One is supposed, in the circles I frequent, to put up some kind of post marking the horrors perpetrated this day by a relatively small group of fanatics acting at the behest of a larger, loosely-organized group of more of the same.
I suppose it is uncharitable of me to look back to 7 December, 1955. Pearl Harbor was certainly not forgotten, but a soundly-beaten Japan was busily building civil, democratic society and government; the war in the Pacific was long past and with it, rationing, firebomb balloons and internment camps. The Korean war-after-the-war was two years past. The second Red Scare was winding down; Senator McCarthy had been censured by his peers a year earlier and while the McCarran Act was in its fifth year, the clock was ticking. We had defeated the enemy and war-inspired incursions on liberty were fading.
In 2015, the free world is still boxing with fog. Governments offer lip service to freedom while they read our e-mail and tap our phones -- or (at least on paper) have their allies do so while we do the same for them, just to keep it "legal." No matter what party is in the White House or holds a majority in Congress, the Feds are as transparent as clay-laden Hoosier mud. But my, oh my, won't we hear about "9/11" all day today, and what kind of weirdo are you if you don't go along. It is trotted out as justification for everything from walling up the borders to tapping everyone's telephones, restricting firearms sales and arresting reporters, secret courts and vast data-harvesting programs, all of it with barely a single public trial, under a vast umbrella agency that's supposed to be putting together the Big Picture but appears to define everything outside its own bureaucracy as The Enemy. The most public charges have been not against terrorists but against whistle-blowers, the Press that's supposed to be, however idealistic and/or misguided, a bulwark of freedom. Ah, but they're traitors now that they shine a light into dark corners!
Yeah, well-- Win the damn war and kick the barbarians into at least the 20th Century if not the 21st, then get back to me. More than 2,500 people were killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor, the majority in uniform and we went on to fight and win a nasty war and a lasting peace; nearly 3,000 were murdered on 9/11, nearly all of them civilians, and what we got was a lot of rah-rah BS and unwinnable police actions that killed and maimed good men. I mourn the deaths and condemn the sneak attacks that caused them -- but warping American society into some kind of smiley-faced fascism isn't going to prevent more of the same, nor does it address the problem at its root.
A big chunk of the world is busy burning itself down right now, Reichstag fires writ large, holy wars, pogroms, civil wars, the kind of nightmare in which the brutal flourish and decent folk flee. The free world appears to be hoping the conflagration will stop at our borders. Don't count on it.
T. R. MCELROY'S STREAMLINED TELEGRAPH KEYS
1 year ago