December 1, 2001
I have been giving the whole "current situation" some more thought. Please bear with me as I try to get this out of my system.
I cannot shake the feeling that the setting of the "theatre of war" in Afghanistan (and in this instance I have chosen my words carefully) has been a deliberate slight of hand to draw attention from the role of Saudi Arabia in the matters at hand.
Osama Bin Ladin is from Saudi Arabia as were 14 of the 19 terrorists of September 11th. Bin Ladin has long condemned the presence of American forces on Saudi soil. Investigators hold that the recent terrorist activities have been financed with Saudi money.
Rather than deal with those elements of the terrorist acts that connect directly with Saudi Arabia, the Bush government decided to make much over the fact that it was going to go war with Afghanistan, one of poorest nation of earth. I don't have the numbers, but I would suspect that more international journalists have perished in Afghanistan than American or British soldiers. Just like the Persian Gulf War, the dying seems pretty one sided.
Afghanistan had to be considered a safe target for a "feel-good war". One would be hard pressed to find a more oppressive government than the Taliban. As well, some independent media outlets are speculating that the recent allied action in Afghanistan also just happen to benefit American oil interests. The Soviets continue to hold such interests in the region.
Some of the arguments expressed in the above links are fairly tenuous. Others, however, are plausible and deeply disturbing. Of all the "reasons" for the September 11 attacks, there is the one that sits best in my mind at this time.
There was a wonderful speaker on Counterspin who put the matter in the following context: none of the Arab states are democratic governments and in most of them, political dissent is illegal. The conclusion of the speaker was that with no political avenue to express their frustrations, more and more individuals in these countries have turned to extremist religious organizations to redress their lack of power.
The United States, so proud of its own democracy, will sadly support the most corrupt monarchy - as long as they have oil and are open to American business interests. It is this view you have rarely read in the their newspapers or hear on TV. As I had read in an interview with Wade David in the Saturday Globe and Mail,
I wish I had written down what has become my favourite quote regarding our state of the media (and our media of our state). The gist of it was this: our troubles are not so much that certain facts are censored from the public domain but stem from the fact that the major media outlets are able to directly the public's attention and command what subjects that we will speak about.
And coming into two months after September 11th, we are still talking about what cities are being bombed in Afghanistan and not much else.