‘Bin Laden’s best ally was US government’
The US War on Terror, launched after the twin towers fell, was sold as a vital measure to stop further attacks on American soil. But many Americans no longer buy that story. Washington could have reacted very differently, trying to capture Bin Laden at that time, believes Phil Rees, a reporter and writer on international relations, terrorism and violence. But it was not a priority – it declared a War on Terror.
“It was a stupid thing, but it did provide a cover for a new global vision which was to project American imperial power around the world and to create a culture that basically legitimized war on anyone,” said Rees.
He added that after the capture of Bin Laden, Al-Qaeda was weakened, but the idea of Bin Laden became more widespread.
“And look at the US economy: one of the things Bin Laden wanted to do, and that was in his speech in 2004, was bleeding dry America by forcing it into wars it cannot afford and become bankrupt. It is not bankrupt now, but still in a terrible economic mess. If we look at whose ideas survived through the decade and who, perhaps, winning, even though he himself has been captured, I think I have to tell towards Bin Laden,” Rees said.
Phil Rees does not believe that there are pro-Western democracies coming to Arab countries – in his opinion there will be a rise of Salafism and Islamism and the spread of values that Bin Laden shared.
“There is a huge swell of Islamophobia. To some extent, Bin Laden has had no better ally than the US government over the past decade,” he noted.
‘The War on Terror has become an ultimate slogan’
The war on terror will go down in history as the ultimate pretext for whatever the United States government wants to do, according to Brian Becker from the anti-war ANSWER coalition, based in Washington DC.
When back in 2008 America was choosing its next president, people voted not only for a new person to sit in the White House, but for a new era to come. Yet most burning issues are still hot on the agenda of the nation.
“Yet we see Guantanamo still open, the occupation forces in Iraq are being continued under Obama, the number of American troops doubled and trebled in Afghanistan, there is a war in Libya and thousands have died because of the increasing attacks in Pakistan,” says Becker, naming just a few.
“What we see now is an institutionalization of everything that started before 9/11 but accelerated – the tendency towards militarism, war, occupation, intervention, tortures, black-hole prisons. All of these have become institutionalized, in spite of whoever is at the White House and it doesn’t matter now if it is a Democrat or a Republican,” Becker concluded.