The Strong Points of Churchill in the Ghosts of 9-11

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On September 11, 2001, Al-Qaeda, an Islamic terrorist group that views the freedoms of United States citizens as evil and opposes overseas migration, hijacked four American planes and crashed them into the Pentagon and the Twin Towers. This event resulted in approximately 5,000 casualties and left many more deeply affected. Ward Churchill, the author of The Ghosts of 9-1-1, argues that the blame for what transpired falls on us. Churchill strongly asserts that the United States provoked such an act. Ward Churchill is a controversial and confrontational American author and political activist, and his work has garnered much attention.

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His other writings such as “On the Justice of Roosting Chickens,” have also stirred up plenty of discussion and debate due to the variety of perspectives people hold. In The Ghosts of 9-1-1, Churchill presents a compelling argument for blaming us for the events of September 11, 2001. His approach to this discussion might be shocking for some given his roles as a writer and political activist, but his assertion that 9/11 was largely our fault and provoked by the United States holds merit.

Before September 11, 2001, Al Qaeda had been planning their attack for some time. Osama Bin Laden didn’t just spontaneously decide to target the United States. There was a sequence of events that led to the attack. The assertion that ordinary Americans “didn’t know” what was being done in their name and hence bears “less credibility” is disappointing and reflects a lame excuse for ignorance. By 2001, multiple genocides had been brought to our attention, but many people seemingly focused more on cell phones and the stock market. Churchill argues in his paper that Americans chose to ignore the undeniable realities presented to them, more intrigued by mastering a perfect cappuccino than by the prospect of war. As a country, the United States has made it expressly clear: they do not have allies, they have interests. This signifies that they are primarily concerned with preventing mass killings rather than maintaining diplomatic relationships. At one point, the US was bombing vital establishments in Iraq, such as water purification plants and pharmacies, effectively depriving the Iraqi people of basic necessities and medical aid. Innocent children were killed, and conditions were exacerbated with little remorse. The US even ensured that there were no means to repair the damage inflicted upon Iraq, resulting in sustained suffering and death. Such grave issues often go unaddressed due to the belief that someone else will take action, and the cycle of negligence continues until situations worsen. This contributes to the reasons behind the attack on the United States.

Another strong point that Churchill raises is how the US is upset that we lost 5,000 people because Al Qaeda was furious with us. Yet, we bombed their civilians and important sites causing them to lose about 1.3 million. Our concern doesn’t match these contrasting numbers. During past wars, the US wielded powerful weapons and strong soldiers that resulted in many casualties. After 9/11, the headlines aske, “Why do they hate us so much?”, insinuating that the attack was unprovoked even though we pushed Iraq to their limits. Iraq wasn’t our only offense: three million Indochinese were exterminated during our assaults on Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. Then, there were thousands massacred by US troops in Korea who were burned alive by our Air Corps. Innocent victims that got caught in the crossfire bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the list goes on. Despite the respect and honor our civilians have for our colors, we are not innocent, and 9/11 was not unprovoked. The reality of war led us to kill innocent people, rendering 9/11 a reprisal. We bombed their sanitation and medical installations, making survival in Iraq near impossible. Their acrimony towards us is derived from our actions against them.

The United States has always possessed the resources needed to win wars. We are extremely powerful, perhaps excessively so, which might explain why 9/11 happened to us. When we attack, we argue it’s to secure our country, but when we’re attacked or threatened by another country, it’s labelled as a terrorist act. As the saying goes, “The United States doesn’t have friends, we have interests.” This means we intervene in foreign conflicts not out of friendship but out of interest, which can be construed both positively and negatively. On one hand, if a foreign country is in trouble, we can intervene without upsetting anyone since we aren’t friends, merely interested bystanders. On the other hand, being dispassionate allows us to fight anyone, as the motives behind the hostilities aren’t important to us.

Americans need to be more open and aware of global events. Educating ourselves about previous and current genocides, wars, and other events leading up to mass killings is vital. Unfortunately, what could have been prevented, we now label as history. Churchill’s perspective on this issue is unusual, leading to a lot of negative feedback. While his tone might have been too severe, triggering criticism, it’s clear that both parties were in the wrong both before and during September 11, 2001. It’s critical that we learn from these events and recognize that the United States, as much as we’d like to believe, was not entirely innocent. If Churchill had chosen a different approach to present his argument, he might have rallied more people because, despite challenging perceptions, his viewpoint is valid. The way he expressed it, however, offended many readers.

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The Strong Points of Churchill in The Ghosts of 9-11. (2022, Nov 14). Retrieved from