Seeds of 9/11

Facebook will be filled today with memories of September 11, 2001. We’ll see everything from genuine mourning, genuine remembrances of real heros from that day, and obnoxious memes reminding us of various conspiracy theories. What I hope we’ll see more of, however, is more sober posts and discussions about preventing another 9/11.

Nearly 3,000 innocent people died on that fateful Tuesday. They were victims not only of Saudi Arabian terrorists, but of their own government's foreign policies. Decades prior, the US was engaged in war, proxy war, or some kind of foreign intervention that had nothing to do with self defense. Ultimately, two American embassies were bombed in the late 1990s, the USS Cole was attacked off of Yemen killing 17 American sailors in 2000, and 19 Saudi Arabian hijackers flew planes into American icons in protest of their government’s collaboration with the United States.

Since 2001, nearly 7,000 American soldiers have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Compare that with over 31,000 Afghan and 66,000 Iraqi civilians. The US is still intervening in both countries. Libya, Syria, and Yemen are disasters, with the latter two civil wars, underpinned by US intervention, are competing for the title of the worst humanitarian crisis of our time. Rand Paul noted last week:

The Obama unconstitutional intervention in Libya destabilized the country and made us less safe. Our meddling in Syria has done the same. Now we are adding Yemen to the long list of policy failures that lead to humanitarian crises and a void perfectly suited for radical Islam to take hold.”

Prior, Paul pointed out:

Currently, we are aiding and abetting a conflict that has killed tens of thousands, displaced hundreds of thousands, and has nearly 17 million people on the edge of starvation...Your government is there, without your permission, but with your tax dollars and weapons of war.

Right now, this war is causing a humanitarian crisis that many experts believe will be worse than the one in Syria, where millions have been displaced. There is a large outbreak of cholera, and widespread famine. Yemen gets 90 percent of its food through ports that have been blockaded for over a year. This is not the kind of famine that happens because of bad weather or poor climate. This is man-made famine, and we bear a startling amount of responsibility for it.

Why? Because we contribute to supply arms, bombs, technical assistance, and training to the Saudi-led coalition that is fighting in Yemen.

That’s right. The American government has blood on its hand (what else is new?). And yet, we Americans are dumbfounded when something like 9/11 happens. Neocon talking points about policing the globe or caliphates, jihads, and mahdis (oh my!) notwithstanding, I ask why? The situation isn’t that much different than the events leading up to 9/11. The US has joined forces with Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and the Yemeni government to squash a rebellion fueled by Iran. It’s the same kind of proxy war the US waged against Russia in the 1980s when it supported Saudi Arabia and Afghani tribes to fight off the Soviets. That intervention eventually led to 9/11. What will US intervention in Yemen lead to?

I hope you’ll give that some thought today. We can’t pretend ideas and actions don’t have consequences. Add Yemen to your news feeder to observe for yourself.

We must demand Congress to stop waging these unjust, immoral, protracted wars halfway around the globe. The best way to protect Americans is for their government to stop creating situations that put Americans in harm’s way. When a US bomb kills 40 children on a school bus, what else should we expect?

These are the seeds of 9/11.

[feature image original source: AFP/Getty Images]