It’s ironic that a Washington covert operation triggered the law of unintended consequences and helped inflict on the United States the worst terrorism attack in its history.
In the 1980s, with the Cold War still hot, the White House and the CIA secretly armed and trained brutal Muslim militias in Afghanistan to fight the Soviet army occupying the mountain country. U.S. leaders wanted to inflict damage on archenemy U.S.S.R. (A big share of the secret help went to a warlord often accused of throwing acid in the faces of unveiled girls.) The conflict also drew thousands of Islamic fanatics from many nations who poured into Afghanistan. They won and drove out the Soviets.
Then, “blowback” happened: The Muslim zealots didn’t quietly go home to tranquility. Afghan factions struggled for control of the nation — until the fanatical Taliban defeated them and created a cruel theocracy. Other foreign extremists became armed terrorists in various violent Islamist groups around the globe.
The largest was al-Qaida, a worldwide plotter of suicide attacks. It was led by Osama bin Laden, a wealthy Saudi heir who used his family money to fund these operations. He staged numerous missions at U.S. embassies and other institutions, including a 1993 bombing that killed six at New York’s World Trade Center.
Bin Laden issued a fatwa (holy edict) saying: “To kill Americans and their allies, both civil and military, is an individual duty of every Muslim who is able, in any country where this is possible. … By God’s leave, we call on every Muslim who believes in God and hopes for reward to obey God’s command to kill the Americans and plunder their possessions.”
Al-Qaida’s climactic strike came on Sept. 11, 2001, when 19 suicide volunteers used knives to hijack four airliners and fly them into iconic buildings, killing themselves and 3,000 Americans. They considered themselves “martyrs” heading for gorgeous female houri nymphs in heaven. They left behind a testament in Arabic saying:
“Remember that this is a battle for the sake of God. … Know that the gardens of paradise are waiting for you in all their beauty, and the women of paradise are waiting, calling out: ‘Come hither, friend of God.’ They have dressed in their most beautiful clothing. … Strike for God’s sake.”
Millions of words have been written about 9/11, but few mention the sheer lunacy of it. What kind of idiots think that there’s a Supreme Being who wants mass murder of Americans. He doesn’t kill them himself but asks human followers to murder for him. If they die in the process, he rewards them with sex nymphs in the hereafter. The whole proposition is insane.
Was the historic 9/11 attack a religious act — or was it based on an adolescent male sexual fantasy? Or both? And how much of it can be blamed on Washington’s secret aid to murderous militias during the Cold War?
These are questions that we all are still grappling with.