THE OUTRAGEOUSNESS OF JACK STRAW
In a wide-ranging interview, the British Foreign Secretary has expressed regret that the international community failed to take â€˜earlier action to deal with al-Qaâ€™eda and the failing state which was harbouring it, which was
The Foreign Secretary recalls â€˜eight years of a rising crescendo of outrageous attacks from al-Qaâ€™edaâ€™ from the 1993 attempt on the World Trade Centre to the attacks on the US Embassies in
Looking back, Mr Straw believes that al-Qaâ€™eda became â€˜increasingly emboldenedâ€™ by the â€˜lack of reactionâ€™ from the international community, following these â€˜pretty astonishing attacks.â€™ â€˜And that led to these amazing attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon…â€™
TURNING THE CHEEK:
This is an amazing rewriting of history. Mr Straw told the Telegraph, â€˜I am fully signed up to the biblical injunction of turning the other cheek in certain circumstances but [9/11] was not one of them.â€™ He implies that the West had â€˜turned the other cheekâ€™ on the previous occasions he listed, and that this weakness led to 11 September.
Leaving aside the other incidents, it is hard to believe that Mr Straw can have forgotten that after the US Embassy bombings in 1998
â€˜TURNING THE OTHER CHEEKâ€™: THE DIRECT COSTS
The airstrike on
Noam Chomsky remarks that if these consequences were scaled up to be proportional to the US population, it would be as if the bin Laden network, in a single attack on the US, caused â€˜hundreds of thousands of people â€“ many of them children â€“ to suffer and die from easily treatable diseases.â€™ (9-11, p. 51)
â€˜TURNING THE OTHER CHEEKâ€™: THE INDIRECT COSTS
According to the Financial Times, the US attack â€˜appears to have shattered the slowly evolving move towards compromise between Sudanâ€™s warring sidesâ€™ and terminated promising steps towards a peace agreement to end the civil war that had left one and a half million people dead since 1981, which might also have led to â€˜peace in Uganda and the entire Nile basinâ€™.
The missile strike seems to have â€˜shattered… the expected benefits of a political shift at the heart of
Not only were the
By summer 1998, Mullah Omar, the head of the Taliban, had become so fed up with his unwanted guest Osama bin Laden that he concluded a secret agreement with Saudi intelligence to expel the al-Qaâ€™eda leader from his country.
But just before Mullah Omarâ€™s order to oust the â€˜arrogant, publicity-seekingâ€™ bin Laden was carried out, President Clinton launched his missiles against
Prince Turki bin al-Faisal, the head of Saudi intelligence who had brokered the expulsion deal, says that after the missile strikes, â€˜The Taliban attitude changed 180 degrees.â€™ Returning to
EARLIER ACTION: TWO LESSONS
Returning to Mr Strawâ€™s bizarre rendition of events, it is quite untrue to claim that there was no â€˜earlier actionâ€™ against al-Qaâ€™eda or their hosts in
On the one hand, there were criminal missile attacks against
On the other hand, there were also non-military negotiations by the Saudi Government which were effective in winkling the leader of al-Qaâ€™eda out of his hideout in the mountains of
In short, effective â€˜earlierâ€™ non-military action which increased the security of the West was taken by
When the US National Commission on Terrorist Attacks published a preliminary report and held hearings on 23 Mar. 2004, the Independent notes the finding in the report that the Saudi expulsion deal â€˜fell apart in September 1998 during talks in
Madeline Albright told the panel, referring to the 1998 missile attacks, â€˜We didnâ€™t launch cruise missiles to serve legal papers. We did everything we could.â€™ (Times, 24 Mar., p. 13) An oblique admission of the illegality of the attacks, and a failure to admit (to recognise?) that the Clinton Administration had done â€˜everything they couldâ€™ to sink the deal that secured the expulsion of bin Laden.
EMBOLDENED OR EMBITTERED?
Mr Straw lies when he says, â€˜What you can say is that the evidence was very, very clear that the al-Qaâ€™eda organisation, and Osama bin Laden in particular, was becoming increasingly emboldened by the lack of reaction… by the international community, following the previous pretty astonishing attacks.â€™ (Telegraph, 20 Mar., p. 11)
On the contrary, the evidence is very, very clear that al-Qaâ€™eda, its Afghan hosts, and its supporters became increasingly embittered by the lack of justice offered to the worldâ€™s Muslims by the international community, and by the series of pretty astonishing attacks on Muslims by the
The evidence is very, very clear, to be specific, that the illegal cruise missile attacks of 20 Aug. 1998 not only killed tens of thousands of people; they increased support for bin Ladenâ€™s network.
Far from â€˜turning the other cheekâ€™ the
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