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Iftekhar Khan

Those prophesying that Barack Obama in many ways would be similar to his predecessor were right on the spot if his recent speech on Afghanistan is to guide us. He has incessantly talked about 9/11 and Al-Qaeda as indeed did his predecessor, George Bush and his neocon cabal. Obama's proposed surge in troops to bolster demoralised NATO forces in Afghanistan shows his determination to eliminate Al-Qaeda and Taliban resistance. Bush invented Al-Qaeda in the aftermath of 9/11 and Obama has decided to stick to it with the only difference that he has discarded the use of the term War On Terror. Al-Qaeda is in fact nebulous; it is a philosophy to resist. Had it been an organised body, the US killing machine would have snuffed it out long ago.

Who adhere to this philosophy? Those resisting the presence of foreign forces on their soil are its followers. Call them Al-Qaeda, nationalists, or sons of the soil; it is of little consequence. Millions that follow the philosophy are sure that no such thing as Al-Qaeda exists or it ever existed. They are sure that the Al-Qaeda ghost had no role in 9/11 and destruction of Twin Towers because it was an inside job. The Twin Towers were brought down by design, by demolition, by systematically placing detonating devices weeks before the hijacked planes struck. Collision of planes with the towers and their pancake collapse within the perimeters were two different issues. No outside collision however massive in magnitude could cause the collapse of the concrete towers to heap on to the ground as if they were toys made of pulp and sand.

Were a serious inquiry held immediately after the event and not 441 days later, it would have easily established the causes of the collapse. Barrie Zwicker in his book, Towers of Deception, claims that more than half of the New Yorkers believe 9/11 was an inside job; the White House had prior knowledge of it or was in some way complicit. If Al-Qaeda managed to hijack the planes to crash them against the towers, how did it manage to arrange detonation of the buildings? Bush administration failed to provide a plausible answer to one of the most important allegations. In fact, evidence to the contrary is aplenty. Specifically, how millions of tons of steel bars, to obliterate telltale marks, violating federal laws, were quickly shipped abroad. Chemical analysis of the bars and debris could have provided crucial evidence whether the damage had occurred by detonation or by burning airliners' fuel as the official theory propounded.

Mainstream US media published stories skewed in favour of the official version, without highlighting views of the detractors, which was a manifestation of its unethical involvement in the cover up of the truth. Had the media probed as deep into 9/11 as it did to dig out Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky affair it would have surely found the clues to Twin Towers' destruction.

To claim through corporate media that Al-Qaeda was responsible for the attack on the superpower is an unqualified fraud in history. Is not the similarity between gutting of the Reichstag in Germany before invading Europe and destruction of Twin Towers in the US before invading Afghanistan striking? Many in Europe have called Bush 21st century's Hitler. Obama would do well to distance himself from that image by reassessing his Afpak strategy.

Wrapping defeat in euphemism, Bush in his last year in office had said: "We are not winning war in Afghanistan." Obama has inherited Bush's losing war. Instead of reappraising the past strategy to determine the causes of failure, he has decided to inject more troops. Quite erroneously, he thinks troop surge will help NATO forces to gain control, without realising that it will in fact cause an upsurge in resistance. More exposure of troops will result in more killing on both sides. Troops can never control popular uprising of the people.

Therefore, army action in Fata and Swat has not been able to put down the resistance because it was against, as said earlier, an amorphous body - philosophy of resistance, which the Americans prefer to call Al-Qaeda. No army however well laced succeeds against its own people.

We now face the predicament of US blaming the army and the ISI for colluding with Taliban. Imagine! Same network under Musharraf had handed over terror suspects to US in return for bounty, which he confessed in his book In line of fire. Leaving the country in a horrible mess, he has quietly slipped abroad on a lecturing tour. Who would listen to his pearls of wisdom, one wonders. However, there is only one word to describe the present situation: pathetic.

US war against Taliban and Al-Qaeda has triggered a class war and anti-Americanism. Lower layers of the impoverished people, maltreated by the system, are on one side and a handful in well-greased positions of authority on the other. That's why the terror attacks are directed against the state authority, which sides with US designs, and not against the common people. Hoi Polloi are by misfortune caught in the crossfire.

The writer is a freelance columnist - E-mail:

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