Wednesday, September 11, 2019


Mike just reminded us that about four years after the Day that Will Live in Infamy the United States as part of an alliance signed the victorious articles of surrender over the last of the fascist powers that had begun the war.

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?

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."
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.

THAT's what we should never forget, on this day, every year.

Damn them.

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."


  1. We always say 'never again', and yet we always get snookered. It was Rumsfeld that poo-pooed a July CIA White House Briefing that said AQ was planning a terrorist attack in the US. Rummy claimed it was BS. Plus Bush and Condaleeza ignored many other portents. Those included the ones passed on by the Clinton White House that addressed AQ hijacking aircraft.

    It was Obama that increased troops in Afghanistan, bowed to European demands for military involvement in Libya, brought troops home from Iraq and then re-introduced them.

    Now we have the meteorologist-in-chief stealing money from soldiers, sailors, and FEMA disaster responders for his worthless wall and his ego. I would bet he is probably filching funds from the intel community's black budget also - and the FBI.

    We will deserve it when we get hit with another sneak attack that will make 9/11 and Pearl Harbor look like minor skirmishes. I fail to understand why we commemorate 9/11 and Pearl, and yet continue to let down our guard.

    1. Some Honduran or Guatemalan whose parents are murdered after being denied asylum will detonate a CBP post some cold morning in December, 2031, and we'll scratch our heads and ask "Why do they hate our freedoms..?"

      I should note that We the People have been falling for this shit since Polk lied us into the Mexican War back in the 1850s. We really are remarkably gullible sonsofbitches.

  2. The things I recall about 9/11 were the aftereffects:

    - Bush's “Crusade” (what a buffoon, did he really have no clue that word would recruit tens of thousands more jihadis?)

    - Torture (and Scalia's citation of a fictional TV hero to imply hammer-and-tong interrogations would save America!)

    - Rendition (AKA torture by proxy!)

    - Guantanamo (where Dick Cheney’s Halliburton built the prison camp!)

    - Abu Ghraib (the 'school of terrorism' that educated Daeshi Caliph Abū Bakr al-Baghdadi his senior lieutenants)

    - Blackwater Massacre (why did it take 18 years to convict? whatever happened to swift justice?)

    1. And yet still we act is if 9/11 was some sort of unique horror perpetrated against us.

      If we were a better country the day would be one long day of National Atonement, full of silent grief and contrition and nothing more.

    2. Historian David Graff who has written extensively on China states that such stories of surprise attacks/invasions are neither revered nor grieved for in Asia.

      The reason being that in China "Deceit aimed at achieving surprise became so ubiquitous that it was almost like background noise, without the power to shock." Events "resulting in the surprise of one party by another have been commonplace in Chinese warfare from as far back as we have records."

      We Americans perceive such an attack to be contemptible and the attackers cowardly. "The Chinese have generally been more inclined to fault the victim for letting down his guard." They would be too ashamed to admit they had been Nine-Elevened or Pearl-Harbored. Deceit in war has always been at the center of the bell curve. We should recognize that, beef up the midwatch, and move on. Payback is fine, but as the Klingons say: "Revenge is a dish best served cold". Instead we act like enraged toddlers spurred on by crooked and ambitious politicians.

  3. What still kills me about this day is how it turned out that it was a defeat for everything those of us who grew up in the Sixties and Seventies had hoped about our country.

    We saw the foolishness and hubris and venality of our "leaders" and, yes, we said "Never Again". And then because of a single day thirty years later We the People ran terrified into hubris and foolishness and venality. We had read the Franklin quote about giving up liberty for safety and then frantically handed those "leaders" our liberties in futile purchase of a "safety" we didn't need from an enemy we had had a huge role in creating.

    I look around at the wreckage we've created of the hopes and dreams we had then and simply weep.