In which I rant
I got a posting that included this bit from a friend of the family responding to this op-ed this morning:
Nicely written article but it does not address the interesting point that the war was brought to our shores first on Sept, 2001. We were not looking for a war. We were doing our thing, quietly in our open society.
The op-ed itself is worth a read. My rant probably much less so. But for the record, my rant lies below the fold. It is much more a riff on the “brought to our shores on 9/11” than the cogent arguments of the op-ed. But it is early, I am bleary, and I wanted to capture this before I was clear eyed and in control enough of my faculties to edit myself.
You know what? We could have beat Bin Laden if that’s what we really tried to do. Attacking Iraq, where the vast majority of our blood and treasure has been spent in this war, had not the slightest thing to do with Bin Laden. THIS was was NOT brought to our shore. THIS war was started by us, illegally, for no reason that has yet been honestly shared with us lowly plebes. THIS war, the war against Iraq, was a travesty that America will have to repent of.
Now, the other war, the war that was brought to our shores, the war against Bin Laden and terrorists, that war we never fought effectively and gave up in 2003. You can complain about Clinton all you want, but the Bush administration has not done any more effective a job of prosecuting THAT war.
What the Bush administration HAS done is make us take our shoes off at airports. It has given us “threat levels”. It has tapped our phones. It has created National Security Letters and gag orders that are abandoned whenever challenged, but have only been challenged in three of 50,000 uses. It has birthed a police state that could be lifted from the pages of Orwell right here, on our shore. We have done this to ourselves under this administration while we hold others captive with no due process and torture the innocent and guilty alike in search of answers to questions we don’t even know how to ask. What the Bush administration has done is disassemble America piece by piece. Clinton never did that. But you know what? We allowed this to pass. We have to fix it. America IS a country of the people, and we have been sleeping through these eight years, afraid of threat level orange and a few terrorist bombs, afraid enough to sacrifice our core values. We must wake up to what has happened on these shores and reverse it.
How did this come to pass? I believe it is because we have been, fundamentally, COWARDS. Every last one of us. What, exactly, is wrong with “war” coming to our shores? Doesn’t war hit every country on earth? Why, exactly, should it not hit our blessed land, our only remaining superpower? So three thousand citizens died. What if their death had been defending our freedoms, defending American values? 9/11 could have been a moment when America stood up to the fear that terrorism tries to instill and said “we will not be afraid, we will not cower, we will not waste our blood and treasure, we will stay focused and resolute, we will celebrate the very values that make such attacks possible, THIS IS AMERICA”. We could have gone after Bin Laden, but the way to get Bin Laden is not with armies, that should be obvious to anyone who knows the first thing about terrorists. It is black ops, it is quiet, it is focussed, it is stealthy. Oddly enough, it is the way the Clinton administration pursued the matter.
Do not fool yourself. It is fine to support the Bush administration, but don’t think for an instant that they were serious about Bin Laden. They were fools on that score, not even listening to their own intelligence and military advisors. They were fools, but they were not stupid, this administration knows exactly what it was doing. The Bush administration has been about power and business. The business is the business interests of war, look where our federal budget has been diverted during this fiasco. Who has benefited? Certainly not us, the war we have fought has not even made us safer from terrorism, that was never the point. Who has benefited? The power was about two kinds of power: oil and political power at home. On the oil front they misjudged, they never really understood the can of worms they were opening up, they have failed to secure the access they were aiming for in Iraq. What a shame. On the political power front they have done pretty well. Here the goal was to disassemble the federal government so that whoever came next could not effectively undo the business web they created. We now have mercenary armies, mercenary logistics, incredibly fat wallets, all in the control of agencies outside our government. Inside government agencies have been discredited and demoralized, they will take decades to rebuild. How will anyone effectively police the bandits when the sheriff’s office has been taken apart so thoroughly? That has been the point of the past eight years. 9/11 was convenient for this crew. It was used. It was not resolved and nothing they did was truly in response to the challenges it laid at our door. What was done was for the benefit of a super-governmental cast of businesses that want to be able to maintain power well beyond the eight year boundary of any presidential term. Support Bush if you like, but don’t be blinded about what you are supporting.
Welcome to America. It was not the planes of 9/11 that made us as we are today. It was not Bin Laden or terrorists. It was our own fear, our own eagerness to keep shopping as if nothing was changing, our own credulous faith in our leaders. It is time to wake up and look at what we have dreamt up. Is this the America we want to give our children? Is this an America we are proud of?