Ten years after the appalling 9/11 terrorist attack, the US remains locked in the ongoing cycles of war it started a month after the attacks. A total of 2,996 people died in the US on the day that changed the course of history. Since then the world has had to endure what the pro-war commentator Charles Krauthammer unapologetically calls a "massive and unrelenting American war on terror, a systematic worldwide campaign carried out with increasing sophistication, efficiency and lethality" (see today's Washington Post). This has resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths, millions of displaced people, and countless victims of torture. Most of the victims were Iraqi and Afghan civilians, innocent victims just like the people in the Twin Towers. But it also included over 8,000 American, British, and other coalition forces, sent to their death by policicians in Washington and London.
At Shannon Airport today a group of 11 people remembered the hundreds of thousands of men, women and children who have died as a result of 9/11. The airport has become part of the lethal US war industry that has seen a staggering $1.2 trillion spent on US military operations over the last decade. So it was appropriate that the people whose lives have been taken by this war machine should be remembered at Shannon today.
It was only 11 people against a multi-billion dollar investment in war. But judging by the number of people who indicated their support as they drove by, it is not a lost cause. Sooner or later the Irish government will be forced to take a stand against a failing, destructive and ultimately very dangerous US foreign policy.
The military operations designated as the war on terror - Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Noble Eagle (mainly conducted during the first years of the war on terror to strengthen US military bases’ security) - have resulted in unprecedented military spending. And despite the fact that the US economy is in tatters, it goes on. As well as the US troops presence in Afghanistan (and to a much lesser extent Iraq), and the huge cost of the technologies used (like the drones that constantly monitor ground movements and all too often bomb civilian targets), there are hundreds of thousands of private war contractors still operating in Iraq and Afghanistan. They get well paid, unlike the 4.5 million refugees created by the same war on terror.
Anti-war protest at Shannon will continue until the Irish government starts to put the interests of the people being killed, displaced from their homes, and denied their basic human rights ahead of the war industry's interests.