We are now enduring a parade of wistful, contemplative, self-regarding pundit-meditations on The Meaning of 9/11 Ten Years Later or, far worse, self-righteous moralizing screeds about the nature of "evil" from war zealots with oceans of blood of their unrepentant hands (if I could impose one media rule, it would be that following every column or TV segment featuring American political commentators dramatically unloading their Where-I-Was-on-9/11-and-how-I-felt tales, there would be similar recollections offered from parents in the Muslim world talking about how their children died from the pre-9/11 acts of the U.S. and its client states or from post-9/11 American bombs, drones, checkpoint shootings and night raids: just for the sake of "balance," which media outlets claim to crave). Notwithstanding this somber, collective 9/11 anniversary ritual descending upon us, the reality is that the nation's political and media elite learned no lessons from that attack.
The mere utterance of the word Terrorism (which now means little more than: violence or extremism by Muslims in opposition to American or Israeli actions and interests) is -- at least for America's political and media class -- as potent in justifying wars, civil liberties assaults, and massive military spending as it was in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. And worship of the American military and all that it does -- and a corresponding taboo on speaking ill of it except for tactical critiques (it would be better if they purchased this other weapon system or fought this war a bit differently) -- is the closest thing America has to a national religion.
But it's not merely the existence of ongoing Endless War that is so destructive -- both to the nation perpetrating it on the world and to its victims. Far worse is what is being done to prosecute that war, the transformation of government institutions and their relationship to the citizenry to sustain it, and, most enduringly of all, the mentality that it has spawned and entrenched. Yesterday, The New Yorker's Amy Davidson examined recently emerged evidence that the U.S. and Britain purposely sent detainees to be tortured by their good friend (now known as The New Hitler) Moammar Gadaffi, but it is her last paragraph that really captures the true State of Things -- now more than ever -- in post-9/11 America:
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