Those awesome events, which shocked the US and the rest of the world, were used by the Bush administration to justify the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq and the adoption of a new policy towards Islam based on bellicosity, bullying and pre-emptive intervention.
Bush, a man many agree is notorious for his shallow intellectuality, said the terrorists did what they did because “they hated [US] freedom”.
This interpretation by Bush of the root cause of the 9/11 events was parroted by public opinion leaders throughout the US, probably with the exception of a few courageous but feeble voices that dared challenge Bush’s striking naivete.
Moreover, a shockingly pliant media just followed suit, ignoring, rather scandalously, some of the most axiomatic facts relating to America’s troubled relations with the Arab-Muslim world, not least of which is America’s long-standing and continuing embrace of Israel’s decades-old campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Palestinian people.
In the Middle East, Arab intellectuals scoffed in utter frustration at Bush’s interpretation of the 9/11 attacks, calling it “silly and ignorant”.
And now, three years after the attack, most Arab intellectuals seem to be convinced that the causes of 9/11 are still as relevant as ever in light of what they view as unmitigated American hostility towards the Muslim world.
“Practically, the US has made no efforts to enhance its basic policy in this part of the world”
Egyptian journalist Fahmi Huweidy, viewed by many as one of the most prominent moderate Muslim intellectuals, told Aljazeera.net that Arabs and Muslims (even Europeans) hate the US government.
“It would be abnormal and against the nature of things if they didn’t,” he said.
He argued that America’s behaviour towards the Muslim world since 9/11 actually worsened and therefore vindicated Muslim hatred for the US.
“Practically, the US has made no efforts to enhance its basic policy in this part of the world. Instead, they have been trying, rather fruitlessly, to enhance their image. I call this cheap deception,” he said.
Dismissing Bush’s theme that the 9/11 events were rooted in Muslim hatred of America’s freedom as “vacuous, ignorant remarks,” Huweidy accused the US of lacking the necessary courage to “face and examine the ugliness of its policies towards Arabs and Muslims”.
“I think it is not difficult to understand that America’s embrace of Israeli Nazism toward the Palestinians is the main and central root cause of Arab hatred of America,” he said.
He cited another important reason for this hatred: America’s “enduring backing and sustenance of despotic Arab regimes” which he said “are confiscating their people’s freedoms and basic human rights with America’s approval and active support”.
Bush said 9/11 occured because
“We know quite well that without America’s backing, many of these dictatorships wouldn’t survive very long.”
Huweidy described President Bush as ” a conspicuously ignorant man who knows next to nothing about the rest of the world”.
“Imagine, he didn’t obtain a passport until after he was elected president of the US. It is tragic and sad that such an arrogant and ignorant man stands at the helm of power in the world’s most powerful country.”
Awni al Khatib, Professor of Chemistry at Hebron University in the West Bank, believes that “insolence and arrogance of power” rather than ignorance lie behind America’s “hostility and enmity” towards the Muslim world.
“Successive American administration knew quite well, as does this administration, that the central source of violence, terror and instability in the Middle East and beyond is Israel and its manifestly criminal policies and behaviours in Palestine.
“They know that, I would say, too well. But America prefers to keep up the crime uncorrected since doing otherwise – for example, achieving a just peace in Palestine – would impede the realisation of America’s strategic goals in the region, namely controlling oil reserves in the Middle East.
“You see America now imports up to 50-60 % of its oil needs. In 2020 or 2030, America’s oil reserves will have been depleted, and in 2070 or 2080, there will be no more oil in the entire world … so America wants to control the oil in order to control the world … it is as simple as that,” he said.
Khatib, himself a graduate from the US, pointed out that American policy towards the Muslim world “has long been hijacked by the Jewish lobby”.
“America wants to control the oil in order to control the world … it is as simple as that”
Awni al Khatib, Professor of Chemistry at Hebron University
“It is no secret that the American policy toward the Arab world, including the Palestinian question, is made and determined by the Israeli government and AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee).
“This means that US backing and support of Israel will linger indefinitely regardless and irrespective of what Israel does … because Israel, not America, is in the driver’s seat of American policy,” the chemistry professor said.
Khatib argued that the US is the “Palestinians’ tormentor”, a view espoused by many Arab intellectuals who accuse the US of denying the Palestinians justice by vetoing virtually every UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel’s behaviour in Palestine.
“I believe that America is responsible, directly or indirectly, for every Israeli atrocity against the Palestinians, every home demolished by Israel, every orchard decimated by Israeli bulldozers.
“America has been and continues to be the financier, enabler, abettor, guarantor, and protector of Israel’s state terror and fascistic behaviours.
“America is the real author of the Palestinian plight. As such how can we not hate America?”