The Ironies of 911
While viewing America’s solemn commemoration of the eighth anniversary of 911, I began to reflect upon its many ironies. The very first thing that came to mind was Dick Cheney’s claim that the Bush administration’s policies have kept us safe. My second thought was, he must think we’re crazy–and far too many of us are.
When one looks upon the trauma, anger, and pain still etched upon the face of America eight years after the loss of 3000 of its citizens, one can only imagine what the Iraqi people are feeling after the documented murder (by name) of over 101,552 innocent men, women, and Iraqi children. Only after we begin to recognize the gravity of the atrocity that we committed in Iraq will America begin to understand that we will never be safe until we make the people responsible for that carnage accountable for their actions.
Americans have a tendency to discount the valued lives of people from other countries. We tend to forget that people outside our borders grieve and mourn the loss of their loved ones just as we do in here in America. So even as eight years later we grieve and commemorate the loss of 3000 Americans, the unjust murder of 101,552 innocent Iraqis–Iraqis whose only sin was that they sat on one of the world’s largest oil deposits–tend to be just an abstract number to us. But as we mourn our own, we should stop to consider what that number represents.
If as we grieved we stopped to consider that since the population of Iraq is only one tenth that of the United States, in order for a terrorist group to reap the level of carnage and destruction upon us that we’ve perpetrated upon the people of Iraq, they’d have to kill one million and seventy-one thousand innocent American men, women, and children. Maybe then as we grieve over the loss of 3000 American lives, we’d begin to imagine what the people of Iraq must be feeling.
We’d also begin to recognize that each one of those 102 thousand innocent Iraqis have friends and family who see us in the very same way that Americans look upon Osama Bin Laden. Then add to that, that if an undocumented worker can simply walk across the Rio Grande, so can an undocumented terrorist. Yet, Dick Cheney insist on talking to us like we’re idiots. Considering the above facts, do you feel safer? If you do, you’re a fool. American safety is a myth, and Cheney knows it. The fact is, one of the reasons we may not have been hit again in the past eight years is because Osama reasoned that Bush and Cheney was doing such a good job of destroying America, why should he waste perfectly good terrorists.
But life is about more than just being safe; there’s also a moral component to this story. As we mourn the unjust deaths of our American compatriots, that anguish should be coupled with our outrage over that very same kind of injustice (multiplied thirty-four fold) that’s been perpetrated upon the Iraqi people in our name. Our failure to do address this issue desecrates the memory of those we’ve lost, since those 3000 Americans didn’t just die at the hands of terrorists, they, ultimately, died at the hands of injustice.
So the enemy is not just Osama Bin Laden. The true enemy is the moral depravation that Osama represents, and under the guise of avenging our dead, the Bush administration perpetuated the very same kind of moral depravation in Iraq, and much more.
And for what? The 911 victims are still dead, and America is no better off than we were on September 12, 2001. On September 12, 2001 Osama Bin Laden was strutting around in the hills of Afghanistan thumbing his nose at America, and as I write this article on September 16, 2009, Osama Bin Laden is still strutting around in the hills of Afghanistan thumbing his nose at America.
The only difference between our situation today, and the day after 911, is that 4106 young American troops have joined the victims of 911 in death, and over 100,000 more have been wounded and left to live lives that will never be the same. In addition, America’s stature in the world has been irreparably damaged, the U.S. Treasury has been ravaged, our economy has been brought to its knees, and the United States Constitution has been savagely attacked.
So the fact is, we’re much worse off than we were the day after 911. America trusted Bush and Cheney to avenge our dead and protect our interests, but instead, they ignored our dead and promoted their own interests. Instead of going after Osama and making us safe, they went after Iraqi oil and enriched their cronies. So the irony is, if it was Osama Bin Laden’s goal to bring America to its knees, the Bush administration was his closest, most valuable ally. Bush, Cheney, and their GOP cohorts have done more to damage America than any outside terrorist could ever hope to. Osama hit us at the perfect time–at a time when greed, irresponsibility, and corruption was at the helm of state. As a result, with the assistance of the GOP and Bush administration, Osama has been uniquely successful in changing the character of America–possibly, forever.
The excesses of these so-called super-patriots that we trusted to protect America played right into Bin Laden’s hands. Even through America’s pain these so-called patriots remained true to their unconscionable creed–“Never let a good crisis go to waste.” They took America’s pain after 911 and used it to solidify their power, weaken our American ideals and institutions, then enriched themselves and their cronies. As a result, they’ve come just short of turning the United States into a Banana Republic.
And the horror is, they’re not done. Consistent in their creed, they’ve become even more ruthless out of power. Even as I speak the institution of the presidency is under attack, there’s an asserted effort afoot to destroy the American economy, and elected officials are encouraging insurrection and even secession from the union. Even as they mount a direct assault on America, they tell us they’re keeping us safe, while they themselves are America’s greatest threat.
So President Obama’s hands are indeed full. He’s being force to protect the United States from enemies both at home and abroad, even as he tries to repair the worst economic destruction to America in the last seventy years, and he’s not going to be able to pull us out of this alone.
This nation’s founding fathers must be turning over in their graves as they watch the blatant sabotage of this nation. And if we listen closely, we can hear them screaming for all true Americans to stand in firm solidarity behind this president and help him to save this nation.
But at the same time, they’re also speaking to the president. This is no time for the expediency of making deals with the devil. While our political initiatives are important, nothing is more important than protecting this nation from the insurrection and tyranny from within, and the hatred created through our own tyranny abroad. These issues must be addressed, and they can only be addressed through the strict adherence to the rule of law. We cannot afford the luxury of having anyone who’s too big to fall. We can no more expect to move forward with tyrants and war criminals within our midst than we could allow others to move forward if they were holding Osama Bin Laden. These monsters simply must be brought to justice–not only to atone for their brutalities abroad, but to address a growing malignancy here at home.
So as I watched the solemn ceremonies honoring our dead, it was clear that the greatest irony of 911 by far was the fact that those we trusted to protect this nation against further assault became so drunk from eight years of unfettered power that they’ve overshadow Osama Bin Laden himself, as the greatest threat to America. And just like on the morning of 911, the American people don’t seem to have a clue to the danger just over the horizon, and heading their way.