9/11 ushered in a low and dishonest century.
And because we have a low and dishonest corporate media we get shit like this from Paul Krugman: “Overall, Americans took 9/11 pretty calmly. Notably, there wasn’t a mass outbreak of anti-Muslim sentiment and violence, which could all too easily have happened. And while GW Bush was a terrible president, to his credit he tried to calm prejudice, not feed it.”
It’s hard to know where to begin.
Let’s start with the obvious rejoinder. America didn’t take 9/11 calmly. We lost our mind and went bat-shit crazy. Freedom fries, anyone? We’re still dealing with the consequences of our descent into madness.
9/11 was used to turn the US into a police state thru the Patriot Act. America went on to openly torture, invade a country which had nothing to do with 9/11 and set up a worldwide assassination program. Congress also signed over essentially all of their war powers, so that any President could declare war any time for any reason. Since then we’ve invaded numerous countries in the Middle-East, following the blueprint laid out by The Project for the New American Century. Indeed, for the neocons 9/11 was the new Pearl Harbor they had dreamed about.
The vile consequences of the US’ response to 9/11 also include the financial burden on future generations. The “war on terror” conflicts are estimated to have cost $6 trillion for the US alone. That is, nearly a quarter of that nation’s total and unsustainable national debt has been saddled from the trail of destruction. The long-term detrimental impact on social development is inestimable.
For the American military-industrial complex, it has been a period of rich pickings. As historian Daniel Bessner writes: “9/11 was a godsend for an increasingly adrift American Empire.”
As we approach what could be the most contentious election since 1968 it’s crucial to acknowledge that our reaction to 9/11 made President Donald Trump possible.
It’s also important to note that we’re in this place because we have two low and dishonest political parties working together with our low and dishonest corporate media. Remember how the Republican party, led by snarling Dick Cheney, ripped the Democrats for coddling terrorists in the aftermath of 9/11. In fact, since the early years of the Cold War the GOP has attacked the Democrats as weak on defense as a way to tarnish the New Deal. Thanks to the dishonesty of our corporate press, who goes happily along with charade, this tactic is highly successful as evidenced by the continuation of the same aggressive war policies by the Obama administration.
Trump’s presidential campaign threw a monkey wrench into this tag-team affair of war and empire with his criticisms. Remember when Trump lambasted the invasion of Iraq? “Obviously, the war in Iraq was a big, fat mistake,” Trump said. “George Bush made a mistake. We can make mistakes. But that one was a beauty. We should have never been in Iraq. We have destabilized the Middle East.”
The corporate press and Beltway pundits were aghast, proclaiming in unison that Trump had sunk his presidential hopes with this foreign policy apostasy. Of course they were completely wrong. Going further, Trump won the presidency in 2016 in no small part because a considerable number of Americans had lost confidence in establishment policies that left the United States mired in what he and other critics of a militarized U.S. policy called “endless wars.”
Since then, the tag-team effort has been switched. Now the Democrats portray the Republicans, under Trump, as weak on defense, suggesting that Trump is even a Russian secret agent under the malign influence of Vladimir Putin. The upshot is that the US political system is hard-wired for endless war to maintain the American empire. 9/11 was used to super-charge this Pax-America following the neocons blueprint for martial re-invigoration following the end of the Cold War. Anyone or party who suggests otherwise will be attacked unmercifully. After all, war is the health of the state.
For those liberals who pray for Trump to be defeated so that we can return to a more sane and peaceful world, I have to say you’ve not been paying attention. 9/11 made the Democratic Party bat-shit crazy too. There’s good reason to expect that a Biden administration would be more bellicose than a Trump one. Even though Biden has occasionally suggested we should end the “forever wars”, overall he’s been campaigning for his first term far closer to the militaristic end of the spectrum than any president in recent memory.
America’s reaction to 9/11 made all of this not just possible but inevitable. Going further, America under Trump is like a patient who needs to be dragged kicking and screaming into therapy.
Look in the mirror–this is you.