Yes, September 11 attacks could have been prevented
In the past few days, the American people were bombarded with the
revelations that the Bush administration knew about the possibility of
September 11, 2001 attacks, yet it did nothing to stop them. The
so-called "terrorism" experts popped up in every TV network,
newspaper, and magazine in the US, in addition to internet websites. The
administration got into a defensive mode as it received more attacks
from members of Congress, who were swift in pointing their fingers to
areas of incompetence in the administration. Several Congressional
committees will hold hearings for that effect. So, what is this all
about? And, really, could September 11 attacks have been prevented?
The so-called "terrorism" experts wanted to say, "we told you so." They have always warned against "terrorist" attacks. Their objective was and still is to sell their security products, systems, programs, or ideas. It doesn't matter for them if the US becomes a closed and besieged society, like the Israeli society, their ideal. What matters really for them is making the buck, no more, no less.
For members of Congress, it's a golden opportunity to score points with the administration. But the vast majority of them are the least concerned with the prevention of such attacks. Actually, they have done nothing else except feeding anti-American sentiments among Arabs and Muslims. Whether before September 11 or after, the Congress did every effort possible to support the Israeli aggression against Arabs, generally, and the Palestinian people in particular. Even after the bloody campaign Sharon launched against the Palestinian people in April 2002, and after the Jenin massacre that the whole world saw unfolding through TV cameras, the US Congress still passed two laws supporting Israel, with the strongest language AIPAC wanted.
The Bush administration's hands-off policy was a major factor that led to the rise of anti-American sentiments in the Middle East, in 2001. Yes, the Clinton administration could not achieve peace between Palestinians and Israelis, but its continuous and intensive involvement in the peace process prevented both parties from crossing the red lines. Had the Bush administration maintained the same level of involvement in the peace process, Palestinians and Israelis might have not slipped into the April 2002 war level. The Bush administration gave Sharon all the green lights he wanted to stop the peace process. He has achieved his goal, the goal of settlers in Israel, and the goal of war hawks in the United States.
Somebody may argue that the September 11 attacks were two years in planning and preparation. Therefore, they had nothing to do with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. That is the prevailing pro-Israeli opinion, and it is wrong and misleading. Anti-American sentiments increase with more US support for Israeli aggression, like the times we are living now. Any anti-American organization would not be able to recruit many members, or have the guts to attack the US, if America is perceived as an honest broker, working diligently for peace.
However, the US blind support for the Israeli aggression is not the only factor that has contributed to the rise in anti-American sentiments in the Middle East. The 1991 Gulf War was the original factor. It was an unnecessary war, as Iraq was begging to withdraw without fight, and it was denied that. The war resulted in killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, the destruction of Iraq, and the death of about one and a half million Iraqis since the war, as a result of economic sanctions. This has been a major source of anti-American sentiments in the Middle East.*
Finally, as a consequence of the Gulf War, the US has kept a continuous military presence in Arabia. This is a major source of resentment among many Arabs and Muslims, who may consider that presence as a form of military occupation. This, too, has contributed to the rise of anti-American sentiments, in the Middle East.
So far, the right question has not been asked, and everyone is dancing around it. Why did September 11 attacks happen? The answer is simply in a sincere review of American foreign policy. September 11 attacks happened as a reaction to the American foreign policy in the Middle East. Actually, America has no policy of its own in the region, independent from Israeli policies. September 11 attacks could not have been prevented by security measures. Rather, they could have been prevented by following a policy that takes into account the real interests of the United States, not the aggressive and expansionist Israeli policies. The United States needs such a sincere review of foreign policy today more than any other time, not only to prevent further attacks but also because it is the right thing to do.
Hassan A. El-Najjar
* For an analysis of the real causes of the Gulf War, see El-Najjar, Hassan. 2001. "The Gulf War: Overreaction & Excessiveness." Amazone Press.