September 8th, 2011

9/11, 10 Years Later


photo credit: Storm Crypt

“The world changed after 9/11,” we’re commonly told.

What this idea conveys is not that the geologic landscape of the earth was altered, nor that forces outside our control morphed on that fateful day. Rather, it means that “We, the People” changed. Our collective concerns, focus, fears, anxieties, beliefs, attitudes and philosophies are often unrecognizable from ten short years ago.

A decade later, we are provided with ample evidence of how drastic a change has been made.

In the name of security, we allow ourselves, our wives, and our children to be unnecessarily molested and irradiated by strangers. In the name of efficiency, we embrace a national security apparatus that shows complete disdain for the Fourth Amendment. In the name of thoroughness, we permit our emails, mail, phone calls, library records, and any other information to be intercepted, catalogued, and reviewed by faceless federal bureaucrats without a warrant.

In the name of patriotism, we wear apparel with flags and verbally affirm our “support” for the troops (whatever it is they’re up to). In the name of victory, we throw trillions of dollars and thousands of lives at the Middle East, hoping for success. In the name of persistence, we drop bombs on any country we please, carry out secret “black ops” in 75 countries, and patrol foreign skies with heavily armed drones.

In the name of strength, we elect politicians who cripple us with fear. In the name of loyalty, we believe without question the government’s theory of what occurred on 9/11, and derisively dismiss those who object. In the name of doing our part, we monitor the lives and behavior of those around us, and rat them out to the government if something appears fishy.

In the name of security, we have exchanged our liberty—with thunderous applause. As Benjamin Franklin foresaw, we now have neither.

American politicians have done what the supposed terrorists themselves never could: created an atmosphere of fear, done away with individual rights, and openly bled us of both blood and treasure.

In the decade since 9/11, America has become its worst enemy.

14 Responses to “9/11, 10 Years Later”

  1. JR
    September 8, 2011 at 2:31 pm #

    Adding insult to injury is the fulfillment of Osama bin Laden’s vocal and repeated pronouncement of what a real victory against the U.S. would look like — pulling the U.S. into multiple smaller, long-lasting and terminally expensive wars that eventually bankrupt the country. Though Noam Chomsky’s recent post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/noam-chomsky/was-there-an-alternative-_b_950216.html) about an “alternative” to 9/11 is definitely left-of-center, many of the points he brings up are right on the money.

    It’s time we supported our troops by bringing them home.

  2. Ryan Smith
    September 8, 2011 at 4:30 pm #

    I couldn’t agree more, Connor. If the statists wanted more control of the U.S., they couldn’t have played this any better than (I believe) they did. If it feels planned, it’s because it was.

  3. Clumpy
    September 9, 2011 at 4:30 am #

    @JR I’ve grown to believe that what you describe was never part of Bin Laden’s original plan, but that our actions post-9/11 nevertheless do constitute a sort of victory for Al Qaeda for the same reasons that Bin Laden retroactively claimed he’d intended all along.

  4. JJL9
    September 12, 2011 at 2:55 pm #

    It doesn’t really matter what Bil Laden’s intentions were. But it does matter what the actual outcome was/is.

    On a side note, I saw multiple Utah politicians tweeting about an event happening last night in Sandy at “The Healing Field” in Sandy, Utah.

    I don’t know what the Healing Field is and I don’t want to know. They said they were going to sit there are read the name of each person that lost their life to the attacks on 9-11.

    I have to say that the deification and sainthood placed on the victims and the first responders of 9-11 is incredibly baffling and eery to me.

    Is it just me?

    Don’t get me wrong. The victims died unnecessary and tragic deaths. The actions of the first responders and many citizens were heroic.

    But people die just unnecessarily every day. Every day. And their deaths are just as tragic. Their families too will never see them again in this life, in this world. There is no difference. None. No difference at all between someone who died tragically today and someone who died in the attacks on 9-11.

    Additionally, there are policemen, firemen, and average citizens who act heroically every day. Every single day. Their actions are just as heroic. They risk their lives too. They often give their lives too. There is no difference between them and the first responders on 9-11.

    Regardless of what the terrorists intended, it is shameful to allow their actions to define anything about us.

  5. Everett
    September 13, 2011 at 12:31 am #

    It’s extremely dissapointing and frustrating to see how brainwashed the general public is. They are willing to give up everything in the name of “security”. If only the they would realize how biased and bs the mainstream media is and really look at the facts.

  6. mark
    September 13, 2011 at 8:20 pm #

    You are 100% correct with this post. We are fighting several wars with the number 1 goal of not killing the enemy. I would rather the troops were home patrolling the Mexican border.

  7. Clumpy
    September 16, 2011 at 2:30 pm #

    @Mark They might not be in as much danger and killing as many people but they’d still be in the service of a largely imagined threat that could be better addressed through changes of policy and not militarism.

  8. mark
    September 17, 2011 at 8:54 pm #

    Clumpy. I can live with that stategy. The current mess over there is beyond belief. If the US is NOT going to kill the “enemy” why be there in the first place? I like your strategy better.

  9. Clumpy
    September 19, 2011 at 3:08 pm #

    Yeah, I agree – why take out thousands of our own citizens and hundreds of thousands of theirs when it isn’t clear that we’re even working toward something beneficial in the first place? Can you drive democracy home with explosives and body armor? And why are the same people who insist on attempting to do so so determined to undermine democracy at home while “building” it in the middle east?

  10. MrJs1G
    September 30, 2011 at 11:19 am #

    I agree with almost everything in this post — almost.

    Connor’s fifth and sixth paragraphs are at the very best, willfully ignorant.

    “we wear apparel with flags and verbally affirm our “support” for the troops”
    — Erm, is there something I’m missing here? So what if “we” (ironic how you speak of America as the sole hypocrite in this post)? Why is it that you clump all “those who support the troops” into one huge homogenous mass? Some people support the troops by volunteering for veterans, others by shipping mail or care packages, and even more by pressuring politicians to bring them home. Why is it that you insinuate that this is such a negative action (or that they’re all one mass, when unequivocally, they aren’t)?

    “(whatever it is they’re up to).”
    — This implies a fairly strong sentiment of anti-soldier hysteria. Every platoon of soldiers is out to commit another Abu Ghraib if it’s capable.

    Connor, you can do much better than this. I *hope* this is willful ignorance (and even then, I’m inclined not to excuse you since you’re spewing this as if it’s a corroborated statistic or fact). Or perhaps I’m being a bit cynical here? Either way, it’s disingenuous of you to state something on a blog with thousands of readers without conducting a little bit of background research.

    “we throw trillions of dollars and thousands of lives at the Middle East”
    — Seriously…? “throw”? That’s really the best vernacular you’re able to use? There goes another chunk of respect. If you don’t spend any type of time double-checking your statements, why should we, the readers, even bother to read them?

    Establishing a fledgling democracy in Iraq. Removing a *totalitarian* dictator from power. Rebuilding infrastructure. Giving Iraqis another chance. “throw”?

    Destroying the mastermind of 9/11, embassy bombings, etc, etc. Setting a precedent for militant terrorist organizations. Nation-building. “throw”?

    “we drop bombs on any country we please”
    — Oh right, that’s why nearly 75% of casualties in Afghanistan are caused by insurgent forces and 10% is from coalition forces. That’s why most of the violence in Iraq is Muslim-on-Muslim violence.

    And please, stop with the naive 60’s “bombing for peace is like having intercourse for virginity” mindset. If the US truly dropped bombs on any country it wished, you wouldn’t see Iran, North Korea, etc on the map anymore. Again, your lack of research or analysis is painstakingly apparent.

    “patrol foreign skies with heavily armed drones”
    — And what would you rather have us do…? Carpet bomb wherever we have a murky sense of intelligence pointing to insurgent activity?

    “we elect politicians who cripple us with fear”
    — *Sigh*, you don’t give up, do you? Ever heard of the “we vs. them” mentality that you so despise? Perhaps a bit more contemplation and you’ll be about to realize this rudimentary error.

    “In the name of loyalty, we believe without question the government’s theory of what occurred on 9/11″
    — My god. And I thought it couldn’t get any worse. Have you even seen the consensus of the super majority of scientists, architects, or structural engineers on this subject?

    Oh no, better yet: the world is controlled by a singular New World Order government which has the cure to AID/S but is in denial because it wants to reap major profits from selling medication.

    There’s a reason why conspiracy theories, intelligent design, and homeopathy are dismissed by none other than the minute minorities of scientists. I hope you’re able to infer what I’m trying to imply and that I don’t have to spell this out for you.

    You seem to have the Chomsky dilemma — you state so vividly (well, that’s contestable) about what the US *shouldn’t* do. It *shouldn’t* have invaded Iraq. It *shouldn’t* have invaded Afghanistan. However, you fall flat on your face when inquired about what we *should* do instead (and no, stating something like “pull all out of the US’ troops out of the Middle East” is equivalent to stating something we *shouldn’t* do [i.e., we *shouldn’t* fight Islamic militants]).

    I concur with many statements that you make (e.g. about the PATRIOT Act, wiretapping, water boarding, etc).

    That being said, I’m getting the fairly strong impression that you simply regurgitate what others have to say without questioning the underlying assertions of their claims. I also disagree quite strongly with tactics and strategies implemented abroad, most especially in the Middle East.

    I’ve lost total respect for this blog. If you have so little substance on so important a topic, I’m afraid what I’m going to read on other posts. I was recommended by an acquaintance but if I’m not challenged by anybody in the comments, I’m most definitely going to bookmark this as a blog not to visit (and hastily condemn when brought up).

  11. JJL9
    September 30, 2011 at 11:55 am #

    What happened to MrJs1G’s comment?

  12. Connor
    September 30, 2011 at 12:00 pm #

    I saw it contained profanity so I put it into the moderation queue until I had an opportunity to edit it. It’s now edited and posted above.

  13. Mike Ebert
    October 4, 2011 at 3:17 am #

    @MrJs1G, here are some thoughts:

    This post is on how America, as a whole, has changed and thus points that speak of the average American are entirely appropriate. You can always find anecdotal evidence and outliers, but on the whole, Americans don’t do much more than put bumper stickers on their car and say “support the troops.”

    “Whatever it is they’re up to”–there are enough black ops that we don’t know about (see http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/03/AR2010060304965.html) and enough illegal and un-Constitutional actions taken by the military to be cause for serious concern. If we are to take the moral high ground, there can’t be ANY Abu Ghraibs.

    “Throw” implies waste or a haphazard course of action, and many people believe that we are wasting time, money, and lives in the various wars and “kinetic actions” we are involved in. How many people honestly believe that we are going to be done any time soon? Why haven’t the Iraqis, after 8 1/2 years (see “Government” section here: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/6804.htm) of foreign assistance, been able to stand up and take care of themselves? Did we ever find the WMDs that the Iraqi war was supposedly originally about? Why are we still fighting in Afghanistan after Bin Laden is dead? What is the plan to be finished with Libya? After spending trillions on these wars, have we eliminated the threats to the United States, or exacerbated them by acting in a way that would provide fuel for fundamentalist movements?

    Many of the problems with the “nation building” the US is doing are tied to the fact that the United States is violating other nations’ sovereignty left and right and that there is no Constitutional basis for nation building or deposing tyrants. We’re building tons of infrastructure overseas while neglecting ours. We are “building democracies” while our Constitutional rights are eroded further and further. We have a serious beam to take out of our own eye before we can go removing motes (or beams) from our brothers’, and we should not be trying to be the world’s police force.

    Is it worth the loss of thousands (and tens or even hundreds of thousands, such as documented here: http://www.iraqbodycount.org/) more lives than were lost in the events of 9/11 to kill one man? How many Americans have died because of terrorist actions since 9/11? I seriously doubt we’re under a real terrorist threat because virtually nothing has happened to the enormous, soft target that is the United States. Don’t tell me it’s because we’ve been catching all the threats, either. Terrorism could be as simple as dropping a box of tacks on a crowded freeway, submitting bomb threats to schools, clipping power cables, and a hundred other things that are brain dead easy, don’t need serious premeditation, and would cause mass havoc and confusion.

    Rather than patrolling foreign skies with armed drones or “carpet bomb wherever we have a murky sense of intelligence”, those planes should be parked on American soil, but ready at a moment’s notice if we should need them to take care of a real imminent threat, not shadows and imagined terrorists.

    “In the name of loyalty, we believe without question the government’s theory of what occurred on 9/11.” Your response to this statement, whether the statement was correct or not, highlights a serious problem with politics today. You don’t agree, so you’re going to mock. That pushes away anyone you would sway to your position. The problem with 9/11 is that, like it or not, there are unanswered questions, diverging opinions, and contradictory evidence and American’s haven’t bothered to understand the details or the reports of what happened that day or the actions that resulted, even if they would have come to the same conclusions as the majority of scientists. For example, I bet most Americans couldn’t give a satisfactory answer as to why we went into Iraq when it was Bin Laden in Afghanistan and Pakistan that orchestrated the 9/11 attacks. Furthermore, there is hardly a consensus of opinion on 9/11. Besides all the “truther” websites, not even half of an international audience believes that it was Al-Qaeda that carried out the attacks. See the polls referenced here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/September_11_attacks_opinion_polls#cite_note-.27.27World_Public_Opinion.27.27-1

    Re: Chomsky dilemma–the problem with your statements about a Chomsky dilemma is that this post was not meant to offer an alternative path for the past or to propose future actions–it was to highlight the negative things that happened to bring us to where we are, things that shouldn’t have happened. Maybe we should ask Connor to make his recommendations for future actions and see what he comes up with when that’s his intent.

    Saying Connor hasn’t done any research or that he is willfully ignorant is silly when his post contains 15 links in 9 paragraphs. You haven’t provided even one for your assertions or supposed proof. “I’m getting the fairly strong impression that you simply regurgitate what others have to say without questioning the underlying assertions of their claims” seems to describe you more than Connor.

  14. MrJs1G
    October 22, 2011 at 7:46 pm #

    @Mike Ebert

    I replied to your post but it seems Connor didn’t like it (perhaps because of the links?). It was a rather long post, and I hope he approves it; I don’t feel like re-writing 2,000 words.

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