|9/11 + 20||
10 September 2021
Cogito Ergo Non Serviam
Tomorrow will be the 20th anniversary of the murders perpetrated by Al Qaeda in New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania. September 11 will continue to resonate in America for decades to come. Like December 7 and the attack on Pearl Harbor, the events of 9/11 changed the way the nation, and the world, viewed everything. The confidence that America when it went to bed the night before vanished. The nation became fearful, paranoid even. Its leaders made disastrously bad decisions, and its people never considered that those decisions could be wrong. America had the opportunity to shape a world order of inclusion and peace based on the sympathy the murders engendered. That did not happen. Today's inability to cope with a virus is the direct result of the poor response to the murders 20 years ago.
Immediately after the towers fell in Manhattan, America united around George W. Bush, a man who came second in the popular vote and who probably had Florida stolen for him by his brother Jeb, the governor. As he spoke on the Pile on September 14, he boosted his approval ratings into the 90+% range, odd given that the murders happened because his administration was asleep at the wheel. It was that support that allowed the administration to embark on a policy of transforming the Middle East, a noble idea executed poorly.
As early as September 12, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld (dubbed here Field Marshall von Rumsfeld because of his shoot-first, ask-no-questions style) was complaining that there were no good targets to hit in Afghanistan and that Iraq should be targeted. A year and a half later, the US would attack the Saddamite regime there, to the detriment of the hunt for bin Laden.
Among the American people, dissent was seen not as a check on government over-reach. Instead, it was seen as being a terrorist sympathizer. Joe McCarthy would have been thrilled. The march to war in Iraq was easy for the administration to make. The quick military win there helped delude the administration into thinking it had succeeded. But the enemies of America undertook a Fabian approach. America would get tired and go home eventually. And it did.
The result of the failed wars was a divided nation. On the one hand were the jingos who blamed every set back not on their own bad decisions but rather on the false claim that everyone else was soft on terror. On the other hand were those who saw the failures and called them by that name.
As a result, when Covid-19 came storming out of Wuhan to infect the globe, half of America was unwilling to admit there was even a problem. The happy talk from the Middle East had turned the heads of the right such that admitting to facts was problematic. Triumphalism based on nothing more than wishful thinking was in charge. That wishful thinking now has people avoiding vaccination in favor of ingesting horse de-wormer.
Meanwhile, America's place in the world has changed. On September 11, 2001, the entire world was behind the US out of simple human decency. Russia, China, Europe, the Gulf States all were willing to follow the US lead.
Today, Russia is hardly well-disposed toward the US. China is confident that the next century will belong to Beijing. Europe no longer trusts the US as it once did. The Gulf States are playing their own games, largely against Iran. America has fewer friends and allies now, and those it retains are less certain of the relationship.
The US and the world are very different places than they were 20 years ago. That is not so much because of the murders themselves but because of the response the US had. A more competent administration could have saved the world from the current mess.
© Copyright 2021 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.