SHOCKED & HORRIFIED
By Larry Mosqueda, Ph.D.
The Evergreen State College - 15 September 2001
MY GOVERNMENT IS THE WORLD'S
LEADING PURVEYOR OF
- Martin Luther King, Jnr., 1967
Like all Americans, on
Tuesday, 9-11, I was
shocked and horrified to
watch the WTC Twin
Towers attacked by
hijacked planes and
collapse, resulting in
the deaths of perhaps up
to 10,000 innocent
people. I had
not been that shocked and horrified since January 16,
1991, when then President Bush attacked Baghdad, and
the rest of Iraq and began killing 200,000 people
during that "war" (slaughter). This includes the
infamous "highway of death" in the last days of the
slaughter when U.S. pilots literally shot in the back
retreating Iraqi civilians and soldiers.
I continue to be horrified by the sanctions on Iraq,
which have resulted in the death of over 1,000,000
Iraqis, including over 500,000 children, about whom
former Secretary of State Madeline Allbright has
stated, their deaths "are worth the cost".
Over the course of my life I have been shocked and
horrified by a variety of U.S. governmental actions,
such as the U.S. sponsored coup against democracy in
Guatemala in 1954 which resulted in the deaths of over
120,000 Guatemalan peasants by U.S. installed
dictatorships over the course of four decades.
Last Tuesday's events reminded me of the horror I felt
when the U.S. overthrew the government of the
Dominican Republic in 1965 and helped to murder 3,000
people. And it reminded me of the shock I felt in
1973, when the U.S. sponsored a coup in Chile against
the democratic government of Salvador Allende and
helped to murder another 30,000 people, including U.S.
Last Tuesday's events reminded me of the shock and
horror I felt in 1965 when the U.S. sponsored a coup
in Indonesia that resulted in the murder of over
800,000 people, and the subsequent slaughter in 1975
of over 250,000 innocent people in East Timor by the
Indonesian regime, with the direct complicity of
President Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
I was reminded of the shock and horror I felt during
the U.S. sponsored terrorist contra war (the
World Court declared the U.S. government a war
criminal in 1984 for the mining of the harbors)
against Nicaragua in the 1980s which resulted in the
deaths of over 30,000 innocent people (or as the U.S.
government used to call them before the term
"collateral damage" was invented --"soft
I was reminded of being horrified by the U. S. war
against the people of El Salvador in the 1980s, which
resulted in the brutal deaths of over 80,000 people,
or "soft targets".
I was reminded of the shock and horror I felt during
the U.S. sponsored terror war against the peoples of
southern Africa (especially Angola) that began in the
1970's and continues to this day, and has resulted in
the deaths and mutilations of over 1,000,000. I
was reminded of the shock and horror I felt as the
U.S. invaded Panama over the Christmas season of 1989
and killed over 8,000 in an attempt to capture George
H. Bush's CIA partner, now turned enemy, Manuel
I was reminded of the horror I felt when I learned
about how the Shah of Iran was installed in a
U.S. sponsored brutal coup that resulted in the deaths
of over 70,000 Iranians from 1952-1979. And the
continuing shock as I learned that the Ayatollah
Khomani, who overthrew the Shah in 1979, and who
was the U.S. public enemy for decade of the 1980s, was
also on the CIA payroll, while he was in exile in
Paris in the 1970s.
I was reminded of the shock and horror that I felt as
I learned about how the U.S. has
"manufactured consent" since 1948 for its support of
Israel, to the exclusion of virtually any rights for
the Palestinians in their native lands resulting in
ever worsening day-to-day conditions for the people of
I was shocked as I learned about the hundreds of towns
and villages that were literally wiped off the face of
the earth in the early days of Israeli colonization. I
was horrified in 1982 as the villagers of Sabra and
Shatila were massacred by Israeli allies with direct
Israeli complicity and direction. The untold thousands
who died on that day match the scene of horror that we
saw last Tuesday.
But those scenes were not repeated over and over again
on the national media to inflame the American
The events and images of last Tuesday have been
appropriately compared to the horrific events
and images of Lebanon in the 1980s with resulted in
the deaths of tens of thousand of people, with no
reference to the fact that the country that
inflicted the terror on Lebanon was Israel, with U.S.
I still continue to be shocked at how mainstream
commentators refer to "Israeli settlers" in the
"occupied territories" with no sense of irony as they
report on who are the aggressors in the region.
Of course, the largest and most shocking war crime of
the second half of the 20th century was the U.S.
assault on Indochina from 1954-1975, especially
Vietnam, where over 4,000,000 people were bombed,
napalmed, crushed, shot and individually "hands on"
murdered in the "Phoenix Program" (this is where
Oliver North got his start).
Many U.S. Vietnam veterans were also victimized by this war and had the best of intentions, but the
policy makers themselves knew the criminality of their
actions and policies as revealed in their own words in
"The Pentagon Papers," released by Daniel Ellsberg of
the RAND Corporation. In 1974 Ellsberg noted that our
Presidents from Truman to Nixon continually lied to
the U.S. public about the purpose and conduct of the
war. He has stated that, "It is a tribute to the
American people that our leaders perceived that they
had to lie to us, it is not a tribute to us that we
were so easily misled."
I was continually shocked and horrified as the U.S.
attacked and bombed with impunity the nation of Libya
in the 1980s, including killing the infant daughter of
I was shocked as the U.S. bombed and invaded Grenada
in 1983. I was horrified by U.S. military and CIA
actions in Somalia, Haiti, Afghanistan, Sudan, Brazil,
Argentina, and Yugoslavia. The deaths in these actions
ran into the hundreds of thousands.
The above list is by no means complete or
comprehensive. It is merely a list that is
easily accessible and not unknown, especially to the
economic and intellectual elites. It has just been
conveniently eliminated from the public discourse and
And for the most part, the analysis that the U.S.
actions have resulted in the deaths of primarily
civilians (over 90%) is not unknown to these elites
and policy makers. A conservative number for those who
have been killed by U.S. terror and military action
since World War II is 8,000,000 people.
Repeat - 8,000,000 people
This does not include the wounded, the imprisoned, the
displaced, the refugees, etc. Martin Luther King, Jr.
stated in 1967, during the Vietnam War, "My government
is the world's leading purveyor of violence."
Shocking and horrifying.
Nothing that I have written is meant to disparage or
disrespect those who were victims and those who
suffered death or the loss of a loved one during this
week's events. It is not meant to "justify" any action
by those who bombed the Twin Towers or the Pentagon.
It is meant to put it in a context.
Gathering For Truth: It
appears that those who
control the Government
of America organised and
carried out '9-11':
Important Information On
If we believe that the actions were those of "madmen",
they are "madmen" who are able to keep a secret for 2
years or more among over 100 people, as they trained
to execute a complex plan. While not the acts of
madmen, they are apparently the acts of
"fanatics" who, depending on who they really are, can
find real grievances, but whose actions are
Osama Bin Laden at this point has been accused by the
media and the government of being the mastermind of
Tuesday's bombings. Given the government's track
record on lying to the America people, that should not
be accepted as fact at this time. If indeed Bin Laden
is the mastermind of this action, he is responsible
for the deaths of perhaps 10,000 people - a shocking
and horrible crime.
Ed Herman in his book The Real Terror Network:
Terrorism in Fact and Propaganda does not justify any
terrorism but points out that states often engage in
"wholesale" terror, while those whom governments
define as "terrorist" engage is "retail" terrorism.
While qualitatively the results are the same for
the individual victims of terrorism, there is a clear
And as Herman and others point out, the seeds, the
roots, of much of the "retail" terror are in fact
found in the "wholesale" terror of states.
Again this is not to justify, in any way, the actions
of last Tuesday, but to put them in a context and
suggest an explanation.
Perhaps most shocking and horrific, if indeed Bin
Laden is the mastermind of Tuesday's actions; he has
clearly had significant training in logistics,
armaments, and military training, etc. by competent
and expert military personnel. And indeed he has.
During the 1980s, he was recruited, trained and funded
by the CIA in Afghanistan to fight against the
Russians. As long as he visited his terror on Russians
and his enemies in Afghanistan, he was "our man" in
The same is true of Saddam Hussein of Iraq, who was a
CIA asset in Iraq during the 1980s. Hussein
could gas his own people, repress the
population, and invade his neighbor (Iran) as long as
he did it with U.S. approval.
The same was true of Manuel Noriega of Panama, who was
a contemporary and CIA partner of George H. Bush in
the 1980s. Noriega's main crime for Bush, the father,
was not that he dealt drugs (he did, but the U.S. and
Bush knew this before 1989), but that Noriega was no
longer going to cooperate in the ongoing U.S.
terrorist contra war against Nicaragua. This
information is not unknown or really controversial
among elite policy makers. To repeat, this
is not to
justify any of the actions of last Tuesday, but to put
it in its horrifying context.
As shocking as the events of last Tuesday were, they
are likely to generate even more horrific actions by
the U.S. government that will add significantly to the
8,000,000 figure stated above.
This response may well be qualitatively and
quantitatively worse than the events of Tuesday. The
New York Times headline of 9/14/01 states that, "Bush
And Top Aides Proclaim Policy Of Ending States That
Back Terror" as if that was a rationale, measured, or
even sane option. States that have been identified for
possible elimination are "a number of Asian and
African countries, like Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, and
This is beyond shocking and horrific - it is just
as potentially suicidal, homicidal, and more insane
than the hijackers themselves.
Also, qualitatively, these actions will be even worse
than the original bombers if one accepts the
mainstream premise that those involved are "madmen",
"religious fanatics", or a "terrorist group." If so,
they are acting as either individuals or as a small
group. The U.S. actions may continue the homicidal
policies of a few thousand elites for the past 50
years, involving both political parties.
The retail terror is that of desperate and sometime
fanatical small groups and individuals who often have
legitimate grievances, but engage in individual
criminal and illegitimate activities; the wholesale
terror is that of "rational" educated men where the
pain, suffering, and deaths of millions of people are
contemplated, planned, and too often, executed, for
the purpose of furthering a nebulous concept called
the "national interest".
Space does not allow a full explanation of the elites'
Orwellian concept of the "national interest",
but it can be summarized as the protection and
expansion of hegemony and an imperial empire.
The American public is being prepared for war while
being fed a continuous stream of shocking and horrific
repeated images of Tuesday's events and heartfelt
stories from the survivors and the loved ones of those
who lost family members. These stories are real and
should not be diminished. In fact, those who
lost family members can be considered a representative
sample of humanity of the 8,000,000 who have been lost
previously. If we multiply by 800-1000 times the
amount of pain, angst, and anger being currently felt
by the American public, we might begin to understand
how much of the rest of the world feels as they are
Some particularly poignant images are the heart
wrenching public stories that we are seeing and
hearing of family members with pictures and flyers
searching for their loved ones. These images are
virtually the same as those of the "Mothers of
the Disappeared" who searched for their (primarily)
adult children in places such as Argentina, where over
11,000 were "disappeared" in 1976-1982, again with
U.S. approval. Just as the mothers of Argentina
deserved our respect and compassion, so do the
relatives of those who are searching for their
However we should not allow ourselves to be
manipulated by the media and U.S. government into
turning real grief and anger into a national policy of
wholesale terror and genocide against innocent
civilians in Asia and Africa. What we are seeing in
military terms is called "softening the target."
The target here is the American public and we are
being ideologically and emotionally prepared for the
slaughter that may commence soon. None of the
previously identified Asian and African countries are
democracies, which means that the people of these
countries have virtually no impact on developing the
policies of their governments, even if we assume that
these governments are complicit in Tuesday's actions.
When one examines the recent history of these
countries, one will find that the American
government had direct and indirect influences on
creating the conditions for the existence of some of
these governments. This is especially true of the
Taliban government of Afghanistan itself.
The New York Metropolitan Area has about 21,000,000
people or about 8% of the U.S. population.
Almost everyone in America knows someone who has been
killed, injured or traumatized by the events of
Tuesday. I know that I do. Many people are calling for
"revenge" or "vengeance" and comments such as "kill
them all" have been circulated on the TV, radio, and
email. A few more potentially benign comments have
called for "justice." This is only potentially benign
since that term may be defined by people such as Bush
and Colin Powell. Powell is an unrepentant participant
in the Vietnam War, the terrorist contra war against
Nicaragua, and the Gulf war, at each level becoming
more responsible for the planning and execution of the
Those affected, all of us, must do everything in our
power to prevent a wider war and even greater
atrocity, do everything possible to stop the genocide if it starts, and hold those responsible for
their potential war crimes during and after the war.
If there is a great war in 2001 and it is not
catastrophic (a real possibility), the crimes of that
war will be revisited upon the U.S. over the next
generation. That is not some kind of religious
prophecy or threat, it is merely a straightforward
If indeed it is Bin Laden, the world must not deal
only with him as an individual criminal, but eliminate
the conditions that create the injustices and war
crimes that will inevitably lead to more of these
types of attacks in the future. The phrase "No
Justice, No Peace" is more than a slogan used in
a march, it is an observable historical fact.
It is time to end the horror
In a few short pages it is impossible to delineate all
of the events described over the past week or to give
a comprehensive accounting of U.S. foreign policy.
Below are a few resources for up to date news and some
background reading, by Noam Chomsky, the noted
analyst. The titles of the books explain their
relevance for this topic.
For the most current information see:
For information on how the media distorts the news
For excellent links on the Middle East see:
For background reading by Noam Chomsky see: Necessary
Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies
Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the
Mass Media (with Ed Herman) Fateful Triangle:
The United States, Israel and the Palestinians:
LIE AND DECEPTION