High overcast this early Thursday morning on California’s north coast and from all indications we’ll continue our most-wonderful Indian summer today with warm temperatures fluttered in sunshine.
Twelve years in a memory’s snap — a swift day’s ride into the sunset. Today, of course, is the day after Sept. 11. And that date will apparently never have an ending.
My personal take really started the day before, Sept. 10, 2001. My oldest daughter was then temporarily living at home, and as I was driving her to work that Monday morning, we talked about her fiancé, who was then in the US Navy. She was worried about his safety.
Wise daddy responded (and I do remember the words, pretty much exactly): “Nah, the military is a good place to be right now. Not much going on, and he can get money for college. He shouldn’t have a problem, unless there’s a war.”
And I remember a sarcastic smirk accompanying that last bit.
(Illustration found here).
And I’m pretty sure the letters WTF hadn’t been invented then, but most-likely the next morning I let loose a goodly number of ‘What the fuck!’ proclamations. As so did the rest of the world — and we’ve been in this crazed situation ever since. Twelve years of nothing but war.
Osama bin Laden is dead now, but what he perpetrated that Tuesday morning keeps on ticking, like a time bomb that explodes, then explodes again, then explodes again…
One thing that’s always bothered me about 9/11 — how in the living fuck did Osama know that George Jr. and The Dick would take the horror/carnage of the World Trade Center and make it so much worse. A dozen years of unmitigated war against all kinds of shadow enemies without a trace of intelligence has nearly destroyed the US and Western civilization.
No, I’m not talking about the NSA horror, but just plain warmongering, dumb-fuck assholes.
And in all the bullshit upchucked yesterday on the InterWebs about the anniversary, this post by Susie Madrak at Crooks and Liars seemed the only realistic, sensible view of the tragedy.
A few snips:
In my dream, I’m suddenly the queen of the United States, and I’d order people to stop dwelling on 9/11.
I’d tell them what happened at the World Trade Center made some crazy people ever crazier — and unfortunately for us, many of them were in charge when it happened.
I’d give a speech about the freedom of thought, speech and movement that made us America and inspired so many to come here, and what a mistake it was to let all that slip through our fingers in the name of “security.”
I’d ban the use of the word “homeland” on anything official. “We’re not fucking Nazis,” I’d proclaim. “We are not the ‘homeland,’ we are a free people and we’re going to stay that way.”
I would demand that on September 11th every year, news stations stop showing those damned videos of the World Trade Center towers being struck by the planes — in real time, no less.
“War pornography,” I’d rail.
“A blatant attempt to stoke the fires of division. We should have found who did this, arrested them and thrown them in jail.
We didn’t need to inflict collective punishment on some other country’s civilians to avenge this crime, because that made us as bad as the people who did this.”
And I’d tell Americans they weren’t the first country in the world to suffer through a terrorist attack, so “put on your big boy pants and get over it.”
Yes, it’s sad.
Yes, it was a shock.
But we did not invent victimhood, although you might think so, from the way the media plays it up.
(When I was a reporter, we used to joke in the newsroom: “Plane Crash Kills 2 Americans, 187 Others.”)
And then, after I was assassinated, some bought-and-sold politician would make a somber speech about how it was all very sad, of course, but it was discovered during the autopsy that I had a massive brain tumor and didn’t really know what I was saying.
Americans as individuals might most-likely agree, Susie, but asshole politicians…
And some guy in the Comments section of the above post linked to another call for a 9/11 reality-check. It was written on the 10th anniversary (9/11/11), and continues onward to yesterday:
It’s been ten years now.
A decade today.
And frankly, I think that’s about enough.
There comes a point where you have to stop reliving horror over and over.
There comes a point where you have to say enough, this and no more.
I think a decade is enough time.
Now, don’t get me wrong, the events of September 11th, 2001 were traumatic on a national scale.
911 was a shock like no other in American history, hell, maybe even in world history.
The modern Information Age saw to that, bringing it right into our living rooms without any delay to soften the impact, live and in horrifying color.
Today marks a decade now, since 911.
In that time, we went to war and seven thousand more Americans, some of our very best, died.
Tens of thousands more were maimed and scarred and damaged forever.
Hundreds of thousands of innocents died.
Entire countries were laid waste and we became a callous people who could look upon those devastated lands and say, well, you know they had it coming, all of those bastards had it coming including their goddamned children.
We became a nation that tortures people and disappears people and detains people, including our citizens, indefinitely without trial or recourse in abject repudiation of the very spirit of our nation’s own founding – and we are unashamed of that and unrepentant.
We have become a nation where, as an American, you must put aside your freedom a dozen times a day.
You must show your papers.
You must submit to naked body scanners and you must allow unsmiling uniformed men with the force of secret laws behind them to grope the most intimate areas of your children and yourselves.
Such has become the price of freedom in America.
We have become a nation where you – as an American – can be detained for a glance or a gesture or a careless word or for checking out the wrong book from the library or for worshipping the wrong God.
We have become a nation where the only acceptable response to uniformed authority is immediate and polite submission, talk back, question, stand pat on the rights of previous generations and you’ll be branded an enemy.
We have become a nation that claims to revere liberty and justice, but believes those things can only be had when secret agencies monitor our every email and our every communication without warrant or probable cause.
Read the whole thing — right on the mark. The US will never, ever function again as a real nation until we put 9/11 into history’s perspective.
A change in how the US operates via the now-defunct, though still reality of the Global War on Terror by a couple of guys with some knowledge of the inner workings of stupid. Lee Hamilton and Tom Kean, the former chair and vice chair of the 9/11 Commission, called yesterday for a complete review of the US counter-terrorism poicies.
From the the Christian Science Monitor:
“The threat we currently face is dramatically different from twelve years ago,” they write in a letter released Wednesday.
“We need to review our current strategies to ensure that we have the smartest counterterrorism policies in place so tragedies, like the one we are remembering today, do not happen again.”
The report also calls for the government to incorporate lessons learned from the Boston bombings into the its current emergency-response plan “to ensure a more measured reaction to tragic but small-scale terrorist attacks.”
The Boston bombings were “an undeniably tragic but comparatively modest terrorist incident” that closed down not only the Boston suburb where the Tsarnaev brothers fled, “but the entire Boston metropolitan area” as well as Logan International Airport.
“It is a problem,” the report’s authors argue, “that the response such incidents provoke from the government is often disproportionate to the threat they pose to the public.”
In Syria in particular, the civil war may be providing Al Qaeda “with a chance to regroup, train, and plan operations, much as the US invasion of Iraq revitalized the network and gave it new relevance,” notes the report.
While these Al Qaeda groups have been busy expanding in other parts of the globe, within the confines of the United States, the threat of attacks “has shifted away from plots directly connected to foreign groups,” in the report’s estimation, “to plots by individuals who are merely inspired by them.”
All fine and dandy, but will most-likely be swept under the rug of security.
Just to show — President Obama yesterday way-quietly continued the terror war by re-signing the Declaration of National Emergency, put in place by George Jr. on Sept. 14, 2001. Said our august, supposedly peacemaker-scholar: “The terrorist threat that led to the declaration on September 14, 2001, of a national emergency continues,” wrote President Obama. “For this reason, I have determined that it is necessary to continue in effect after September 14, 2013, the national emergency with respect to the terrorist threat.”