Remembering 9/11? No thank you, not at this cost.

A young woman was driving along the road, at night, and needed to focus her attention on a cell phone call, so she pulled into an open parking lot of a closed restaurant along side the road and visible to passing motorists. She pulled her car into a parking space, switched it off, and made the call.

A passing police officer noticed the young woman alone in her car talking on the cell phone. He pulled into the parking lot and switched on his emergency lights, got out of his police cruiser and approached her. He started asking her questions about what she was doing, who she was talking to, where she came from, where she was going, and he demanded her ID. She was flustered by this and he feigned dissatisfaction with her answers and used this as a reason to ask her to get out of her car. She didn’t have to do so, but she did. He then asked her if he could search her car. She didn’t have to agree, but she did. He found a remnant of a joint and busted her with possession. He then ran her name and found out that there was a warrant for her arrest for violating a protection order against her, which in turn was based on charges that she had committed terroristic acts against her boyfriend’s family.

There are two lessons to be learned here: 1) Don’t pull over to the side of the road to use your cell phone, it is dangerous; and 2) Don’t allow the slow and steady formation of a Police State following a major terrorist attack on your country.

The Republican National Convention was held four years ago in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The liberal city in a liberal state was run by a liberal mayor who agreed to recommendations to significantly enhance police activities related to the Convention, including the investigation of all suspicious characters for months prior to the event. Dozens of people were arrested in their homes, their possessions confiscated, and more were arrested at the convention, all believed to be part of a plot to disrupt the convention and possibly throw urine on some Republicans. Among those arrested were members of the press who were observing the arrests. Many were released right away with charges dropped, but many others were charged with a variety of very serious crimes under the Patriot Act, and if convicted could have spent a long time, in some cases life, in prison. Those arrested pled innocent and eventually all the charges were dropped. Counter suits against the city and police department were initiated. The suits were all found in favor of the plaintifs (those arrested). It turns out that the entire investigation and these arrests were inappropriate and unbecoming of a Democratic government (small and large “d”) in a democratic nation.

There are two lessons to be learned here: 1) Don’t ever forget that the Police State is already here; and don’t trust an elected official to not be a dick even if they are a “Liberal” because they may be held firmly in the grip of post–911 fear.

Consider the following:

  • We now know that the September 11, 2001 attacks could probably have been prevented had the Bush Administration been even remotely competent.
  • 2,996 people died in those attacks (including the attackers) and over 6,000 people were injured.
  • The US carried out a war in Iraq that was rhetorically justified by the Bush Administration by the attacks (though there was no relationship) which resulted in the death of over 4,000 American troops, hundreds of non-US “coalition” troops, over 16,000 Iraqi troops, over 1,500 “contractors,” and so on, adding up to over 24,000 “good guys” and on the insurgent side, about 35,000 military dead, as well as something over 113,000 civilian dead from violent acts related to the war by some counts (over a half million by other counts) and a very large number of others dead due to disease and other less direct effects of the war.
  • The US carried out a war (still ongoing) in Afghanistan that was much more closely related to the 9/11 attacks, which has resulted in a smaller number of military casualties on the “coalition” side currently totaling over 14,000 dead with between 12,000 and 15,000 civilian dead.
  • The US has implemented the most draconian and oppressive set of laws as well as expensive and extensive physical plant upgrades in response to the 9/11 attack. (see Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power for a discussion of this and other relevant issues.)
  • Meanwhile, a steady effort by US and other intelligence agencies and special forces has resulted in the ongoing attrition of the organization known to have carried out the 9/11 attack, including the capture and killing of all of its leaders active at the time of the attack.

The Israelis used to say “for every Israeli that dies, 10 of our enemies will die” referring generally to Arabs or Palestinians or whatever. Look at the list above. Do the math. Are we fiercer than the Israelis or what?

It has become common practice for people to say “remember 9/11” or “9/11 never forget” but I think it would have been better to have forgotten 9/11 the day after it happened. I did not think that way then, but it is hard to argue otherwise now. Obviously a better choice would have been to respond correctly to the attack instead of the way we did. (Hint: One of the items on the above list is the correct response, though not perfect.)

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And we are running that prison because repubs won't provide the money to close it and nobody wants the human dregs we've created. None of this helps our status in the world and none of this makes us one whit safer.

By BobFromLI (not verified) on 11 Sep 2012 #permalink

"I think it would have been better to have forgotten 9/11 the day after it happened."

I forgot about it as soon as I went to my lab in the afternoon. I still do not understand how that little incidence with so few casulties "got viral". Hollywood has apparently brainwashed the whole world.

By Sascha Vongehr (not verified) on 11 Sep 2012 #permalink

Thank you for this article. Suggests that because of the America's overreaction, Osama bin Laden was successful in taking our freedoms from us.

By Richard Schmitt (not verified) on 24 Sep 2012 #permalink