I haven’t heard any “experts” discuss Osama bin Laden’s statement in his latest video (October 2004) that “after the injustice was so much and we saw transgressions and the coalition between Americans and the Israelis against our people in Palestine and Lebanon, it occurred to my mind that we deal with the [World Trade] towers.” (Translation by CNN.) According to bin Laden, it was America’s unwavering support for Israel’s often cruel treatment of the Arabs in general and the Palestinians in particular, including a specific Israeli attack on buildings in Lebanon, that led to the attack on the twin towers in New York. Certainly bin Laden is playing a political game, but his statement must have some value in judging his motives.
Yet, Bush blames the 9/11 attack on Iraq, rather than viewing it as a response to his policies toward Israel. This doesn’t mean that the US policy toward the Israel-Palestine conflict is wrong, but it does mean that there are costs to that policy, possibly starting with 3,000 American lives. A cynical person might say that’s why the settlements for the victims’ families were so generous, as I noted they were in a previous post. Generous settlements helped assure that there would be less pressure from the victims’ families to look at foreign policy. However, their pressure did bring about the 9/11 Commission report, including strong criticism of US security and intelligence capabilities. Bin Laden made his statement only after the 9/11 report had been issued.
Now that Arafat is gone, it will be interesting to see what happens to Bush’s Mid-East foreign policy.