Imagining a different sequence of events after 9/11

September 11, 2006 8:02 PM

The Twin Towers, before 9/11
gunnicool @ Flickr

As the US remembers 9/11 today:
Nation marks Sept. 11 anniversary – 9/11: Five Years Later –

I can’t help but wonder about what could have been if the events that followed that fateful day were different?

Hindsight is always 20/20. The immediate action by President Bush to invade Afghanistan and crush the Taliban and Al Qaeda’s bases there was the only one that made any sense to me at the time. Invading Iraq was a big distraction that the US did not need – it took resources and manpower away from hunting the number 1 target who is Osama bin Laden, and from addressing the root causes of terrorism more effectively.

Currently, Iraq is a mess and the ties between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda has been disproved:
No Saddam, al-Qaida link found – Conflict in Iraq –

That along with the fact that no WMDs have been discovered in Iraq have nullified the original reason for the invasion. Iraq is worse off than before – it is unstable with terrorists of both Sunni and Shite persuasions killing each other, innocent civilians and coalition forces. The current atmosphere does not improve security for the United States, far from it.

Could the US have done something different? I would have done the following if I was the President:

  1. Invade Afghanistan, crush the Taliban and the Al Qaeda bases there.
  2. Increase intelligence and surveillance efforts in the US and overseas. Blanket Pakistan and Afghanistan with eyes and ears. Use all the superior technology and manpower I have at my disposal. It would only be a matter of time before Osama bin Laden would have been found.
  3. Maintain monitoring of Iraq, Iran and Syria. Iraq and Iran may have aspirations to create and use WMDs but that would be at least a few years away. Isolate Syria even more from the international community. All these countries did not present a clear and present danger to the US then. Addressing them can and should wait, and not neccesarily with military action.
  4. Double the efforts in sorting out the existing mess of Israel vs. Palestine – the root of Islamic fanaticism against the US. That would have been better than to unite disparate militant groups around the planet by invading Iraq.
  5. Address the North Korea conundrum in cooperation with Japan, South Korea, China and Russia. Kim Jong Il is madder than Saddam Hussein *and* he already has nuclear bombs.

Think of all the possibilities if the money, brain power and military might were used more effectively than to invade Iraq to address what was a weak threat. Imagine if Al Gore was President. What would the world be like today? Whoever the next US President is, I would want him or her to be less gung-ho and more far-sighted.

Dominic Knight expressing similar sentiments.

14 thoughts on “Imagining a different sequence of events after 9/11

  1. girlstar7

    I can’t believe it’s been five years already, hey? and god, how it has changed the world. think of how differnet the world was pre-9/11 to the way it is now. think about how many terrorist attacks have rocked the world in the past five years. and sometimes I do think about how the world would be differnet if George Bush wasn’t the US President. you present good arguments about what you would do if YOU were president, especially sorting out the mess of Israel vs. Palestine.

  2. mooiness Post author

    sourrain: but also weakest if the war doesn’t go well. 😉

    girlstar7: Israel vs. Palestine is the single greatest source of anger/inspiration for Islamic militants. And no other US president in recent times has spent less time dealing with it than Bush jnr. Just goes to show.

    herman: and maybe also restoring the family pride by finishing off what his dad started?

    transnationalmigrant: if only everything could be solved in 24 hours. 🙂

  3. Yvonne

    Invade Afghanistan, crush the Taliban and the Al Qaeda bases there.

    Global networks can’t be wiped off the face of the planet by invading a single country. They’d merely go into hiding, regroup, and come out stronger, and with more hatred for America and the West, than ever.

    But great post. And I agree with transnationalmigrant, Jack Bauer would solve everything. 🙂

  4. Nasal

    Bush wanted oil and oil only.

    He never invaded Iraq for other reasons, maybe to only finish his daddy’s war.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if we ever find out one day, that the people who took out WTC were paid by Bush’s administration and Osama was actually on their payroll.

  5. mooiness Post author

    Yvonne: Yeah I never said that wiping out the Taliban and Al Qaeda from Afghanistan will stop terrorism but it was the correct first step to had been taken and I support it.

    herman: what is with you all and Jack Bauer? 😛

    Nasal: that’s quite a stretch there. Yes it is true that Osama trained with the CIA during the Russian occupation of Afghanistan but he has since turned against his benefactors.

  6. Rob

    What has really changed in the world is perspective. Out of this we have created a self-fullfilling prophecy.
    The last 5 years have been worryingly Orwellian. I’m being bombarded with whiteblack messages in newspeak (or is that newsweek/Fox/CNN).

  7. rob

    first point is that it is human nature to selectively frame events to see what we want to see. After that we climb up our ladder of inference founded on or misinterpretations and escalate the matter. events come full circle and intercept with reality when we coax the response we want thus justifying our behaviour with false cause-effect. when the actual cause-effect was our own behaviour.
    for example. after 9-11 the US misinterprets that Iraq was responsible for terrorism. it invades Iraq, destroys infrastructure, the economy, kills civilians, creates chaos. this allows the inflow of radical islamic influences, combined with an angry populus. and hey presto! terrorists!

    The second and more worrying point that we are becoming a less open and tolerant society due to a constant bombardment of paranoia. governments have encouraged this by feeding us a constant stream of paranoia. nothing new just history repeating i.e. reds under the bed, the yellow peril etc. etc. Politics 101: the more the people are in fear, the more they appreciate their government. hence the Orwell reference.
    check out this article

    people will treat you like you treat them. If we go all paranoid and treat others with suspicion and hate then that’s what we will get in return. so spread the love.


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