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It’s September 11, do you know where your freedoms went?

The last 2 years I’ve reposted the letter I sent out via e-mail to all my friends on September 11, 2001. It made the rounds, ending up in the DDN under someone else’s name. I also mentioned it the day that the US death toll in Iraq surpassed the number of dead on Sept 11. You can read those posts, and the commentary here:

http://esrati.com/?s=today+you+attacked [1]

And while it’s an amazing accomplishment for State security that we haven’t been attacked on our continent since, it’s nothing to be overjoyed about. Contrary to popular opinion, terrorism isn’t war. Terrorism is a judo-like strategy to have a few triumph over a lot. It’s the David with a slingshot taking down Goliath—only in modern day terms-—David is now much more insignificant, and Goliath is a global superpower.

In terms of an effect on our psyche, our freedoms, our economy and our military—by all accounts, 9/11 and our reaction to it—has been a triumph for Bin Laden and an absolute failure on our part.

Those are hard words to choke down, so let me explain before you go all patriotic/Limbaugh on me.

Bin Laden and his followers have joined the superpowers on the world stage. Men without a country, men without a flag, men without that many followers—are now a reason we expend billions of dollars on things that don’t end poverty, end illiteracy, end cancer or AIDS or produce clean energy. We spend our money on bomb sniffers and the salaries of shoe checkers at airports, we spend it on building watch lists on American citizens and we charge on in a war against a country that had nothing to do with 9/11.

We now imprison people without any regard to our highly held Constitution, and engage in torture in the name of “Freedom” only showing our worst side to those who may have questioned our integrity before. We’ve killed a lot of Iraqis to “save” them from a man who also killed lots of Iraqis, and then offered to build roads, schools and hospitals in their country while letting ours have bridges and levees that fail.

We’ve watched the global economy go into the dumpster—affecting every American who survived 9/11 to feel some of its pain, as our housing prices drop, our cost of fuel and food go up, while we continue to send our sons and daughters into harm’s way half-way across the world with no plan to leave. Our Nation has gone into debt at a record pace with numbers in the trillions—all to “avenge” an attack by 21 people on our country.

We are now in an election battle royale, spending billions—yes BILLIONS—to decide between which man will lead us away from this. Yet, we’re too busy talking about flag pins on lapels, pledge of allegiance, a name so funky that it’s almost funny and lipstick on a pig, instead of how do we put this all back into perspective.

If you read what I wrote back on 9/11, you know I was mad as hell. I wanted to take on Bin Laden, a man I called a petty punk, face to face, in a duel—but it was a duel of ideals, not of chest-thumping testostorone. It was of our American dream vs. his nightmare of a world turned upside down, where his vision trumped those of all our ideals of freedom, of personal choice, of responsibility to treat each other with respect.

It’s been 7 years. Who do you think won this battle? I usually root for David and the underdogs—but, especially today, I’m rooting for Goliath to make a comeback.

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Nicely done, David. Unfortunately it’s sad, but true.


“We are now in an election battle royale, spending billions—yes BILLIONS—to decide between which man will lead us away from this. Yet, we’re too busy talking about flag pins on lapels, pledge of allegiance, a name so funky that it’s almost funny and lipstick on a pig, instead of how do we put this all back into perspective.”

Funny – you brought up the non-issue of how many houses John McCain has………. you are part of the BS problem.

Stan Hirtle

So where are we 7 years after the 9/11 attacks? One obvious answer is that Americans are much more cowed by and compliant our own power structure. After years of stripping to board airplanes, accepting surveillance, torture and for a while at least, racial profiling of Moslems, you do not see challenge to or resistance of authority, at least of the national security apparatus. Who said anything about heavy handed tactics at the recent political conventions? Or the treatment of Bruce Ivins, the anthrax suspect? The leader on a white horse reverence for George W Bush has mostly passed as his lack of competence and thoughtfulness have become obvious. We will see how much political influence 9/11 still has, but despite Bush’s poor poll numbers the pro-war candidate for president is in a tie in the polls and has the momentum. Perhaps if Obama was more than half European descent and looked the part, that would not be true. But it also suggests that Americans have not yet moved 9/11 from the major emotional trauma of generations to seeing it as a terrible but contained act by a small and violent band. My best analogy to post 9/11 America remains the Untouchables movie, where the gangster Al Capone has been betrayed by an uppity underling, so he gathers his underlings around a table and proceeds to beat one of them (the guilty party? We never know for sure. It doesn’t really matter) to death with a baseball bat while the other’s watch. Capone is announcing that even though someone challenged him, he is still the most violent hoodlum out there. Bush was Capone and Saddam the underling. Where has the Iraq war gotten us? Obviously we have wreaked hell and havoc on the people of that country. 800,000 killed? 1.2 million? No one knows for sure. Saddam was hanged and there are no WMDs. The heavy rates of murder, sectarian cleansing and violence of a couple of years ago came down, due to some combination of Bush and McCain’s manly troop surge, the sense of Iraqi leaders like Sadr to… Read more »