Visit bookstores today and you'll see the shelves flooded with rows of new books rushed to market by hack writers who claim to explain what factors led to the attacks of September 11 and what ought to be done about them. By and large, these books are pure propaganda. Because they're written after September 11, they twist history to conform to the strange vision of reality that has dominated since the attacks. These books make it seem as if Osama Bin Laden, the Taliban and their ilk were spontaneous growths of evil incarnate and that the attacks upon New York and Washington were completely unprovoked and unpredictable. These books are written more as pro-war patriotic hype than as serious investigations of the series of events that led to the tragedy of September 11.
With his book Unholy Wars, John K. Cooley offers a much clearer picture of what really led to the attacks of September 11 because the book is not about September 11 at all! It was first published in 1999, with the new edition available now released in the year 2000, months before the destruction of the World Trade Center in New York City. In my quest to understand the roots of Al Quaida and the Taliban, I chose Unholy Wars precisely because it is untainted by the raw emotion felt by Americans after September 11. I wanted a realistic, more rational investigation than what the clownish hawks on FoxNews could offer. As President Bush offered up his strange explanation that Al Quaida is a "cult of evil", I knew I had to go back in time to find an information source that wouldn't read like a Pentecostal sermon on sin and damnation.
I've been impressed by the quality of Cooley's analysis. Unholy Wars predicts the sort of catastrophe that happened on September 11, 2001 but does so with foresight, not hindsight. Because of this perspective, Cooley is not blinded with the Patriotic Correctness that has come to dominate the American media over the last few months.
Cooley, without any axe to grind, documents the direct, powerful and consistent role that the United States government had in the development and strengthening of both the Taliban and Al Quaida. Through decades of CIA training in methods of sabotage and even gifts of weaponry to radical muslim fighters that Ronald Reagan referred to as the moral equivalent of the American founding fathers, the United States itself created the monster that turned on its master last September.
I'm not making this stuff up, and neither is Cooley. He's got the documentation to prove it, from the words of Carter administration's National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski acknowledging that the United States secretly and purposefully provoked the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan ("This secret operation was an excellent idea. Its effect was to draw the Russians into the Afghan trap. You want me to regret that?") to an impressive array of citations establishing the role of the Reagan/Bush administration and the CIA in training the future members of Al Quaida and the Taliban.
The truth is painful. We Americans may like to believe that we bear no responsibility for the attacks of September 11, that all the blame lays elsewhere, on an "evil" enemy. The fact is that it isn't so. We, the citizens of the United States of America are to blame in as much as we allowed a series of American Presidents to build up the very people we now say we despise.
If you have the courage to throw off the self-righteous propaganda of the Bush Administration to discover the real roots of Al Quaida and the Taliban, and therefore September 11, Unholy Wars is the best place to start. What you read in its pages will not fit with what you get from the angry voices made-up of cable television news anchors, but it's the truth. Are you ready to hear it?