reflections on 9/11

Our pal James “Fuck You” Kunstler reflects on 9/11:

This was the day five years ago that war began between the US and Jihad, an unincorporated combine of Islamic nations, gangs, sects and tribes united in a campaign to harm, disable, defeat, and exterminate “infidel” Christians and Jews. There are various explanations for why this started. I have my own.

It’s essentially an ecological crisis, conveniently pegged on an old religious beef. The population of many Islamic nations, fed by oil wealth, has reached critical overshoot. In particular, there are too many young men with no positions, no incomes, no prospects, and no hopes. Their glandular energies have been enlisted to act out the righting of real and imagined grievances against their “infidel” enemies. Their actions range from the sheer sadistic thuggery of small gangs to the strategic geopolitical maneuvers of major nation states…

I don’t buy a lot of what Mr. Kunstler is selling these days, but his opinion is certainly one worth considering. Also very much worth considering on this fifth anniversary of 9/11 are the words of UM professor Juan Cole, who, I think it’s safe to say, is comming from a very, very different place. And, as neither of their perspectives were widely shared by the media on the occasion of this anniversary, I thought that I should post some links. (I checked, by the way, and the traditional gift for the 5th anniversary is wood.) Anyway, here’s a clip from Cole:

…The real danger is to concentrate too much on this issue (of terrorism)… because a terror attack is, at the moment in the United States, not an everyday occurrence. It’s something that we should guard against, and we should be prudent about the threat – there are people who would like to harm us – but the real danger, it seems to me, is going too far (in trying to prevent terrorism, and restricting civil rights in the process). I would argue that terrorism is in a set of challenges that our society faces, that include natural disasters – being prepared to deal with disasters, and put society back together as best as we can. The most concerning thing (it seems to me) is that the U.S. government did not do a good job in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, which raised a lot of questions in some people’s minds as to whether or not the government would be ready for another 9/11. What I would think is that it’s a lot more likely that we could see another Katrina than another 9/11…

When our government goes abroad and does unethical and illegal things, there are sometimes horrible consequences. As I said, it’s not Americans’ fault that they were attacked. It is al-Qaeda’s fault that we were attacked. But al-Qaeda would not have existed, or have had the capabilities that it had, if Reagan had responded differently, and if before him Carter had responded differently, to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. I’m not saying that it shouldn’t have been fought, but fighting it by unconventional means, by encouraging the mujahideen, by giving them billions of dollars, was most unwise. I wish that the American people had taken that lesson away from September 11.

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  1. jules
    Posted September 14, 2006 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    I took him off my subscription list quite awhile ago when I realized that he’d supported the Iraq invasion, basically for the reason that we’re the ones who should have control of the oil. That, in combination with the way he was, at times, downright gleeful about the downfall of the human race. He may be visionary in regards to a post-oil world, but he’s an asshole, period. I regret the money I spent on his book.

  2. Tony Buttons Esq.
    Posted September 14, 2006 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    I seem to recall that, some time in the last year, one of the Ivys was trying to recruit Cole, which caused their conservative alumni to go absolutely ape shit. I’m not sure what happened.

  3. Tony Buttons Esq.
    Posted September 14, 2006 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    OK, I checked his Wikipedia entry and I was right. It was Yale. He was

  4. Jim
    Posted September 15, 2006 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    Kunstler’s explanation sounds quite plausible–Marvin Harris made a similar argument about warfare in general, and Jared Diamond offers a similar explanation of the Rwandan genocide. When resources are not sufficient to support a population, the competition for limited resources produces violence.

  5. Ted Glass
    Posted September 15, 2006 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    “What lessons did the Americans take away from September 11?” It’s a good question. My guess is that fewer than 10% took away the message that either oil or our financing of covert wars had anything to do with it. My guess is that the predominant message for 75% of us was that Islam is a violent religion and its practicioners are hell-bent on wiping us (the infidels) out. I don’t know that that’s incorrect. I just think the other ones are given nearly enough consideration.

  6. egpenet
    Posted September 16, 2006 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    I get these self-rightous emails all the time from neo-con relatives. This one is the latest. It’s hot, local and typical of the black-and-white/good-versus-evil thinking stimulated by this administration. These are NOT my words or thoughts.

    The email to me in its entirety reads ……

    Hooray for Michigan State University and Professor Wichman!

    Well, what do we have here. Looks like a small case of some people being able to dish it out, but not take it. Let’s start at the top. The story begins at Michigan State University with a mechanical engineering professor named Indrek Wichman.

    Wichman sent an e-mail to the Muslim Student’s Association. The e-mail was in response to the students’ protest of the Danish cartoons that portrayed the Prophet Muhammad as a terrorist. The group had complained the cartoons were “hate speech.” Enter Professor Wichman. In his e-mail, he said the following ….

    “Dear Moslem Association:

    As a professor of Mechanical Engineering here at MSU, I intend to protest your protest.

    I am offended not by cartoons, but by more mundane things like: beheadings of civilians, cowardly attacks on public buildings, suicide murders, murders of Catholic priests (the latest in Turkey!), burnings of Christian churches, the continued persecution of Coptic Christians in Egypt, the imposition of Sharia law on non-Muslims, the rapes of Scandinavian girls and women (called “whores” in your culture), the murder of film directors in Holland, and the rioting and looting in Paris,

    These are what offend me, a soft-spoken person and academic, and many, many, many of my colleagues. I counsel you dissatisfied, aggressive, brutal, and uncivilized slave-trading Muslims to be very aware of this as you proceed with your infantile “protests.”

    If you do not like the values of the West — see the 1st Amendment – you are free to leave. I hope for God’s sake that most of you choose that option. Please return to your ancestral homelands and build them up yourselves instead of troubling Americans.

    – Cordially, I. S. Wichman, Professor of Mechanical Engineering”

    The Muslim group at the university didn’t like this too well. They’re
    demanding Wichman be reprimanded and mandatory diversity training for faculty and a seminar on hate and discrimination for freshman. How nice. But now the Michigan chapter of CAIR has jumped into the fray. CAIR, the Council on American- Islamic Relations, apparently doesn’t believe that the good professor had the right to express his opinion.

    For its part, the university is standing its ground. They say the e-mail was private, and they don’t intend to publicly condemn his remarks. That will probably change. Wichman says he never intended the e-mail to be made public, and wouldn’t have used the same strong language if he’d known it was going to get out.

    How’s this going to be handled? If you’re in favor of the freedom of speech, as in the case of Ward Churchill, will the same protections be
    demanded for Indrek Wichman? I doubt it. Hey folks, send this to everybody and ask them to do the same and tell them to keep passing it around till the whole country gets it. We are in a war.

    …… and so ends the content of the e-mail forwarded to me. It makes me angry that I get this crap sent to me. And I wouldn’t spread it around except that I think Mark’s fellow “idiots” need to know it’s there and remember who we are dealing with in this world.

    …… If it isn’t Wichman, it’s the Pope being impolitical, to say the least!

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