rn: A bit of context


Jan Slakov

Date: Wed, 24 Oct 2001 10:58:27 -0400
From: Randy Schutt <•••@••.•••>
Subject: A Bit of Context

Dear friends,
Here is an article providing some context in which to view the 9/11 
attacks. Note that the current death toll from 9/11 is estimated to 
be about 4,800. Mosqueda's estimates of the death toll caused by the US seem 
high to me, but even if they are high by a factor of two, they 
clearly are still very high.


Larry Mosqueda, Ph.D.
The Evergreen State College
September 15, 2001

Like all Americans, on Tuesday, 9-11, I was shocked and horrified to watch
the WTC Twin Towers attacked by hijacked planes and collapse, resulting in
the deaths of perhaps up to 10,000 innocent people.

I had not been that shocked and horrified since January 16, 1991, when then
President Bush attacked Baghdad, and the rest of Iraq and began killing
200,000 people during that 'war' (slaughter). This includes the infamous
'highway of death' in the last days of the slaughter when U.S. pilots
literally shot in the back retreating Iraqi civilians and soldiers. I
continue to be horrified by the sanctions on Iraq, which have resulted in the
death of over 1,000,000 Iraqis, including over 500,000 children, about whom
former Secretary of State Madeline Allbright has stated that their deaths
'are worth the cost'.

Over the course of my life I have been shocked and horrified by a variety of
U.S. governmental actions, such as the U.S. sponsored coup against democracy
in Guatemala in 1954 which resulted in the deaths of over 120,000 Guatemalan
peasants by U.S. installed dictatorships over the course of four decades.

Last Tuesday's events reminded me of the horror I felt when the U.S.
overthrew the governments of the Dominican Republic in 1965 and helped to
murder 3,000 people. And it reminded me of the shock I felt in 1973, when the
U.S. sponsored a coup in Chile against the democratic government of Salvador
Allende and helped to murder another 30,000 people, including U.S. citizens.

Last Tuesday's events reminded me of the shock and horror I felt in 1965 when
the U.S. sponsored a coup in Indonesia that resulted in the murder of over
800,000 people, and the subsequent slaughter in 1975 of over 250,000 innocent
people in East Timor by the Indonesian regime with the direct complicity of
President Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. I was reminded of the
shock and horror I felt during the U.S. sponsored terrorist contra war (the
World Court declared the U.S. government a war criminal in 1984 for the
mining of the harbors) against Nicaragua in the 1980s which resulted in the
deaths of over 30,000 innocent people (or as the U.S. government used to call
them before the term 'collateral damage' was invented--'soft targets').

I was reminded of being horrified by the U. S. war against the people of El
Salvador in the 1980s, which resulted in the brutal deaths of over 80,000
people, or 'soft targets'.

I was reminded of the shock and horror I felt during the U.S. sponsored
terror war against the peoples of southern Africa (especially Angola) that
began in the 1970's and continues to this day and has resulted in the deaths
and mutilations of over 1,000,000. I was reminded of the shock and horror I
felt as the U.S. invaded Panama over the Christmas season of 1989 and killed
over 8,000 in an attempt to capture George H. Bush's CIA partner, now turned
enemy, Manual Noriega.

I was reminded of the horror I felt when I learned about how the Shah of Iran
was installed in a U.S. sponsored brutal coup that resulted in the deaths of
over 70,000 Iranians from 1952-1979. And the continuing shock as I learned
that the Ayatollah Khomani, who overthrew the Shah in 1979, and who was the
U.S. public enemy for decade of the 1980s, was also on the CIA payroll, while
he was in exile in Paris in the 1970s.

I was reminded of the shock and horror that I felt as I learned about how the
U.S. has 'manufactured consent' since 1948 for its support of Israel, to the
exclusion of virtually any rights for the Palestinians in their native lands
resulting in ever worsening day-to-day conditions for the people of
Palestine. I was shocked as I learned about the hundreds of towns and
villages that were literally wiped off the face of the earth in the early
days of Israeli colonization. I was horrified in 1982 as the villagers of
Sabra and Shatila were massacred by Israeli allies with direct Israeli
complicity and direction. The untold thousands who died on that day match the
scene of horror that we saw last Tuesday. But those scenes were not repeated
over and over again on the national media to inflame the American public.

The events and images of last Tuesday have been appropriately compared to the
horrific events and images of Lebanon in the 1980s which resulted in the
deaths of tens of thousand of people, with no reference to the fact that the
country that inflicted the terror on Lebanon was Israel, with U.S. backing.

I still continue to be shocked at how mainstream commentators refer to
'Israeli settlers' in the 'occupied territories' with no sense of irony as
they report on who are the aggressors in the region.

Of course, the largest and most shocking war crime of the second half of the
20th century was the U.S. assault on Indochina from 1954-1975, especially
Vietnam, where over 4,000,000 people were bombed, napalmed, crushed, shot and
individually 'hands on' murdered in the 'Phoenix Program' (this is where
Oliver North got his start). Many U.S. Vietnam veterans were also victimized
by this war and had the best of intentions, but the policy makers themselves
knew the criminality of their actions and policies as revealed in their own
words in 'The Pentagon Papers,' released by Daniel Ellsberg of the RAND
Corporation. In 1974 Ellsberg noted that our Presidents from Truman to Nixon
continually lied to the U.S. public about the purpose and conduct of the war.
He has stated that, 'It is a tribute to the American people that our leaders
perceived that they had to lie to us, it is not a tribute to us that we were
so easily misled.'

I was continually shocked and horrified as the U.S. attacked and bombed with
impunity the nation of Libya in the 1980s, including killing the infant
daughter of Khadafi. I was shocked as the U.S. bombed and invaded Grenada in
1983. I was horrified by U.S. military and CIA actions in Somalia, Haiti,
Afghanistan, Sudan, Brazil, Argentina, and Yugoslavia. The deaths in these
actions ran into the hundreds of thousands.

The above list is by no means complete or comprehensive. It is merely a list
that is easily accessible and not unknown, especially to the economic and
intellectual elites. It has just been conveniently eliminated from the public
discourse and public consciousness. And for the most part, the analysis that
the U.S. actions have resulted in the deaths of primarily civilians (over
90%) is not unknown to these elites and policy makers. A conservative number
for those who have been killed by U.S. terror and military action since World
War II is 8,000,000 people. Repeat--8,000,000 people. This does not include
the wounded, the imprisoned, the displaced, the refugees, etc. Martin Luther
King, Jr. stated in 1967, during the Vietnam War, 'My government is the
world's leading purveyor of violence.' Shocking and horrifying.

Nothing that I have written is meant to disparage or disrespect those who
were victims and those who suffered death or the loss of a loved one during
this week's events. It is not meant to 'justify' any action by those who
bombed the Twin Towers or the Pentagon. It is meant to put it in a context.

If we believe that the actions were those of 'madmen', they are 'madmen' who
are able to keep a secret for 2 years or more among over 100 people, as they
trained to execute a complex plan. While not the acts of madmen, they are
apparently the acts of 'fanatics' who, depending on who they really are, can
find real grievances, but whose actions are illegitimate.

Osama Bin Laden at this point has been accused by the media and the
government of being the mastermind of Tuesday's bombings. Given the
government's track record on lying to the America people, that should not be
accepted as fact at this time. If indeed Bin Laden is the mastermind of this
action, he is responsible for the deaths of perhaps 10,000 people-a shocking
and horrible crime. Ed Herman in his book The Real Terror Network: Terrorism
in Fact and Propaganda does not justify any terrorism but points out that
states often engage in 'wholesale' terror, while those whom governments
define as 'terrorist' engage is 'retail' terrorism. While qualitatively the
results are the same for the individual victims of terrorism, there is a
clear quantitative difference. And as Herman and others point out, the seeds,
the roots, of much of the 'retail' terror are in fact found in the
'wholesale' terror of states. Again this is not to justify, in any way, the
actions of last Tuesday, but to put them in a context and suggest an

Perhaps most shocking and horrific, if indeed Bin Laden is the mastermind of
Tuesday's actions; he has clearly had significant training in logistics,
armaments, and military training, etc. by competent and expert military
personnel. And indeed he has. During the 1980s, he was recruited, trained and
funded by the CIA in Afghanistan to fight against the Russians. As long as he
visited his terror on Russians and his enemies in Afghanistan, he was 'our
man' in that country.

The same is true of Saddam Hussein of Iraq, who was a CIA asset in Iraq
during the 1980s. Hussein could gas his own people, repress the population,
and invade his neighbor (Iran) as long as he did it with U.S. approval.

The same was true of Manuel Noriega of Panama, who was a contemporary and CIA
partner of George H. Bush in the 1980s. Noriega's main crime for Bush, the
father, was not that he dealt drugs (he did, but the U.S. and Bush knew this
before 1989), but that Noriega was no longer going to cooperate in the
ongoing U.S. terrorist contra war against Nicaragua. This information is not
unknown or really controversial among elite policy makers.

To repeat, this not to justify any of the actions of last Tuesday, but to put
it in its horrifying context.

As shocking as the events of last Tuesday were, they are likely to generate
even more horrific actions by the U.S. government that will add significantly
to the 8,000,000 figure stated above. This response may well be
qualitatively and quantitatively worst than the events of Tuesday. The New
York Times headline of 9/14/01 states that, 'Bush And Top Aides Proclaim
Policy Of Ending States That Back Terror' as if that was a rationale,
measured, or even sane option. States that have been identified for possible
elimination are 'a number of Asian and African countries, like Afghanistan,
Iraq, Sudan, and even Pakistan.' This is beyond shocking and horrific-it is
just as potentially suicidal, homicidal, and more insane than the hijackers

Also, qualitatively, these actions will be even worse than the original
bombers if one accepts the mainstream premise that those involved are
'madmen', 'religious fanatics', or a 'terrorist group.' If so, they are
acting as either individuals or as a small group. The U.S. actions may
continue the homicidal policies of a few thousand elites for the past 50
years, involving both political parties. The retail terror is that of
desperate and sometime fanatical small groups and individuals who often have
legitimate grievances, but engage in individual criminal and illegitimate
activities; the wholesale terror is that of 'rational' educated men where the
pain, suffering, and deaths of millions of people are contemplated, planned,
and too often, executed, for the purpose of furthering a nebulous concept
called the 'national interest'. Space does not allow a full explanation of
the elites Orwellian concept of the 'national interest', but it can be
summarized as the protection and expansion of hegemony and an imperial

The American public is being prepared for war while being fed a continuous
stream of shocking and horrific repeated images of Tuesday's events and
heartfelt stories from the survivors and the loved ones of those who lost
family members. These stories are real and should not be diminished. In fact,
those who lost family members can be considered a representative sample of
humanity of the 8,000,000 who have been lost previously. If we multiply by
800-1000 times the amount of pain, angst, and anger being currently felt by
the American public, we might begin to understand how much of the rest of the
world feels as they are continually victimized.

Some particularly poignant images are the heart wrenching public stories that
we are seeing and hearing of family members with pictures and flyers
searching for their loved ones. These images are virtually the same as those
of the 'Mothers of the Disappeared' who searched for their (primarily) adult
children in places such as Argentina, where over 11,000 were 'disappeared' in
1976-1982, again with U.S. approval. Just as the mothers of Argentina
deserved our respect and compassion, so do the relatives of those who are
searching for their relatives now. However we should not allow ourselves to
be manipulated by the media and U.S. government into turning real grief and
anger into a national policy of wholesale terror and genocide against
innocent civilians in Asia and Africa. What we are seeing in military terms
is called 'softening the target.' The target here is the American public and
we are being ideologically and emotionally prepared for the slaughter that m
ay commence soon.

None of the previously identified Asian and African countries are
democracies, which means that the people of these countries have virtually no
impact on developing the policies of their governments, even if we assume
that these governments are complicit in Tuesday's actions. When one examines
the recent history of these countries, one will find that the American
government had direct and indirect influences on creating the conditions for
the existence of some of these governments. This is especially true of the
Taliban government of Afghanistan itself.

The New York Metropolitan Area has about 21,000,000 people or about 8 % of
the U.S. population. Almost everyone in America knows someone who has been
killed, injured or traumatized by the events of Tuesday. I know that I do.
Many people are calling for 'revenge' or 'vengeance' and comments such as
'kill them all' have been circulated on the TV, radio, and email. A few more
potentially benign comments have called for 'justice.' This is only
potentially benign since that term may be defined by people such as Bush and
Colin Powell. Powell is an unrepentant participant in the Vietnam War, the
terrorist contra war against Nicaragua, and the Gulf war, at each level
becoming more responsible for the planning and execution of the policies.

Those affected, all of us, must do everything in our power to prevent a wider
war and even greater atrocity, do everything possible to stop the genocide if
it starts, and hold those responsible for their potential war crimes during
and after the war. If there is a great war in 2001 and it is not catastrophic
(a real possibility), the crimes of that war will be revisited upon the U.S.
over the next generation. That is not some kind of religious prophecy or
threat, it is merely a straightforward political analysis. If indeed it is
Bin Laden, the world must not deal only with him as an individual criminal,
but eliminate the conditions that create the injustices and war crimes that
will inevitably lead to more of these types of attacks in the future. The
phrase 'No Justice, No Peace' is more than a slogan used in a march, it is an
observable historical fact. It is time to end the horror.

In a few short pages it is impossible to delineate all of the events
described over the past week or to give a comprehensive accounting of U.S.
foreign policy. Below are a few resources for up to date news and some
background reading, by Noam Chomsky, the noted analyst. The titles of the
books explain their relevance for this topic.


For the most current information see http://www.commondreams.org/
For information on how the media distorts the news see http://www.fair.org/
For excellent links on the Middle East see

For background reading by Noam Chomsky see:
Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies
Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (with Ed
Herman Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel and the Palestinians
Deterring Democracy


Remember too that the US is the only country to ever use nuclear 
weapons on civilians. The US currently exports about 55% of all 
conventional weapons sold in the world and 51% of these arms go to 
governments that are not democratic. And the US has 12 aircraft 
carriers deployed all over the world while the rest of the world has 
1 (Russian) that is kept in port (the Russians can't afford to sail 

"America is the world's sole military whose primary mission is not 
defense. Practically the entire U.S. military is an expeditionary 
force, designed not to guard borders -- a duty that ties down most 
units of other militaries, including China's -- but to 'project 
power' elsewhere in the world." -- Gregg Easterbrook, "Apocryphal 
Now: The Myth of the Hollow Military," The New Republic, 11 September 
2000. <http://www.tnr.com/091100/easterbrook091100_print.html>

For referenced facts on US militarism, see page 24 in Chapter 2 of my 
book: <http://www.vernalproject.org/IcDChapters/IcD2.pdf>


And here is another interesting piece. I don't know where this one 
originated, but it has a lot of truth:

Supposed leader is the spoiled son of a powerful politician, from
extremely wealthy oil family
Supposed leader is the spoiled son of a powerful politician, from
extremely wealthy oil family

Leader has declared a holy war ('Jihad') against his 'enemies'; believes
any nation not with him is against him; believes god is on his side, and
that any means are justified.
Leader has declared a holy war ('Crusade') against his 'enemies';
believes any nation not with him is against him; believes god is on his
side, and that any means are justified.

Supported by extreme fundamentalist religious leaders who preach hatred,
intolerance, subjugation of women, and persecution of non-believers
Supported by extreme fundamentalist religious leaders who preach hatred,
intolerance, subjugation of women, and persecution of non-believers

Leadership was not elected by a majority of the people in a free and
fair democratic election
Leadership was not elected by a majority of the people in a free and
fair democratic election

Kills thousands of innocent civilians, some of them children, in cold
blooded bombings
Kills (tens of) thousands of innocent civilians, some of them children,
in cold blooded bombings

Operates through clandestine organization (al Qaeda) with agents in
many countries; uses bombing, assassination, other terrorist tactics
Operates through clandestine organization (CIA) with agents in many
countries; uses bombing, assassination, other terrorist tactics

Using war as pretext to clamp down on dissent and undermine civil liberties
Using war as pretext to clamp down on dissent and undermine civil liberties

Weapon of choice: a three-dollar box cutter
Weapon of choice: a million-dollar cruise missile


Randy Schutt
Author of Inciting Democracy: A Practical Proposal for Creating a Good Society
and initiator of the Vernal Education Project:
Working to increase the skills and support of progressive activists