Friday, September 11, 2015

11 September

     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.


Educated Savage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Guffaw in AZ said...

"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."

Sadly, I believe you are correct.

Damn it!


rickn8or said...

"... the kind of nightmare in which the brutal flourish and decent folk flee."

But this time, there is nowhere to flee.

It's no fun being the adult, the one that says "But the king's not wearing any clothes" is it?

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

It's the 1930's all over again.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely perfect. Thank you, RX.

Countglockula said...

We tussle with our approved enemies in an unwinnable game. The rules of engagement are fluid, subject to change at the whim of whoever wields the scepter on a given day. Effective leadership in the military has been rendered into a political porridge, the contents being the bleeding young men forced to do the undoable.

We can't term our current engagements as wars. Rather, they are scenes in the world arena for the amusement and profit of the powers that be. Brinksmanship is the game of the day, large bets are made, and cultures won and lost.

I was once, long ago, one of these young men in the fray, and believed in a cause, and that my country was right. But not so much now. The character and strength we once had has been bled away, diluted by weaklings and politicians. Our strength and character is but red stains left on the mud and soil of foreign lands.

9/11, to me, is just another symptom of the disease eating away at what was once our country. We could have made a difference then, but it was diluted by politics and backstreet dealing. And so we, and the so-called wars, muddle on. For me, it is our country no more.

Anonymous said...

" I suppose it is uncharitable of me to look back to 7 December, 1955."

Beg your pardon, how does 7 December, 1955 fit into that observation? A quickie Google-Fu failed to turn up a notable world event on that date...

A birthday, perhaps?

Joe in PNG said...

Fuzzy- I'd say it was closer to the 1910's. The 1930's was a bit more cut and dried, with the Brits and French reluctant to begin yet another long, draining, exhausting war against Germany that would only benefit the US and Russia.

Anonymous said...

That date was 14 years after the attack on Pearl Harbour, just like today was 14 years after the towers came down. T'was a reflection on how much (or how little) a country can accomplish in 14 years following an attack.

pigpen51 said...

14 year aniv. of bombing of pearl harbor? 14 aniv. of bombing of wtc.?


I see your point exactly. The thought comes to mind that a country is only as good as it's leaders, but in this country we have at least some of the responsibility for their election on our hands. So we get the Government we deserve, and vote for.

The world stage today parallels elementary schools when I grew up in the 60's.
The adults ran things and the kids just basically screwed around trying to see how much trouble they could cause. Only in this case we have no adults in our country running things right now, just the kids screwing things up and getting us into trouble.

It just remains to be seen whether or not the adults will ever take over and get things back on track to reverse the damage before it is too late, or will we be stuck in the rut of living in past, chasing our demons, apologizing for "putting our face in front of someone's fist" type of thing.

14 years. We went to the moon in about 6 years. Fought WWII in 5. It blows your mind.

Old NFO said...

Not counting on it... Sadly... But I will never forget the loss of friends in the Pentagon.

Anonymous said...

Other Anon and pigpen 51, _ THANK YOU !_

14 years after Pearl. Now it makes more sense...*phew*...

Also pigpen51, 6 years to get to the moon isn't really a fair comparison.

Rocketry itself was well along the way by the time Kennedy made the commitment to a lunar landing (yeah, yeah, and that pesky detail about returning him safely to the Earth... some people want *everything*...geeze).

Project Apollo was, however, at the very dawn of the digital integrated circuit age.

Check your local library for 'Digital Apollo', by David A. Mindell. It's an excellent history of the Apollo Nav computer. Getting Apollo from Florida to its targeted landing within a few hundred meters from over 200,000 miles away is a serious technical achievement.

pigpen51 said...

your right, anon, 6 years to the moon is kind of apples to oranges, it was just a frame of reference. many, many other examples can be brought up. how many years did it take to build the suez canal? The Macanac(sp)Bridge? etc.

My point and I believe Roberta's being that after 14 long years our country should have more to show for our efforts than more of the same, only worse.

As for the Nav computer, I believe I read somewhere that we have more computing power in a musical greeting card than existed in the 1950's.

I do remember in my junior year of high school in a data entry/programming class part of programming a computer was running jumper wires from a1 to b6 on a big board you pulled out, with literally hundreds of these wires. then you replaced that board and did this like 4 more times just to run one accounting program for vocational school crazy but kind of cool looking back. We also did a lot of punch cards for some programs. This was in about 1977.

The Freeholder said...

Well said.

markm said...

In Japan, once the military-political clique was removed, the vast majority of the population was quite sane. Why didn't the people revolt against that insane government? There is no tradition of successful revolt in Japan, and the rulers were as harsh in suppressing internal dissent as they were in governing conquered territories. But once we forcibly removed - and hanged - the government, destroying most of their cities in the process, the people were willing to be guided in establishing a peaceful republic and to concentrate on capitalist success rather than military conquest.

In the Middle East, there is not and never was a satisfactory solution. The masses are insane. Their rulers understood the world far better than the people they ruled did, but even the best of them had to sometimes bow to Islamic nuttery, as well as holding their position with naked brutality. So we helped remove these brutal and occasionally troublesome rulers...

It was an impossible situation from the start. We could not hold to our principles and still support brutal dictatorships such as the former Shah of Iran - and still less can we support those like Qadaffy or Saddam Hussein that tried to gain the approval of their people by supporting terrorists or invading their neighbors. But remove them and hold free elections, and there will be just one election, which elevates the worst religious nuts to be the new dictators. Actual military rule seems to give the best governments possible for these people.