Monday, September 11, 2006
Interesting Sept 11 commentaries
There a surprisingly good editorial in (of all places) The Marshfield News-Herald and an incredibly thoughtful one in Firedoglake and, (surprise) the always relevant James Wolcott added to the fray. Snippets and links follow:
When will we have won the War on Terror? When the government can peer into the living rooms of every person on the planet? Because that is what it will take to stop all the terrorists in the world. The whole hallmark of terrorists is that they work outside of governmental systems. There could be terrorists anywhere. They are secretive. They are largely invisible until they strike, which is why they are only defeatable through the efforts of law enforcement. You cannot fight terrorists with the military. Armies are made to fight other armies. We are seeing the futility of fighting terrorists with the military playing out every day in the horrors of Fallujah, Kabul, and Tyre. Thousands of civilians die while the actual perpetrators melt into the scenery and regroup elsewhere.
And that is the disgrace our nation will bear well into the rest of this century. When faced with extraordinary circumstances, we responded in a deeply unextraordinary, C-student way.
From the News-Herald
Five years after the most devastating attack in U.S. history, we had joined together with allies around the world and defeated tyrants ravenous for territory and power.
On Sept. 11, 2006, we are a nation that does not know victory.
Five years after the attack that will forever scar this generation, we are fighting on two fronts with no end in sight. We're a people divided with no shared sense of sacrifice or purpose. Rather than rallying allies to fight a shared enemy, we largely are alone on the world stage, the good will of five years ago squandered.
There are things that must be said on this day -- the anniversary of the day that terrorism visited our shores and forever changed our society and our people.
And James Wolcott:
Even if The Path to 9/11 were politically pure, its raison d'etre would be suspect. How many times and how many ways must the adrenaline be pumped, the tragedy replayed, and the suffering exploited? The fall of the towers has become a ritual fetish, an annual haunting, that doesn't exorcise fear, but replenishes it.
"What has changed, grotesquely, is the aftershock," Simon Jenkins writes in The Guardian, delivering a splash of cold reality. "Terrorism is 10% bang and 90% an echo effect composed of media hysteria, political overkill and kneejerk executive action, usually retribution against some wider group treated as collectively responsible. This response has become 24-hour, seven-day-a-week amplification by the new politico-media complex, especially shrill where the dead are white people. It is this that puts global terror into the bang. While we take ever more extravagant steps to ward off the bangs, we do the opposite with the terrorist aftershock. We turn up its volume. We seem to wallow in fear.
I have a lot of thoughts about this day...presently and on September 11, 2001... but I won't even try to compete with the golden prose of those presented above. I'm actually humbled by them.