Saturday, September 10, 2011


I thought after last year that our long national indulgence in the compounded delusions of self-pity and self-righteous anger were starting to fade.But for the tenth anniversary of the events of 11 SEP 2001 has brought out all the usual idiots parroting all the usual tropes; It's was all about US! OMFG it was Pure Evil! It was Such a Shock 'Cause We were just Minding Our Own Business when We were viciously mugged!Well, okay, so we've had ten years and we're STILL thinking about this.

(Anybody want to make a bet as to whether Pearl Harbor was still front page news on 7 DEC 1951? No? Didn't think so. It was a very different war in a very different time, and in many ways were were a cruder, harder, simpler...but more sensible people fifty years ago.)

So let's get a couple of things out of the way first.

That an Islamic attack of some sort was successfully completed on U.S. soil was an entirely rational and expected result of the Middle East policies we had been pursuing for decades; since 1948, at the very least. This doesn't make OBL or AQ any more loveable or "justified". But you bankroll, arm, and act as consigliere for one of the local mobs in a bad part of town, don't be surprised to wake up with a horse's head in your bed some morning. It ain't an "if", it's a when, goombah, capisce?That it succeeded beyond the wildest dreams of its Saudi maker is unquestionable. If 9/11 was a battle and you looked at it trying to define "Who won 9/11?" the world's tallest dead Saudi would have to be the winner, hands down. For the cost of a relatively small number of expendable fanatics (and the bombing and occupation of a stone-age tribal wasteland back into the stone age) he sent his target rampaging through the Middle East, bombing, shooting, and - worst of all - acting like the least competent imperial power in history. Too meek to conquer, too clueless and viciously self-protective to woo, too stupid to realize the difference...Osama must look back at the past ten years and the present position of his target, exchange incredulous looks at the demons tormenting him, and all three of them must collapse in helpless laughter. Satan in all his genius couldn't conceive of a richer foul joke.That the most significant, durable, and successful effect it has had has been the erection of a monstrous internal and external surveillance and propaganda contraption that extends across multiple agencies and continents, absorbs billions of dollars and tens of thousands of careers and lives...and all in pursuit of this chimera. Al posted the link to a Naval War College journal article in the preceding post. In it the author bemoans the costly, inept behemoth we know as the Department of Homeland Security.Because it is a massive boondoggle ginned up by the world's last superpower to oppose the efforts of a handful of raggedy-assed clerics and Muslim fabulists dreaming of Caliphate in dumpy rooms in Third World shitholes that, even if successful, would be unlikely to do better than 9/11 - that is, kill a relative handful of Americans compared to the number who drive into utility poles while texting every year?


Because "...we need a longer term strategy for dealing with terrorism overall. Perhaps the most disappointing non-event of the past ten years has been the complete failure of America's intellectual infrastructure, including its colleges and universities, to create a reserve of expertise similar to that funded by the U.S. government in the wake of the Soviet challenge in the 1950s."

Got it?

The threat from a tiny band of poorly-funded, tactically-incompetent, Islamic boneheadsis and should be considered the modern equivalent of the challenge posed by the world's only other global superpowermassively armed with blue-water fleets, intercontinental bombers, an trained army of spies and assassins, and, oh, yeah, fucking nuclear ICBMs.

So one would think that this tenth anniversary of the moment we started the geopolitical equivalent of slamming eleven vodka and Red Bull shooters, stripping down to our skivvies, and leaping into the beer tub down at the local lesbian softball victory party swinging a length of tire chain and shouting "I can whip any bitch in the park!" we'd be looking around sheepishly at all the angry bull daggers, picking our saggy wet Jockeys out of the crack of our stinging ass and wondering what the fuck we had been thinking.

(Stops. Sighs. Shakes his head.)

Instead of indulging in an orgy of self-pity, maudlin sentimentality, and self-righteous victimhood.

But we won't.


Ael said...

The bombing and occupation of the tribal wasteland was the whole point of the attack. Osama wanted the Americans to over-react so he could sow revolution. In that, he succeeded beyond his wildest dreams.

As it turns out, the Arabs opted for peaceful-ish civic protest rather than holy war for their revolution(s)

Irony is a wonderful thing.

FDChief said...

Ael: When we go from bankrolling the Afghan muj to bombing them and bombing Ghadafy to backing him to bombing him again then irony is dead as dead as the dodo.

Lisa said...

The Muslm fabulists "kill[ed] a relative handful of Americans compared to the number who drive into utility poles while texting every year?"

Amen, brother.

Your last image of crashing the lesbian party is priceless. "Self-righteous victimhood" -- isn't that always the posture of the bully or the hypocrite when someone calls "game up"?

FDChief said...

Lisa: The thing that pains me about this is that I remember standing in my kitchen on the phone with a friend, another ex-GI, shouting "This is Pearl Harbor, goddamit! Pearl Harbor!"

I wanted revenge. I wanted to bully. Within days I had both an American and a U.S. Army flag outside the front door. I remember the feelings of wrath and fury at the people who did this. Yes, I understood about our history with the Middle East. I understood about their grievances. I didn't care; I wanted us to hunt down the actors involved and kill them.

But I also understood within weeks at most that we were going sickeningly wrong. That Afghanistan was going off the rails, and the entire Iraq business was going to be a horrorshow. And I watched as my friends in the Guard were deployed again and again, and watched the families of the dead who never recovered from their losses any better than some of the survivors of 9/11 did.

It's time to stop. Time to grow up, move on, put it behind us except as an anniversary of a loss for those who actually lost loved ones. This ignorant chest-beating agony every year is both demeaning and foolish, and makes us less than we could and should be.

Ael said...

I agree Chief.

Here in Canada, the day after the 9/11 anniversary, the press is *still* going on and on about it.

I can't imagine how bad it must be there.

Lisa said...

The morning of 9-11-01, I was walking back from class when a fellow teacher said to me, "They've hit the Twin Towers".

I sat in the conference rm. for a few minutes alone, watching the burn, then the 2nd hit. I knew exactly what was happening. I walked into my next class and explained my theory, which was correct. I said this was no surprise.

I enjoyed the silence of the day, no planes, and the politeness of a cowed people. A crazy woman who walks the neighborhood streets was singing a gospel tune outside of my window as she passed.

I was so disappointed when a more cerebral friend called and said, "Everything has now changed." I hoped it would not be so, but I knew what we would do that would make it so.

The next Crusade had begun, and how does one tiptoe out of a Crusade?

FDChief said...

But Lisa, I honestly think that no one but a small group - the same group that got us into this idiocy - really wants a "crusade". Most of the rest of the country just wants to forget it, and, since we now have a tiny self-selected armed force, they can.

So the pointless nonsense just shambles along.

I've got another post in ma about this, a sort of "what now". But I'm afraid it's not very sunny; my main take is that abroad our geopolitical aims in the Middle East make this continual low-grade warfare more likely than not, while at home we lack the confidence (and our rulers lack the reason) to fold up the immense national-security-state structure we've built since 9/11. So we're stuck here in 9/11 Groundhog Day.

Lisa said...


If I may be so bold: You are an enlightened man, and you live in an enlightened city in one of the more progressive states. When you say the est of the country wishes to forget it, that may not be so.

In the hinterlands, there is yet still a great fervor against the heathen darkies. Sad but true. And as you say, the are not hanging in the breeze, so their hoorah-ness comes without much danger.

I do believe I am correct, and not speaking simply from the perspective of some backwater hamlet. Educated European friends are just as much swept up in our continuing the fight (though they'll not fight.)

Our own indig are swept up into a collective idiocy that keeps them riveted to the Casey Anthony story, et. al. It is hard to understand.

Yes, we are in a state of continual, low-grade warfare, our own 9-11 Groundhog Day.

I will be interested to read your further views, if you choose to develop the idea.

Pluto said...

AEL - "I can't imagine how bad it must be there."

It's best if you don't, two days after the anniversary and we're still hip-deep in the morass. I knew it was going to be bad but this has been just about twice as bad as I expected. Gaah! I was tired of this on 10/11/01.

Can somebody either find the off switch or the fire exit?

FDChief said...

I've been lucky; I was wrapped up with family on Sunday and since then have been away up north on the far end of the Olympic Peninsula working in the national park all day. I haven't seen anything on TV other than the "Miss Universe" pageant last night and that was enough to have me hiding under the blankets until daylight...

I'm saddened to hear that the Visitation of the Martyrs went on and on this year. I really thought after last year's subdued version that we were getting over ourselves. Guess not.

I agree, Lisa, that the ignorant fucking rubes (whether they're actual rubes or the city-dwelling pig-ignorant equivalent) may be willing to spout the "kick their ass, take their gas" rhetoric and will vote for the Republican war lovers...but they won't pay taxes to support it, or volunteer for it, or buy War the actual heavy lifting of warfighting or a homefront war effort. So I think if someone like Obama declared victory and told them the "war" was over they'd grunt irritably and forget it tomorrow.

Lisa said...

The WAR has become a vicarious raison d'etre for many. If Obama called it over, they'd be about as perturbed as if the season finale of Survivor were postponed -- they'd drown their sorrows in Cheetoes and be done with it.

Democrats are Democrats, Repubs, Repubs, and never the twain shall meet.