9/11: The Beginning of the End of the US Empire Project

By Dahr Jamail, Truthout | Report, Monday, September 11, 2017


Today, it has been 16 years since the events of September 11, 2001, in the United States. Nearly 3,000 people died in the attacks, and more than 6,000 were injured in the spectacular violence across New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, DC.

The Bush/Cheney administration used these horrible events to justify projecting the US empire deeper into the Middle East by invading Iraq, as well as launching into war-torn Afghanistan. They also used the opportunity to pass the so-called PATRIOT act, which amounted to a vicious attack on civil liberties and human rights at home. Any pretense that the US intended to seek justice or increase world stability via its so-called War on Terror has been dramatically overshadowed by increased global resentment toward the US, which has in fact generated more terror attacks around the world. It is precisely this legacy that continues today: ongoing US military violence abroad, increased domestic surveillance and repression at home, and a world more violent and less safe for all.

The Numbers: Having reported from Iraq, on and off between 2003 and 2013, I witnessed the ravages of US imperialism abroad firsthand. Reporting from inside Fallujah during the April 2004 US military siege of that city, I watched women, children and elderly people being brought, dead or alive, into a small makeshift clinic. Most of them had been shot by US military snipers, while drones buzzed above and US warplanes roared in the distance. When the

US military failed to take the city that month, a truce was called as the US waited for Bush to be reelected later that year. Days after the election, the US military laid siege to that city, committing war crimes while slaughtering thousands of civilians.

Six months later, I co-authored a piece with Jonathan Steele for the Guardian, and called Fallujah a “monument to brutality” of the US empire. “In the 1930s the Spanish city of Guernica became a symbol of wanton murder and destruction,” we wrote. “In the 1990s Grozny was cruelly flattened by the Russians; it still lies in ruins. This decade’s unforgettable monument to brutality and overkill is Fallujah, a text-book case of how not to handle an insurgency, and a reminder that unpopular occupations will always degenerate into desperation and atrocity.”As the US occupation of Iraq ground on, the numbers of civilians killed by the US military and other violence that wracked the country reached apocalyptic totals. Authors of a report titled “Body Count: Casualty Figures After 10 Years of the ‘War on Terror,'” told Truthout the numbers of dead in Iraq and other countries the US had waged war on since the events of September 11 had reached “genocidal dimensions” and “could also be in excess of 2 million, whereas a figure below 1 million is extremely unlikely.

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