on 11 September 2001, 19 Al Queda terrorists hijacked four commercial airliners. They flew two into the World Trade Center in New York and they flew one into the side of the Pentagon in D.C. The passengers on the fourth airliner fought back and that aircraft crashed into an empty field in Pennsylvania.
The attacks resulted in 2,993 deaths, including the hijackers. 55 of the victims were military personel at the Pentagon. All the others were civilians. 329 of those civilians were from other countries, including the United Kingdom, South Korea, Philippines, Mexico, Japan, Jamaica, Italy, India, Germany, Columbia, Canada, and Australia, among others.
Fifteen of the hijackers are from Saudi Arabia, two are from the United Arab Emirates, one is from Egypt, and one is from Lebanon.
Within 5 hours of the attack Donald Rumsfeld is pushing to attack Iraq.
November 2001, Dick Cheney lays out the “one percent doctrine”. If there is a one-percent chance that something will happen, the US has to treat it as a certainty. (unless it relates to Global Warming, of course).
December 2001, Cheney is saying that Mohammed Atta had connections with Iraqi intelligence. It’s not true.
December 2001, So-called journalist, Judith Miller reports that Iraq has 20 hidden WMD sites. It’s not true.
By January of 2002, Americans are torturing prisoners, including Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi. While being tortured, al-Libi claims that al Quaeda sent operatives to Iraq to acquire WMD’s. It’s not true. That same month, Alberto Gonzoles issues a policy memo that authorizes torture.
January 2002, the first prisoners arrive at Camp X-Ray in Guantanamo.
By March of 2002, Bush begins “stovepiping” intelligence, taking it directly from the CIA without their analysis and filtering, and begins cherry picking what he wants to believe. At about the same time, Ahmed Chalabi, starts supplying defectors from Iraq who provide the CIA with reports, which are then “stovepiped” directly to Bush. Chalabi heads the Iraqi National Congress, created in 1992 for the purpose of formenting the overthrow of Saddam. And Chalabi hopes Saddam gets kicked out and hopes he’ll be made the new leader of Iraq.
March, 2002, US Intellgence report looking at the information coming in regarding the allegations that Iraq is trying to buy “yellow cake” from Niger states that these rumors are clearly false and the CIA should have made clear this fact rather than allowing the White House to cherry pick what it wanted to believe. In March of 2002, Bush publicly announces that Saddam is actively pursuing nuclear weapons. It’s not true.
June 2002: Operation Southern Focus begins in secret. US aircraft fly missions into Iraq to prep it for invasion. 20,000 sorties will be flown between June 2002 and March 2003 when the invasion begins.
August 2002, Cheney publicly states that we now know with certainty that Saddam has an active WMD program and is looking to acquire nuclear weapons. It’s a lie.
August 2002, Abu Zubaydah is waterboarded 83 times in one month
September 2002, so-called journalist Judith Miller reports that Saddam has purchased thousands of aluminum tubes to use for uranium enrichment. Cheney, Condelezza Rice, and the entire White House will begin paroting about these nuclear enrichment tubes. But almost a year before, Ms. Rice’s staff had been told that the government’s foremost nuclear experts seriously doubted that the tubes were for nuclear weapons. Experts informed the White House that they were likely for small artillery rockets.
September 2002, Cheney says Mohamed Atta had traveled to Prague and met with Iraqi intelligence officers. It’s a lie. The CIA had previously told him this was not credible.
September 2002, Saddam says a UN inspection team can enter Iraq. Hans Blix will be the head of the team. They will enter Iraq in December.
September 2002, Four days after being told by intelligence agencies that there is no connection between Iraq and al-Queada, Bush is telling journalists “You can’t distinguish between al Qaeda and Saddam when you talk about the war on terror.” It’s a lie.
October 2002, the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) is sent to Congress days before lawmakers will vote to authorize use of military force against Saddam. The report states with “high confidence” that Iraq “has now established large-scale, redundant and concealed BW agent production capabilities.” It said “all key aspects” of Iraq’s offensive BW program “are active and that most elements are larger and more advanced than they were before the Gulf War.” This was in fact untrue and the CIA at that time had reason to believe that it wasn’t true. The NIE also reports that Iraq has 500 tons of yellow cake from Niger (it doesn’t), mentions the aluminum tubes for centrifuges (which aren’t), that Saddam has stockpiled 100 to 500 tons of chemical weapons (he hasn’t), that Saddam is producing biological weapons in mobile labs (he isn’t). The report states it has “high confidence” that “Iraq is continuing, and in some areas expanding, its chemical, biological, nuclear and missile programs” (it isn’t), “high confidence” that “Iraq possesses proscribed chemical and biological weapons and missiles” (it doesn’t).
October 2002, “Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002″ is passed by US Senate and House.
November 2002, The UN passes Resolution 1441, calling for immediate and comlete disarmament of Iraq, demanding declare all WMD’s, and requiring that Iraq submit to inspections. The Resolution does not authorize the use of force if Iraq fails to comply.
January 2003, Hans Blix reports to UN that he has found no “smoking gun” so far while inspecting Iraq. UN press release states “It would appear that Iraq had decided in principle to provide cooperation on substance in order to complete the disarmament task through inspection.” After 60 days of work, 106 sites have been inspected.
February 2003, Bush announces that “Senior members of Iraqi intelligence and al-Qaeda have met at least eight times since the early 1990s. Iraq has sent bomb-making and document forgery experts to work with al-Qaeda” and “Iraq has also provided al-Qaeda with chemical and biological weapons training.” All of this is a lie.
February 2003, Hans Blix reports to UN that they have inspected 300 sites without restrictions in 11 weeks. No WMD’s found.
March 2003, Hans Blix reports to UN that Iraqis are cooperating with inspections and that they have found no evidence of mobile biological labs.
March 2003, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is waterboarded 183 times during the month
March 2003, Bush has been pushing for a UN Resolution authorizing military force against Iraq. It becomes clear it will not pass. Bush announces the “Coalition of the Willing” will enforce the resolution without UN approval. Only four countries provide troops for the actual invasion: The US, United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Australia, Poland, and Denmark.
March 17, 2003, Bush Jr. addresses the nation, saying “every measure has been taken to avoid war”, then he gives Saddam and his sons 48 hours to step down from power. Bush invokes “regime change” as the trigger for the war, when no UN resolution ever approved it, when the reason given in the months preceding were that Iraq had to comply with UN Resolution 1441 demanding Iraq disarm and comply with inspections to confirm. UN Inspector Hans Blix’s most recent report states that inspections are working and he should be complete in a few months.
The invasion and occupation of Iraq begins. Rumsfeld said we’d be out in 6 days, 6 weeks, or 6 months, and welcomed as liberators.
November 2003, US military personel in Abu Graib prison begin torturing, raping, and killing prisoners.
June 2004, Rasul v. Bush. The first habeas corpus case regarding prisoners reaches the Supreme Court. The court rules prisoners have a right to hear the evidence against them and the chance to refute it. Bush sets up military commissions to try and keep control of the outcome of the trials.
July 2006, Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, US Supreme Court rules that the executive branch does not have the authority to set up miltary commissions.
June 2008, Boumediene v. Bush, the Supreme Court rules that prisoners at Guantanamo should have access to the US justice system.
September 2009, 6 years after the invasion, American troops are still struggling to control Iraq.
About 5,000 American troops have been killed in Iraq. About 45,000 to 90,000 American troops suffer from permanent traumatic brain injuries who will need assisstance for the rest of their lives. 500 American troops lost a limb. About 30,000 American troops have been diagnosed with mental health problems.
About 100,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed from military operations. About one million Iraqi civilians died as a result of criminal violence and civil war brought on by the US invasion. 4 million Iraqi civilians have been displaced from their homes. 2 million of them have fled the country.
About 1,000 prisoners went through Guantanamo. About 800 turned out to be completely innocent of any crime and were eventually released. Many were tortured during their imprisonment. A total of three convictions have been handed down. The rest of the prisoners remain in limbo.
It’s the 8 year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Sometimes it’s hard for me to remember the scale of the attack, all the lives lost, all the tragedy. I think its because all the lives lost since, all the lives lost in the name of avenging 9/11, is overwhelming. The events since have created an even larger tragedy.
I can remember when I first heard about the attacks on 9/11. I was in my car, driving to work. The radio station was reporting that a plane had crashed into the world trade center. I remember that the initial report said it may have been an accident. There wasn’t a lot of information available. When the second plane hit about 15 minutes later, everyone knew it wasn’t an accident. I didn’t get a lot of work done that day. A lot of people were in a conference room watching the only TV that had an antenna. We watched images of the towers burning. An hour after the plane hit, one tower collapsed. An hour after that, the other tower collapsed. All I could think about was all the lives lost.
In the days following, 9/11 went from a tragedy to a rallying call for vengeance. The lives lost were forgotten and replaced with some form of “debt” that could only be paid in blood by someone else. America began to torture prisoners, rape them, kill them. America invaded Iraq wholly based on fabricated intelligence. Three thousand lives lost on 9/11 became overshadowed by five thousand American troops killed, fifty-thousand American troops with permanent brain injuries, and a million dead Iraqi civilians.
One can no longer think of the loss we suffered on 9/11 without thinking of the losses we inflicted on ourselves and the rest of the world in its name.
And that’s the biggest tragedy of all.