It's been a long 8 years. Back on 9/10/2001, Dubya was a lazy ineffectual president, thrust into office on the heels of a controversial Supreme Court decision, and destined to be a one-term president like his father. When people say "9/11 changed everything", they couldn't be more right. It's the sad height of irony that his bumbling allowed the horror of 9/11 to happen, which likely ensured his reelection 3 years later. The cries of "never again" and "never forget" were used as a bludgeon for some of the worst abuses to rights and common sense we've ever seen.
Over the past 8 years, we've seen:
- 9/11 used as an excuse to invade Iraq, a country with no ties to 9/11
- Torture programs implemented with the justification that it was to prevent a "smoking gun from becoming a mushroom cloud".
- Political dissent equated to treason
- Liberalism equated to treason
- Laws passed circumventing the 4th, 6th, and 8th Amendments in the Bill of Rights
- People arrested for exercising their 1st Amendment rights
- Racial profiling, hatred, and legal harrassment against anyone that looked or sounded middle-eastern
- Revolting acts of political posturing by politicians and pundits who never served in the military (chickenhawks)
- A private army outside of the law given free reign in another country, and contractors given a blank check, creating some of the worst war profiteering abuses ever seen.
we forget? We were reminded at every turn. There were the bumper stickers proclaiming "we stand united!" (what was wrong with the original "united we stand"?), the yellow ribbon magnets (made in China), everyone asking "I support the troops - do YOU
support the troops??" in a passive-aggressive attempt to derail any critical discussion of the war.
Who can forget the demonizing of any country that chose not to get involved in the invasion of Iraq, particularly France? Despite that country's bailing our asses out during wartime on more than one occasion, they were held up for derision by talk show hosts and politicians. A local restaurant poured all of its French wine out into the river. The congressional cafeteria changed the name of "french fries" to "freedom fries".
Anyone who dared question the official story about 9/11 was marginalized or deemed a kook, despite evidence that should raise anyone's eyebrows (anyone who has seen the documentary Loose Change
knows what I mean). Cynthia McKinney was drummed out of office for daring to wonder about these things out loud.
Most disgusting, however, is that 9/11 was thrown up in our faces by those with no first-hand experience of the horror (see My 9/11 story
). I can't count how many times I had to counter "have you forgotten 9/11??" with "no, I never will - I was there. Were you?". It's interesting that those in NYC and survivors of those who perished were those most likely to want to put it behind them, and/or questioned the official story.
In the supposed effort to prevent another 9/11, and under the guise of "never again", we've lost more soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan than lives were lost on 9/11. We failed to learn the lesson that Russia learned in Afghanistan - that the people there will outlast your ability to pay for your attempts to conguer them.
I hope that anything like 9/11/2001 never happens again. I hope we have a president that actually reads the PDBs with names like "Bin Laden determined to strike inside America". If by some chance it should occur again, however, I hope we as a nation will look back at what transpired the past 8 years and proclaim "never again".