September 11, 2010

9/11--Never Forget

Today is a day that we should never let ourselves forget. On September 11th, those who hate freedom and prize ideology over human life struck out, leading to thousands of deaths, shattered families and wounds that will never heal.

We must never forget, never forgive. We must devote ourselves to seeing that those among the fanatics who were responsible for what happened on that day who are still alive are brought to justice.

I am, of course, talking about September 11th, 1973, when a CIA-engineered military coup brought down the democratically-elected socialist government of Chile's Salvador Allende on behalf of threatened American business interests. The ensuing reign of terror involved the murder of thousands of dissidents by General Pinochet and the torture of tens of thousands. Some of the known perpetrators, like Henry Kissinger, are still at large.

Why? What were you talking about?

Oh, right. That 9/11. Well, that was bad too, albeit not as bad as the Chilean 9/11, and not anywhere even close to as bad as the subsequent military operations that the war-makers used the American 9/11 to justify. (In terms of the sheer number of innocent civilians killed, the day itself--tragic as it was--was a drop in the ocean of blood that followed.) Once you factor in the lives destroyed by invasions, subsequent dislocations, mass arrests, torture, innocent people being detained without evidence or even charges from their mid-teens to their mid-twenties in the same cages in Guantanamo Bay or some CIA black site, the people the CIA has kidnapped in America and flown to Syria or Egypt to have their fingernails pulled off with tweezers to make them confess to crimes that only exist in the over-active imaginations of their iterrogators, the people who will spend decades caring for family members who lost their limbs in bombing raids or who now suffer from life-long mental damage sanitized with polite clinical names like "Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder," well....

....once you factor all of that in, as bad as 9/11/2001 was, comparing what happened at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon to the subequent so-caleld "War on Terror" is like comparing a drive-by gang shooting where the target is wounded and two bystanders are killed to the entire Battle of Gettysburg. It's obscene.

Hunter S. Thompson's article from 9/12/2001 is well-worth reading. For one thing, it's a reminder of the fog of hysteria that clouded everyone's knowledge of what was going on that day, that prefigured the greater hysteria that was to come (we need to invade Afghanistan because of 9/11! We need to invade Iraq because of 9/11! We need to sacrifice our fundamental civil liberties, turn our brains off and do everything the President says because of 9/11!") Turning on the TV for a day or two after 9/11, you really did see crazy estimates like 20,000 dead, an estimate that Thompson dutifully reports in his article.

More importantly, though, Thompson is reading as a reminder that the nice polite middle-class liberals who shut up and rallied around the flag in the aftermath of the attacks, forgetting all their supposed pacifist principles, who were too carried away by what had happened to be able to bring themselves to speak up against the war in Afghanistan, never mind that anyone could see that Afghanistan was Vietnam-waiting-to-happen....

...well, they had no fucking excuse, did they? Because, less than a day after the planes hit the towers, even in that initial fog of oh-my-god-what-the-hell-happened hysteria, Thompson--that's right, crazy, drug-added Hunter S. Thompson, the beloved sweaty character with the sunglasses and the cigarette-holder--that guy was able to keep his head and see clearly what this meant and what was about to happen with 9/11 as the endless and inexhaustible excuse.

"The towers are gone now, reduced to bloody rubble, along with all hopes for Peace in Our Time, in the United States or any other country. Make no mistake about it: We are At War now -- with somebody -- and we will stay At War with that mysterious Enemy for the rest of our lives.

"It will be a Religious War, a sort of Christian Jihad, fueled by religious hatred and led by merciless fanatics on both sides. It will be guerilla warfare on a global scale, with no front lines and no identifiable enemy.....

"We are going to punish somebody for this attack, but just who or what will be blown to smithereens for it is hard to say. Maybe Afghanistan, maybe Pakistan or Iraq, or possibly all three at once....

"....The lid is on. Loose Lips Sink Ships. Don't say anything that might give aid to The Enemy."

He wrote that the day after.



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