the second place 9/11 was a ‘small crime’ compared to American outrages over the years, which Chomsky enumerated in a rambling and predictable run-through of horrors in Haiti, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, the Philippines, Hawaii, Mexico and so on. Chomsky disgraced himself by accusing the Bush administration of planning a ‘genocide’ in Afghanistan by an intent to ‘impose massive starvation on millions of people’ (Chomsky was later obliged to revisit this crackpot utterance – which he did by simply denying he’d said it, even though his words had been videotaped and
impose a new pattern of multiple
states on the western Balkans. In Kosovo, they chose to break Serbia up
rather than let the government in Belgrade continue to persecute its
Albanian minority in that province (Robertson 1999 : 7–9). In Afghanistan, they chased out the government
that had hosted the al Qaeda terrorists responsible for the 9/11
atrocity, and then tried to transform Afghan society into a modern and
democratic economy. A questionable campaign to rid the world of Saddam
Hussein’s bombastic challenges to
response to the attacks. The United States prepared to mount a campaign against the Taliban leadership and forces in Afghanistan that had hosted and supported the al-Qaeda organization and its leader, Osama bin Laden, and had refused to turn bin Laden and his associates over to the United States for prosecution. Europeans, acting more like Europeans, were inclined to see September 11 as a major event in the struggle against terror, but not the beginning of a war whose outcome would be determined anytime soon.
In any case, on September 11, 2001, the challenges to
issues and subjected them to the heated debates. Primary among them were issues of international security, democratization and political culture. Extra intensity was added to the discussion when newly elected President George W. Bush declared a ‘war on terror’, the initial phases of which involved US-led invasions of Afghanistan (2001) and Iraq (2003).
The USA had been stung by wasps. President Bush found the wasps’ nest and insisted on beating it with a stick. American soldiers who were sent abroad to combat the threatening swarms tried to shoot their way out
deaths from extreme poverty and curable diseases could be avoided each year, if the world’s governments were willing to spend even one-quarter as much on combating these scourges as they are now spending on their war on terror. Such a war on poverty and disease would also avoid the substantial human costs of the war on terror: some 5,000 coalition soldiers have been killed and several tens of thousands wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. Fatalities among Iraqi and Afghan civilians have been vastly higher.
So why is terrorism being taken so seriously? This question
Two key developments in the late 2000s played a major role in shaping the opening of the next decade in transatlantic relations. One of those developments was the 2008 election of Barak Obama to replace George W. Bush as president of the United States. The second development was the descent of the Western economic system into the worst decline since the great depression of the 1930s.
Barack Obama entered the White House in January 2009 pledging to end the combat roles of the United States in both Iraq and Afghanistan and to pursue a less interventionist
engage in real combat operations. The motto ‘train
hard, fight easy’ is axiomatic within British forces, and
recruitment to all three services is normally highest when the forces
are fighting somewhere and declines when they are not.
Nevertheless, the popular warrior image of British troops
has taken some knocks in recent years. With the end of the Cold War,
British forces deployed in proactive roles to Bosnia, Croatia,
Macedonia, Serbia, Kosovo, Sierra Leone and Afghanistan not to mention air policing and two outright
the fundamentalist Muslim cleric Ayatollah Khomeini installed as new leader. The Ayatollah represented a new and radical brand of Shia Islam, tinged with nationalist colours, a pronounced anti-Western sentiment and an increasing criticism of Sunni Islam. The rise of Saddam Hussein to dictatorial power in neighbouring Iraq later that year increased the tensions between the two countries.
An Islamist rebellion in the holy Saudi city of Mecca added oil to the religious fires in the region. So did the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979. In fact
, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iraq, Kashmir, Bosnia and Chechnya. This overall view is a misunderstanding. Indeed, it is a misunderstanding of a kind precisely analogous to the misunderstanding represented by the ‘war on terror’. It takes no account of the historical circumstances of the conflicts that he refers to. Judaism and Christianity are not – to take one example – responsible for the repression exercised by India in Kashmir. At the partition of India, the rulers of individual states were given the authority to decide whether their states should form part of India or
began after bombs exploded outside the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998. Twelve Americans and almost 300 other people were killed. U.S. intelligence sources indicated that al-Qaeda was responsible for the attacks. Two weeks later, the United States used cruise missiles to attack terrorist training camps in Afghanistan and a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan that were allegedly being operated by al-Qaeda with the tacit support of the Afghan and Sudanese regimes. Again, the United States claimed that the strikes were legally justified acts of self-defence. 4