World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the Boomerang Effect

By Petras, James | Canadian Dimension, November-December 2001 | Go to article overview

World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the Boomerang Effect


Petras, James, Canadian Dimension


The tragic death and injury of thousands of employees as a consequence of the suicide crashes at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon has evoked the spectre of fear, anger and war.

Bush/Powell's definition of a war situation is appropriate. The problem is that the violent acts in Washington and New York are not the opening of the war (a "second Pearl Harbor") but the continuation of a war that has been going on for some time in the Middle East, the Gulf and South Asia between the U.S. and its proxies on the one hand and the Arab nations and peoples of this region on the other.

Iraq has been violently attacked by U.S. and British bombers for over a decade. The Gulf War never ended. The U.S.-backed Israeli regime's war with the Palestinians continues unabated with constant Israeli land and air assaults matched by Palestinian suicide bombings. In southern Asia and northern Africa the U.S. has engaged in acts of war against Afghanistan, Libya and the Sudan in pursuit of its conflict with Arab/Muslim terrorists.

U.S. engagement in this war has been invisible and distant for the great majority of the U.S. public because the sites of violence have been overseas -- in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Inadvertently President Sharon of Israel has been explicit in the interconnection of the conflicts; linking Israel's violent war against the Palestinians with the violence in New York/Washington.

The spread of the war to the U.S. has unnerved investors, as has Washington's threat to escalate the war against states that provide "safe havens for terrorists." The destruction of the World Trade Center, proximate to Wall Street, heightens the perception among investors that U.S. global power is not invincible and is vulnerable to attack. The attraction of U.S. stocks and bonds was less related to its speculative, consumer-powered economy and more in line with its image as a bulwark of stability. Foreign investment flight will push the U.S. economy into a deeper recession, and most economists believe there will be a run against the dollar, weakening the U.S. external accounts.

The fragility of the New World Order is manifest in the attempts to bolster security policy and military forces in NATO to project an image of cohesion and strength. Yet the deep-seated violent attacks are precisely rooted in the recent history of the Balkan Wars and the bombing of Yugoslavia, and proxy wars in Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia.

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