Yes, today is the anniversary of 9-11.
Today will be filled with eloquent memorials, so I will not try to repeat them. All I know is I wish the day had, never, ever, happened.
You don't know how I hate the fact that this date is forever fixed in the world's memory-where, if things had gone as they should have-it would just be another day in a busy football season. GOD, how I wish this day had never happened in 2001. I want the world that existed before 9-11 back. If I could go back in time and kill all of the 9-11 hijackers in their cribs and Osama bin Laden, I would.
For one thing, over 10,000 Americans would probably be alive today-and the New York Skyline would look, what is to me, "normal". Worldwide-some 300,000 people might be alive that are not now-when we went our quest for vengeance.
Guantanamo would have remained just a sleepy backwater in the Caribbean.
Large land wars would not have become acceptable again-thus growing the Army hugely-and committing us to the quagmire that is counter insurgency warfare, when in fact, the world has moved beyond such nonsense. At the least-with the fall of the Soviet Union, the United States should have moved past that nonsense.
9-11 destroyed all that was good about American military involvement in the world. It channeled the military, and the nation it served, into a single minded quest to accomplish an unachievable goal. Now some 12 years later-that goal, the elimination of terrorism world wide-remains just as unachievable as it was in 2001. But we have a lot of dead to show for the effort.
Rather than deal with the immediate problem at hand- George W. Bush allowed himself to be sucked in by his advisors ( Primarily Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz) into a deeper and more destructive evolution.
You [Paul Wolfowitz]immediately saw the events of 9/11 as a second and more promising opening to assert U.S. supremacy. When riding high a decade earlier, many Americans had thought it either unseemly or unnecessary to lord it over others. Now, with the populace angry and frightened, the idea was likely to prove an easier sell. Although none of the hijackers were Iraqi, within days of 9/11 you were promoting military action against Iraq. Critics have chalked this up to your supposed obsession with Saddam. The criticism is misplaced. The scale of your ambitions was vastly greater.
And so, the march from a war of necessity, to a war of choice was begun-with the predictably disastrous results.
Which gets to yet another reason I wish this day had never happened-it completely screwed up America domestically.
Don't kid yourself. Most of America's economic troubles of the past decade, can be laid directly at the feet of the wars. Naive people will try to tell you otherwise-but the facts point to the conclusion that it is true. The war, and more importantly, the refusal of the then in place administration to turn back tax cuts and raise revenues to pay for the wars-created the financial distress we feel today. Lots of people will tell you no, that's not the case-most of them with an ax to grind-but the facts suggest otherwise.
Had 9-11 never happened, the war in Iraq would never have happened-and as a result the national revulsion at the stupidity of Donald Rumsfeld, for the "war on the cheap" strategy he advocated-and his misguided attempts at "transformation" might not have happened. Thus, as a result, the candidacy of Barak Obama would never have gained any steam.
Which would mean, the the Republican party could have avoided its descent into lunacy beginning in 2008. Had 9-11 never happened, Sarah Palin would have remained an obscure fluke of American politics, because the wacko conservative wing of the party would not have been able to rise to its point of ascendancy due to its obsession with Obama.
The goddamn Teabaggers would have remained the fringe outliers of society they really are-because : both Obama would not be President, and they would not have the debt as an issue to hang on to. Not that any of their prescriptions would have done anything about the debt-but it gives them yet one more useless lie to hang on to. ( Yes I hate them-almost as much as I hate the hijackers).
I firmly believe that the financial crisis would not have happened-since the wars had many contributing effects-specifically fostering an economic uncertainties and higher energy prices. However-since George W. Bush was committed to helping to increase income inequality through his tax breaks to his rich friends-there is no guarantee of that. But I remain hopeful.
The armed forces might have actually been able to make some material improvements-instead of burning its personnel and equipment out-pursuing stupid wars for worthless people. Don't kid yourself-the rise of the multi-polar world could have been put off for a generation-but that all died the day the first troops entered Iraq. The military decline of the United States is virtually assured and contrary to the belief of the
douchebag tea party set-it began the day we invaded Iraq.
You expected something different, of course. Shortly before the war, you[Paul Wolfowitz] told Congress:
It’s hard to conceive that it would take more forces to provide stability in post-Saddam Iraq than it would take to conduct the war itself and to secure the surrender of Saddam’s security forces and his army. Hard to imagine.
Your imagination led you to foresee a brief conflict, with Iraqis rather than U.S. taxpayers footing the bill for any mess left behind.
After all, preventive war was supposed to solve problems. Eliminating threats before they could materialize was going to enhance our standing, positioning us to call the shots. Instead, the result was a train wreck of epic proportions. Granted, as you yourself have said, “the world is better off” with Saddam Hussein having met his maker. But taken as a whole, the cost-benefit ratio is cause for weeping. As for global hegemony, we can kiss it goodbye.
And of course there is the real damage done for years of warfare, horrors and disappointments that had occurred: the insurgency; Fallujah and Abu Ghraib; thousands of American lives lost and damaged; at least 125,000 Iraqis killed, and some 3 million others exiled or displaced; more than a trillion dollars squandered. But hey-all among friends eh?
All this because a bunch of deranged terrorists got lucky on any given Tuesday.
I have not even begun to touch on the long term damage done to our government by 9-11's "blank check" to disregard the protections of the Constitution. The warrantless wiretapping, the abuses of privacy by the NSA. We will , of course, forego discussion of the abomination of the Patriot Act and the abuses that have followed in the name of "national security".
As Glenn Greenwald pointed out, the most disgraceful episodes in American history have been about exempting classes of Americans from core rights, and that is exactly what these recent, terrorism-justified proposals do as well. Anyone who believes that these sorts of abusive powers will be exercised only in narrow and magnanimous ways should just read a little bit of history, or just look at what has happened with the always-expanding police powers vested in the name of the never-ending War on Drugs, the precursor to the never-ending War on Terrorism in so many ways.
But sadly-the daily inundation of abomination has made most Americans immune-and it has made some Americans deranged.
And that is really sad. The ability of the country to reason-and as a whole discuss things has been dramatically diminished. For that we have assholes like Glenn Beck and his crazed teabagger followers to blame-but none of them might ever have come to the fore save for 9-11.
On a personal note 9-11 screwed up my life on many levels. For one thing-it ended up forcing me to send Sailors to jobs they had no business doing because of the completely worthless IA program. Secondly,it kept me from traveling to many of the places I wanted to go because of the insane and completely unfounded force protection regulations. If 9-11 had never occurred-I might have been able to do some very different things in Asia.
All in all, 9-11 exemplifies waste. Waste of lives, waste of assets, waste of precious time.
If you want to mourn something-mourn that. The United States of America, once the great hope of mankind, through a mindless act of violence, allowed itself to spiral down on an accelerated path to ignominy. It did not have to happen-and we would have all been better off.
As I said-I hate the fact that it happened-and wish , somehow, I could have prevented it.