The total number of victims killed at the World Trade Center in 2001 is calculated at standing at 2,750. And once again this year US politicians prepare to exploit the events of 9/11 to boost their own personal careers. Rudy Giuliani will be there - again - but now he is running for president. Democratic Senator Hillary Clinton was also reported to be planning to attend the ceremonies in New York. She is seeking the Democratic Party presidential nomination.
The families of those that died wish rightly to commemorate the events of 2001. Those who died were innocent working people doing a day's work in New York. What the official commemorations will never do is tell the truth about how September 11 was exploited.
Bin Laden it is claimed was behind the attack. That is why US and other troops went into Afghanistan. But Bin Laden has not been caught. On the other hand many Afghans have been killed under the bombs of US and allied forces. Meanwhile, somewhere in the mountains on the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, Al-Qaeda is reported to have regrouped its forces, and is apparently holding regular meetings to develop its attack plans using the latest technology, cell phones and radio networks and also continues to produce videotapes, as if to taunt the US government. And in spite of the US army having at its disposal the most advanced technology it seems powerless to stop any of this.
As they fear carrying out serious ground operations in some areas of the country, they limit themselves to bombing campaigns. All they achieve with this is the further alienation of the local population who are now actively participating in the resistance. Sooner or later the foreign troops will be pushed out of Afghanistan, with no advantage accruing to the imperialist invaders. All they will have achieved is greater instability and even more dead soldiers.
Iraq was invaded, also using the excuse of the September 11 attack on the Twin Towers. But Iraq had nothing to do with it. Al-Qaeda and the Baathist regime of Saddam Hussein were mutual enemies. Saddam Hussein was no saint, but he was not responsible for September 11. In fact, he had been an ally of the US in the war against Iran. As the excuse wore a little thin, they had to find another excuse, the weapons of mass destruction, which also didn't exist.
In spite of all this they decided to invade Iraq anyway. What they were after mainly was oil. In the process more Americans have been killed than died on that tragic September 11, 2001. The whole operation has been a con-trick on a grand scale. But had they managed to get their hands on the oil and at the same time "stabilise" the Middle East, these thieves wearing nice suits and ties may have at least been satisfied that they had pulled it off quite nicely.
Instead even from the crude point of view of Bush and the clique around him, it has been a failure. Back in 1979, when Saddam Hussein was a "friend" nearly four million barrels were pumped out of Iraq's oilfields each day. The immediate effect of the US-led invasion was to push production down to 2.6 million barrels per day. But we were told this was a temporary situation, caused by the disruption of war and that within 18 months production would be up to 3.5 million barrels a day. And by now, according to the predictions of the time, production should have been up to 5 or 6 million barrels a day.
Instead, we are informed by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, the US agency responsible for overseeing Iraq's reconstruction, that oil production in Iraq only stands at 1.95 million barrels a day and that only 27 of the 78 known oil fields are actually producing anything.
The new "western-style, democratic government of Iraq" resting on US bayonets, is incapable of guaranteeing the conditions for a normally functioning economy. None of the factions in the Iraqi parliament seem capable of reaching an agreement even on a new oil law, which Bush would like to see passed. The conflicting clique interests are paralysing the process.
The paradox of the whole situation is that under Saddam Hussein if there was one industry that had a good reputation it was the oil industry. The oil ministry was seen as being staffed by efficient and qualified technocrats who did the job well. Now that staff has been replaced in many places by less qualified individuals appointed not so much on the basis of their skills, but on the basis of their political affiliation, in other words nepotism!
On top of this, the constant fighting, armed attacks, combined with generalised corruption and smuggling are making it very difficult to get the Iraqi oil industry back on its feet. And it isn't just a case of rival militias fighting each other for control of the oil smuggling. There are reports that officials and police are all involved in smuggling oil out of Iraq's southern port.
The Rumaila oil fields in the south are reported to be capable of producing 1.6 million barrels of oil per day but according to American oil expert Jerry Kiser, 300,000 barrels a day are smuggled across the border into Iran. Real power in the region is not in the hands of the local provisional council and the police force, but is in the hands of warring militia groups. The fact that the British forces were recently pulled out of Basra is not an indication of a "job well done" as they claim. It is simply the confirmation of the fact that the British troops were incapable of controlling the area.
It is openly admitted that the oil-smuggling infrastructure that already existed under Saddam Hussein has simply continued to operate under the new rulers, who now take their cut for turning a blind eye to what is going on. This situation in the south is replicated in the northern oilfields around Kirkuk. It is a generalised phenomenon.
It is an indication that the whole adventure of the Bush administration has failed. No socialist worth his salt would be surprised at the lack of progress in establishing "democracy" in Iraq. That is not why Bush went in. The reason for invading Iraq was material and strategic. Iraq has the second or third largest oil reserves in the world. Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz and co wanted to get their hands on this. They also wanted to show the world that the US is all-powerful and can dictate the law to any country it wishes. Instead what they have is a huge mess.
Faced with this mess Bush sent in more troops last February, the so-called "surge". Now the US force in Iraq stands at 162,000. But this has achieved nothing. It has simply given the "insurgents" more US troops to shoot at. Now the total number of US troops killed is higher than the number of people killed in the September 11 attacks. So much for "defending the lives of Americans".
Now the pressure is piling up at home in the USA to bring back the troops. Sooner or later they will have to pull out. But they will do so without having achieved any of the objectives they gave themselves when they went in. It is an indication of the fact that even the strongest superpower the world has ever seen cannot hold back the huge pressures that are building up everywhere. You cannot rule by the sword alone. You cannot throw billions of people into abject poverty; you cannot walk roughshod over millions of people and get away with it for ever.
Bush cynically exploited the events of September 11, 2001 to carry out his own agenda. This was not in the interests of either the American people or the peoples of the Middle East and beyond. It was supposed to be in the interests of a small clique of super-rich, but even on this front they have failed.
One thing Bush has achieved, however, is that he has brought home to the United States the problems of the former colonial world. US workers have been pummelled into the ground, with longer working hours, attacks on pension and healthcare rights. Bush tried to divert attention away from these problems by looking for an outside "enemy". All he has achieved is to radicalise a new generation of workers and youth in the USA, in a similar manner to what we saw after the Vietnam War. Now the growing social problems in the USA combined with the idea of the futility of sending thousands of young Americans to their deaths to defend the profits of the oil barons, will be a powerful mix that will push forward the class struggle.