International affairs analyst Mark Bruzonsky reflects on the terror attacks
Sept. 14, 2001
Court TV Host: We're going to be joined in just a few minutes by an international affairs analyst who specializes in security and Middle East issues, Mark Bruzonsky. He was just on Court TV a little earlier today.
Court TV Host: Hello everyone, our guest Mark Bruzonsky is here... He's the publisher of Mideast Realities www.middleast.org. thanks for joining us today.
Mark Bruzonsky: On your program, I explained that this war didn't start on Tuesday, it's been going on for a long time, and a lot of people in the region have been killed. There's a lot of hatred, a lot of desire for revenge. America was attacked, but it was hardly a Pearl Harbor. There were all kinds of warnings, all kinds of statements about what they wanted to do.
therose_4: Why didn't we accept the ramming of the USS Cole as a warning instead of waiting till a tragedy like this struck?
Mark Bruzonsky: We did. The US is active with the CIA and covert actions and with all kinds of covert activities and that's what many people in the region oppose. But the Cole was not the only example. If it turns out to be bin Laden, the man has been on TV declaring what his intentions were for a long time, and we have an article at www.middleeast.org that ran some three years ago, and the headline reads: "Bin Laden will take his revenge."
ctv_warhorse46: Do you feel that Hussein is a silent partner in the attacks?
Mark Bruzonsky: How does one respond that a question like that. He WAS our partner 15 years ago. And then things changed, and we decided that he was our enemy. Under these circumstances, the US has decided what it will do. The US will destroy the bin Laden network and probably invade Afghanistan and change the government. In the short term, we will prevail. The cost historically and the ramifications of what we do will be substantial, impossible to directly predict but this is not a conventional war. It's not the kind of thing that's happened before. And there were lots of people who were extraordinarily angry at the US before about policies that have resulted in millions of deaths in Middle Eastern countries.
rtcbst2000: How do know that the terrorists are from Afghanistan for sure?
Mark Bruzonsky: We dont know anything for sure. Especially the questioners -- and I - don't know anything for sure. But all the signs do point to the groups who have expressed their desire to push the US out of the Middle East, believing their countries are occupied by the United States and believing the regimes we support are terribly corrupt and oppressive.
shayquante2000: Is there any way this situation could have been dealt with a different way
Mark Bruzonsky: Yes, we should spend a whole day on Court TV on that one. American policies have been extremely unacceptable to many people in many places, including in our own country.
ronold59: Will our leaders make sure they know who before they strike?
Mark Bruzonsky: The past would suggest, no. The most recent attack on the Sudan is the perfect example. The US government has very little credibility beyond the United States.
Trailer403: What is the feeling by the FBI that there are many Islamic fundamentalists in our country ready to perform more terrorist acts?
Mark Bruzonsky: I have no idea on that one. Nobody knows. Nobody expected what happened last week. I don't know any more than anybody else knows. But the fact that we're calling up 50 or 75,000 troops to guard our country, either they believe that our country is in serious danger of repeated attacks, or, the terrorists win, because, look at what they have caused our country to do, what they have caused our country to do to itself.
Court TV Host: The entire nation seems to have seized on the Pearl Harbor analogy....you believe it's incorrect?
Mark Bruzonsky: All countries have their own history and think of themselves through their own paradigms. Americans don't know much about the world and what they do know is about themselves through Pearl Harbor. And they don't know everything about Pearl Harbor. What they don't know is that we had an economic and oil embargo against Japan before Pearl Harbor. In this case, whatever one thinks of Osama bin Laden, he was on TV three years ago, declaring war against the United States and stating his reasons for it. One can hate him and despise and want to kill him, but one can't say that he didn't speak up, and one can't say that he's a coward. But most Americans know nothing about the Middle East, and their media, with rare exceptions, has done a terrible job of informing them.
Court TV Host: Are you suggesting that we could have negotiated with bin Laden earlier?
Mark Bruzonsky: I'm suggesting that if the United States had not allowed Israel to day-after-day attack and destroy the Palestinians that this particular action might not have been taken. Large numbers of people in the region hate the United States, just like large numbers of people in the US are focusing their hate on Osama bin Laden. Americans love black and white, good and evil, hero and ogre, simplicity.
jgatescdi: No, he's a coward, or he would raise an army and challenge us - he has challenged us - but now he's hiding.
Mark Bruzonsky: Well, as I said, but lots of Americans are very simplistic and know nothing about the middle east.
Court TV Host: I've heard other scholars of the Middle East argue that despite wrongheaded US policies, there's nothing the US could have done that would have caused bin Laden to put an end to his calls for violence.
Mark Bruzonsky: Very simply, incorrect. And for lots more historical detail, take a look at www.middleeast.org
thelennon2001: Will Pakistan let the U.S. come into their airspace so that they can get to Afghanistan?(in your opinion)
Mark Bruzonsky: Yes, probably, they'll be forced and bribed and coerced, probably a combination of all the above. Even more, I expect American troops will use both Russia and Pakistan as launching points.
tamisdus: Could they have had help from people inside the US?
Mark Bruzonsky: Of course, they could have. And of course they could have pulled it off on their own. Nobody expected that anything of this magnitude was within their power.
Court TV Host: What role do you think the UN will play in all this?
Mark Bruzonsky: Whatever the Americans tell them to do, as usual. After all, the Secretary General was put there by us.
Court TV Host: Does the fact that Bush is president, and his father ordered the Gulf War, play a large role in this, or would we have seen the same attack if Gore or Clinton were in the White House.
Mark Bruzonsky: Bush's policies and statements, his endorsements of Ariel Sharon, all play a role in whipping up hatred and desire to challenge the US. How much? That depends on each individual and each group. But for certain, it's a role.
Court TV Host: What should the US do now?
Mark Bruzonsky: Too late to do the right things. The war has already has already corrupted rationality and thoughtfulness. It's too late. We will strike and probably decimate bin Laden's network, but it's impossible to specifically predict what surely will come under these circumstances. But probably something causing much greater hardship and death to all parties. But if we want to start with one policy change, that should have been done before, that can be implemented even as we pursue the war against the "terrorists", long ago we should have told the Israelis we will not support their annexation of the Palestinians, and long ago we should have stopped supporting the terribly oppressive and terribly corrupt American-supported regimes who oppressed their own people so awfully, and that of course includes the odorous Saudi regime.
Court TV Host: Any closing thoughts? ctv_guest: the war has been going on for a long time, and the reason we have Middle East Realities is to help people understand the complex situation we're now in. And if they want to educate themselves, www.middleeast.org and www.mertv.org are there precisely for that purpose.