The first little bit of background we need to understand is what's alluded to by this cartoon of Donald Rooum's. Contrary to widespread popular myth, the obscene expense and hideous environmental nightmares of the nuclear weapons industry did not create peace and deterrence between the US and the USSR. |
What it did was to stop direct military conflict between the two, replacing it by proxy wars in which no more than one superpower participated directly. Instead of keeping their lust for blood to themselves, the superpowers sacrificed others ? almost always the non-rich and the non-white ? on the altar of global imperialism and hegemony. Then they proceeded to lie to their citizens about how nuclear weapons were keeping the peace.
Consider Afghanistan. The imperialist USSR proclaimed it part of its self-declared sphere if influence, and then used dirty tricks to manipulate its government. Then the imperialist USA started shoveling massive amounts of aid to any viable opposition group without much thought how awful their politics might be. So the USSR sent more aid (including military advisors) to their side, then the USA to the rebels. It ended up with actual soldiers of the USSR and massive amounts of aid to rebels viciously fighting them from the USA.
The USSR disappears, the motive behind the proxy war is no longer there, and suddenly for the Afghans it's "Thanks for dying for the sake of our spat, suckers. Now kindly go fuck yourselves. You're a bunch of brown-skinned nobodies and we frankly don't give a rip that our proxy war ruined your country."
Well, golly gee whillikers, just what kind of regime do you expect will arise in such a place anyhow? Especially when the big "winners" in it all were the Islamic extremist groups with US-funded weapons watching the Soviet army and its puppets depart with their tails between their legs?
Is it really that surprising that a people for whom the main "gift" of Western culture was unprecedented, death, misery, impoverishment, and destruction will decide that a return to medieval darkness, whatever its drawbacks, is at least (a) something they understand and are familiar with, and (b) a heck of a lot nicer than the horrors the West visited upon them?
Yes, Western culture is responsible for a lot of good things, like the concepts of democracy, liberty, and human rights. But it's also responsible for creating a pair of genocidal superpowers that murdered millions of the world's poor in their competition for global domination.
Until we understand that, and try to address it, the time will soon come when September 11, 2001 will be looked back on not as a major atrocity, but as a sign of an innocent time when such a minor attack was considered to be a major atrocity.
Remember, one thing terrorists always want to do is to upstage their previous attacks. And Al Qaeda apparently considered attacking a nuclear power station on September 11, then dropped it from consideration "for humanitarian reasons".