September 11 (9/11): Anarchy, Imperialism & War

By Sitati Wasilwa

The 2001 September 11 attack on the World Trade Center in New York, the USA, is highly recorded but the 1973 September 11 attack and overthrow of the legitimate government of Chile is less known to most people. This is largely due to narrative control propagated by the so-called liberal media which sieves the kind of information fed to the public.

In this piece, I highlight some of the commentary and analysis by some authoritative sources on what we need to know in reference to the two September 11 attacks.

September 11, 1973 Attack: Imperialism & Tyranny by Any Means Necessary

To explain the basis and tyranny of the 9/11 attack of 1973, I draw reference to Noam Chomsky’s book, Who Rules the World?

“As we all should know, this is not a thought experiment. It happened. I am, of course, referring to what in Latin America is often called “the first 9/11”: September 11, 1973, when the United States succeeded in its intensive efforts to overthrow the democratic government of Salvador Allende in Chile via the military coup that placed General Augusto Pinochet’s ghastly regime in office. The dictatorship then installed the Chicago Boys – economists trained at the University of Chicago – to reshape Chile’s economy. Consider the economic destruction and the torture and kidnappings, and multiply the numbers killed by twenty five to yield per-capita equivalents, and you will see just how much more devastating the first 9/11 was.”

Historical Significance of the 1973 9/11

First, USA’s violent overthrow of a democratically elected and popular Chilean government happened at the height of the Cold War. By overthrowing the socialist government led by President Salvador Allende, the notorious USA government believed it was a primary way of expanding its capitalistic ideals across Latin America, a region which America has ravaged for decades under the dictates of the Monroe Doctrine. One of the leading economists invited by the murderer Augusto Pinochet was Milton Friedman, an intellectual who proved instrumental in the Chicago Boys programme. His meet-up with Pinochet is described by Robert Reich in the book, Supercapitalism:

“In March 1975, economist Milton Friedman accepted an invitation to Chile to meet with Augusto Pinochet, who some eighteen months before had toppled the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende. Friedman was criticized in the American press for making the trip, but there is no reason to suppose he approved of Pinochet. Friedman went to Chile to urge Pinochet’s Junta to adopt free-market capitalism – to trim the business regulations and welfare state that had grown under Chile’s many years of democratic government and to open itself to trade and investment with the rest of the world. In a series of lectures he delivered in Chile, Friedman reiterated his long-held belief that free markets were a necessary precondition to political freedom and sustainable democracy. Pinochet took Friedman’s free market advice, but Pinochet’s brutal dictatorship lasted another fifteen years. The men died within weeks of each other in late 2006.”

I am not sure if Reich’s excerpt of Friedman’s belief and ideology makes sense because taken with a pinch of salt, it best qualifies as an expert’s tyranny! Why did he work with a tyrant if he believed that democracy was the way to go? Your guess is as good as mine. For further reading, check: here, here, here and here.

Second, the 1973 9/11 attack took place when the so-called Golden Age of Capitalism was tanking and an alternative was needed (Please note that African countries endured economic, social and political ruin during the Westernized ‘Golden Age of Capitalism’ as a result of colonialism). The answer, to some, was neoliberalism which has turned out to be cataclysmic in view of social and economic inclusivity. Was the attack an experiment on neoliberalism? I think so.

Third, the 1973 9/11 attack, as a neoliberalism experiment, was extended or experimented in other countries around the world as a model for advancing America’s imperialism. Such economic ‘shock therapy’ experiments were administered in the form of the infamous structural adjustment policies whose records across Africa and Latin America are astonishingly ridiculous. Further reading: here, here and here.

A Quick Through

Two articles can offer some quick insight of the 1973 9/11. One is titled, “1973 Chile coup: The first 9/11 attack allegedly backed by the USA” by Republic World, and the other is titled, “The Coup in Chile” by Jacobin.

September 11, 2001 Attack: A Clash of Civilizations, Imperialism & Mission Failure

The 2001 9/11 attack has its roots in the Cold War era during the Soviet War in Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989. The Mujahedeen rebels who fought against the Soviet Union were supported by the American and Saudi Arabian governments in terms of supply of weapons and cash among other effects. Through this, Osama Bin Laden found his way into Afghanistan from Saudi Arabia. The end of the Soviet War saw withdrawal of both Soviet and American troops from Afghanistan and meant that the Mujahedeen fighters no longer had guaranteed sources of income.

As a consequence, most of them resorted to creation of territorial units (informal governments) and levied taxes on the Afghanistani people. A few notable leaders of the Mujahedeens aimed to restore sharia law and order in Afghanistan on the account that some of the territorial units were meting violence and harsh rules on civilians. But the shrewd leaders of the Taliban were soon overpowered by radicals mainly from Pakistan who infiltrated the movement and purposed to spread their ideology around the world.

An intriguing account of the Taliban and Afghanistani society is documented by James Fergusson in his book, Taliban: The Unknown Enemy. It’s a definitive account of a clash of civilizations. Tim Weiner also wrote an article titled, History to Trump: CIA was aiding Afghan rebels before the Soviets invaded in ’79”, published by the Washington Post which presents a fair view of this clash of civilizations.

Historical Significance of the 2001 9/11

First, it was the genesis of the War on Terror era which USA fashions as a mechanism to stamp out terrorism. As stated, bombing of the World Trade Center and the War on Terror have roots in the Cold War as illustrated by an excerpt from Tim Weiner’s article.

“I traveled through Afghanistan again in 1994. Jihadis from all over the world were gathering there. The first World Trade Center bombing was on their minds. The talk was that they’d knocked off one superpower — the Soviets — and they could knock off the next. America was nowhere to be seen. Not a penny of its aid was to be had.”

Second, it laid the basis for America’s enhanced interventions across the Middle East, first in Iraq before wrecking the civilizations of the Libyan and Syrian people through the much-famed ‘Arab Spring.’ Basically, America’s foreign policy in the post-Cold War era has largely been driven by nonsensical interventions which Michael Mandelbaum notes in his book, Mission Failure, as failed missions.

Third, the War on Terror has sucked African countries into the failed missions with notable social, economic and political costs. Kenya’s invasion of Somalia to fight the Al-Shabab has been a costly proxy war. Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria, Cameroon, and Uganda among other countries have faced several terrorist attacks. This has necessitated increase in public spending on security while also prompting America to strengthen its military activities through increased financing and establishment of military bases across the world including in Africa.

Fourth, the supposed War on Terror has aided Russia’s resurgence with the Russian state now actively participating in the Syrian and Libyan conflicts.

Fifth, the War on Terror has also significantly pushed the Chinese to largely invest in their military and as a positive externality, somewhat offered an incentive for China to set up military bases in strategic regions of the world.


Both 9/11 instances exemplify anarchy, imperialism and war and offer crucial lessons why foreign interventions will always fail. This failure is based on the clash of civilizations in view of conflicting cultures and societal orientations.

The writer is a political economist. Twitter: @SitatiWasilwa LinkedIn: Sitati Wasilwa Facebook: Sitati Wasilwa Podcast: Sitati Wasilwa

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