The aftershocks of 9/11 have generated a bizarre collective amnesia.
Strangely, both the media and the public rarely mention some of the most important aftershocks in the decade since 9/11. Here are some representative examples of landmark events that to this day remain mostly undiscussed.
1. No more falling skyscrapers? Few imagined that the United States could go an entire decade without another major terrorist attack — other than freelancing jihadists’ killing members of the American armed forces. Almost monthly, U.S. authorities have thwarted serial attempts to cause mayhem on airliners, bridges, city squares, shopping malls, and high-rises. It was almost as if the more we caricatured the often silly security measures at the airport, blasted Guantanamo Bay, and ridiculed renditions, the more we assumed that our security, initially thought permanently imperiled (“not if, but when”), was once again our birthright. Someone somewhere did something that kept us safe, but we were strangely afraid to acknowledge that there was any utility in the very protocols and foreign operations that had weakened our enemies to the point of an inability to replicate 9/11. If immediately after the attacks in New York and Washington we accepted that the old security was no longer possible, soon thereafter we started assuming not only that it was natural, but that, in organic fashion, it had reappeared through spontaneous regeneration.
2. The greatest political turnabout of the age. If one had collated everything candidate Obama declaimed about the Bush administration’s anti-terrorism policies from autumn of 2007 to November 2008, then one would have expected a President Obama to dismantle the entire Bush-Cheney national-security apparatus upon entering office, to pull out of Iraq (he originally said this should be done by March 2008, no less), and to keep our military out of the Middle East. Instead, Obama retained Secretary of Defense Gates, stuck to the Bush-Petraeus withdrawal plan in Iraq, expanded Predator-drone attacks in Waziristan, surged into Afghanistan, bombed Libya, and embraced everything from Guantanamo to renditions. That about-face, I think, was the most radical political development of the last quarter-century, and was treated with near silence by the media. It was as if Moveon.org, Code Pink, and Michael Moore had simply vanished from the face of the earth sometime around January 2009. The notion today that a canonized Michael Moore would be invited to a lookout perch at the 2012 Democratic Convention or that Moveon.org would run another “General Betray Us” ad is surreal. A cynic would say that the anti–War on Terror movement did its job in helping to elect Barack Obama, and then moved on, so to speak, when Barack Obama likewise did his job in continuing his predecessor’s anti-terrorism policies.
3. The taboo enemy dead. After Vietnam, who would wish to count enemy dead? To a 21st-century public, such terrible arithmetic might seem macabre, intrinsically politicized, or simply irrelevant in war. The age-old idea that killing die-hard enemies wins wars and ensures the peace is for some antithetical to the spirit of counterinsurgency doctrine, at least superficially so. Few would ever channel William Tecumseh Sherman’s frightening remarks that to win the Civil War the Union army would have to kill or humiliate several thousands of the Southern “cavalier” class, whose livelihoods depended on slavery, whose zeal had started the war, and whose boasts of martial superiority had galvanized the Confederate belief that its fighters were far better than the Northerners and could trump inferior resources.
Tens of thousands of hard-core jihadists from as far away as Algeria, Chechnya, Egypt, the Gulf monarchies, Libya, Syria, and Yemen obeyed the calls for jihad issued by the likes of Osama bin Laden, Dr. Zawahiri, and Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi. They flocked to al-Qaeda’s “main theater” of jihad in Iraq — and in Baghdad and throughout Anbar Province were killed in droves by the U.S. military and its Iraqi allies. Only off the record will military officers confess that the eventual American success in Iraq was due in some part to doing away with…………………………….
DO AMERICANS REMAIN DISTRACTED IN THE WAKE OF IMMINENT DANGER?
by One Pissed-off Vietnam Vet
Is Islamic law a promoter of freedom or oppression?
(Sep. 10, 2011) — Jobs, jobs, and more jobs.. Then there’s health care, and the start of the football season. Just by listening to any radio sport call-in talk show, you’d come away convinced that the third pick in the second round was either the biggest mistake in human history or the most brilliant decision that mankind has ever made. I’ve often thought if these guys would put a tenth of their energy into solving the world’s problems that they put into their critiquing the game of football, all of our problems would’ve been solved the day after, say, the Bears shut out the then-to- be-Lions in 1932. Think of it, thousands and thousands of brains just thinking about world peace, world hunger, world population management, the future needs of clean energy, instead of millions of brain-hours deciphering the route of the tight end in the third quarter of last night’s game: did the receiver turn the wrong way or was it an interception by a defensive genius?
I don’t know for sure, but it is my belief that after I die, I don’t think I’ll be in any position to care one way or the other who will make the wild card team this year in the Central Division, or any other, for that matter. As I said, I may be wrong, but let’s say that I’m right, and if that’s the case I won’t be caring about my health care or about the summer job availability for inner city teenagers.. My concern won’t be on the well-being of my worthless 401k, or, sad to say, my neighbor’s sick colt. So what should I do? Should I be concerned about planning for a comfortable retirement or maybe start a new business? I know the perfect location for a laundromat, because our washing machine just went kaput. Or should I be concerned about staying alive, maybe making my continued existence my Number One top priority? Here’s a bit of wisdom; I don’t know if you’ll take it or not, but when your life could very well be on the line, you are not weighing the advantages of a chocolate mousse over a scoop of vanilla with a wafer………………………
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“Even as I hope for some measure of peace and comfort to the bereaved families, I must also hope that we as a nation draw some measure of wisdom from this tragedy. Certain immediate lessons are clear, and we must act upon those lessons decisively. We need to step up security at our airports. We must reexamine the effectiveness of our intelligence networks. And we must be resolute in identifying the perpetrators of these heinous acts and dismantling their organizations of destruction.
“We must also engage, however, in the more difficult task of understanding the sources of such madness. The essence of this tragedy, it seems to me, derives from a fundamental absence of empathy on the part of the attackers: an inability to imagine, or connect with, the humanity and suffering of others. Such a failure of empathy, such numbness to the pain of a child or the desperation of a parent, is not innate; nor, history tells us, is it unique to a particular culture, religion, or ethnicity. It may find expression in a particular brand of violence, and may be channeled by particular demagogues or fanatics. Most often, though, it grows out of a climate of poverty and ignorance, helplessness and despair.
“We will have to make sure, despite our rage, that any U.S. military action takes into account the lives of innocent civilians abroad. We will have to be unwavering in opposing bigotry or discrimination directed against neighbors and friends of Middle Eastern descent. Finally, we will have to devote far more attention to the monumental task of raising the hopes and prospects of embittered children across the globe-children not just in the Middle East, but also in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe and within our own shores.”
(Excerpt) Read more at blogs.telegraph.co.uk …