“You know what I’ve noticed? Nobody panics when things go ‘according to plan.’ Even if the plan is horrifying!”
— The Joker
Sounding very much like his predecessor, George W. Bush, President Obama engaged in a very calculated act of misdirection and obfuscation at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) to continue justifying his unprovoked acts of war abroad.
One of the key lines of his acceptance speech, brief as it was, wreaked with what Big Daddy in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof referred to as “the smell of mendacity.”
Thus, Obama stated: “I promised to refocus on the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11. And we have. We’ve blunted the Taliban’s momentum in Afghanistan, and in 2014, our longest war will be over. A new tower rises above the New York skyline, Al Qaeda is on the path to defeat, and Osama Bin Laden is dead.”
In this well-crafted, though wholly misleading statement, Obama strongly suggests that the Taliban attacked us on 9/11. This is, of course, not true. The Taliban never attacked us. Their only crime was to insist upon proof of Osama bin Laden’s culpability for the 9/11 attacks before handing him over to the U.S. (And, the Taliban’s request in this regard was not purely academic. Thus, as explained in a little-known article in the Ithaca Journal by Ed Haas — so unknown that it won the Project Censored Award — the FBI admitted that it never included the 9/11 attacks in Bin Laden’s “Ten Most Wanted” rap sheet because the FBI had “no hard evidence connecting bin Laden to 9/11.”).
Still, it was the Taliban’s insistence on such due process niceties (niceties the U.S. once claimed to hold dear) which led to the U.S. war in Afghanistan which continues now 11 years later – “our longest war” as Obama, in a moment of candor, correctly pointed out. Yet, despite the Taliban’s undeniable lack of responsibility for 9/11, Obama reserves the lion’s share of his drone attacks for ostensible Taliban targets, rather than Al Qaeda. Thus, as Peter Bergen from CNN noted in a September 6 article, entitled, “Drone is Obama’s Weapon of Choice,” only 8% of Obama’s drone targets are al Qaeda as compared to just over 50% being Taliban targets. No wonder then that Obama must try to make the American people (in the words of W) “misremember” who really was responsible for 9/11 – otherwise, his ongoing war in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, complete with the drone campaign, would appear needlessly cruel; and indeed, it is.
Obama also stated in his acceptance that “Al Qaeda is on the path to defeat.” Whether that is true or not in general is uncertain. However, what is certain is that Al Qaeda is doing quite well in Syria where, as the Council on Foreign Relations recently noted, Al Qaeda is actually the critical fighting force in the Free Syrian Army – an army the U.S. is actively supporting, both directly and through its allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar. But again, such inconvenient facts must be buried.
In the end, Obama’s untruths are revealing of a foreign policy which is as incoherent as it is cruel – at least assuming that this foreign policy is indeed aimed at rooting out terrorists who threaten the security of U.S. citizens as Obama would have us belief. Of course, given that the U.S. is barely targeting Al Qaeda at all in our main theater of conflict (Afghanistan/Pakistan), and given that it is actually aiding and abetting Al Qaeda in places like Syria, one must ask the question which our leaders hope we will never ask – is our over-bloated military and our endless wars really aimed at keeping us secure? The facts suggest that the answer is a resounding no.
Indeed, far from promoting security anywhere, U.S. war aims abroad appear intent upon creating instability and chaos; of dismantling states (such as Syria, Libya, Iraq, Somalia and of course Afghanistan) which our leaders view as impediments to the ability of multi-nationals to plunder world resources with impunity. However, such chaos, while good for the business of a few, decidedly makes all of us much less secure.
The most notable example of this phenomenon, of course, lies in our long-time involvement in Afghanistan since 1979. As we know now, through the admissions, and indeed bragging of Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, the U.S. began aiding the anti-government rebels in Afghanistan (rebels which included Osama bin Laden) with the intention of provoking a Soviet invasion. That is, contrary to popular (and carefully manufactured) belief, the U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan was not in fact the reaction to the Soviet invasion; it was the cause of the invasion. The ultimate goal, as Brzezinski has explained with glee, was to give the USSR its own Vietnam-like quagmire which would fatally wound the Soviet Union. In other words, the U.S. consciously set into motion a war with the intention of destroying one country (the Soviet Union) while sacrificing another (Afghanistan), and with the unintentional consequence of empowering terrorists such as Osama bin Laden who would later go on to attack us.
This, my friends, is an illustration of the chaos theory of U.S. foreign policy.
And, it is the realization of this frightening reality which Obama’s lies are designed to prevent. Given the lack of virtually any opposition to this narrative, I would say that these lies are working according to plan.
Daniel Kovalik is a labor and human rights lawyer living in Pittsburgh. He is currently teaching International Human Rights at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.