emptywheel

9/11: A Story of Attacks, Horror, Victims, Heroes and Jingoistic Shame

screen-shot-2016-09-11-at-2-54-38-amSeptember 11, 2001 is now 15 years in the mirror of life. Like the two Kennedy assassinations, the Moonshot and a few other events in life, it is one of those “yeah I remember where I was when…” moments. Personally, being on west coast time, I was just waking up thinking all I had was a normal morning court calendar. When my wife, who gets up far earlier than I, shouted at me to rub out the cobwebs and watch the TV because something was seriously wrong in New York City. She was right. It was a hell of a day, one of unspeakable tragedy and indescribable heroism. It was truly all there in one compact day, unlike any other, save maybe December 7, 1941.

2,996 people lost their lives, and their families and history were forever altered in the course of hours on an otherwise clear and beautiful day in Manhattan. Most were simply innocent victims, but many were the epitome of heroes who charged into a hellscape to try to salvage any life they could. There were other heroes that altered their lives in response, and either died or were forever changed as a result. One was a friend of mine from South Tempe, Pat Tillman.

No one can speak for Pat Tillman, and, save for his family, those who claim to only prove they never met the man. All I can say is, I wish he were here today. The one thing that is certain is he would not give the prepackaged trite partisan reaches you are likely to hear today. It would be unfiltered truth. Which the US did not get from its leaders after September 11, 2001, and is still missing today.

Instead of rallying and solidifying the oneness of the American citizenry that was extant immediately after September 11, 2001, the Bush/Cheney Administration and GOP told us to go shopping and that we needed to invade Iraq, who had nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11. It was a fools, if not devil’s, errand and a move that threw away an opportunity for greatness from the country and exploited it in favor of war crimes and raw political power expansion and consolidation.

Instead of gelling the United States to make ourselves better as the “Greatest Generation” did sixty years before, America was wholesale sold a bill of goods by a determined group of unreformed and craven Neo-Con war criminals left over from the Vietnam era, and we were led down the path to a war of aggression that was an unmitigated disaster we have not only not recovered from today, but are still compounding.

The 2000’s will prove to be a decade of American shame when history is written decades from now. Not from the attacks, but from our craven response thereto. So, pardon me if I join Colin Kaepernick and choose not to join, every Sunday, just because the Madison Avenue revenue generating NFL of Roger Goodell cravenly exploits it, the jingoistic bullshit of rote dedication to a racist National Anthem. Also, too, shame on opportunistic and Constitutionally ignorant whiny police unions who scold free speech and threaten to abandon their jobs in the face of it.

powell_un_anthraxBut that is all over now surely. Taking the United States, nee the world, to a forever war on the wings of a craven lie is universally recognized, condemned and scorned, right?

No. The Neo-Cons are unrepentant and still trying to advance themselves on the lie that their once and forever war justifies more than their prosecution and conviction in The Hague. Here is a belligerent and unrepentant Dick Cheney passing the torch of evil to his spawn Liz Cheney in the august pages of the Wall Street Journal:

We are no longer interrogating terrorists in part because we are no longer capturing terrorists. Since taking office, the president has recklessly pursued his objective of closing the detention facility at Guantanamo by releasing current detainees—regardless of the likelihood they will return to the field of battle against us. Until recently, the head of recruitment for ISIS in Afghanistan and Pakistan was a former Guantanamo detainee, as is one of al Qaeda’s most senior leaders in the Arabian Peninsula.

As he released terrorists to return to the field of battle, Mr. Obama was simultaneously withdrawing American forces from Iraq and Afghanistan. He calls this policy “ending wars.” Most reasonable people recognize this approach as losing wars.

Times may change, but the bottomless pit of Cheney lies and evil do not. As Charlie Savage pointed out on Twitter, the two terrorists the Cheneys refer to were actually released back to the “field of battle” by Bush and Cheney, not Obama. Was Obama involved in the story? Yes, he would be the one who actually tracked them down and killed them.

And then there is the failure to learn the lessons of the failed torture regime Bush and Cheney instituted as the hallmark of the “War on Terror”. Our friend, and former colleague, Spencer Ackerman has a must read three part series over the last three days in The Guardian (Part One, Part Two and Part Three) detailing how the CIA rolled the Obama Administration and prevented any of the necessary exposure, accountability and reform that was desperately needed in the aftermath of the torture regime and war of aggression in Iraq. It will take a while, but read all three parts. It is exasperating and maddening. It is also journalism at its finest.

And so, as we glide through the fifteenth anniversary of September 11, what are we left with from our response to the attacks? A destabilized world, an ingraining of hideous mistakes and a domestic scene more notable for jingoism and faux patriotism than dedication to the founding principles that America should stand for.

That is not what the real heroes, not only of 9/11 but the totality of American history, died to support and protect. In fact, it is an insult to their efforts and lives. If America wants to win the “War on Terror”, we need to get our heads out of our asses, quit listening to the neocons, war mongers, and military industrial complex Dwight Eisenhower warned us about, and act intelligently. This requires a cessation of adherence to jingoistic and inane propaganda and thought, and a focus on the principles we are supposed to stand for.

Bmaz is a rather large saguaro cactus in the Southwestern Sonoran desert. A lover of the Constitution, law, family, sports, food and spirits. As you might imagine, a bit prickly occasionally. Bmaz has attended all three state universities in Arizona, with both undergraduate and graduate degrees from Arizona State University, and with significant post-graduate work (in physics and organic chemistry, go figure) at both the University of Colorado in Boulder and the University of Arizona. Married, with both a lovely child and a giant Sasquatch dog. Bmaz has been a participant on the internet since the early 2000’s, including active participation in the precursor to Emptywheel, The Next Hurrah. Formally joined the Emptywheel blog as an original contributing member at its founding in 2007. Bmaz grew up around politics, education, sports and, most significantly, cars; notably around Formula One racing and Concours de Elegance automobile restoration and showing. Currently lives in the Cactus Patch with his lovely wife and beast of a dog, and practices both criminal and civil trial law.
9 replies
  1. martin says:

    quote”Posted in 2016 Presidential Election, Bush Administration, Culture, Fuckstickery, Galactic Stupidity, Ideas and Ideology, Intelligence, Neoliberalism, Republicans, Unitary Executive, War “unquote

    Bravo bmaz!!!

  2. seedeevee says:

    “She was right. It was a hell of a day, one of unspeakable tragedy and indescribable heroism. It was truly all there in one compact day, unlike any other, save maybe December 7, 1941.”

    There’s a big world out there.

  3. Procopius says:

    I don’t like that “indescribable heroism.” First of all it’s described a lot. Second, this is what people do. Yes, we should praise the people who do more, but people do the same things when the Hellfire missile from a drone hits their neighbor’s house, or when an AC-47 gunship targets the hospital where they’re working. It’s also what they do when a flash flood washes away their neighborhood or a brush fire suddenly shifts direction. Ratchet down the superlatives, please.

  4. magchiel c matthijsen says:

    ‘A decade of American shame’ how true, or is it even worse? Since Saturday we know that the NIST report on WTC7 is a complete lie. Prof Hulsey with his team (from UAF) has told the Justice in Focus 911 conference in New York that the result of his meticulous investigation is that WTC7 did not went down because of fire. Since that day we’re playing on a different football field! No conspiracy theorist anymore except the NIST supporters…

  5. What Constitution? says:

    Thanks, bmaz. But hey, has ‘Murikan Football perfected the monetization of PATRIOTISM and big flag ceremonies since then, or what? How ’bout running out both GWB and Obama (the first just happy to be there and not in The Hague, and what was the second doing appearing on the same bill — except for also not being in The Hague?) to pump us all up before the Patriots-Cardinals game! What we need is more bread and more circuses, that’s for sure.

    Maybe the 30th anniversary will be different.

  6. Evangelista says:

    When all the dust and smoke settles and all the rage and outrage and crying and decrying are done, when all the pathos and bathos have been exploited and all the bullshit blathered, the 09/11/2001 Guerilla Attack against the World Trade Center Complex in New York City, USA will settle in history as what it simply was: The most astoundingly and astonishingly and magnificently successful guerrilla attack of human history.

    From an effective nickel-and-dime start a small group of about a dozen disgruntled guerrilla aggressors made tools owned and operated by their enemies to become weapons, and used those improvised weapons (improvised exploding devices), so effectively, at so little cost to themselves, wreaking such a relatively miniscule amount of damage, to create so huge a tsunami-wave of self-destructive response. A response that destroyed the United States as a respectable and reputable nation.

    Never has so small an expenditure wreaked so much havoc on any enemy nation, large or small. Or, rather, induced so much over-reacting and self-destroying.

    The United States has, since 09/11/2001, been continuously wrecking itself. It has entirely undone itself from what it was. From first principles through respect and international reputation, the United States has rent its fabrics, throwing away its Liberty, shredding its Constitution, destroying the freedoms and ideals that made it what it was.

    All for outrage at less than a dozen guerrillas causing les than a half dozen explosions whose destructive powers, combined, hardly camne to a ton of dynamite.

    Never in Human History have so few, using so little induced so many to do so stupidly do so much to so throughly destroy themselves and all they stood for and stood upon as a People and a nation.

    • rugger9 says:

      Many of the Shrub Administration communications from that time are still missing, most of them were on the RNC servers, subjected to repeated Congressional subpoenas blown off by Cheney and the gang. Somehow we are asked to believe the “handwritten notes” from that day would be the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
      *
      http://www.rawstory.com/2016/09/that-time-george-w-bushs-white-house-lost-22-million-emails/
      *
      I also need to remind folks that the two terrorists released and found on the battlefield were released by Cheney / Bush, and not Obama (who killed them but was blamed by Cheney and his spawn anyway).
      *
      Also Christie’s private server was being used for Bridgegate comms, and is now under a court-ordered search a couple of months after he thundered about the impropriety of Clinton’s email scandal.
      *
      Where are Trump’s emails on Putin and Bondi and Greg Abbott?

      • Evangelista says:

        rugger9,

        “Where are Trump’s emails…? ”

        Somewhere in the flood of outrage, incredulity and accusation boiled out about Trump during the last some-odd months was, as I recall, a notation that Donald Trump does not use email.

        I cannot vouch the accuracy of the information, which I heard only in passing, and at a time when Hillary Clinton had only one Blackberry and was so electronic-communications challenged that she had that, and hadn’t changed from it because it was what she learned on and was all she could handle; learning any other device being worlds beyond her…

        The pundits, after affirming Hillary’s asserted electronic illiteracy undoubtedly the case, and natural for an older person, and a woman, of course, pronounced, if memory serves me, that ‘The Donald’s’ email ellipsia, however, was due to Neanderthalia and dementia. Almost immediately thereafter, when he bloomed onto Twitter, the previously released information about his “inability” to email may have become lost in the chaos and clamor that then erupted, to gain him about ten billion dollars worth of publicity coverage, 24-7 in all markets, which, though slowed today, continues, and seems to be exempting Donald from having to do non-stop, marathon and back-to-back fundraisers, like Hillary is being seen doing.

  7. rugger9 says:

    Also, look at what HRC did for the 9-11 responders, forcing the BUSH WH to address their medical issues while a NY Senator. Trump bragged how his 40 Trump building was now the tallest in NYC, took 150,000 of government funds and did nothing at all to help anyone. Some New Yorker.

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