Nice Column by James Carroll at the Boston Globe —
Bloody as the battles [of World War II] were, the enemy was readily identified, and definitions of victory and defeat were clear.
Not so after 9/11. Instead of battleships and aircraft carriers, the real danger comes from variations on box cutters and explosive charges hidden in shoes. The revelation is that such small bore threat can frighten a nation as much as an armada. After Pearl Harbor, the scale and meaning of mobilization was crystal clear. After 9/11, with our futile, misdirected, ongoing wars of vengeance, which lay nary a glove on Al Qaeda, the mobilization has mainly been against ourselves.
See also “Pearl Harbor mini-submarine mystery solved?”
“…such small bore threat can frighten a nation as much as an armada.”
Or perhaps, more accurately that “the use of such small bore threats by self serving politicians can frighten a nation as much as an armada.” I think it is not so much the event itself that keeps this nation cowering in abject terror, tossing aside its civil rights in pursuit of an illusion of safety, as the almost daily howling of politicians about the need to be kept safe from “those who harmed us on 9/11 and seek to do so again” in justification of their own agenda.
After 9/11, with our futile, misdirected, ongoing wars of vengeance, which lay nary a glove on Al Qaeda, the mobilization has mainly been against ourselves.
Well at least we got Osama Bin Laden off the streets – oh wait, never mind that.
I wondered after Bush/Cheney what kind of things would slip out from under the rug. Here’s a gem…
I was nine and living in San Francisco in 1941 and even though I was a child I don’t remember the level of fear abroad in the land like was weirdly evident following 9/11. Of course somewhere along the line Roosevelt did tell us that we had nothing to fear but fear itself. By contrast, following 9/11 Bush/Cheney etal seemed hell-bent on instilling and even promoting fear.
Some pundit recently said that the invasion of Iraq was the most evil calculation in American history. With Bush’s numbers falling, with bin Laden apparently not to be caught, Bush needed a ‘proper’ war, a number-raiser, an evil-doer – who better than Saddam, his stash of oil thrown in as a bonus.
I disagree with the article: we have hurt AQ quite a bit since 2001. We could have hurt them just as badly with a lot less Bushian idiocy, maybe worse, but they are not near where they once were and that is one argument for pulling back from Afghanistan.
OT, see Liberals Are Useless, by one of my favorites, Chris Hedges.
I just saw Chris Hedges’ article, and it pissed me off. Anyone who runs down progressives who vote for Democrats as naive, then quotes Ralph Nader as a source of Political Truth, really needs to stop writing and go to a quiet place for a very long time. And like Arthur Silber recently, Hedges is playing on the myth that all liberals who voted for Obama believed he was Liberal Jesus. Whacking at straw men never impresses me.
Al-Qaeda isn’t and never was an existential threat to the United States. The Pentagon needed a new bogeyman after the Soviet Union collapsed and scary Muslims provided the perfect villain to keep perpetuating a state of perpetual war and keep its coffers bloated. Bin Laden sucker punched us on 9-11 and got lucky, in that the WTC towers fell, causing a spectacular video event. A couple of jet smacked into the side of two skyscrapers that remained standing wouldn’t have evoked nearly the fear that they did thanks to the videogenic collapse.
One other point – most people think that Japan attacked the United States on December 7th 1941. That is not the case. Hawaii did not become a state until 1959. Japan’s imperial Navy attacked the imperial Navy of the U.S., who was also looking to expand it’s reach.
Another factor in the mix is the rapture cult. I was working around a group of fundies at the time. Those people believe the gospel of fear and death spread by the likes of Jack Van Impe, John Hagee, and Falwell. These ghouls mix Bible “prophesy”, current events, and a back-woods mentality to form a looney world view of religious warriors, the ultimate form of cognitave dissonance, not far removed from “the Taliban”; Christian Jihadists by proxy.
Sam Simple – Japan was trying to cripple the US Navy to prevent it from interferring with Japan’s plan to attack and occupy countries south of Japan in order to have access to their natural resources (Japan has next to none) needed to wage her war against, primarily, the Far East.
Japan’s suddem imperial binge was directed not only at island countries south of her but also included attacking and occupying China and India! (Would that American imperialists studied just a little history of what happens to imperialist nations, perhaps we would be able to save ourselves from ourselves.)