Many Filipinos are under the mistaken notion that the September 11, 2001 attack — now popularly called 9/11 — on New York City’s Twin Towers is more of a US problem and hardly affects us. They couldn’t be more wrong.
Unlike Spain, the UK and other subsequent targets of Al Qaeda, the terror group did not directly attack the Philippines. However, many developments resulting from the 9/11 attack had indeed affected our national security and daily life. Travelers have had to adjust to the new airport security procedures. Disruption in the production of Iraq oil raised energy prices. We became more prone to being conditioned by the US to fear terrorism, thus allowing them to manipulate our fears in order to get what they want.
The 9/11 attack had spawned a major policy shift by the US called the Bush Doctrine, named after then president George W. Bush. The 9/11 attack may prove to be the historical juncture that marks the end of US supremacy in the world. It certainly resulted in the mega loss of American goodwill all over the world. It is believed that the present financial crisis of the US can be traced to the costs of its Iraq misadventure and the continuing conflict in Afghanistan.
On September 17, 2002, the US released the publication of the National Security Strategy of the United States. A portion of it states: “The security environment confronting the United States today is radically different from what we have faced before. Yet the first duty of the United States Government remains what it always has been: to protect the American people and American interests. It is an enduring American principle that this duty obligates the government to anticipate and counter threats, using all elements of national power, before the threats can do grave damage. The greater the threat, the greater is the risk of inaction — and the more compelling the case for taking anticipatory action to defend ourselves, even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy’s attack. There are few greater threats than a terrorist attack with WMD.
“To forestall or prevent such hostile acts by our adversaries, the United States will, if necessary, act preemptively in exercising our inherent right of self-defense. The United States will not resort to force in all cases to preempt emerging threats. Our preference is that nonmilitary actions succeed. And no country should ever use preemption as a pretext for aggression.”
Prior to the Bush Doctrine, Americans went into war with clear cases of violent aggression inflicted on the US. Such was the case in World War II that was caused by the bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese Imperial Navy. Unrestricted German submarine warfare and the sinking of the Lusitania resulting in the deaths of 128 Americans pushed the US to join World War I. The American invasion of the Philippines was a result of the US war with Spain that was triggered by the mysterious explosion on the USS Maine in Havana, Cuba. Unknown if Spain was really the culprit, the US used that incident as a pretext to take over Spanish colonial possessions.
The Bush Doctrine junked all these precedents for going to war. Preemptive War became the new order for the US. The Bush Doctrine invaded Iraq for the fictitious WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction). If the US managed to convince the rest of the world that your country poses a serious threat to American lives and interests, then, sans any provocation, the US can wage war against you. It’s a carte blanche for an international bully.
In the case of the Iraq War, former US Attorney General William Ramsey Clark was so appalled that he even wrote the United Nations (UN) Security Council on September 20, 2002 to expose the dangers that the Bush Doctrine posed to world peace. In his letter to the UN Security Council, Clark had raised six issues against the Bush Doctrine.
Clark had asserted that George W. Bush came to office determined to attack Iraq and change its government. “George Bush Is leading the United States and taking the UN and all nations toward a Lawless World of Endless Wars,” he wrote. “The United States, not Iraq, is the Greatest Single Threat to the independence and purpose of the United Nations,” he added.
Clark’s warning is better appreciated now. The US had miscalculated that the Iraqis will welcome them as liberators for ousting Saddam Hussein. Instead, the Iraqis saw them as invaders who were out to steal their oil. It did not take long for the partners of George W. Bush in the so-called Coalition of the Willing to start making their exits from the war that failed to meet its geostrategic objectives.
Bush used the fear in the hearts of Americans after the 9/11 attack to railroad his imperial agenda. People caught in a great fear of something, or someone, are easily manipulated. They fail to use their better judgment and can be conditioned to act in the manner the puppeteer wants.
Eventually, Americans saw the mistake in the Iraq misadventure and support for Bush and his wars dropped. Believed to have taken a heavy toll on the US economy - the $3 trillion war per Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz — and with the body count exceeding 2,000 already, the world witnessed the phenomenal election of the first ever African American president of the US in 2008. This was made possible by the mistakes of the Bush administration.
We Filipinos should be circumspect when we’re told by the US that we’ll become a failed State if we don’t do this or that or the next thing. We should discern if this, that and the next thing are beneficial for Filipinos or Americans. US offers of assistance are not altruistic acts.
Ten years after 9/11, did the Bush Doctrine make the world a safer place? Far from it, the world finds itself closer to an Armageddon scenario after Russia, China, Iran (a Middle East superpower, as described by a top CIA station chief) and India were driven to form an alliance to protect themselves from the perils they saw from the Bush Doctrine.
Willie Nep rides again!
In response to public clamor, the Willie Nep (Nepomuceno) Show will stage a repeat on September 24 at the Music Museum. Willie is good value for money. This is you last chance to catch his show.
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