Shocked and Horrified (english)
by Larry Mosqueda, Ph.D. 6:51pm Mon Sep 17 '01 (Modified on 10:54pm Mon Sep 17 '01)
address: The Evergreen State College, Olympia, WA 98505 phone: 360-867-6513


Shocked an horrified by last Tuesday's event but also by U.S. foreign policy over the past 50 years and the potential U.S. response.

Shocked and Horrified

Larry Mosqueda, Ph.D.
The Evergreen State College
September 15, 2001

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. citizens.

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

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 targets").

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, Manual Noriega.

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
the 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 Palestine. 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 public.

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. backing. 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

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 Khadafi. 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 public consciousness. 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. 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 illegitimate.

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 quantitative
difference. 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

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 that country.

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 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 even Pakistan." 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

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
continually victimized.

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 relatives now.
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 policies.

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 political analysis. 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 background reading by Noam Chomsky see:
Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies
Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (with Ed
Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel and the Palestinians
Deterring Democracy