By Jan Oberg*
Lund, Sweden, September 10th, 2016 ((TFF–Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research) – This coming Sunday marks the 15th anniversary of what could be called the most counter-productive, if not stupid, war in modern history: The War On Terror.
Today that war is much much more dangerous to the world’s future than the terrorists it is allegedly supposed to hunt down.
And it has caused thousands of times more suffering, death and destruction – at least a million innocent people killed.
It’s not a war on terrorism but on terrorists and that is as smart as trying to fight all diseases by killing patients.
It’s a war fought without any consideration of the one big question: Why did they do it and why do they do it? Media and politics only asking: Who did it? How was it done? Where? How to respond?
Without an intelligent, comprehensive diagnosis of 9/11 it could only go wrong. And it has.
The next problem was that ‘terrorism’ was suddenly defined by states as anything non-state that threatens society and states. Governments and the UN (which consists of them) conveniently omitted terrorism as a term for what states do and have done on a regular basis and on a much larger scale. Such as the nuclear balance of terror.
About 400 people were killed annually and worldwide before 9/11 according to US State Department statistics – reporting of that stopped in 2004 when figures soared after the War On Terror gained momentum.
However, according to the 2015 Global Terror Index – the number is now 32,000 – and the far majority killed outside the West. So, the problem has increased exactly 80 times(!)
And the Western leaders who continue this war has no idea about how to stop it or do something more productive and intelligent to the world. Primitive tit-for-tat and disproportional responses has substituted what was once called statesmanship.
And it was predictable that it would be a fiasco!
Many both inside and outside the U.S. came up with different diagnoses, prognoses and proposals for responses to the cruel attacks on Washington and New York. So did TFF Associates.
Below you’ll find just a small selection of articles in English, we wrote also in Scandinavian languages and spoke in radio and television interviews – posted within the first three months after 9/11.
We make them available for those who care about the world, about terrorism and for those who also have the moral courage to ask: How come that small independent organisations often predict the future much better than huge “intelligence” agencies, state research institutes and private so-called think tanks with multi-billion dollar budgets?
The answer is exactly that – independence, free exploration and free thinking. The opposite of the group think and political correctness that characterise most state- and corporate-financed research.
And why did – and do – media listen to those who advocated a violent response and to the masters of successive wars on Afghanistan or “10/7″, on Iraq or “3/20″ and on Libya and Syria – and drone warfare?
Furhter, why did virtually none of the larger media listen to any of those of us who argued in favour of a political self-reflection and a response to 9/11 in accordance with international law, ethics and the common good worldwide?
And why are all the leaders of the global War On Terror that has brought unspeakable suffering to the world and killed so many innocent people still at large?
Here is the selection:
Rocio Campos, September 12, 2001
Wisdom needed to avoid a bigger war
Jonathan Power, September 12, 2001
For the arrogance of power America now pays a terrible price
Daisaku Ikeda, TFF associate, September 16 & 17, 2001
Initial perspectives on the terror – a plea for nonviolence
Peter Jarman, September 17, 2001
The terrorist attacks in the USA. A personal view
David Krieger, September 20, 2001
Reflections on the terrorist attacks
Jonathan Power, September 20, 2001
Is it possible for America to say ‘Sorry’?
Jan Oberg & Jorgen Johansen, September 25, 2001
Constructive thoughts two weeks after September 11
Richard Falk, September 27, 2001
A just response
Jonathan Power, September 30, 2001
Terrorism cannot be defeated by terrorism
Chaiwat Satha-Anand, October 1, 2001
Understanding terror and making the right choice
Radmila Nakarada with Miroslav Pejulic, October 1, 2001
The tragedy of a tragedy – global terrorism and repressive globalisation
Jonathan Power, October 3, 2001
A sensible, less militaristic, way is possible
Daisaku Ikeda, 18 November, 2001
A spiritual response to September 11
Evelin Lindner, December 12, 2001
The lessons of humiliation
Johan Galtung, 19 February, 2002 but written during autumn 2001
September 11: Diagnosis, Prognosis and Therapy
TFFs Associates publish about 200 analytical articles per year, so literally thousands since September 12, 2001 – on 9/11 itself and the War On Terror, on Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, drone wars etc. – all available at our two sites – TFF’s Old homepage and TFF’s present.
One – increasingly important – result of this war is the systematic undermining of democracy, human rights, freedom of expression etc. in the Western world – as well as an increase in all types of surveillance, monitoring and intrusions into our private lives and misuse of fearology as a main tool against one’s own population. Scared people stop participating in their society and their democracy and turn to info-tainment and escapism.
Western taxpayers have financed this war now for 15 years. The only thing they got is a much dangerous and unfree world.
Perhaps it is time to do a mass boycott of tax money that goes to war in your country? And let those who want to continue the War on Terror do so on the basis of voluntary contributions via crowd-funding?
In the long run, the War On Terror is likely to be more self- than other-defeating.
We are living in what Chris Hedges has recently called the new illiteracy, the post-literate society in which large segments of citizen can no longer distinguish between lies and truth.
It won’t make it easier to stop the madness of the War On Terror – or the Western build-up to war with Russia for that matter – which both Stephen Cohen and Michael Klare and even former MI-6 agent, Alistair Crooke believe the world could be heading for thanks predominantly to the over-militarization of NATO countries and their hubris policies.
And why do I mention the new Cold War here at the end?
Because there is a connection, of course. After the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, president Carter’s national security adviser Zbiegniew Brzezinski, got the great idea that the US should supply Stringer missiles to jihadists there and thus help them fight the Russians. So there is a connection at the beginning and today: the ongoing support by the West to some terrorist groups either directly or via allies such as Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and Turkey.
One must therefore wonder how much of the War On Terror is actually a war on “our own” and what purpose, if any, that could possibly serve. One of course would be to always conveniently have at hand a pretext for new bombings, occupations, secret forces and regime changes somewhere – in short a terrorism perpetuum mobile feeding on itself.
At least, that is, until the US Empire has vanished, NATO been closed down and the West accommodated to being a partner among equals in a future, more balanced and peaceful multi-polar world order.
May that day come sooner rather than later.
About the author: Dr Jan Oberg, Peace studies professor. PhD in sociology, peace and future researcher. Associate professor (Docent) at Lund University, thereafter visiting or guest professor at various universities. Former director of the Lund University Peace Research Institute (LUPRI); former secretary-general of the Danish Peace Foundation; former member of the Danish government’s Committee on security and disarmament.
Visiting professor at ICU (1990-91) and Chuo Universities (1995) in Japan and visiting professor for three months at Nagoya University in 2004 and 2007 and four months in 2009 – at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto. Oberg has taught peace courses for more than 10 years at the European Peace University (EPU) in Schlaining, Austria and teaches MA courses twice a year at the World Peace Academy (WPA) in Basel, Switzerland. Learn more about Jan Oberg.
About TFF: TFF is an independent think tank, a global network that aims to bring about peace by peaceful means. It inspires a passion for peace from the grassroots to the corridors of power.
TFF is an all-volunteer global network. It promotes conflict-mitigation and reconciliation in general, as well as in a more targeted way in a selected number of conflict regions – through meticulous on-the-ground research, active listening, education and advocacy. Learn more about TFF