Five years after: what if?

Five years have passed since the attack that destroyed the World Trade Center and on the Pentagon. In some ways remarkably little has changed. In some ways everything has changed.

I continue to have little in the way of wisdom to offer. I would like to ask you to reflect today on what you would have done following the attack if you had been president. Not what you would have done if your were king or if you were God but what you would have done with all the practical and political considerations that someone who is elected to the presidency has.

I think that a military response was absolutely required both for domestic and world political reasons. Frankly, I can’t imagine any president being re-elected (and one absolutely essential requirement for being elected to the presidency IMO is that you want to be re-elected) after such an attack who did not come back with a military response. In that view President Gore would have responded in much the same way as President Bush has. IIRC President Clinton has said that e believes he would have done much the same as Bush did.

I think a punishing attack against Afghanistan was the bare minimum response and I would have supported such an attack. I was opposed to the invasion of Afghanistan and have always been skeptical about our ability to achieve any of the objectives we’ve apparently pursued there including apprehending Osama bin Laden or creating a decent state there.

Would that have been enough? Or was a punishing attack against some Arab state required, too? I opposed the invasion of Iraq not because I’m either a pacifist or a lover of horrific fascist regimes. I thought that any of the objectives I heard as reasons for invading Iraq could have been achieved without invading in force. There were conditions under which I would have supported invading Iraq but I’ve never heard any of them advanced by the Administration?

I think that I would have taken the activities of the agents of Middle Eastern governments in the United States much more seriously than apparently has been done and I would have encouraged European countries to do the same.

I think that I would also have been more inclined to urge sacrifice on the people of this country than has, in fact, been done. People need to participate to maintain a level of political support.

But what would you have done? Knowing what you knew then, not knowing what you do now.

BTW Mark Schulman at American Future has been working overtime on 9/11 reflections. I strongly suggest that you scroll down to the start of them and read all of the work he’s done.

My 2005 9/11 post
My 2004 9/11 post

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  • “For what the gatekeepers and opinion makers of the so-called progressive left who would rather smear than try to comprehend fail to understand, what they cannot see in missing the forest for the trees, is that the events of 9/11 gave rise to a paradigm shift in American life, transforming its culture and its people in negative ways, creating authoritarian mentalities, imperial ambitions, fascist ideologies and an overall descent into the corruption of morals and of society itself. 9/11 was the catalyst for a colonial, indeed an imperial war against exclusively Arab and Muslim peoples, against those lands pregnant with the devil’s excrement, resulting in a malevolence not seen since the 1930’s, with preemptive wars; the use of depleted uranium that has and will kill in genocidal figures; the brutal occupation of Iraq and her people, many subjected to torture, rape, mass murder, illegal detention and dehumanization, along with the vicious cycle of violence that creates rather than diminishes terrorism, making of the war on terror a self-fulfilling prophesy. 9/11 has resulted in the complete disregard for international law, in a level of hubris never before seen, in a complete corruption of society, in the deep division of Americans, in the rise and prevalence of xenophobia, bigotry and racism among the populace, the erosion of rights and the evisceration of civil liberties, the destruction and debauchery of democracy, the rise of predatory capitalism, the emergence of an inevitable police state and the introduction of fascist ideology and its implementation of beliefs throughout the American landscape.

    What these perfect little people cannot grasp, those of beautiful minds and god-like intellect, is that everything America and the world are being subjected to, whether it is the rising threat of global or regional warfare, the decimation of America’s middle class, the coming collapse of the American economy, the rise of fascist ideology, the inhumane suffering in Palestine, the constant threat of war from America to those nations that do not kiss the ring of imperialism, the stolen elections in developing nations courtesy of America, a dictatorial presidency and the rise of the one-party state, has been born through the sinful events of 9/11.

    Without 9/11 Bush is a one-term failure, a mere asterisk in history books, relegated to brushing weeds and avoiding horses in his little Hollywood production set in Texas. Without 9/11 the neocons at the helm of a hijacked America would be living back home in Israel, dreaming of ways to expand the power of the Israeli state. Without 9/11 imperial hegemony would be replaced by multilateral agreement; up to 250,000 Iraqis would still be alive, thousands more would live in peace and tranquility. The Middle East would be a much more peaceful and stable region, with the lives of almost 3,000 American soldiers saved, their energies not wasted in corporate wars for resources and hegemony. Without 9/11 the fascist party would not have become the rubber stamp Congress for a unitary executive approaching dictatorship, checks and balances would still be a reality and the growing police state would be checked at its infancy.

    Without 9/11, America would still be the land of the free and the home of the brave, not the land of the meek and the home of the slave. Without 9/11 America would not today be the culture of cowardice, afraid and fearful of hyper-inflated and exaggerated enemies, a people terrorized by its own government into blindly handing liberties, rights and freedoms to authoritarian autocrats camouflaged as government servants. Without 9/11 the dangerous cocktail of jingoism, theology and ignorance would not merge forming one combustible citizenry ready at an authoritarian’s wave to hate, despise and scapegoat dark-skinned minorities whose only crimes is being different in culture and ethnicity to the god-fearing, flag-draped, follower-psychology, supporters of the fascist party. ”

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