Monday, September 12, 2011

The Day After . . .

Yesterday we remembered the heroes and the losses of 9/11 -- Casualties in United States on 9-11-01 - 2,996 (19 hijackers, 246 hostages on the planes, 2676 civilians, 55 military personnel.)
It might be well to look at the rest of the picture -- the aftermath of the terrorist attack.
Casualties in Iraq - 900,338 (4,414 US Troops, 30,000 Iraq troops, 318 other troops, the rest {865,606} were Civilians.)
 Casualties in Afghanistan - 19,629 (1,140 US Troops, 8,587 Afghan troops, 772 other troops,
the rest {9,130} were Civilians
 
  
So many stories of heroism -- in the Twin Towers, at the Pentagon, and on board the flight where the passengers revolted and crashed the plane rather than let the hijackers complete their deadly mission.
But the dark side of the U. S. response needs to be acknowledged -- the rush to judgement, the decision to go to war with Iraq (those elusive weapons of mass destruction that turned out to be, if not a lie, at least willful self delusion.)
We have become a country that uses torture( Abu Ghraib, waterboarding, 'extraordinary rendition' -- I feel queasy even typing the words.)
We have become a country that arrests people on suspicion and holds them (Guantanamo Bay) without due process.
We have resorted to petty jingoism -- remember "Freedom fries" and the accusation that, if anyone disagreed with the juggernaut of war, they didn't love freedom?
Our leaders have not attempted to address the reasons behind the tragedy of 9/11 -- resorting to the  nonsensical -"We were attacked by people who hate freedom."
We are less free than we were pre 9/11 -- the Patriot Act is one manifestation and, of course, if you've flown anywhere in the past ten years, you know what I'm talking about. 
Osama bin Laden didn't have the resources to wage war on the USA with military force. He just wanted to do damage -- it's said that he hoped to bankrupt the USA.  Looking at the costs of the two wars and the state of the economy today, one wonders who's ahead in the so-called war on terror. 
It makes me think of martial art where one makes use of the opponent's strength, turning it against him to defeat him.
How might it have been different?  This very excellent article by Chris Hedges  is well worth reading. 
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20 comments:

Ms. A said...

I totally lost my train of thought when I got to the butterfly! Gorgeous!

JJ Roa Rodriguez said...

There are points to think about.

Nice post!

JJRod'z

Brenda said...

Thank you for this insightful and powerful "frame of reference." I can't get the Chris Hedges article to open at the moment, but I will try again later. You've certainly stoked my curiosity. You've touched on something that absolutely drives me crazy, and that is the notion that you're anti-American and anti-freedom if you question our response or the justification for the war on Iraq.

Victoria said...

Excellent points, Vicki! Thanks for the link.

Alan Burnett said...

There is a lot of truth in what you say Vicki, and a lot of things that needed saying. The ultimate test of a free and liberal society is perhaps the fact that on the anniversary of that terrible tragedy, people are still prepared to question responses and take balanced views. At the end of the day, that demonstrates the true greatness of any society.

Marilyn said...

Very well written, very sobering.

Your photos show such beauty.

Martin said...

A timely and well balanced view, Vicki. As a long-time admirer of John Pilger, I found the Chris hedges article to be a good read.

Anonymous said...

Bankrupt the U.S.A.? He sure came close.
I'm constantly amazed how some powerful people, and I'm not referring to Osama, can turn a tragedy into another creature that feeds their quest for even more power.

On a lighter subject, I made your pimento cheese sandwiches, complete with tomato, basil, and home-made mayo and they were a big hit at the book club. Thanks!

Deana the Queena

GrandmaK said...

After reading you compelling words I was simply taking aback by the picture of the butterfly! Exquisite symbol of rebirth!!!!! Wonderful! Cathy

Thérèse said...

Bottom line probably: innocent people and a much needed education program.

Wayfarin' Stranger said...

Vicki, I'm tempted to write pages, but instead I'll simply say, "Well said." Jim

Kathryn Stripling Byer said...

Vicki, this post says it all, with text and images. Thank you!

Suz said...

just gorgeous butterfly photo
and don't forget the 77 soldiers in Afghanistan that were severely wounded by a car bomb..77

Brian Miller said...

that casualty break down is staggering....dang....thank you for telling it like it is...

Louise said...

I don't know, I still have hope for us. But, we have to stand up and work for what we believe in. That, I hope we can do. We have the vote, it's time we made good use of it.

R. Burnett Baker said...

A number of links (including yours) to Chris Hedges are
"disabled", whatever that means, and for whatever reasons. But I did find another essay by him. (the same one, perhaps?) Much I agree with, yet there are a few points in the essay I take issue with.

After reading a number of inane press releases, and "credible" threat stories in the media these past few days, I agree with you when you question who's ahead in the so-calledwar on terror. From these stories I'm further convinced that NO ONE in government can be trusted, NO political party is to be believed, and nothing we read in the media is truth.

Is it that we can only find truth between the lines of lies, and if so, is it truth or paranoia?

So disheartening....

Rick

http://www.adbusters.org/magazine/96/chris-hedges-revolution-in-america.html

NCmountainwoman said...

Thanks for the link. The last sentence says it so profoundly.

Paul Krugman had an excellent article in the New York Times about another hijacking...that of hijacking the event for political power.

Mama-Bug said...

That was well said Vicki. We don't often think about the others.

Mel said...

Thank you for the perspective. I agree completely and it's nice to hear other sane voices out there.
I've been meaning to watch Rachel Maddow's documentary, Day of Destruction, Decade of War for a breakdown of the military costs of that day. I'm going to read Chris Hedges article now. Thanks again.

Reader Wil said...

This is a post I can fully agree with! Osama bin Laden got what he wanted. Disrupt the USA and the allies by luring them into two very expensive wars, which still are costing a lot every day, thanks to a trigger-happy president, who was happy to get a chance to bomb innocent people together with the enemy in Iraq and Afghanistan.Thanks for your wise words Vicki!!!