editorial, Politics
Sep 112017


This is a repetition of the editorials I published in both 2011 and 2014, with minor alterations to bring it up to date.

Sixteen years ago this morning, the first airliner hit the tower, as I was about to leave for work. When I arrived, I learned about the second hit. My duties that day were to contact top executives of Fortune 500 companies headquartered in New York on behalf of our client, a major developer of computer operating systems, to arrange site visits and one-on-one executive interviews for our client’s research team. What timing! I felt uncomfortable calling, but the account exec’s assistant, an airhead and a Republican, ordered me to go to work. Many of my executive contacts were in the Twin Towers. I got on the telephone. Nobody was answering, and many of the lines were out of order. I did get through and spoke to a man in one of the towers above the fire, who knew he would not survive. He said he couldn’t dial out and gave me his home number. He asked me to call his wife and tell her he loved her. I did. She was pretty hysterical. Who could blame her. That shook me up so much that I went to the account executive’s office, and told him I was done calling New York for the day. He asked me what idiot had told me to call into New York under these circumstances. Because of that experience, I cannot think of 9/11 without my heart going out to the people who lost loved ones that tragic day, and I consider it imperative to do whatever we can, within reason, to prevent a reoccurrence. One failing, in that regard, is that we often ask who and how, but all too seldom, ask why. So as we remember the events of 9/11/2001, perhaps it may help if we consider the other 9/11, 9/11/1973. Twenty eight years earlier, the roles were reversed. Instead of being attacked, the US had arranged and was assisting an attack to overthrow the democratically elected government of Chile, and the installation of one of the most infamous dictators of the twentieth century, Augusto Pinochet. An article by Peter Kornblug from August 2003 describes and explains those events.


On September 14, 1970, a deputy to then-National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger wrote him a memo, classified SECRET/SENSITIVE, arguing against covert operations to block the duly elected Chilean socialist Salvador Allende from assuming the presidency. "What we propose is patently a violation of our own principles and policy tenets," noted Viron Vaky. "If these principles have any meaning, we normally depart from them only to meet the gravest threat to us., e.g. to our survival. Is Allende a mortal threat to the U.S.?" Vaky asked. "It is hard to argue this." Kissinger ignored this advice. The next day he participated in a now-famous meeting where President Nixon instructed CIA Director Richard Helms to "save Chile" by secretly fomenting a coup to prevent Allende’s inauguration. When those covert operations failed, Kissinger goaded Nixon into instructing the entire national security bureaucracy "on opposing Allende" and destabilizing his government. "Election of Allende as president of Chile poses one of [the] most serious challenges ever faced in this hemisphere," says a newly declassified briefing paper Kissinger gave to Nixon two days after Allende’s inauguration. "Your decision as to what to do may be most historic and difficult foreign affairs decision you will have to make this year…. If all concerned do not understand that you want Allende opposed as strongly as we can, result will be steady draft toward modus vivendi approach." 11kissinger_pinochetHad Washington adopted a "modus vivendi approach," it is possible that Chileans, indeed citizens around the world, would not be solemnly commemorating the thirtieth anniversary of the coup that brought Gen. Augusto Pinochet to power. In the United States, the meaning of this anniversary is, understandably, overshadowed by the shock and tragedy of our own 9/11. But Chile reminds us that the topics of debate on US foreign policy today–pre-emptive strikes, regime change, the arrogance of unilateral intervention, unchecked covert action and secrecy and dishonesty in government–are not new. From the thousands of formerly classified US documents released over the past several years, the picture that emerges strikes some haunting parallels with the news of the day. Chile, it must be recalled, constitutes a classic example of a pre-emptive strike–a set of operations launched well before Salvador Allende set foot in office. Nixon ordered the CIA on September 15, 1970, to "make the economy scream" and to foment a military move to block Allende from being inaugurated six weeks later, in November; the Chilean leader had yet to formulate or authorize a single policy detrimental to US interests. "What happens over [the] next 6-10 months will have ramifications far beyond US-Ch[ilean] relations," Kissinger predicted in a dire warning to Nixon only forty-eight hours after Allende actually took office. "Will have effect on what happens in rest of LA and developing world; our future position in hemisphere; on larger world picture…even effect our own conception of what our role in the world is." As in the distorted threat assessment on Iraq, this was sheer speculation–unsupported, indeed contradicted, by US intelligence. In August 1970 CIA, State and Defense Department analysts had determined that "the US has no vital national interests within Chile," and that the world "military balance of power would not be significantly altered" if Allende came to power… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <The Nation>

For many years, the United States has treated the rest of the world, particularly third world nations, as the private reserve of an American economic empire, repeatedly using force, usually covertly, any time a nation had the audacity to suggest that their resources should benefit their own people, not US corporations. Neither party is blameless, but the vast majority and most heinous of such actions occurred during Republican administrations. In the twentieth century, the United States overthrew more democratically elected governments and installed more dictators than any other nation ever has. No nation can stand toe-to-toe against the US on the battlefield, so guerilla tactics are the only option available to nations who would oppose us. We should also remember that there would be no such thing as Al Qaeda, had not Republicans under Reagan financed it’s formation to perform terrorist attacks against the USSR. I do not hate this country. I love the USA enough to insist that we actually practice the principles we claim to profess. These are the lessons we need to learn to prevent future terrorists attacks against the US. If we practice oppression, we guarantee resistance. If we practice partnership, we will get cooperation. We need to stop trying to control other countries by force, To forestall terrorism, we must stop participating in and supporting terrorism ourselves. We will be seen as hypocrites if we oppose ethnic cleansing by ISIL, but continue to support ethnic cleansing by Zionists. For the last lesson, let’s return to the story with which I began. Shortly after the account executive agreed that I was done for the day, the company shut down for the rest of the day too. Several of us gathered around the TV in the lunch room. Knowing that I am politically involved, coworkers asked me what I thought was going to happen. I told them that I thought Bush would use the attack as an excuse to do two things: to invade Iraq and to curtail civil liberates guaranteed under our Constitution. The last lesson is this. If we adopt the tactics of evil to oppose evil, we become no different than the evil we oppose. Even if we do all that, we must still be vigilant. Sadly there are forces in pseudo-Islam that pursue hatred against America, just as there are forces in pseudo-Christianity that pursue hatred against all who fail to obey their dogma, both for their own respective right-wing political agendas. The latter are the more dangerous, both at home and abroad.  Now they have Trump adding force to their violations of our rights.



  9 Responses to “Remembering the 9/11s”

  1. Thank you.

    I am not a big student of bio-rhythms, although a few things have happened in my life that have made me wonder whether there is something to them.  This morning I am wondering whether it being 9/11 partially explains why I could probably do two more “Everyday Erinyes” just from the content of just the first Raw Story newsletter of the day.

    Never forget.  And be well and safe.

    (Not New York, but Yellowstone)

  2. There are days that I remember exactly where I was, when I heard the news. The tragic assassinations of JFK, Robert Kennedy, Rev. Martin Luther King, the OK city bombing, and 9/ll to name a few.

    Yes, sad day indeed. A total of 2,977 people were killed in New York City, Washington, DC and outside of Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Loved ones who died, and remembrances deep in our hearts. Forevermore.
    Great read, Tom. Thanks!

  3. “When we react to insecurity and terrorism with fear we worsen the problem, we create a frightened, barricaded society–a fortress America.  Instead we can use courage and compassion to respond calmly, with both prudent action and a fearless heart…’The enemy is delusion.’  Delusion blames others, creates enemies, and fosters separation.  The truth is that we are not separate.  War, economic injustice, racism,and environmental destruction stem rom the illusion of separateness.  It is delusion that separates us from other tribes and from the trees and the oceans on this increasingly small planet.”

    • That was written in 2008, in “The Wise Heart….,” by Jack Cornfield, and applies to today’s world in spades!!

  4. I remember 9/11 as I saw, live on TV, at work after having given my shift report. I still see having the image of the second tower being hit by a plane…

    The day shift nurse asked me who was behind it and I answered, “Osama Bin Laden” without taking my eyes off the tv screen. A couple of days later, he asked me how did I know who did it… The name just popped into my head without thinking as I watched the events unfolding before my very eyes.

    I went home, turned on the TV and watched it all until I fell asleep. Normally, I usually go to bed after working all night on the noc shift at the hospital.

  5. “If we practice oppression, we guarantee resistance. If we practice partnership, we will get cooperation.” — AMEN!!!

    Look what happened in Iraq and the subsequent travails.  And now Drumpf is mulling over Afghanistan, not to help rebuild it, but to rape the land of its resources for the benefit of Americans, not Afghanis.

    Like many people, I remember where I was and what I was doing when we received the news that there had been a terrorist attack on New York.  I was at work and approving mortgages because another manager was away.  Calling a short meeting of all the staff, I informed them of the situation as I knew it at that time and said the television would be set so people could find out what was happening.  We still had work to do, but this was of international importance.  I had one of my tech savvy employees rig up the television that was primarily used for training videos and attempt to get reception.  We did not have cable and in a metro area of over 1 million people, cable is a necessity for such things.  I don’t remember what he did, but we finally got reception, although it was somewhat fuzzy.  For us, it was about 900 – 930 hours as I recall.

    We of course had replays of the crashes later followed by live streaming of some of the rescue work.  It has been 16 years since this happened but in many ways, it seems like yesterday.

    In addressing a joint Session of the US Congress on 08 December 1941, President Franklin D Roosevelt said: 

    “Yesterday, Dec. 7, 1941 – a date which will live in infamy – the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.”

    Substitute 09 September 2001 for “07 December 1941” and terrorists for “naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan” and we have a similar situation — another day which will live in infamy.

  6. I haven’t had time to comb through our newspaper yesterday (9/11) but I have to admit that no news program documentary, or article mentioned it. In the past sixteen years most countries had their own share of tragedies, some caused by man/terrorists, others by nature’s outrage. For Europe and Australia I can say that people remember 9/11, of course, but we no longer commemorate it.

    The scars to heal are not ours of course, and those inflicted on America ran very deep, and still do. I wish had brought a better understanding between Americans and between America and the rest of the world, though. I’m sure it did in the first few years, but time seems to have eroded most of it. As you so eloquently put forward, TomCat, lessons learned after 9/11 have soon been forgotten, or rather buried by right-wing forces both in America and abroad. As Roger Cohen describes in his Op-ed in The New York Times today:

    The assassins of Abraham Lincoln and Mahatma Gandhi and John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King took the lives of great men but did not destroy their ideas. Perhaps they reinforced the immortality of those ideas. The assassin of Yitzhak Rabin and the mass murderers of 9/11 dispatched by Osama bin Laden were, however, more successful.

    I gather that Drumpf’s National Security Advisor McMaster had a strong political correct influence on Drumpf’s 9/11 speech and had him delete all references to radical Islamic terrorism, i.e. to any ideology behind the 9/11 attacks. Drumpf apparently “was allowed” to speak only of “those terrible terrorists” whose attack on 9/11 was worse than the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. A matter of Drumpf opinion?

  7. Sounds like the “election” of Drumpfenfarten!  We needed someone like the U.S. come in and sort out the “election”, if there was someone that strong to do it!

  8. Thanks, hugs, and amen to all! 28

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