Bordering on the Absurd [Archives:2001/45/Focus]

November 5 2001

By: Hassan Al-Haifi
Since that dreadful September 11, 2001, it seems that everything that seems to be happening in the world has gone far beyond what the mind can conceive to be comprehensible and falling into a logical flow of events and consequences. That the attack on the World Trade Center itself is surely one of the most deplorable and inexcusable act goes without saying, but surely the world superpower and the rest of the world could have come up with the right way to seek and “bring the perpetrators to justice or bring justice to the perpetrators of the crime”, then all this endless fumbling that does not seem to get anybody closer to an end to the calamities that are arising as a consequence of the tragedy in New York.
For one thing it seems that the reaction to the attack falls short of so many elements of sound logical good sense that one wonders if the United States was no more than letting off some anger without really knowing exactly how to go about achieving concrete results towards setting the proper legal and political groundwork required to really achieve the desired goal at the least cost to all concerned. This is out of consideration especially for the millions of Afghans who fate has destined to become the tragic victims of both the naïve dogmatic regime that has been allowed to assume Government in their country, with its leaders really not having the faintest idea about the awesome responsibility involved, and of a giant superpower that has been dealt a severe blow to its pride and its grandeur by an invisible enemy that seems to maintain the initiative, especially of keeping the Americans on Emergency Hold, with ominous threats lurking in various forms.
The fact is that the Americans are entitled to seek the people behind the ugly terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, but the fact is also obvious that somehow the steps taken so far have neither gotten them closer to their enemies or to a full understanding of how exactly such tragedy came into being, who is really behind it and what appropriate steps should be taken to bring them to justice or bring justice to them. The point to be made here is that one would think that before the bombs started falling on Afghanistan, an essential first step should have been to solidify the legal framework by which such attacks are to be dealt with. Surely, the international community would have been more than happy to help in anyway possible to reach the right legal foundations that will not give anyone a chance to doubt the justification for any attack on Afghanistan or any other place where the terrorists may have been based or set out from. But the anger that the attacks in New York and Washington was so great that assumptions prevailed as the only justification for the existing tragic suffering now being unleashed on the helpless Afghans.
From the early days that followed September 11, the Americans declared that they will not give consideration to such matters as collateral damage or unfortunate innocent victims as they go after the enemy who did this mess in New York and elsewhere.
While a considerable amount of investigative work was done, it was obvious that the assumptions will have to suffice for now, because it was also assumed that the American public wanted action and fast. One would think that the American public would rather have real adequate proof that the attacks did in fact emanate from Afghanistan and there is really no escape from this need for proof for a number of reasons. Real adequate proof would have put the Taliban Government on the spot and could no longer insist on protecting an “innocent” hero. On the other hand, the international community would have no reason whatsoever to feel that they are being asked to join a coalition without a clear mandate and purpose as seems to be the case now. There may be reasons to believe that the American assumptions do have strong circumstantial support, but in all criminal acts, concrete proof is required to go after the criminals and bring them to trial or even to bring justice to them. Thus, because of the disregard for this important point, and the rush to do something, makes the coalition that America seeks to have with it, somewhat loose and purely born out of sympathy.
Moreover, the death of so many people, who had nothing to do with Taliban or Bin Laden, has seriously damaged the credibility that the US is only after its enemies, who seem to be rather confident and in fact continuously dare their attackers to come down and fight them on the ground, obviously indicating that all these bombs seem to be doing nothing except digging craters or knocking down mud brick walls, which is another of the absurdities that make the Strike Against Terror seem like an ongoing cat and mouse fight without end or purpose.
We think that the Americans really need to assess their handling of this war and start showing some real nitty gritty superpower sense, with a strong control on temper, lest they fall into the trap that the terrorists and whoever is behind them really wants them to get into. What seems to be apparent is that even if all of Afghanistan is bombed out of the map, the Americans will neither eliminate those they want to eliminate, and if they do, they still would not have ended terrorism for good, because the kind of terrorism that was witnessed in New York is far beyond what Bin Laden, Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, alone or together could ever conceive of doing, let alone plan, coordinate and execute such a monstrous crime. The fact of the matter is that if they had anything to do with it, which could be possible, the chances are that they are doing nothing more than implementing the designs of a far more refined, dangerous and evil force, that has far greater sophistication than what either Bin Laden, Al-Qaeda or the Taliban have ever shown.
Terrorism cannot be dealt with through assumptions and absurdities. Terrorism must be confronted with strong legal footwork, political sense and disciplined emotions, if the world is to be truly made safe against the evil that sophisticated enemies of world peace and stability conjure up, even if Bin Laden and the Taliban are involved, one would have to think that there is a much more sophisticated control center behind them, which could even be located closer to home, in the United States or elsewhere. If the Americans think that destroying Afghanistan will end terror in America or anywhere else for that matter, then we can easily assume that terrorism will stay a long time, even after Afghanistan is wiped out.
In retrospect, one must give credit to the previous American Administration in their handling of the War Against Genocide, when another madman was destroying human life in the Balkans as though it was a sport. The campaign against Melosovitch showed a lot more finesse in all aspects than what is being displayed now in Afghanistan. No one then would think of even doubting the sincerity and the intentions of the United States.