The REAL beheading to fret over:
"When I look back at 9/11 and the torrent of tragic, perverse blunders that followed, I think about men seized by a dangerous strain of hyper-masculinity; fake tough-guy stuff; a caricature of strength — including the premature “Mission Accomplished” scene of George W. Bush strutting on an aircraft carrier in his own version of “Top Gun.” All of that empty swaggering ended up sapping America and making our country weaker." - Maureen Dowd, NY Times
The costs of the nation's obsession with the 9/11 attacks and going after the Saudi (and other) terrorists that caused it are now well-documented. Indeed, in a 2011 WaPo analysis Ezra Klein nailed it:
"For Bin Laden, success was not to be measured in body counts. It was to be measured in deficits, in borrowing costs, in investments not made in our country's domestic economic strength."
At least $4 trillion of these deficits - up to 2011- arrived from the occupations in Iraq, and Afghanistan and included not only veterans' health costs, but also a doubling of the Pentagon defense budget over ten years (to nearly $600 billion a year, or an additional $300 billion/yr). It's now nearly $730 b.
The other $3 trillion in deficits came from starting those occupations but refusing to pay for them with higher taxes, and instead implementing Bush's tax cuts - yielding an added $2.1 trillion in deficits. Alas, too many Americans are blind to the ongoing plunder the 9/11 attack caused. But the Right's militarists (Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz et al) were salivating to exploit it.
Americans' fear after the 9-11 debacle made the Bushie militarists realize it could be exploited to ramp up military and security spending to unheard of levels. In effect, from 2001, Pentagon spending effectively doubled until by 2006, reaching a level that exceeded the next 25 nations combined - including the Russians, Chinese and India. This according to the sobering look at the expanse of the American Empire (up to 2007) as provided in the book: The State of the American Empire, particularly the highlighted maps showing its expanse (pp. 70-71), as well as the total of over 55 U.S. military interventions from 1945-89 (pp. 76-77).
Meanwhile, the comparable military spending per person (page 67) boggles the mind into insensibility, and this was published before the Afghan "supplementals" budget was effectively nearly doubled after 2007. (With the percentage of GDP consumed increased from 2.2% to nearly 4.7% by 2004, according to former defense analyst Chuck Spinney). The folly of an Afghan extension dropped another trillion into the mounting deficits.
So, along with the Afghanistan incursion in 2001, then launching into a totally fabricated war of choice against Iraq in 2003, the Bushies and radical Right repukes had their "two fer". They had the back door mechanism to drain the Treasury and force back door cuts to "entitlements" and social services spending (including for Medicaid, as well as unemployment benefits) if they just held strain and refused to raise taxes. The last was critical because if taxes were ever allowed to go up, say even by expiring the Bush tax cuts, it meant revenue would pour in and the deficits arguments would be scuttled along with the chance to rip away "entitlements".
All of this would generate a further nightmare of mad spending if the Afghan folly could have been extended another 20 years or more. And that spending wouldn't even include the costs to meet medical needs of existing Afghan vets, estimated to be $2 trillion over the next 20 years. Mercifully, Biden finally pulled the plug on this bin Laden -designed deficit sinkhole - but all he got in response was whining and yelping from the reactionary Right and most of the mainstream media. The latter, especially, should have been licking the soles of his wingtips for extricating the country from the endless monetary morass.
It was clear from the get go bin Laden was not an existential threat to the U.S. It was clear on 9/11 that this robed lunatic operating from his cave could not destroy America. But we could destroy ourselves, our national honor and principles - by legalizing torture (water boarding), legalizing detention without trial - as well as legalizing the stripping away of our own civil rights via the Patriot Act.
Meanwhile, as attention has been fixated on Isis, al Qaeda, etc. homegrown terrorists have exploded in number. They very nearly overthrew the government on January 6th, including with the assistance of then deputy AG Jeffrey Clark, e.g.
Jeffrey Bossert Clark, who planned a coup at the Justice Department, has a new job. (slate.com)
That this traitor terrorist slime is still walking around free as a bird is beyond comprehension. But then, so is his terror leader, Trump. Traitor Trump slaughtered upwards of 400,000 innocent victims by virtue of his cavalier treatment of the Covid virus - deliberately downplaying it as he admitted to Bob Woodward in his book, 'Rage'. In addition he did everything possible to impede necessary resources for besieged hospital staff last year causing morgues to fill up. In addition, as the authors of 'I Alone Can Fix It' note, his downplaying of the virus and dismissal of masks led to tens of thousands of additional needless deaths.
In many respects, then, this is a terrorist many times worse than Osama Bin Laden. No, he didn't blow up a city or buildings, but he literally blew up the fabric of a nation including beheading the core of its democracy via the Big Lie - that he really won. For all these reasons, this monster ought to have been prosecuted by now and certainly put into a full security slammer, like "KSM" at Guantanamo:
One thing he can never be allowed to do is hold power ever again. Not this criminal, not this traitor terrorist who continues to lead a lethal cult full of domestic terrorists every bit as vile as al Qaeda or Isis. The January 10 Sunday Denver Post, in the wake of the Jan. 6 insurrection, bore the header: Should the president be held accountable?
Which to me had the same ring as asking: Should The Terrorist Osama Bin Laden Have Been Held Accountable for the 9/11 Attacks? Hyperbolic comparison? Histrionic? Excessive? Not at all. Bin Laden had orchestrated a vicious al Qaeda attack on the capital of American finance, while Donald J. Trump had orchestrated a domestic terror attack on the nation's Capitol - its abiding symbol of democracy. Yes, many more were killed in the first, but as we've since learned, many more could have been slaughtered in the second. But in Trump's case one must add possible death of this Republic, which is now on life support thanks to his treachery .
So let's cut the crap and admit - even as more images and evidence have emerged from the Capitol insurrection- that what Trump did was unconscionable and differed from Osama bin Laden's external terror strike only in degree. As I noted in my January 7 post:
"As for the chief terrorist he ought to have been hung by now. But at the very least he needs to be impeached again to ensure he can never again hold a public office. Yes, this is what it has come to and how far our nation has descended into the abyss under this detestable, depraved criminal rat."
Historian Michael Beschloss has put what happened January 6th in even more stark terms, speaking on MSNBC January 11th:
"An attempted overthrow of our government has never in American history included the president of the United States. We Americans have never before been in a situation when a president with all his awesome power tried to incite an attack on the Capitol and congress. An act that might have involved an assassination attempt against Mike Pence or Nancy Pelosi, with people shouting for that- or some kind of hostage taking. This was a horrible event, but almost in a way we're not paying enough attention to."
But this post is not about regurgitating past events but asserting we now need to change the focus of our terror threats to the domestic gang of Trump followers, their fellow traveler, Hitler-loving white supremacists and all the other red state rabble. For too long, 20 years now, 9/11 has held this nation in thrall to fixate only on the Islamic radicals while the domestic radicals are running amuck - damned near taking over this nation and converting it into a fascist autocracy. In fact, these traitors are actually planning a protest a week from today. The protest, “Justice for J6,” is being orchestrated by a group called Look Ahead America, directed by another traitor, Matt Braynard, who was part of the data team for Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. This misbegotten fiasco will also attempt to further paint Ashli Babbitt as some kind of victim - instead of another hidebound Trumpy terrorist.
The use of “political prisoner” (which is defined as “a person imprisoned for their political beliefs or actions”) in this context also perpetuates conspiracy theories that the Biden administration is an authoritarian regime in sheep’s clothing, one that likes to round up and jail political dissidents.
Experts say this shift in narrative marks a dangerous development that legitimizes conspiracy theories and could encourage future acts of political violence. But this is exactly what the Right's political terrorists are yearning for, as we see the continued death threats against the electoral establishment in numerous states. As noted by Maddow Wednesday night:
"Through public records and interviews, Reuters documented 102 threats of death or violence received by more than 40 election officials. Excuse me, by more than 40 election officials, election workers and their relatives in eight of the most contested battleground states in the 2020 presidential contest. Each was explicit enough to put a reasonable person in fear of bodily harm or death, which is the typical legal threshold for prosecution.
Almost all of the 102 explicit threats of violence by Reuters are inspired by President Trump`s debunked claims that the election was rigged against him.
The messages often included highly personal, sometimes sexualized threats of violence or death not only to the officials themselves but also to their family members and also to their children. In only four incidents out of those 102 threats that Reuters documented was Reuters able to document an arrest. Those four open cases have yet to result in a single conviction. The same news organization in June documented very, very explicit death threats made to the Georgia secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, and his family, including geographically specific and specifically-timed threats against individual family members, threats so specific they sent folks into hiding"
In other words, The MAGA domestic terrorists are being allowed to run wild. Each 9/11 commemoration causes us to lose focus of the immediate threat. To take eyes off the ball, obsessing over Islamic terrorists as opposed to the ones inhabiting our own country and wearing red caps as they glorify their traitor Terror leader. As John Heilemann noted on Deadline White House yesterday: "What is happening in this country scares the hell out of me!"
Well, it should including how these terrorists are trying to rewrite history as they remain mostly hidden thanks to the 9/11 obsession. An event that marked a monstrous crime, not the onset of a "war on terror". (In any case one cannot make war on a modus operandi of war, any more than one can make war "on drugs".) That crime necessitated a limited police action not $10 trillion in wasted monies to chase t'errists across the globe when worse ones are in our midst.
Especially as the home grown terrorists plan to cause more havoc and grief with their PR re-branding exercise, making themselves out as patriots instead of terrorist traitors.
According to Brian Levin, who heads the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino.
“This rebranding effort blurs lines between the mainstream and extreme, and also legitimizes others who are sympathetic or considering acts of political violence. The moniker ‘political prisoner’ is also further mainstreaming the idea that the government is illegitimate, and whitewashes the criminality that took place at the insurrection."
In other words, seeks to recast the insurrectionist traitors as patriots.
The four members of Congress who are doing the most work legitimizing this new narrative are the so-called G4—Republican Reps. Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Louie Gohmert, and Paul Gosar. Last week, joined by Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs and Virginia Rep. Bob Good, they held a press conference outside of the Justice Department, which was ultimately overrun by protesters, on the same day that the January 6 congressional commission began.
In that press conference, Gosar actually had the temerity to call on Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the ACLU to investigate the treatment of Capitol rioters. A move not too different than if the Nazi chief Rudolph Hess asked the ACLU and Red Cross to investigate the "abusive treatment" of arrested Nazis in Spandau Prison following their Nuremberg Trials after WWII.
It's time to cease the emphasis on national victimhood and return to restoring national honor. That means putting the focus on those who are attempting to destroy this nation from within. As Chris Hayes noted last night, though nearly 3,000 lives were taken out in 9/11 there is "no palpable sense that this pandemic which has killed 650,000 scans in the same way, fires up people's cheeks, or having a need to strike out against." So when we do the actual accounting this "inanimate, lethal, stupid little virus" has been more destructive than bin Laden and his gang ever could have hoped to be. Hence, doesn't produce the same sense of social mission and has only served to fracture the country even more. Indeed, with Trump's lies about the virus it has spawned an even more menacing metastasis of domestic terrorists in our midst - which Homeland Security now acknowledges as a vastly greater threat than the Islamic radicals that took down the twin towers.
Thus, despite over 64 terrorist organizations listed by the State Dept. not one of them is a white supremacist organization. This despite the fact there are many such organizations listed by other nations. This alone shows we've taken our focus from where it needs to be. As former Iraq vet Max Rose put it on ALL In, "We are still unwilling, when someone has white skin and commits acts of terror, to treat them as terrorists. We have to come face to face with that prejudice."
In the words of one Financial Times' essayist ('9/11 And The American Psyche') :
"The carnival atmosphere among the predominantly white crowd that attacked the Capitol on January 6, people who did nothing to hide their faces from the cameras, who brandished Confederate flags and celebrated violence as if it were their right, reminded me of nothing so much as a public lynching, a “spectacle lynching”, complete with gallows. Documentation abounds of smiling white people who posed for photographs in front of or behind tortured black corpses, confident of their impunity. After all, they had the law and God on their side. A number of the groups who engineered the Capitol attack regard themselves as “holy warriors” in the cause of Christian whiteness."
But that critical refocus - and attention to the new terror threat of white renegades- can only begin when we commence a mission to restore national honor by rejecting the lies and home made terror undermining and destroying our country. That must begin by refusing to wallow in grievance and victimhood after a dastardly act that wasn't meant so much to take out lives as destroy the country and its principles.
by Ian Reifowitz | September 12, 2021 - 7:32am | permalink
AND:Foreign Policy | Terrorismby Stephen Zunes | September 12, 2021 - 6:54am | permalink
by Thom Hartmann | August 18, 2021 - 7:24am | permalink
The 9/11 attack was a crime by a small group of criminals, not an act of war by a sovereign state.
But we responded to that crime with two war-based assaults, and we won both the Afghanistan and Iraq wars in a matter of weeks, not years or decades.
Language matters, because it’s how we understand what’s real and what’s a scam or a lie. It’s how we share the metaphors, understandings, visions and values of our society. When it comes to crime, war, and occupations of other countries, language can mean life or death.
When George W. Bush decided to exploit the 9/11 attack in 2001 to make himself a “wartime president” and help ensure his re-election, he wanted us to think of it the way our nation understood and reacted to the Japanese attack on our Pearl Harbor naval base in the US Territory of Hawaii in 1941.
.....On 9/11 we weren’t attacked by a foreign country. The government of Afghanistan then didn’t even know 9/11 was being planned: that planning took place in Germany, Pakistan and Florida.
Bin Laden just wrote the check; Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, based in Rawalpindi, Pakistan was the guy who actually organized and planned 9/11, and we’ve been holding him in Gitmo since 2003. If this was really about 9/11, our mission ended that year.
The government of Afghanistan didn’t contribute time, money, people or even their military to the 9/11 attack. They literally had no idea. We were attacked by a small but well-funded band of men mostly not even in Afghanistan — and definitely not by a government. Most of the hijackers were Saudi‘s; none were from Afghanistan.
by Medea Benjamin | September 10, 2021 - 6:29am | permalink
Looking back on it now, the 1990s were an age of innocence for America. The Cold War was over and our leaders promised us a "peace dividend." There was no TSA to make us take off our shoes at airports (how many bombs have they found in those billions of shoes?). The government could not tap a U.S. phone or read private emails without a warrant from a judge. And the national debt was only $5 trillion - compared with over $28 trillion today.
We have been told that the criminal attacks of September 11, 2001 "changed everything." But what really changed everything was the U.S. government's disastrous response to them.
That response was not preordained or inevitable, but the result of decisions and choices made by politicians, bureaucrats and generals who fueled and exploited our fears, unleashed wars of reprehensible vengeance and built a secretive security state, all thinly disguised behind Orwellian myths of American greatness.
Most Americans believe in democracy and many regard the United States as a democratic country. But the U.S. response to 9/11 laid bare the extent to which American leaders are willing to manipulate the public into accepting illegal wars, torture, the Guantanamo gulag and sweeping civil rights abuses—activities that undermine the very meaning of democracy.
Former Nuremberg prosecutor Ben Ferencz said in a speech in 2011 that "a democracy can only work if its people are being told the truth." But America's leaders exploited the public's fears in the wake of 9/11 to justify wars that have killed and maimed millions of people who had nothing to do with those crimes.
Ferencz compared this to the actions of the German leaders he prosecuted at Nuremberg, who also justified their invasions of other countries as "preemptive first strikes."
by Pierre Tristam | September 12, 2021 - 6:41am | permalink
Post a Comment