Opinion | The Real Lesson of Sept. 11 – by Joe Quinn – NYT

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“. . . . . I learned that Osama bin Laden’s strategic logic was to embroil the United States in a never-ending conflict to ultimately bankrupt the country. “All that we have to do is send two mujahedeen to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written ‘Al Qaeda,’” he said in 2004, “in order to make generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic and political losses without their achieving for it anything of note ….” Why are we continuing to do what Bin Laden wanted all along?

But that, ultimately, was not the thing I realized.

I learned that every part of me wanted to just stay quiet with my feelings about the war because I was afraid of what people might say. It’s easier to bask in the warm embrace of “Thank you for your service” without questioning what that service was for. One way or another, we were all affected by Sept. 11, which has caused us to view the war through a distorted lens. This is why most of us won’t comment or share or at least have a dialogue about the war.

But the main reason I wanted to stay quiet is because it has embarrassingly taken me 17 years to realize something, and what I realized was this: Seventeen years ago, staring at that picture of Mohammad Atta, I wanted revenge against the people who killed my brother. But what I finally realized was that the people who killed my brother died the same day he did.

I refuse to take Atta’s orders, or Bin Laden’s. I will not “stay quiet.” End the war.”

Joe Quinn is a United States Army veteran.

DL: In hindsight, invading Iraq and Afghanistan were mistakes. I recommend “State of Denial,” by Bob Woodward, for a briefing on the Iraq mismanagement.  We ignored the rules of war as delineated over a thousand years ago by Sun Tsu, in “The Art of War.”

For example, three of his cardinal rules are: know your enemy better than you know yourself.  Only go to war as a last resort. Never occupy a foreign land for a long time, it is too expensive, and reveals your ignorance while all of your advantages will slowly erode.

Having severely damaged these two counties, and Syria, Libya and Yemen, perhaps we have no better choice than to pull out.  Here is the top comment which I endorsed:

Ken of Sag Harbor
Sag Harbor, NY

I write from Tunis, working with Libyans. The biggest tragedy of 9/11 was not the humans killed that day but the American reaction. Funneling fury against a handful of Muslim Arabs upon a whole diverse people, we destroyed Iraq, and by contagion Syria, and then Libya, and now Yemen. Our racist anger blinded us. I am that rare bird, an American who speaks Arabic and gets the Middle East. I am working in all these nations, a miniscule clean-up crew against the colossal onslaught of American destruction. Our constants wars on the Middle East have not only led to the breaking apart of a whole swath of nations, which like Humpty are hard to put together again, but refugees flooding Europe and thereby triggering a global right-wing resurgence. In a hundred years they will look back at how a few hijacked planes led the most powerful nation on earth to destroy its legacy in a few short years. Osama must be thrilled. And it is not over.

 

via Opinion | The Real Lesson of Sept. 11 – The New York Times

When Terrorists Run City Hall – By Rukmini Callimachi – NYT

“The documents and interviews with dozens of people who lived under their rule show that the group at times offered better services and proved itself more capable than the government it had replaced.They also suggest that the militants learned from mistakes the United States made in 2003 after it invaded Iraq, including the decision to purge members of Saddam Hussein’s ruling party from their positions and bar them from future employment. That decree succeeded in erasing the Baathist state, but also gutted the country’s civil institutions, creating the power vacuum that groups like ISIS rushed to fill.Islamic State fighters swept through the desert after seizing Mosul.

A little more than a decade later, after seizing huge tracts of Iraq and Syria, the militants tried a different tactic. They built their state on the back of the one that existed before, absorbing the administrative know-how of its hundreds of government cadres. An examination of how the group governed reveals a pattern of collaboration between the militants and the civilians under their yoke.

One of the keys to their success was their diversified revenue stream. The group drew its income from so many strands of the economy that airstrikes alone were not enough to cripple it.”

DL: This is one of the most amazing articles I’ve read in years. So much work, to understand so much destruction. Thank you to all who made this possible.

Outraged by the Attacks on Yazidis? It Is Time to Help. – by Nadia Murad – NYT

Three years ago I was one of thousands of Yazidi women kidnapped by the Islamic State and sold into slavery. I endured rape, torture and humiliation at the hands of multiple militants before I escaped. I was relatively lucky; many Yazidis went through worse than I did and for much longer. Many are still missing. Many have been killed.

Once I escaped, I felt that it was my duty to tell the world about the brutality of the Islamic State. Yazidi women hoped that recounting our experiences of mass murder, rape and enslavement would bring attention to the Yazidi genocide. We received sympathy and solidarity all over the world, but now what we really need is concrete action to get justice and allow our community to return to its homeland.

via Outraged by the Attacks on Yazidis? It Is Time to Help. – The New York Times

From Kabul to Baghdad- My Bird’s-Eye – by Thomas Friedman – NYT

“Since I can’t explain Trump’s Middle East, let me explain what I saw here — three things in particular: I saw a new way of mounting warfare by the United States in Iraq. I saw in this new warfare a strategy that offers at least a glimmer of hope for Iraq, if and when ISIS is defeated. But, though only a glimpse, I saw in Afghanistan an eroding stalemate — with all the same issues that have undermined stability there for years: government corruption, distrust among Afghans and perfidious interventions by Pakistan and Iran.”

Battered by War, Iraq Now Faces Calamity From Dropping Oil Prices – The New York Times

“BAGHDAD — Iraqis seeking to withdraw money from banks are told there is not enough cash. Hospitals in Baghdad are falling back to the deprivation of the 1990s sanctions era, resterilizing, over and over, needles and other medical products meant for one-time use.In the autonomous Kurdish region in the north, the economic crisis is even worse: government workers — and the pesh merga fighters who are battling the Islamic State — have not been paid in months. Already, there have been strikes and protests that have turned violent.These scenes present a portrait of a country in the midst of an expensive war against the Islamic State that is now facing economic calamity brought on by the collapse in the price of oi l, which accounts for more than 90 percent of the Iraqi government’s revenue.”

Source: Battered by War, Iraq Now Faces Calamity From Dropping Oil Prices – The New York Times