9/11 anniversary – why is it so hard to ask the simplest and most important question?


20 years on from the 9/11 terrorist attack in New York it’s still too hard for Aotearoa New Zealand to ask the simplest and most important question.

Why did the terrorists attack the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon and attempt to attack the US congress on 11 September 2001? Why did these young men give their lives in attacks on the most important symbols of US global power?

Looking through the screeds of media reporting on the anniversary it’s not possible to find that question asked, let alone answered and yet if we are to learn from this terrorist attack we should be asking and answering that question.

US President George Bush the Lesser (as Arundhati Roy referred to him recently) said it was because “they hate us, they hate our values”. Bush didn’t think that up himself – it was fed to him by his advisors as the first stage in dehumanising the enemy (even if you don’t know who the enemy is) to justify every appalling abuse you intend to inflict on them.

I remember writing a letter to the paper at the time saying that the schoolyard bully has got a bloody nose and was lashing out at the weakest person they could find – Afghanistan fitted the bill – irrespective of the lack of evidence linking that country to the terror attack. Saudi Arabia would have been the more logical choice given that was the country almost all the attackers came from. But the despotic, medieval regime which runs Saudi Arabia was friends with the US! 

What had the schoolyard bully been up to which brought on this attack?

The filthy fingerprints of US imperialism have been everywhere across the Middle East since WWII. The Middle East became important to the US in the 20th century because although the US didn’t need the oil riches of the region it wanted to be able to channel those oil supplies to its friends and away from its enemies. To do this the US has intervened to destabilise any government (Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Lebanon, Libya etc) or political movement – such as Arab nationalism – which has sought to establish their own national control of these oil supplies. At the same time it has supported every right-wing dictatorship across the Arab world and helped crush any moves towards democracy where this would undermine US interests.

Most egregiously they continue to support the Western beachhead in the Middle East – Israel – which was formed by the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian population from their land in historic Palestine. Those abuses against the Palestinian people continue year in year out with every US administration since 1948 – not because the US establishment supports the Jewish people (it doesn’t) but because it suits the US to have a client, racist, apartheid state in the Middle East.

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That’s the answer to the simplest and most important question when we think about 9/11. How many state-terrorist attacks had the US committed across the Middle East before the attack in New York? It is the millions of civilians killed by US actions in the Middle East since WWII who have paid the most terrible price.

Finishing on a more positive note, things are changing for the US and for Israel. 2021 is the turning point for the Palestinian struggle and the US, like all waning empires, has become deeply divided within itself. The schoolyard bully has an ugly future ahead.


  1. I started reading this and got only part way through and thought “Who is writing this drivel?”

    So I looked at the header and thought “Oh Minto”, rolled my eyes and read something else

  2. Nailed it again John. After 9/11 the USA was pointing fingers at the usual suspects and threatening the “Axis of Evil” but failed to take a look in the mirror. Those few commentators on the left like Michael Moore, suggesting that the attacks were a consequence of US foreign policy, were widely vilified. The joint chiefs had a hard-on for war and blood and oil. The “Bush doctrine” is a euphemism for war crimes, unilateral invasion, and flagrant violations of the Geneva Convention.

    9/11 was a day of infamy, but the American response was deranged, psychotic, indiscriminate bombing and mass murder. Not the actions of a civilised nation.

    • Strange our (my) insistence on ideals that have never existed primarily. Empires like ours, like fumes, produce ideals out the side. Hortensia, the first feminist, insisting on her rights in the first days of the Roman Empire.

    • I went to bed at 3.30 a.m. twenty years ago thinking that the horror I had just watched live for two hours on the BBC World might wake USA up to itself and cause them some introspection.
      I thought the same went Trump was elected in Nov 2016.
      I was spectacularly wrong on both counts.
      USA is circling the drain.

  3. The elements of the answers to the “why?” 9/11 questions are all in this article. As is usually the case in geopolitics, all is never as it seems and misdirection is the name of the game. Read the 1996 Clean Break memo.

  4. While I agree that the US is guilty of meddling and puppet governments. What is the alternative?

    There are even more abuses of human rights operating in the countries they are meddling in.

    If you lived in China and Russia or the Middle East, people like yourself would either be dead or in jail. It is a privilege to speak out against government. Funny enough, the woke want to stop that too, with their “hate” speech rules which are more like freedom of speech suppression.

    Human rights advocates advocated to improve democracy such as people who advocated (and died for in some cases) voting, 40hr working week, civil rights etc, but unfortunately somehow the human rights advocates took a right turn and turned woke. They have stopped advocating for advancing human rights in the west, and instead seem to be trying to destroy what was created in the west, by supporting people who don’t believe in the above civil rights, to recreate the west, in their countries image.

    For example, instead of rallying against the gig economy and zero hour contracts, the woke have somehow been supporting thousands of small and medium business owners entering NZ, and underpaying their workers or in some cases making the workers pay them.

    While there is proof that increasing labour supply lowers wages especially in low paid jobs, the woke have been big advocates of increasing labour supply into NZ.

    When exploiters are caught and there is a call for high penalties for destroying our system such as deporting new residents found guilty of exploiting people, the woke seem to be their greatest supporters of continuing the system.

    Cancel culture wants to eradicate the west, however it seldom turns into the utopia they dream of, but more an animal farm type situation.

    Similar in health care, neoliberalism has undermined the doctors and nurses and are adding in more and more roles, like health workers, who are not qualified. Sadly this doesn’t help good outcomes, because people need specialists and the health system is complex. It is not like a production line making a product, people need to be able to think and react quickly and be qualified to do so, not try and bring the issue to ‘management’ someone is dead by the time they get that qualified person involved.

  5. Good post John. Love that last sentence. Trouble is ,the schoolyard bully is still the schoolyard bully, along with their puppet British and Israeli sycophants.

  6. Good article. But one cannot extrapolate world conditions from WW2 to modern day conditions in as much as during the 1940s there was a world wide push to destroy fascism. USA muscle and industrialism was needed to put the final nail in the coffin to rampant totalitarianism.

    Something happened after that however, agreements between govts, pacts, sharing of information’s, etc,…which caused the USA to become the global policeman, the only ones who had the manpower, the industrialism and the technology to become the enforcer.

    Interestingly, Donald Trump was a return to American isolationism, a withdrawal from playing that role, in his threats to withdraw NATO finances US troops and logistics, to withdraw from Afghanistan, in his befriending of North Koreas belligerent leader, of sending a missile into a defunct Syrian air base , – and warning the Russians and Syrians troops (how very polite of him !) so that there was no human loss of life,…. and at the same time sending a clear message to China about the South China seas debacle whilst entertaining the Chinese PM in Florida as his guest,…in my humble opinion, a masterstroke of the combination of gunboat diplomacy and true overtures of friendship with the North Korean leader….

    It is a truism that the USA has always looked after its own ‘ butt’. They have always done so ‘ because they can’. But , like Russia and China, they are not all bad. Certainly not their rank and file citizens. The little people. The little people in all these nations are the beautiful people. The you and me’s.

    I think if we point a finger at any superpower we end up pointing a finger at all of them. It is the elites, the powerbrokers who commit the atrocity’s, much as we see in the Middle East,… these murderous, evil manipulators of all nationality’s that scheme, plan and enlist those with the capacity to destroy that are the real problem. The mercenary’s, the arms dealers, the bankers, the sophisticates, the globalists, those hungry for absolute power,…

    These are your true enemy’s.

    • We should not judge the nation by the actions of its government when we know it is not a true democracy. The ordinary folks have very little say.

  7. Or the 9/11 terrorists could simply be evil scum who found a way to vent their ideological frustrations out on innocent civilians.

    Most people couldn’t care less about their self justifying dogma. Nor should we.

  8. September 11th.
    The day chickens came home to roost for the USA.
    The day that a CIA backed military coup in Chile overthrew a democratically elected government because Henry Kissinger and the US establishment were pants crapping over the prospect of socialism raising living standards for poor people( as had already happened in Cuba).
    In order to do this it was first necessary to murder General Schneider the commander of the Chilean Army because he would not take action against a democratically elected government( a soldier who believed he was a servant of the people), then to kill Salvador Allende for being a popular Marxist.
    It is a pity when innocent people get killed but why is it only such a huge tragedy when they are American citizens? Palestinians, Africans and Asians die every day of the week and Hollywood does not give a fuck.

  9. If you want to know the real reason why America never attacked Saudi Arabia, the Nation & Countrymen, like Bin Laden & the Plane Hijackers who were all Saudis & really responsible for the 9/11 attacks, just follow the dirty money? America relies on Saudi Arabia to maintain its US Petrodollar Hegemony hence the main reason why America never pursued the Saudis? The Saudis also buy Billions of dollars of useless American weaponry as well. Its all about the dollars, American dollars, the US sold it’s soul to Saudi Arabia when Nixon took America off the Gold Standard in 1971, they needed to find a alternative to stop the dollar from massive devaluation & crashing so they replaced Bretton Woods with the US Petrodollar system which provided a guarantee to Saudi Arabia that America would provide them a Security blanket if they ever came under attack? In exchange for that protection, Saudi Arabia would only transact it’s barrels of oil in US dollars? This automatically created a demand for other Nations to exchange their currency for US dollars to buy Saudi Oil. It’s no coincidence that any Nation that has tried to remove themselves from the US Petrodollar System & transact in any Currency outside of US dollars such as Countries like Libya, Iraq, Iran, Syria & Venezuela have come under attack, with some of them already destroyed or overthrown. This is also why Russia, Iran & China are hated by the US as they see any competition to the Petrodollar system as a existential threat, which it is? Once America loses its exorbitant privilege of being the World’s Reserve Currency status which is enabled by the US Petrodollar System, it knows that its Economically finished, it won’t be able to fund its endless debt bingeing, Warmongering & deficits as it will go bankrupt overnight? That’s the real situation regarding 9/11, Death & destruction to preserve American greed & avarice & if your own Citizens get sacrificed, that’s a necessary evil to maintain that Dollar dominance!

  10. Its been 20 years. Secret documents get released after 25 years, need to refresh that cover up with an explanation of how the twin towers fell into their own pile like a controlled demolition does. Then maybe people wont go looking up those released ex govt secret documents right?

  11. I have no belief whatsoever in the conspiracy theories.

    I think of the many many people that the STATE of US has literally murdered – mostly civilians – since World WarII.

  12. You haven’t read bin Laden’s Letter to the American People or his prior fatwas of 1998 and 1996 John? If you were to do so you would understand events in history are more complicated than American and British blunders in Middle East lands colonised after brutal conquest by Arab armies and scimitars. Maybe a little reading around the Hadith relating to the last hour will also enlighten you about the depth of hatred used to rile up Palestinians against Israel. Like a marriage which dissolves there are always two sides to an intractable and festering sore.

  13. You haven’t read bin Laden’s Letter to the American People or his prior fatwas of 1998 and 1996 John? If you were to do so you would understand events in history are more complicated than American and British blunders in Middle East lands colonised after brutal conquest by Arab armies and scimitars. Maybe a little reading around the Hadith relating to the last hour will also enlighten you about the depth of hatred used to rile up Palestinians against Israel. Like a marriage which dissolves there are always two sides to an intractable and festering sore.

    • Yet I think this is a golden opportunity for the west to spread goodwill towards their former enemy’s, if we developed those country’s instead of turning them to dust,…how much better would it have been? How much the better outcome? It is said in so many circles that the objective was to imprison or kill Osama bin Laden,…and yet Pakistan had full knowledge of his whereabouts, and yet they didn’t act on this.

      The motive?,… the economic viability of both oil and the arms producers, of strategic placement in the containment of Russia and China… the cost of which was the slaughter of many American lives and ten fold more civilians in Afghanistan, such as it is between Israel and the Palestinians today…

      Larry Norman – The Great American Novel ~ [1972]

      • Gosh Katipo. I guess you’re not poisonous at all! I like your ideas. Let’s try at least to make peace, naive as that sounds after all the damage that has been done. You never know. It just might work!

      • Better to link to the far superior Dylan if you are showcasing 1970s cynicism and white saviourism, although both took the adulation, money and sexual invites as their due. As you do when currying favour with a privileged and pampered middle class.

  14. I’m sure the relatives of the 3000 people killed on that day would find the timing of this blog insensitive.
    Even if it’s harsh reality.


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