Within days of 9/11, with the images of the fallen towers and their innocent dead still fresh in mind, radicals launched a campaign to protest in advance any military response America might contemplate to answer the unprovoked attack. By these radicals’ own account, there were 247 “anti-war” demonstrations in the United States and in countries overseas between September 11 and September 30, before a shot was fired in response to the World Trade Center attack. Approximately 150 “peace vigils” and “teach-in” protests were held on university campuses across the country, and in the nation’s Capitol itself.6
In the eye of the nation’s grief, without knowing when the next terrorist attack might occur,7 prominent American leftists seized the occasion to state that the attacks had “root causes” and that – just as the terrorists proclaimed — America was to no small degree guilty for what had happened. “Where is the acknowledgement that [the 9/11 strike] was not a ‘cowardly’ attack on ‘civilization’ or ‘liberty’ or ‘humanity’ or ‘the free world,’” asked Susan Sontag one of America’s leading literary intellectuals in one of its leading intellectual journals, “but an attack on the world’s self-proclaimed super-power, undertaken as a consequence of specific American alliances and actions?”8 Sontag then proceeded to name such an action: “How many citizens are aware of the ongoing American bombing of Iraq?”
Sontag was referring to the fact that the United States for some years had been engaged in a low-intensity war in Northern Iraq, which was itself unfinished business of Saddam’s war of aggression against Kuwait. In implying that these defensive efforts were an American aggression, Sontag was merely echoing Iraqi propaganda. The United States was conducting flights over Iraq to protect four million Kurds from the savagery of a regime that had already subjected them to aerial poison gas attacks. The American and British flights were also to enforce U.N. resolutions calling on Iraq to adhere to the terms of the truce it had signed to end the Gulf War. In effect, Sontag was suggesting that enforcing a signed truce was a crime to be weighed alongside the mass murder committed on 9/11.
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