Home | About | Donate

What If?


What If?

Danny Sjursen

An Alternative Strategy for 9/12/2001

Iraqi child refugees.


Yes, and somehow the US ended up going to war with Saddam Hussein in Iraq when he and his country had nothing to do with AlQaida and the 9/11 airplane attacks. The desire for vengeance of some kind, to hit back at somebody for the event that rattled the national cage and left the populace feeling scared and vulnerable at being shown that all our expensive military might didn’t really make us safer. All that was accomplished was to add to the hostile destabilization of that part of the world and get us bogged down in a war in Afghanistan that looks to be never ending and unsinkable


A generation born after 9/11 will vote in the next presidential election. They’ve never known peace. Will they even bother to demand it?

How can they when they’ve never experienced it, living in a country that so normalizes war? Moreover, peace is a substantive thing, something you work to build and maintain. It’s not simply a lull in the action between wars. Before you can build peace, you have to be able to envision it and understand what it takes to build and maintain it. This is a vision, however, that the American warrior culture works overtime to suppress and their efforts have been immensely successful. War is now so deeply embedded in our culture that it no longer needs any justification.

Will this country ever know peace, again? If it does, it won’t likely be through an active peace movement and a concurrent self-examination of our culture. It will, instead, be through a collapse our society through continual drainage and hemorrhaging of resources to support endless war and an ever growing police and military state. History has shown, again and again, that this is the fate of all the empires built on war. The sooner this country’s empire fails, the safer the world will be.


Who the fuck is this “we” mister career war-pig man? This article pisses me off it totally fails to mention the millions of us who were in the streets of every makor US city for the five years after September 2001. Funny how all we troublemakers reviled for our lack of patriotism, knew by !0:00 on September 11, 2001 what needed to be done, and more importantly not done. Does this guy even know we exist?

We are still waiting for an apology from people like you, Major Sjursen…


You say, 'The supposed rub is this: under the pressure of that attack and the burden of presidential responsibility, even “liberals” – like me, I guess – would have made much the same decisions as George W. Bush and company’.

Declaring a war on terror was not a response to the 9/11 attack. Rather, the 9/11 attack was a "Shock Doctrine” excuse to justify a “war on terror”. The natural response to the 9/11 attack would have been to go after the culprits. Duh!

You can figure the real reasons for the “war on terror”, the attack on Iraq etc. It sure as hell was not the attack on 9/11. Ehud Barak was on television calling for a “war on terror” before any tower had fallen. The neocons were ready and seized on the opportunity. You have to figure their motivations: they are not going to tell.


Actually, they did tell, in a document called “The Project for a New American Century,” which all but salivated at the thought of some “catastrophic and catalyzing event, a new Pearl Harbor.”

Or perhaps a new Reichstag Fire?

Major Sjursen’s credulity regarding both the causes and perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks seems to fly in the face of his own experience.


I stand corrected.

You’re clearly right!


Not mentioned, aside from the Schell remarks, is that about 30-35% of Congress ( Democrats ) were calling for a police and special forces ( Alphabets ) approach to Afghanistan. John Kerry among others, were speaking in favor of this. And, Howard Dean’s rise up the political ladder was predicated on a Not Invading Iraq platform. Millions of citizens did take to the world’s streets, yelling Hell No. However, the facts on 01/01/02 were worthless then, just as they are utterly worthless now. The U. S. Gov’t only needed a pretext or thin veneer of propaganda ( lies ) to do what the MIC and AIPAC/PNAC long wanted to do. Which was to steal all the Oil in the MENA and make a nuclear Israel its lone Super Power.
This country, at its heart, has only one governing principle: " we must destroy everyone’s village, even our own, so that the 1%ers wealth and property, is saved and enhanced ". Having exposed to the world that our real gift to them is looting and pillaging by force of arms, we can all slap each other on the back and say, " heck of a job, America ".
And, Bin Laden may be dead, but he probably is smiling anyway. Knowing America is now being governed by a White Supremacist Pedophile and a Congress full of Enablers. Who’s one goal is to build on what they’ve already accomplished.


Sjursen wonders that no-one of consequence questioned the truth of the grievances simmering in the ME and Muslim world against the US, and then says: “In short, U.S. policies have left the Middle East in chaos: perhaps a million dead, Iran empowered, and radical Islamists resurgent.”

That is implying that Iran is intrinsically evil and precludes consideration of Iran’s just grievances: so where’s the learned lesson?

Before the PNAC document, there was A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm a document authored by many of the same ones on the PNAC document, and intended as a policy formula for Netanyahu in 1996. He didn’t adopt it, but much of what that earlier document called for was begun by the GW Bush administration who, through Chaney, established that road map as US foreign policy. The explicit strategy spelled out in the first document was supposed to catapult the US to the realization of the ideas of the later PNAC document - global military, commercial, and - no shit - cultural, hegemony That document talked about a window of opportunity that wouldn’t be open long (published in 2000.) It wasn’t a window though, just a mirage, conjured up out of the desert by a cabal of deluded senseless men. Now the US seems incapable of politically untangling itself from an empire of influence that will drag it under.

W was a useful idiot, a political commodity that could not be discarded by those determined to take of over the executive branch of the US. He was a mild disaster as Texas Governor who had no real appetite or ability for governing and only stayed in politics through the insistence and efforts of his family and connections.

Gotta stop here. Any broad consideration of this disaster just brings up too much to briefly comment on.

Mr. Sjursen to put a fine point on it, such a blithe vilification of Iran suggests you’re willing to commit the same past “mistakes” that you can’t seem to make any sense of.


Bush cabal was complicit. WTC tower seven did not collapse from adjacent heat. Rudy told to flee just before demolished by America. WTC seven was national headquarters for Security and Exchange Commission, all records destroyed. No plane photos with jets in Pentagon. Did you see them burn the poppies. Nice day for betrayal. Overthrew Assad to keep him from controlling oil. Niger Delta. Royal Dutch Shell Oil. Journalist Phil Donahue would not lie. Gone overnight. Fight back.


Well, what can one expect from a career officer from West Point? I don’t mean to say that all military officers are incapable of seeing beyond their bayonets (sorry, mixed metaphor), but if the only tool you have is a hammer, somehow everything seems to end up looking like a nail.

My reaction on that day in September–“coincidentally” the SAME day in September as the CIA facilitated coup that deposed the democratically elected Salvador Allende in 1973, leaving Chile under the control of a brutal fascist dictator for decades–was an image of the blinded Cyclops striking out at all and everyone within his reach. Why? What other tool had this country cultivated in its 200-plus years of exceptionalism? As Gandhi said when asked what he thought about Western civilization, “It would be a good idea.” Instead we have spread our barbarity first “from sea to shining sea” and then around the globe.

The USA is not the only barbaric nation, but we take pride in being the greatest badass on the planet. For how much longer can that continue?


The first part of this article reads well and seems to be a genuine attempt to make sense of the madness of his world post 9/11. Sadly, because the US has been ill-informed and brain-washed throughout the entire 20th Century (USS Maine, RMS Lusitania, Pearl Harbor, CIA coups from Iran to Guatemala to Chile, Operation Northwoods, JFK assassination, Gulf of Tonkin, USS Liberty etc. then most citizens have no idea about the amorality and depth of evil whom James Douglass (quoting Thomas Merton) termed “The Unspeakable”.
If you wish to understand truth, it may be a bit challenging but ask yourself whether you would rather know the truth or live in ignorance all your days? Just as Philip Zelikow predicted in his 1998 paper “Catastrophic Terrorism” the collapse of WTC killing thousands would give the wars of choice and the ability to curtail domestic freedoms. Guess who was put in charge of the 9/11 Truth Inquiry, the very mastermind of its entirety. The truth is out there. Ask Zelikow.


I appreciate this author putting this together. It is a systematic tutorial from someone from a different generation than mine. What is missing is also the complicity of the main stream media including public funded broadcasting, the state of Israel connection (not the Jewish religion), the hands-off of Saudia Arabia posturing, and that is was all about money and who would benefit most. There was pretty much no leadership from the elected officials (only a very small few can be considered leaders). It reminds me yet again, just how furiously angry I was and still remain,at the breakdown of just about everything and the realization that our country was the problem not the solution. No rose-colored glasses for me, for once you know something- you can’t un-know it. We who call ourselves Americans are the problem because we collectively have allowed the horror of the last 16 years. Americans are just too comfortable in their very fragile fear bubbles to be bothered to become informed. What keeps me going is that there are many living and now not who did take a stand and speak truth to power. It is for them and the children that I will speak, donate, march and question. But the empire still has no clothes.


I understand your reaction and I have much the same one myself, but it is tempered by wanting to know what the best 1% who are in or have been in the military are saying because unfortunately that is the best we are going to get. The military isn’t going to listen to me, but maybe they’ll listen to this guy or to Andrew Bacevich or Lawrence Wilkerson. On this particular piece, I agree with you that the author should have discussed the opposition to the war at the time in more detail (as mrsannhitts posted, there was a significant % in congress who at least advocated for less than all out war). I don’t think Noam Chomsky was the only one laying out the exact procedure for going through international channels to present evidence and request extradition from Afghan government (I am not a 9/11 truther obviously), but it’s the one I remember. I didn’t even think this was is in the realm of possibility at the time, so I wrote my representatives begging them to at least consider how the nation building could go before invading but of course that hope was wasted on a completely inept administration. I’d prefer the Chomsky way, but maybe had a competent president and set of generals been in control, an invasion and nation building could have gone differently but we’ll never know.

If only I, too, could live out the war drama I’d always longed for.

Well the author says he made some big life changes - glad to know that is possible. It’s crazy to think there are a lot of people longing for war drama.

I agree with the author about several of his points such as:

  • reconsidering “the necessity of military bases so close to Mecca and Medina (or even the necessity of so many of the American bases that littered the region).”

  • a National Service act (as long as it is not a draft in to military service which I will never support)

But overall I find Bacevich and Wilkerson (who is on the Real News Network quite often) more interesting.


I remember well the response I received on about 9/13/2001, when I stated my case in an Internet group, that the most correct response to 9/11 the USA could make was to do …
nothing. Just bury our dead and comfort our people, and let the outraged nations of the world pool their talents to bring the guilty parties to justice. You might say my recommendation went down in flames. Now we understand why doing nothing was not an option: those outraged foreign countries REALLY WOULD HAVE discovered the identities of the people responsible for the most destructive act of terrorism against the USA!


Exactly right, what can one expect from a West Point graduate? Theirs is not to wonder why, theirs is but to go along with the crowd, follow orders and don’t ask questions.

What an incredible waste of writing is Sjursen’s. I guess it evokes sympathy somehow, but is disgusting in its lack of connecting dots.

Numerous posters here have a better grasp of world events regarding 911 than the Major does.


Another question that doesn’t seem to have occurred to the author: What if, instead of a peremptory invasion of Afghanistan, the Bush administration had taken up the Taliban on its offer to hand over Bin Laden, provided the administration provide some evidence of OBL’s culpability for 9/11?

What if the public’s so-called representatives in Congress and the mass media punditry had demanded a thorough, criminal investigation of the events of 9/11, instead of an immediate declaration of war–on a noun, “terror”?

In 2004, the 9/11 Commission Report was published. The corporate media announced the publication with great fanfare: news anchors described brisk sales, in both bookstores and online sites like Amazon.com. To ensure the American people gained quick access to this important account, the Commission would make the entire report available on the Internet. They also hired a public relations agency to spread the news of the report, which represented the official story about what happened on 9/11, why it happened, and how to prevent a future attack. Corporate-media pundits effusively praised its ‘racy’ novel-like readability, and ‘compelling narrative’. Conspicuously lacking was critical analysis of how rigorously the Commission investigated 9/11 and how sound its investigation and recommendations were.

Few people knew then, or know now, that Phil Zelikow, the Commission’s Executive Director and a close associate of President Bush (he had been part of Bush’s recent transition team) had drafted a detailed outline of the report before the Commission even started its investigation.

By March 2003, Zelikow and his former professor Ernest May had co-written it, “complete with chapter headings, subheadings, and sub-subheadings.” Zelikow shared it with Commission co-chairs Thomas Keane and Lee Hamilton, who expressed concern it could give the impression of a predetermined final report. They decided to keep it a secret from the Commission’s 80-odd staff members. It would not look good if staff knew their investigative work would be limited to filling in the details of prearranged conclusions. When the staff learned of the outline a year later many were alarmed. Some distributed a parody entitled “The Warren Commission Report—Preemptive Outline.” One of its chapter headings: “Single Bullet: We Haven’t Seen the Evidence Yet. But really. We’re Sure.” (Philip Shenon, The Commission)

Going to war is supposed to be a last resort. But after 9/11 it was a first resort. One would think that the author might have evinced more critical thinking about the events of 9/11 and the pre-determined nature of its “investigation.”


I remember right after 911, the whole world took us into its arms. They offered to find the perpetrators and bring them in for trial. Even the Taliban offered to turn in bin Laden, if it would be to the UN and the World Court for trial, not a US Kangaroo Court.
*Bush and his Neocon cabinet refused all this help. BushCo wanted nothing less than a “holy” war in the ME, and control of its oil. The only help he wanted was to get henchmen in the war, and that he got. North Atlantic Terrorist Organization.
*The PNAC timetable was a little optimistic, but the dominoes have continued to fall as laid out, with the goal of Full Spectrum Domination of the World through military and financial means.
God, I am so tired of all of this! There are ways of ending it non-violently, but few people and agencies seem interested.


They say that Einstein initially inserted a constant in his famous equation (e=mc2) because he could not spiritually come to grips with an expanding universe even though he had the math correct. Sjursen has a lot of the facts right but misses the big picture because he can’t accept the fact that the people in charge were acting out of evil intent. Greed and arrogance not ignorance or foolish patriotism were the motives that dictated this country’s response to Sept 11th. And yes, this country has produced leaders in the past who would have responded differently, unfortunately, very few have been in positions of power in recent decades. I suggest Mr. Sjursen read Smedly Butler’s book “War is a Racket” to really understand why he wears the U.S. uniform.


Awesome. Love it!