Before the odor of burned gunpowder has left the air of the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai, the US is lecturing India not to go off half-cocked and attack Pakistan, simply because all of the attackers in the terrorist assaults in that city arrived by boat, apparently from neighboring Pakistan. US officials, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, are calling on India to engage in a “transparent” and “thorough” investigation into the attacks to establish who was responsible.
How different this is from the American government’s response to the 9-11 attacks in the US!
Instead of a “transparent” investigation, we got secret sessions of the Congressional intelligence committees, closed-door interviews of key officials, including President Bush and Vice President Cheney by the 9-11 Commission, and of course the secret round of thousands of mostly Islamic people living in the US, many of whom were held of months incommunicado and without charge, some of whom were subjected to torture, and many other of whom were deported to likely arrest, torture and even death.
Instead of a calm assessment of what had happened and who was responsible, the Bush Administration rounded up Saudi members of the Bin Laden family, and others connected to the regime in Saudi Arabia, whence came most of the people reportedly involved in the hijacking of the four planes used in the attacks, and, with no attempt at interrogation, flew them home to Saudi Arabia.
Then, again with only minimal evidence, the US launched an all-out war within days upon Afghanistan, with the goal of ousting and destroying the Taliban government of that country. Shortly after that aggressive move, the Bush/Cheney administration shifted its focus and launched an even larger all-out war against Iraq, a nation that had no connection whatsoever with the attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center.
So much for transparency and measured responses.
Here again, we have an example of the US expecting one mode of behavior for the rest of the world, and another for itself.
We Americans, it would appear, are not required to operate in a logical manner, are not required to think through the consequences of our actions, are not required to obey international laws, and are not required to listen to the counsel of others. If the United Nations will not support our plan to attack and topple the government of another sovereign nation, we will just do it ourselves. But other countries may not behave in this manner.
There is another way that India and the US are different which has come to light in this latest atrocity. Following the Mumbai attacks, India’s minister of security resigned, in an admission that his department had failed to discover an attack that was clearly at least six months in planning, and had failed to prevent the massive loss of life because of inadequate preparation of police and troops for such an eventuality (police and soldiers were not equipped even with sniper rifles and scopes that might have enabled them to shoot and kill some of the 10 terrorists with minimal threat to their hostages).
Nobody resigned for the manifold failings that led up to and allowed for the 9-11 attacks. Nobody resigned for intelligence failures, nobody resigned for air defense failures, nobody resigned for investigative failures, nobody resigned for the lies that were the basis for the attack on Afghanistan and the war against Iraq. There has indeed been zero accountability in the US for the biggest national security disaster since Pearl Harbor. But in India, it took only days for the chief person responsible for security in the Indian government to resign his post in disgrace.
Let us hope that saner heads prevail in India when it comes to Pakistan, as the story of this latest terror action is exposed.
And let us hope that Americans finally demand an honest accounting of what happened on 9/11/2001 and that those who are guilty of allowing it to happen, and of sending the country off on a pointless, bloody and seemingly endless jihad in the Middle East as a result are exposed and forced to pay for their ineptness and their crimes.
DAVE LINDORFF is a Philadelphia-based journalist and columnist. His latest book is “The Case for Impeachment” (St. Martin’s Press, 2006 and now available in paperback edition). His work is available at www.thiscantbehappening.net