This 9/11, I am truly angry.

by J.A. Myerson

Guess what I’m still furious about: the fact that the neo-cons recognized in the severe outpouring of solidarity that followed 9/11 the opportunity to transform that sentiment into the most anti-democratic response there is – bellicose jingoism of the sort that leads people willingly to surrender liberty – all in the name of democracy.

The American mood after 9/11 was one that could have yielded support and even enthusiasm for any project of social betterment at home or abroad – perhaps a Marshall plan of aid to aspiring democratic and civil institutions in countries whose social degradation and state bankruptcy made the conditions perfect for the propagation of terrorism.

Instead, the neo-cons set in motion the agenda for which they were agitating long before: an expansion of American corporate and military hegemony in the Middle East, a liberation of the intelligence and covert ops communities from the restrictions imposed on them by our country’s statutory preference for civil liberties, a huge consolidation of power in the hands of the executive branch, &c.

And in the spirit of the most base and cynical hypocrisy, they strengthened ties with Saudi Arabia, their preferred totalitarian theocracy who routinely finances terrorism and violates international law. Because it was never about human rights or democracy or liberty or even security, and if they tell you it was, they’re lying through their teeth.

It was always about the expansion of American power and wiping out obstacles to it. In the past, they’ve had a more difficult time doing it because America’s opponents weren’t as patently evil as Hussein or Ahmadinejad, whose execution is the dream they never quite reached before the American electorate rejected their radical philosophy as a governing principle. Allende and Aristide could reasonably be defended. Not so with Hussein or the Taliban, a fact which allowed the neo-cons to smirk as they slobbered the words “democracy” and “freedom” in any outfit that would devote its time to their crackpot nonsense, all chances of dissent firmly intimidated by the specter of questioned patriotism.

I am livid that they did that, and I charge all of the deaths of all of the victims of this policy, from Daniel Pearl to Ali Mohammed Hafedh Kinani, rest on their heads. For shame.

When I was a sophomore in high school and the towers tumbled in my hometown, I was very into Dr. King and so opposed a war response for fairly simplistic reasons. In the decade since, I have grown to understand a lot more about the world and various schools of foreign policy thought. I have read and listened extensively, as assorted experts and pundits espoused one or another view of why American foreign policy had to be belligerent here or there.

I stand by my original assessment.