Simon Jenkins in the British Guardian Newspaper writes: "I recall the Afghan diplomat who told me in the weeks between 9/11 and the assault on Kabul of October 2001 that, provided the west did not go to war against Afghanistan, "Bin Laden is dead". A Pashtun loya jirga in Kandahar that September had come near to demanding that Mullah Omar expel Bin Laden and his Arabs. The view of observers was that opinion was moving against Omar's indulgence of them. Above all, al-Qaida's murder of the Tajik hero Ahmad Shah Massoud two days before 9/11, meant that every loyal Tajik wanted Bin Laden's blood. He and his hated Arabs had become "unwelcome guests" in Afghanistan, and had now undermined a mild Taliban rapprochement with its old friends in Washington's CIA. Leave Kabul alone, my informant said, raise the blood money and Bin Laden's days were numbered. Above all, make sure the Taliban are not driven into the arms of al-Qaida, or Bin Laden the reckless menace will become Bin Laden the saint. This advice was widely disseminated, but gained no hearing. The hysteria of revenge was overwhelming and the drums of war deafening."
Had that advice been followed the warmongers would not have been able to promote war against Afghanistan let alone Iraq. A million Iraqis would not have lost their lives; millions more would not have been injured. Four million would not have been displaced. In Afghanistan and Pakistan replace the millions by tens of thousands. Thousands of American and European soldiers have died, and tens of thousands have been injured. At a conservative estimate, these wars so far have cost the American taxpayer 2 trillion dollars.
All of that misery and destruction could have been avoided, and Osama bin Laden would have been in jail or dead in 2001, and not 2011. People in the West should be demanding an explanation from their politicians on how the idiotically named "war on terror" was the appropriate response to a terrorist act, massive though that was, when there was the alternative outlined above.
These wars have been a massive fraud, driven by powerful individuals and corporations to transfer trillions of tax dollars from ordinary American citizens to powerful corporations and individuals, through the endless "war on terror". The corporate media owned by the powerful ultra rich elite is complicit, and used to sanitise and present these wars as heroic enterprises necessary for the protection of the country. Rubbish.
Democratically elected politicians are so constrained by such powerful forces that they seem unable to confront these powerful groups, individuals and corporations even if they wanted to, thus blighting the lives of the people they are meant to serve.
Ordinary people are subjected to a barrage of propaganda diverting their attention from the policies that degrade their lives. Bewildered by their economic plight, and too busy trying to survive to critically examine the propaganda, they direct their anger and frustration at minorities and the vulnerable.
Progressives and the left need to find the language that resonates with the ordinary voter, to show him/her the policies and the forces that are causing the hardship in their lives.