by Stan Goff
I’m a retired Special Forces Master Sergeant. That doesn’t cut much for those who will only accept the opinions of former officers on military matters, since we enlisted swine are assumed to be incapable of grasping the nuances of doctrine.
But I wasn’t just in the army, I studied and taught military science and doctrine. I was a tactics instructor at the Jungle Operations Training Center in Panama, and I taught Military Science at West Point. And contrary to the popular image of what Special Forces does, SF’s mission is to teach. We offer advice and assistance to foreign forces. That’s everything from teaching marksmanship to a private to instructing a Battalion staff on how to coordinate effective air operations with a sister service.
Based on that experience, and operations in eight designated conflict areas from Vietnam to Haiti, I have to say that the story we hear on the news and read in the newspapers is simply not believable. The most cursory glance at the verifiable facts, before, during, and after September 11th, does ‘not’ support the official line or conform to the current actions of the United States government.
But the official line only works if they can get everyone to accept its underlying premises. I’m not at all surprised about the Republican and Democratic Parties repeating these premises. They are simply two factions within a single dominant political class, and both are financed by the same economic powerhouses. My biggest disappointment, as someone who identifies himself with the left, has been the tacit acceptance of those premises by others on the left, sometimes naively,and sometimes to score some morality points. Those premises are twofold. One, there is the premise that what this de facto administration is doing now is a "response" to September 11th. Two, there is the premise that this attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon was done by people based in Afghanistan. In my opinion, neither of these is sound.
To put this in perspective we have to go back not to September 11th, but to last year or further.
A man of limited intelligence, George W. Bush, with nothing more than his name and the behind-the-scenes pressure of his powerful father-a former President, ex-director of Central Intelligence, and an oil man-is systematically constructed as a candidate, at tremendous cost.
Across the country, subtle and not-so-subtle mechanisms are put into place to disfranchise a significant fraction of the Democrat’s African-American voter base. This doesn’t come out until Florida becomes a battleground for Electoral College votes, and the magnitude of the story has been suppressed by the corporate media to this day.
In a decision so lacking in legitimacy, the Supreme Court will neither by-line the author of the decision nor allow the decision to ever be used as a precedent, Bush v. Gore awards the presidency of the United States to a man who loses the popular vote in Florida and loses the national popular vote by over 600,000.
This de facto regime then organizes a very interesting cabinet. The Vice President is an oil executive and the former Secretary of Defense. The National Security Advisor is a director on the board of a transnational oil corporation and a Russia scholar. The Secretary of State is a man with no diplomatic experience whatsoever, and the former Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The other interesting appointment is Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense. Rumsfeld is the former CEO of Searle Pharmaceuticals. He and Cheney were featured as speakers at the May, 2000, Russian-American Business Leaders Forum. So the consistent currents in this cabinet are petroleum, the
former Soviet Union, and the military.
Based on the record of Daddy Bush, in all his guises, and the general trajectory of US foreign policy as far back as the Carter Administration, I feel I can reasonably conclude that Middle Eastern and South Asian fossil fuels are one of their major preoccupations.
Not just because this klavern has some very direct financial interests in fossil fuel, but because they surely know that worldwide oil production is peaking as we speak, and will soon begin a permanent and precipitous decline that will completely change the character of civilization as we know it within 20 years. Even the left seems to be in deep denial about this, but the math is available. And, no, alternative energies and energy technologies will not save us. All the alternatives in the world can not begin to provide more than a tiny fraction of the energy base now provided by oil. This makes it more than a resource, and the drive to control what’s left more than an economic competition.
I further conclude that the economic colonization of the former Soviet Union is probably high on that agenda, and in fact has a powerful synergy with the issue of petroleum. Russia not only holds vast untapped resources that beckon to imperialism in crisis, it remains a credible military and nuclear challenger in the region.
( We have not one, but three members of the Bush de facto cabinet with military credentials, which makes the cabinet look quite a lot like a military General Staff). All this way ‘before September 11th. Then there’s the subject of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. NATO might have expected consignment to the dustbin of the Cold War after the Eastern Bloc shattered in 1991. Peace dividend and all that. But it didn’t. It expanded directly into the former states of the Eastern Bloc toward the former Soviet Union, and contributed significant forces to the devastation of Iraq-a key country in the world oil market, over which control translates into the ability to manipulate oil prices.
NATO is a military formation, and the United States exerts the controlling interest in it. It seemed like a form without a function, but it remedied that pretty quickly.
Then when Yugoslavia refused to play ball with the International Monetary Fund, the US and Germany began a systematic campaign of destabilization there, even using some of the veterans of Afghanistan in that campaign. NATO became the military arm of that agenda-the break-up of Yugoslavia into compliant statelets, the further containment of the former Soviet Union, and the future pipeline easement for Caspain Sea oil to Western European markets through Kosovo.
You see, ‘this is important to understand’, and people-even those against the war talk-‘are tending to overlook the significance of it’. NATO is not a guarantor of international law, and it is not a humanitarian organization. ‘It is a military alliance’ with one very dominant partner. And it can no longer claim to be a defensive alliance against European socialists. ‘It is an instrument of military aggression’.
NATO is the organization that is now going to thrust further along the 40th parallel from the Balkans through the Southern Asian Republics of the former Soviet Union. The US military has already taken control of a base in Uzbekistan. No one is talking about how what we are doing seems to be a very logical extension of a strategy that was already in motion, and has been in motion for two decades. Once we recognize the pattern of activity designed to simultaneously consolidate control over Middle Eastern and South Asian oil, and contain and colonize the former Soviet Union, Afghanistan is exactly where they need to go to pursue that agenda.
Afghanistan borders Iran, India, and even China but, more importantly, the Central Asian Republics of the former Soviet Union, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. These border Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan borders Russia. Turkmenistan sits on the Southeastern quadrant of the Caspian Sea, whose oil the Bush Administration dearly covets. Afghanistan is necessary for two things: as a base of operations to begin the process of destabilizing, breaking off, and establishing control over the South Asian Republics, which will begin within the next 18-24 months in my opinion, and constructing a pipeline through Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan to deliver petroleum to the Asian market.
The BBC was recently told by Niaz Naik, a Pakistani Foreign Secretary, that senior American officials were warning them as early as mid-July that military action for mid-October was being planned for Afghanistan. In 1996, the Department of Energy was issuing reports on the desirability of a pipeline through Afghanistan, and in 1998, Unocal testified before the House Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific that this pipeline was crucial to transport Caspian Basin oil to the Indian Ocean.
Given this evidence that a military operation to secure at least a portion of Afghanistan has been on the table, possibly as early as five years ago, I can’t help but conclude that the actions we are seeing put into motion now are part of a pre-September 11th agenda. I’m absolutely sure of that, in fact. The planning alone for operations, of this scale, that are now taking shape, would take many months. And we are seeing them take shape in mere weeks.
It defies common sense. This administration is lying about this whole thing being a "reaction" to September 11th. That leads me, in short order, to be very suspicious of their yet-to-be-provided evidence that someone in Afghanistan is responsible. It’s just too damn convenient. Which also leads me to wonder-just for the sake of knowing-what actually did happen on September 11th, and who actually is responsible.
The so-called evidence is a farce. The US presented Tony Blair’s puppet government with the evidence, and of the 70 so-called points of evidence, only nine even referred to the attacks on the World Trade Center, and those points were conjectural. This is a bullshit story from beginning to end. Presented with the available facts, any 16-year old with a liking for courtroom dramas could tear this story apart like a two-dollar shirt. But our corporate press regurgitates it uncritically. But then, as we should know by now, their role is to legitimize.
This cartoon heavy they’ve turned bin Laden into makes no sense, when you begin to appreciate the complexity and synchronicity of the attacks. As a former military person who’s been involved in the development of countless operations orders over the years, I can tell you that this was a very sophisticated and costly enterprise that would have left what we call a huge "signature".
In other words, it would be very hard to effectively conceal. So there’s a real question about why there was no warning of this. That can be a question about the efficacy of the government’s intelligence apparatus. That can be a question about various policies in the various agencies that had to be duped to orchestrate this action. And it can also be a question about whether or not there was foreknowledge of the event, and that foreknowledge is being covered up. To dismiss this concern out of hand as the rantings of conspiracy nuts is premature. And there is a history of this kind of thing being done by national political bosses, including the darling of liberals, Franklin Roosevelt. The evidence is very compelling that the Roosevelt Administration deliberately failed to act to stop Pearl Harbor in order to mobilize enough national anger to enter the World War II. I have no idea why people aren’t asking some very specific questions about the actions of Bush and company on the day of the attacks. Follow along:
Four planes get hijacked and deviate from their flight plans, all the while on FAA radar. The planes are all hijacked between 7:45 and 8:10 AM Eastern Daylight Time. Who is notified?
This is an event already that is unprecedented. But the President is not notified and going to a Florida elementary school to hear children read.
By around 8:15 AM, it should be very apparent that something is terribly wrong. The President is glad-handing teachers. By 8:45, when American Airlines Flight 11 crashes into the World Trade Center, Bush is settling in with children for his photo ops at Booker Elementary. Four planes have obviously been hijacked simultaneously, an event never before seen in history, and one has just dived into the worlds best know twin towers, and still no one notifies the nominal Commander in Chief.
No one has apparently scrambled any Air Force interceptors either. At 9:03, United Flight 175 crashes into the remaining World Trade Center building. At 9:05, Andrew Card, the Presidential Chief of Staff whispers to George W. Bush. Bush "briefly turns somber" according to reporters.
Does he cancel the school visit and convene an emergency meeting? No. He resumes listening to second graders read about a little girl’s pet fucking goat, and continues this banality even as American Airlines Flight 77 conducts an unscheduled point turn over Ohio and heads in the direction of Washington DC.
Has he instructed Chief of Staff Card to scramble the Air Force? No. An excruciating 25 minutes later, he finally deigns to give a public statement telling the United States what they already have figured out; that there’s been an attack by hijacked planes on the World Trade Center.
There’s a hijacked plane bee-lining to Washington, but has the Air Force been scrambled to defend anything yet? No. At 9:30, when he makes his announcement, American Flight 77 is still ten minutes from its target, the Pentagon.
The Administration will later claim they had no way of knowing that the Pentagon might be a target, and that they thought Flight 77 was headed to the White House, but the fact is that the plane has already flown South and past the White House no-fly zone, and is in fact tearing through the sky at over 400 nauts.
At 9:35, this plane conducts another turn, 360 degrees over the Pentagon, all the while being tracked by radar, and the Pentagon is not evacuated, and there are still no fast-movers from the Air Force in the sky over Alexandria and DC.
Now, the real kicker. A pilot they want us to believe was trained at a Florida puddle-jumper school for Piper Cubs and Cessnas, conducts a well-controlled downward spiral, descending the last 7,000 feet in two-and-a-half minutes, brings the plane in so low and flat that it clips the electrical wires across the street from the Pentagon, and flies it with pinpoint accuracy into the side of this building at 460 nauts.
When the theory about learning to fly this well at the puddle-jumper school began to lose ground, it was added that they received further training on a flight simulator.
This is like saying you prepared your teenager for her first drive on I-40 at rush hour by buying her a video driving game. It’s horse shit! There is a story being constructed about these events. My crystal ball is not working today, so I can’t say why.
But at the least, this so-called Commander-in-Chief and his staff that we are all supposed to follow blindly into some ill-defined war on terrorism is criminally negligent or unspeakably stupid. And at the worst, if more is known or was known, and there is an effort to conceal the facts, there is a criminal conspiracy going on. Certainly, the Bush de facto administration was facing a confluence of crises from which they were temporarily rescued by this event. Whether they played a sinister role or not, there is little doubt that they have at the very least opportunistically pounced on this attack to overcome their lack of legitimacy, to shift the blame for the encroaching recession from capitalism to the September 11th terror attack, to legitimize their pre-existing foreign policy agenda, and to establish and consolidate repressive measures domestically and silence dissent. In many ways, September 11th pulled the Bush cookies out of the fire.
And given them the green light to begin constructing a long-term scenario within which to establish fascistic control measures at home and abroad as a citadel for the ruling class in the catastrophic conjuncture that we are entering based on the end of oil.
This elephant in the living room is being studiously ignored. In fact, the domestic repression has already begun, officially and unofficially. It’s ki nd of a latter day McCarthyism. I participated in a teach-in at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, on the 17th of September, and though not a single person on the panel excused or justified the attacks, and every person there offered either condolences and prayers for the victims, we were excoriated within two days as "enemies of America." Yesterday an op-ed called for my deportation (to where, one can only guess). Now Herr Ashcroft is fast tracking the biggest abrogation of US civil liberties since the so-called anti-terrorism legislation after the Oklahoma City bombing-which by the way hasn’t resulted in anti-terrorism but in the acceleration of the application of the racist death penalty. The FBI has defined terrorist groups not by whether any given group has ever acted as terrorists, but by their beliefs. Some socialists and anti-globalization groups have already been identified by name as terrorist groups, even though there is not a single shred of evidence that they have ever participated in any criminal activity. It reminds me of the Smith Act that was finally declared constitutional, but only after a hell of a lot of people served a hell of a long time in jail for the crime of thinking.
I think this also points to yet another huge problems that the Bush regime was facing. Worldwide resistance to the whole so-called neoliberal agenda, which is a prettied up term for debt-leverage imperialism. While debt and the threat of sanctions has been used to coerce nations in the periphery, we have to understand that the final guarantor of compliance remains military action. For a global economic agenda, there is always a corresponding political and military agenda.
The focal point of these actions in the short term is Southern Asia, but they have already scripted this as a worldwide and protracted fight against terrorism. It’s far better than drug wars as a rationalization, and the drug war thing was being discredited in any case. Leftists are regaining power and popularity in Venezuela, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Brazil, and Argentina. Cuba has gained immense prestige over the last few years. The empire is beginning to unravel. We can hardly justify intervention in these places by saying they are not towing the economic line by allowing the absolute domination of their societies by transnational corporations. That exposes the agenda. So we simply claim they are supporting terrorism.
It’s for all these reasons I say the left has missed the boat on this one, by allowing them to get away with rushing past the question of who did what on September 11th. If the official story is a lie, and I think the circumstantial case is strong enough to stay with this question, then we really do need to know what happened. And we need to understand concretely what the motives of this administration are. And we need to understand more than just their immediate motives, but where the larger social forces that underwrite our situation right now are headed. I do not think this administration is engaged in the deliberative process of a political grouping that is on top of their game. They are putting together some very deliberative technical solutions in response to a larger situation that it slipping rapidly out of their control. Like clear cutting. There’s a very smart technology being employed to do a very dumb thing.
What they are responding to is not September 11th, but the beginning of a permanent and precipitous decline in worldwide oil production, the beginning of a deep and protracted worldwide recession, and the unraveling of the empire.
This brings me to a point about what all this means for Americans’ security, which they are perfectly justified to worry about. The actions being prepared by this administration will not only not enhance our security, it will significantly degrade it. Military action against many groups across the globe, which is what the administration is telling us quite openly they are planning to do, will put a lot of backs against the wall. That can’t be very secure. The concept of war being touted here is a violation of the principles of war on several counts, and will inevitably lead to military catastrophes, if you’re inclined to view this from a position of moral and political neutrality.
And the people who are now in possession of half the world’s remaining oil reserves are subject to destabilization for which we can’t even pretend to predict the consequences-but loss of access to critical energy supplies is certainly within the realm of possibility. Worst of all, we will be destabilizing Pakistan, a nuclear power in an active conflict with its neighbor, and we will be provoking Russia, another nuclear power. The security stakes don’t get any higher, and Americans can ill afford to ignore nukes.
And I think that this domestic agenda is a tremendous threat to the security of anyone who is critical of the government or their corporate financiers, and we already know that the real threats are against populations that can easily be scapegoated as the domestic crisis deepens. There is a very real threat right now of creeping fascism in this country, and that phenomenon requires its domestic enemies. Historically those enemies have included leftists, trade unionists, and racially and nationally oppressed sectors. This whole "state of emergency" mentality is already being used to quiet the public discourses of anti-racism, of feminism, of environmentalism, and of both socialism and anarchism. And while there is token resistance by officials to anti-Muslim xenophobia, the stereotypical images have saturated the media, and the government is already beginning to openly re-instate racial profiling. It is only a short step from there to go after other groups. We have long been prepared by the ideologies of overt and covert racism, and racism as both institution and corresponding psychology in the United States is nearly intractable.
It’s for all these reason, I say emphatically that we can not accept anything from this administration; not their policies nor their bullshit stories. What they are doing is very, very dangerous, and the time to fight back against them, openly, is right now, before they can consolidate their power and their agenda. Once they have done that, our job becomes much more difficult.
The left, if it has the capacity to self-organize out of its oblivion, needs to understand its critical roles here. We have to play the role of credible, hard-working, and non-sectarian partners in a broader peace-movement. We have to study, synthesize, and describe our current historical conjuncture. And we have to prepare leadership for the decisive conflict that will emerge to first defeat fascism then take political power.
Rosa Luxemburg’s words are truer than ever right now. We are not faced with a choice between socialism and capitalism, but socialism or barbarism. And what we can least afford are denial and timidity.