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Act of War

Olavo de Carvalho
Época, September 15, 2001

 

Some explanations of a crime are not explanations: they’re part of the crime.

 

“We will no longer distinguish between the terrorists and those who harbor them,” said President George W. Bush following the September attacks.

There are four ways to harbor a terrorist group. There are the states that arm or shelter them, the false organisms that disguise them, the legal or illegal fortunes that subsidize them, and last but not least the “opinion makers” who support their armed aggression through acts of misinformation and psychological warfare.

The first three forms of collaboration require direct contact with the criminals, but the fourth by definition has a expansive and evanescent nature. A small team may conceive the verbal commands and phony information, but there is no other way the messages can be dispersed  but through a network of informal helpers, wherein the most outlying contributors, seemingly unsuspecting individuals, with no knowledge of the decision makers, merely echo the orders without question what their sources are. From directors to militants, and from militants to “travelling companions,” and on to mere simpletons, the formulas handed down from the commander spread in concentric circles in a controlled, almost quantifiable progression. Organizing and activating this type of operation is a well-developed technique. All totalitarian regimes and parties strive to install training centers for these kind of professionals, especially since the 1930s when Soviet networks of misinformation were established by Karl Radek and grew strongly among Western intellectuals, thanks to the evil genius of Willi Munzenberg.

Those most directly involved in providing protection for the criminals behind the September attacks are surely far from Brazil, in Asia, Europe, and even the U.S. But the network of misinformation and psychological warfare would not possibly go on without reaching here.

Before the last brick of the World Trade Center touched the ground, “specialists” and “international analysts,” all notoriously sympathetic or tied to leftist movements, rushed to the television cameras or to the newspapers to:

1) Soften the horrible impression of a monstrous crime, and legitimize it as the “natural consequence” of the militarism and willfulness of the Bush administration.

2) Highlight the vulnerability of the U.S., above all, and contrast that with the image of the mighty U.S. economy.

The first is misinformation, and the second is psychological warfare.

On one hand, the U.S. has done nothing in the past decade but withdraw its military presence and disarm its forces, reducing stocks of atomic weapons to a fifth of the Russian and Chinese reserves and ceding increasingly larger shares of its sovereignty to the UN. It’s true that George W. Bush is reacting against that. But a complex operation like the September attacks could not have been improvised in the months following his arrival to office. The attack was not a response to Bush’s fervent attitudes, rather it was planned to take advantage of the suicidal complacency of the Clinton administration. And it worked.

On the other hand, there is no defense system that could possibly prevent the type of terrorist attack that shook New York and Washington. If they happened in the U.S. and not in China, in Cuba or in Iraq, that’s simply because only dictatorial regimes train fanatics for this type of kamikaze operation. Therefore  this case does not expose any special vulnerability. Any praise to this vulnerability is a lie designed to discredit the U.S., painting it as a rich and weak country, in order to transform, in the soul of the peoples, admiration into envy and rancor and fear into aggressive anger.

These two opinions, broadcast in the Brazilian media with exemplary uniformity, are not interpretations or explanations of an act of war: they are part of it. The individuals behind them do not distinguish, morally or maybe even politically, from the planners and agents of this murderous operation.