9.11.2008

9/11

A lot of people have waxed eloquent today about a tragedy that still gives most of us pause when we think about it. There has been a lot of ink spilled about the transcendant nature of the tragedy and our need to step beyond politics for one day and mourn. I mourned. And when I was done, I was angry.

People say that this is not a political issue and the deaths of thousands of American civilians, many of them trying to help their fellow countrymen is not inherently political. But my anger is political.

People say that we should direct our anger at the terrorists who plot today from caves and camps thousands of miles away - not against our leaders. I was angry at them for years. But now I am angry at us and our administration.

We have spent the past seven years fighting a war that had little to do with the terrorists. We have spent billions on it and diminished the ability of one of the greatest fighting forces in the world to protect us if and when a real need arises. And along all of that, we have toppled from our place at the helm of global politics. The terrorists didn't do that to us and they didn't force us to do it to ourselves. No, after seven long years, I am not angry at them anymore. I am angry at, and - worse - disappointed in, us.

3 comments:

Maxim said...

This is pretty disappointing Obama/Democratic boilerplate to read from you. I feel like you *must* be better informed and have a better understanding of the issues to be making such blanket and clearly contestable statements. I hope that's the case, and urge you to avoid the temptation in future posts. Whether or not it's the case - a few remarks are in order:

You say we're "... fighting a war that had little to do with the terrorists" ?? If you honestly truly believe that (rather than simply using it as rhetorical shorthand for a more complex issue), I don't know what to say. Sure Saddam didn't do 9/11, but his type of regime and the UN's flaccid non-performance of its function is exactly what created the opportunities and mindset (on all sides) for 9/11 to happen. At the very least the Bush administration chose a boldly different course. Not very efficient, certainly not 100% effective, but nothing in politics (especially international politics) ever is.

You say "...we have toppled from our place at the helm of global politics"??? Not last that I checked. That may be a trend that's playing itself out over this decade and the coming ones, but "toppled" is an inaccurate word, and solely blaming the Bush administration's post-9/11 actions is, again, Obama campaign boilerplate. You *know* that the reality is more complex than that.

You say, "No, after seven long years, I am not angry at them anymore." Really? What changed your mind? Do you have the slightest cause to think they wouldn't pull off another 9/11 if they could? Or, in a slightly broader context, do you imagine for a second that their cultures, religion, and societies can give you a tenth of the forbearance and tolerance that we give them? Or is it that time heals all wounds? Not here -- I'm still *plenty* pissed.

You say " I am angry at, and - worse - disappointed in, us." In that case, I'd like to introduce to you the concept of "Masochistic Omnipotence Syndrome" -- you'll find some notes on it here.

For you to redirect the anger you felt at the perpetrators of 9/11's horrors onto our own culture and leaders is a self-defeating bit of psychological transference. On the one hand, it's understandable -- you actually have a greater degree of control, however small, over what our culture is like and what our politicians/leaders do. On the other hand, like a hostage suffering from Stockholm syndrome, when you misinterpret and mis-identify the various sources of good and evil in the world, and their relative magnitudes, it leads you to make poor choices about how to behave, and where to direct your energies, emotional and physical.

Let's remember the larger picture, please, shall we?

xerpentine said...

If you read this blog, you know I don't comment on comments on the blog. Maxim just won an exception for implying that I am an Obama campaign lackey.

Congratulations Maxim. You've gone and pissed me off.

Nothing in this post about Obama, McCain, the campaign, or otherwise. It is "political" in the largest sense and takes aim at the current administration.

And for what? For lashing out against a regime that Bush should have known (and I think most readers will admit I am giving him a huge benefit of the doubt on that) had no direct link with the attacks themselves.

Saddam did not harbor terrorist cells, he did not have a bomb in the works, he did provide them weapons, and he did not attack us. What am I missing here, that he more than didn't like us? We can't attack Iran and North Korea, and they might actually have a bomb and they do give money to terrorist cells. And can you guess why? We are committed in Iraq.

So, now, ask yourself? Why did we go to Iraq? Read your neoconvservative history before you come swinging sir. Neo-cons pushed the administration into a sort-of manifest destiny of democracy in the Middle East. They, including Cheney, wanted to go back to Iraq after the first gulf war. They talked about before they got into office. To them, 9-11 was an opening - an opportunity.

I don't deny that Saddam deserved to topple, but to leverage 9/11 to convince the American people to fund your quest is despicable.

You are right, I don't like the people that hate us abroad. But that is not why I hate the people at home that manipulated us and depeleted us and our resources, so that we can't even send the National Guard down to Galveston to help in the clean up. Remember when they used to serve us here at home?

E said...

Maxim,
Congratulations! Your fervent study of Wikipedia has somewhat paid off. You can understand why some linguistic choices aren't quite appropriate for the context, even if you can't suggest replacements.

That's beside the point, though, because where you excel in word recognition, you fail in understanding the art of rhetoric. Are you familiar with that word? Are you aware that in lambasting this post's use of rhetoric, you're arguing against the very definition of the word? Rhetoric, for your own, lacking edification, is the use of speech to persuade. In this case, the writer encourages the readers to consider the nature of 9/11, its causes and effects.

For you to term this as political propaganda is entirely irrelevant. So what if it is? If you don't want to read an individual's opinion, why are you reading a BLOG?

Do you urge the writers of all blogs you read to avoid the temptation to wax politically? No, because that would be pompous to imply that your readership is above all.

As for 9/11, coming from someone whose father died in the attacks on the World Trade Center, your amateur understanding of psychological afflictions is laughable at best, and insulting at worst. Stockholm Syndrome? Masochistic Omnipotencebullshit? Step away from your DSM-IV!

To insinuate that anger is an unacceptable emotional response regarding the murder of more than three thousand innocent people response is lacking in any emotion IN ITSELF. Would you rather I laughed? Or perhaps I should be afraid? Maybe then I'd search for an outlet, one in which I could take out my own fears of something like 9/11 happening to me. Boy, it would really make me feel better if I just spend my time criticizing the way other people respond. Instead of addressing the emotional content of others' responses, I could just deliver a litany of criticism in order to try and legitimize the attacks. Sounds like a good alternative to addressing my own feelings of inadequacy against an undefinable threat like planes flying into buildings.

Right?

I'm sure you have an opinion on that.

Ironically, you close by suggesting that the other directs his energy toward something more constructive. Like posting an opinion in response to an opinion? That hardly seems to espouse the notion of keeping things in perspective, now, doesn't it?

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