Last week, the former US Ambassador Charles W. Freeman delivered a powerful speech to MIT's Seminar XXI at the National Press Club in Washington. It was entitled, Nobody's Century: the American Prospect in Post-Imperial Times. Given the tragic developments in the Middle East on the anniversary of 9/11, his remarks were prescient. Some way in he observed,
Since 9/11, Americans have chosen to stake our domestic tranquility on our ability – under our commander-in-chief – to rule the world by force of arms rather than to lead, as we had in the past, by the force of our example or our arguments. And we appear to have decided in the process that it is necessary to destroy our civil liberties in order to save them and that abandoning the checks and balances of our Constitution will make us more secure. Meanwhile, our military-industrial complex and its flourishing antiterrorist sidekick have been working hard to invent a credible existential challenge to match that of the Cold War. This has produced constantly escalating spending on military and antiterrorist projects, but it has not overcome the reality that Americans now face no threat from abroad comparable to Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, or the USSR. The only real menace to our freedoms is our own willingness to supplant the rule of law with ever more elements of a garrison state.
The so-called “global war on terror” or “militant Islam,” as so many now openly describe it, has become an endless run in a military squirrel cage that is generating no light but a lot of future anti-American terrorism. It turns out that all that is required to be hated is to do hateful things. Ironically, as we “search abroad for monsters to destroy,” we are creating them – transforming our foreign detractors into terrorists, multiplying their numbers, intensifying their militancy, and fortifying their hatred of us. The sons and brothers of those we have slain know where we are. They do not forget. No quarter is given in wars of religion. We are generating the very menace that entered our imaginations on 9/11.Annie Robbins, writing for Mondoweiss, suggests one of the unintended but hopefully positive likely outcomes.
The killing of the U.S. ambassador in Libya will make further U.S. support for the insurgency in Syria, which is also supported by Al Qaeda and by Libyan Salafist fighters, more unlikely.According to Craig Murray, the former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan,
Oliver Miles, the extremely sensible former British Ambassador to Libya, while deploring attacks on Embassies and their staff, made the obvious point on Sky News yesterday that America’s unflinching support for an expansionist Israel was the root cause of hostile attitudes to the USA across the Middle East. His interview was instantly terminated.