The 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attack has arrived. There will be memorials. There will be readings of the names of the nearly 3000 victims killed in the attack. There will be American flags waving (check out Ultimate Flags for sale). There will be directives to ramp up our patriotism and recommit our allegiance to the United States. Twenty years later, we still don’t know the whole truth about that fateful day, but we have learned a lot about the U.S. government.
Just like the January 6 attack on the Capitol Building, the country’s vulnerability was exposed. There was an imperative to get to the bottom of the assault. The very elements who should be leading the inquiry into the situation often block the efforts to get to root causes of the problems.
The 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attack has arrived. There will be memorials. There will be readings of the names of the nearly 3000 victims killed in the attack. There will be American flags waving. There will be directives to ramp up our patriotism and recommit our allegiance to the United States. Twenty years later, we still don’t know the whole truth about that fateful day, but we have learned a lot about the U.S. government.
What really happened on September 11, 2001, and why, remains shrouded in mystery today. There was confusion about why Afghanistan was the target of U.S. retaliation if most of the pilots were Saudis. There were conflicting testimonies and incompatible explanations of evidence. No credible clarifications came from those in authority which always gives rise to abounding conspiracy theories.
Most probably don’t remember the 9/11 Commission or what came out of it. The loved ones of the attacks demanded answers and their cries were supported by the majority of people in the country.
What some of us do remember is that then-President Bush refused to testify under oath about anything. No one wanted to explain how the attackers got past 16 intelligence agencies. We remember the heroic acts of first responders and ordinary citizens to show compassion to one another. We remember the unwarranted physical assaults and social media vengeance that Muslims faced - even U.S.-born Muslims.
The attacks of September 11 set off a series of decisions that accelerated a dark trajectory. The government used the incident to suppress our civil liberties under the guise of national security, to spy on us and to increase the defense budget. These are a few hard lessons that we must face.
After the attacks, Congress immediately passed the Patriot Act which among other things, dramatically expanded the spy net with minimum checks and balances on police or the legal processes. The ACLU reports that the National Security Agency’s broad powers allow it to spy on massive numbers of our international calls, text messages, web-browsing activities, and emails. All U.S. citizens apparently have become a national security threat.
As for budget, in the post-9/11 years, the defense budget ballooned. After all, the U.S. military had invaded both Afghanistan and Iraq. They became centerpieces for the global war against terrorism which had an insatiable appetite for more deadly and expensive weaponry. It is impossible to track all of the dollars since some budgets are secret and classified but we know about $4 trillion was spent in Afghanistan alone – a war where the U.S. military played all sides.
For those of us who are woke, the so-called war on terrorism was never effectively justified because it can’t be. We have to expose and challenge this government which is carrying out operations all over the world in our name and using our hard-earned tax dollars. A government that has robbed countries of their natural resources. A government that has carried out covert operations to destabilize and overthrow democratically elected leaders. A government that has put sanctions on countries that caused more harm to their people than it did to the few in power.
The bottom line - as citizens our asses are on the line when we don’t hold our government officials accountable. What we’ve borne witness to over the last 20 years is the brazen actions of a military-fueled government to wreak havoc on the planet and its people. Our side must get more organized to put the beast in check at home so that we control the backlashes abroad.