I heard a truism decades ago that went something like this:
In fighting against any anything, we always lose, because we inevitably take on the qualities of “our enemy”, the very ones we are fighting against. In so doing, the “enemy” ends up winning.” Even with World War II and Hitler, if you look at what America became – torturers, invaders of defenseless countries, world dominators, totalitarians to some extent – we lost that war.
Every time I stand in a TSA line at an airport, I can’t shake the notion of what it was like to pass through a Nazi checkpoint in 1941.
This is the way the moderately conservative German newspaper, der Spiegel, sees 9/11, on this the eve of its 10th anniversary Bush’s Tragic Legacy – How 9/11 Triggered America’s Decline:
The smoke was still rising from the rubble of the World Trade Center when Richard Armitage, at the time the US deputy secretary of state, spoke in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. “History begins today,” he said.
In the coming decade, Armitage would turn out to be right — except the politician could not have foreseen how tragic the history would be following the epochal event. It is the history of the decline of the USA as a superpower.
Immediately before the attacks, this country was in full bloom — like Rome at its peak, as TV host Joe Scarborough recalls today.
The Republican President George W. Bush had inherited a fat budget surplus from the Democrat Bill Clinton. In Kosovo, the US, which Madeleine Albright dubbed “the indispensable nation,” had just shown the Europeans how it could resolve conflicts, even in their own backyard…
It was NOT all hunky-dory, though. Enron, along with their fellow criminals at Arthur J Andserson, was on the front pages, as were the collapse of other mega-empires, such as WorldCom. Carnivorous capitalism was taking a severe bruising in the press. The pedophile priests and the Catholic Church were very happy to have something push them off the front pages.
After watching several hours on that day ten years ago, I went to give blood. I wasn’t there five minutes when the guy behind me raised his voice and declared that, “We are so damned lucky that it was George W Bush who is President!” Hackles up, my immediate reaction was to say, “You stupid idiot, if Bush wasn’t the President this never would have happened!” Instead, in the interests of peace among grieving Americans, I bit my lip. Now I know that I should have spoken my peace and then gone to stand way in the back of the line – just to get away from such willful stupidity. In the days to follow, comedians and professors lost their jobs, as America went insane with forced compliance of any and all things Bush.
I stood in line for over SIX hours that day – to give blood that, in the end, was not needed in lower Manhattan that day. Six hours, knowing that right behind me stood that idiot who thought Bush was a great and powerful wizard.
Why it took the world so long to recognize Bush’s utter, utter imbecility I will never know. By the time we “elected” him a second time (give thanks to Diebold for that), the rest of the world had awakened, wondering how 56 MILLION people had voted for him after his proven incompetance was out there for all the world to see – and after the torture has been outed to the world. [caps in the original headline…]
So, as you can see, YES, America took on the qualities of Adolf and his henchman – and not only HAD them, but had the opportunity to refute them all – and chose instead to wrap its arms around it all!
Why people like that idiot in the line are still so stupid, I will also never know.
It is the history of the decline of the USA as a superpower.
This would be especially ironic if it did happen to be an inside job (one neocon famously said during Bush’s first few months in office, “What we really need is a new Pearl Harbor,” and many still think the neocons did it). I am neutral on that issue; they had the opportunity, and there are suspicious aspects that cannot be overlooked completely. But, try as I might, the case against them is merely circumstantial. I have not seen any convincing evidence, so against my better judgment, I give them the benefit of the doubt. Why I do, I don’t know. They certainly don’t believe it. After all, they are America killers. Much more than Al Qaida ever could have been.
In the last short while I have been flabbergasted that the hoopla over 9/11 has been as small as it has been. I would have expected there to be a 3-month run-up to 9/11. The recent silly “terrorist threats” only bring back to mind the absurdity and criminality of the Bush years – the NSA eavesdropping, the attack on Iraq, which had nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11, the Black sites all over the Middle East and Europe, the soldiers policing our airports, the long lines as the TSA imposed itself on us a la 1984, the Patriot Act – and most of all, of course, the torture of people by Americans (which still might some day have its day in the World Court).
It was the beginning of the end, but it did not happen in a vacuum.
[der Spiegel again] …These are costly defeats for America and the rest of the world…. According to a conservative estimate by Brown University, there have been almost 140,000 civilian casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq. The massive retaliation cost more than $3 trillion (€2.2 trillion) — dollars that would have been better used in America’s schools or in the wallets of US citizens...
Or, better yet, in the pockets of the high-stakes gamblers called Goldman Sachs et al. To pay for their Jobs Bill.
In retrospect the term “Jobs Bill” should be applied to Bill Clinton, during whose tenure Americans had jobs coming out of our arse holes.
Today, following all the Bush-era tax cuts, the US is a deeply divided country in social terms. The gap between rich and poor is almost as great as it was in the days of oil barons and steel magnates in the last century. Five percent of Americans buy almost 40 percent of all consumer goods sold in the country.
Is this by default? Just how LITTLE do the other 95% buy now, anyway? So many people are now only buying at Wal-Mart anymore, and if you go into most malls or big-box stores, look at how few customers are walking the aisles – and see how empty their carts are.
The quiet is like a tomb.
Even necessary item in homes are having their life spans stretched to the limit. And unnecessary ones? Many never get bought, anymore.
The US has become estranged from the rest of the world. It is partly its own fault, but the rest of the world also shares some of the blame — because many only see America as a perpetrator, and no longer regard it as a victim.
This is a NON-Liberal German paper saying this, and Germany is, if anything, more supportive of the rich getting richer while the poor are left to fend for themselves. Witness the present crisis of the euro and the EU, in which Germany is leading the charge to dump on Greece, Portugal, Ireland who are dragging the euro down.
Der Spiegel would be behind America – if only America had any capacity to be itself again. This article was written as much as an epitaph as a criticism. The super-power is dead! Long live the super-power!
All I know is that the America of today has almost no resemblance to the America George W. Bush and I were born into or grew up in.
In answer to Richard Armitage, I would say, rather, that history died that day, at least so far as America was a leader and was so much admired by the rest of the world. Even the jeans that were the icon of America have long since been made in China and elsewhere. “America” has such a hollowness to it now. The neocons killed the very thing they purported to venerate. It certainly is the biggest blunder – of so many – that they perpetrated upon the U.S.
We should erect a monument on The Mall in Washington, dedicated to the narrow-winded fearmongers who America has followed into oblivion. Without both the authoritarian mind set of them all – leaders and followers both – it goes without saying that we would not be where we are today.
After watching several hours on that day ten years ago, I