George Bush often throws out the phrase "the lessons of 9-11" in one form or another, and while I was reading some clips from the President's talk yesterday
, the question finally occurred to me, what were the lessons of 9-11?
The main lesson I've taken, looking back now with a little scope and perspective, is that US foreign policy has consequences. (Another reason Iraq was a bad idea, by the way.)
I won't do the full detail here, but, as most of you probably know, Al Qaeda was a CIA creation intended to cripple the Soviets in Afghanistan, and the same motivating philosphical base on which Al Qaeda was built by the US, get the foreigners out of the region so that "true Islam could be restored," is now the same philosphical message through which Al Qaeda is finding its broadening support in its atatcks on the US and the West.
George Bush's "lesson of 9-11," on the other hand, is a very simplistic lesson in fear, at least that's the one he wants Americans to take to heart. George Bush's "lesson of 9-11" is that we need a more
aggressive, active, and violent foreign policy. Also, he wants America to learn that only through war can Americans hope to be safe. War is Peace.
(Again, like Iraq, this fails to recognize the realities of dealing with an insurgency, whether it is the clearly defined and geographically bound like current one in Iraq, or a larger more amorphous movement like Al Qaeda which might be argued to be a broader worldwide "insurgency" against American hegemony. There are certainly some differences, but I think the comparison can be loosely applied. I would be more than willing to take up a broader discussion of this if anyone shows interest.)
I feel obliged to point out that this "lesson" bears a remarkable similarity to the politics of Israel, where increasing levels of action by the Israelis brought increasing levels of resistance from the Palestinians eventually giving the terrorist organization Hamas control of the Palestinian government. And from the rise in anti-American Islamist influence around the globe, Saudi, Egypt, Pakistan, etc., I would argue that George Bush's implementation of his "lesson" is having the same effect.
Just kind of rambling this morning, but the question is hanging with me. What were your "lessons of 9-11?"