On this day eighteen years ago today another war began, a war that continues to this day, a war that was, eventually subsumed and engorged by lies and fear, driven by greed and stupidity and hubris, and that ended up covering the bodies piled up here - in New York City and Washington D.C. and a field in Pennsylvania - with piles and heaps and mountains of bodies; bodies of innocent women, of small children, of innocents without so much as a drop of blood on their hands, with young men and women sent to fight and kill and die for those lies and that fear.
And those who shed that blood and took those lives?
"Don't you wonder if they ever pause on September 11 every year and ponder how they all used the dead of that awful day for their own purposes, to fulfill their long-held desires for empire-building in the countries of oil, to use other people's children in service of their profane desires? Don't you wonder if they ever pause on September 11 and ponder how they'd all screwed up so badly throughout the summer of 2001 when, as Richard Clarke recalled, "all the lights were blinking red"? Do you wonder if they make the connection, in the softening dark of the early morning, between their own incompetence and the use they ultimately made of it?The country we live in today; the country of security gates and drones and surveillance and national security letters and yellow-ribbon patriotism was built, bloody brick by bloody brick, from the foundation these people laid on that day.
Of course, you don't wonder. Because they don't. Introspection was never a priority with this crew. And as we see so many of them on television today, deeply troubled by the actions of another underprepared, incompetent president*, and using the dead of 9/11 as protective camouflage for all their deception and bloody blundering that occurred beginning that very morning, we should all take time to mourn the dead of that day, and all the days thereafter, and, yes, say, Never Again."
THAT's what we should never forget, on this day, every year.
Damn them all to Hell.
Update 9/15: Charlie Pierce (as usual) continues the discussion better than I can:
"Right now, in the 18th year of our war on terror, American troops are engaged in making war in a number of places, including Afghanistan, where they have been engaged in making war the longest. American soldiers have died in Niger and in Mali in Africa, where hardly anyone in this country knew they were deployed. Navy SEALS have fought in Somalia and in Yemen. After four American soldiers were killed by militants in Niger, Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and nobody’s idea of a peacenik, told NBC News:
I didn’t know there was 1,000 troops in Niger. This is an endless war without boundaries, no limitation on time or geography. We don’t know exactly where we’re at in the world militarily and what we’re doing.
If, ultimately, the Vietnam War lost J. William Fulbright because its purpose and goals had ceased to make any kind of sense, it seems more than past time to apply that same kind of merciless scrutiny to the endless “war” on terror and on its most conspicuous manifestation: the continued deployment of American troops in Afghanistan. Does it make sense to stay there because we’ve been there for 18 years? If, upon our departure, the people of Afghanistan descend to slaughter again, is that reason enough to maintain a permanent military presence in the middle of a society that’s been torn by war since the days of Alexander The Great? Where are we in the world militarily, and what are we doing, anyway?
Good questions, and no less important because they remain largely unasked."