Hello dear reader(s)!
Unless you are living under a rock, you probably know that yesterday was the 15th anniversary of 9/11 (or 11/9 in just about every other country in the world). And so yesterday I wrote about something other than that, knowing that just about every other post in my Reader and on my Facebook would have something to do with it. And I was right, it was like Uncle Sam and Betsy Ross hosted an orgy all over social media.
9/11. Never Forget. 9/11. Never Forget. 9/11, fine…never forget, but how about we just fucking get over it already. (Not the people who lost someone, I’m not that harsh.)
9/11 is the day the terrorists won. They kicked our fucking ass, and we are so blinded by a sense of vengeance that we can’t even see it. After 9/11, despite all the speeches, despite all the flag waving, despite the members of Congress deciding to ignore that whole separation of church and state thing by singing GOD Bless America on the capitol steps as a show of impotent Congressmen (and a couple of women) pretending to be strong in the face of awful attacks before playing right into the hands of those who were the masterminds…we ceded any notion of our nation being one of freedom and inclusion.
Law enforcement took advantage. Things they have been trying to get passed into law for years but were rejected due to that pesky Constitution were suddenly re-branded with the word “patriot” (the most misunderstood word in modern history) and lumped into one giant bill that your Congress person probably didn’t read before voting it through out of fear as being seen as unpatriotic. Fourth amendment? Who needs a fourth amendment? We have terror!
We went into Afghanistan, but instead of hunting the masterminds and any official accused of harboring them, we decided they needed our freedom. We decided to create and attempt to prop up a weak and corrupt government. We could have gone in, wiped out the people responsible, and left. Instead we sent in troops with an unclear mission, no exit strategy, and their hands tied behind their back. And we are still there.
And knowing that Americans were now afraid of every middle eastern brown person. Our beloved President Dubya decided to get revenge on the man who once gave a headache to his daddy by falsifying evidence, and going into a war without the support of our allies, destabilizing the region, and starting Daesh (what you incorrectly call ISIS).
The military industrial complex (dangerous regardless of President) then decided to use America’s new fear of middle eastern brown people and chose to overthrow a dictator (awful, but stable) in Libya, and of course, to push for “regime change” in Syria (strengthening Daesh).
Daesh, the group we fear the most, is a direct result of the fear created by 9/11. Fear breeds fear.
2.977 people were killed in the attacks on 9/11. Tragic, awful attacks. I feel for everyone who lost someone so needlessly.
We condemn a whole religion. We talk about carpet bombing nations of poor people caught among power-hungry mad-men. We bankrupt our treasury and incur massive amounts of debt because we fear something that in the grand scheme of things is not something to fear.
We subject ourselves to ridiculous and ineffective security theater just to get on a plane. You can’t keep your shoes and belt on, can’t bring a bottle of water, have to stand in a machine that lets people see you naked (and have been recorded), all so they can catch only 5% of the threats their own agency sneaks through. 5%. And never mind that now those ridiculous lines that increase your travel day by 3 hours are now the easiest target for terrorists.
Our communications are monitored. Our dissenters who engage in civil disobedience can be charged as domestic terrorists. Our nation is racking up more and more debt that your children and your grandchildren will suffer for, for what? Because some absolutely horrible individuals managed to commit a terrible crime 15 years ago that killed a lot of people at once, but not many people at all in the larger picture. Our response to 9/11 has weakened our nation a great deal.
They knew that we would overreact, attempt to frame this as a war between east and west, Christianity and Islam, spend way too much money on a half-assed attempt to beat shadowy figures, thus inspiring more people to come after us, and take from our people the very freedoms we claim to fight for; all in the name of security we simply don’t have.
Do you think the victims of the San Bernardino shooting would feel as though we are winning the war on terror?
Stopping terrorism isn’t about spending fortunes on drones to hit one guy on top of a pyramid that will soon be replaced by the guy below him. It isn’t about sending troops into regions with their hands tied and no clear mission. It isn’t about regime change, or domestic surveillance against a net of people so wide, that you allow those you actually are supposed to be watching to slip through. In fact, in a free society, you aren’t going to be able to stop terrorism. But good police work. a public who feels they can trust those police enough to report suspicious activity, and trying to figure out what we are doing that makes people want to destroy us, may help to prevent some of the worst attacks. Not ignoring the foreign intelligence reports of imminent threats might be a good idea too.
Don’t forget the people who died that day. Don’t forget the first responders and ordinary people who tried to help others.
But please, let’s all forget the fear we felt that day. Let’s forget the anger and need for justice that will never come. Let’s forget the us versus them mentality and try to be the country they attempted to (and partially did) destroy.