September 11, Terror War, and Blowback

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1 Fukujama's 1992 book was an expansion of a 1989 article published in the conservative journal The National Interest. The texts generated a tremendous amount of controversy and were seen by some as a new dominant ideology proclaiming the triumph of Western ideals of capitalism and democracy over all off their opponents. With a quasi-Hegelian gloss, Fukujama thus proclaimed the victory of the Ideas of neo-Liberalism and the "end of history," prompted both skepticism ("it ain't over, til its over") and impassioned critique.

2 In a October 5, 2001, Wall Street Journal editorial Rush Limbaugh wrote: "Mr. Clinton can be held culpable for not doing enough when he was commander in chief to combat the terrorists who wound up attacking the World Trade Center and Pentagon." Shortly thereafter, Limbaugh confessed that he was almost fully deaf and had been feigning dialogue on his radio show all year. On rightwing attempts to blame Clinton for the terrorist attacks, see John F. Harris "Conservatives Sound Refrain: It's Clinton's Fault,"
The Washington Post, October 7, 2001: A15.

3 Shortly after this and other outbursts, the frothing Coulter was fired from National Review when she reacted violently to efforts to tone down her rhetoric by the editors, helping to provide her with martyr status for the U.S. rightwing of Talibanites.

4 See the translation of the 1998 Le Monde interview where Carter's National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski bragged about how he conceived of arming of Islam-extremist militants against the Afghan government as a ploy to draw in the Soviet Union more deeply and thus help destroy their system. October 8, 2001

5 In addition to Johnson 2000 that I am utilizing to provide a conceptual overview of the September 11 terrorist acts, I am also drawing upon a series of studies of U.S. foreign policy and Afghanistan, including Mary Ann Weaver, "Blowback," Atlantic Monthly (May 1996), available at; a collection of articles contextualizing the events at The Nation web site, especially Dilip Hiro, "The Cost of an Afghan `Victory,'" at; and articles collected at I am also grateful to Phil Agre's daily collection of articles on his Red Rock Eater list, collected at

6 See Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair, " " Counterpunch, October See their archive for useful daily postings on the current crisis,

7 In the Southeast Asian press, there are speculations that U.S. policy in Afghanistan under Bush II were to stabilize the country under Taliban rule to enable the UNCOL-corporation to build a gas pipe-line across Afghanistan and exploit its potential natural gas and oil resources. See Ranjit Devrag who writes:

    Where the "great game" in Afghanistan was once about czars and commissars seeking access to the warm water ports of the Persian Gulf, today it is about laying oil and gas pipelines to the untapped petroleum reserves of Central Asia. According to testimony before the US House of Representatives in March 1999 by the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan together have 15 billion barrels of proven oil reserves. The same countries also have proven gas deposits totaling not less than nine trillion cubic meters. Another study by the Institute for Afghan Studies placed the total worth of oil and gas reserves in the Central Asian republics at around US$3 trillion at last year's prices.

    Not only can Afghanistan play a role in hosting pipelines connecting Central Asia to international markets, but the country itself has significant oil and gas deposits. During the Soviets' decade-long occupation of Afghanistan, Moscow estimated Afghanistan's proven and probable natural gas reserves at around five trillion cubic feet and production reached 275 million cubic feet per day in the mid-1970s. But sabotage by anti-Soviet mujahideen (freedom fighters) and by rival groups in the civil war that followed Soviet withdrawal in 1989 virtually closed down gas production and ended deals for the supply of gas to several European countries.

    Natural gas production and distribution under Afghanistan's Taliban rulers is the responsibility of the Afghan Gas Enterprise which, in 1999, began repair of a pipeline to Mazar-i-Sharif city. Afghanistan's proven and probable oil and condensate reserves were placed at 95 million barrels by the Soviets. So far, attempts to exploit Afghanistan's petroleum reserves or take advantage of its unique geographical location as a crossroads to markets in Europe and South Asia have been thwarted by the continuing civil strife.

    In 1998, the California-based UNOCAL, which held 46.5 percent stakes in Central Asia Gas (CentGas), a consortium that planned an ambitious gas pipeline across Afghanistan, withdrew in frustration after several fruitless years. The pipeline was to stretch 1,271km from Turkmenistan's Dauletabad fields to Multan in Pakistan at an estimated cost of $1.9 billion. An additional $600 million would have brought the pipeline to energy-hungry India.
    From OnLine Asia Times, October 6, 2001 (

8 See "Flordians Stockpile Anhtrax Antibiotics" and "Bioterrorism Jitters Close Subway Stop, IRS Center," Los Angles Times (October 10, 2001: A3).

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