On September 11, 2002, I sat in my apartment in Honolulu and watched all the news coverage of the one year anniversary. I was very emotional. A year before, I was trying to shake off a hangover in Chicago when people slowly started descending on the television in my law school dorm. We were terrified. Mostly, that came from the uncertainty. We thought we might be under attack in Chicago as well, and, who knew what else might come.
That was before 9/11 was used as an excuse for other Americans to hurt America, as much or more as any terrorist did on that day. Now, we are all in a contest to outdo each other to show who really cares more about what happened that day.
I can’t lie: I don’t care at all anymore.
At the time, the figure of 3,000 Americans killed seemed catastrophic. Nearly that many of our soldiers have died in Iraq, sent there on the excuse of 9/11. Nearly that many people died in New Orleans because the government isn’t about building levies anymore, it’s about getting the contract to build the levy. And 3,000 dead? That’s a good month in Iraq for the Iraqi people anymore.
All 9/11 means to me anymore is that America can run rampant around the world, and inflict whatever pain or punishment on anyone else. Then, when someone retaliates (even in an evil, immoral way), we wonder “why they hate us.” And we’re hurt because we believe we’re a good people. Well, we are, but we’re grossly irresponsible. We don’t know what’s being done in our name, and we don’t care. If we did, we’d probably not allow it; but we don’t, so it happens.
Five years later, we’ve learned nothing. We’re even more irresponsible with our behavior abroad, and we’ve shown that inter arma enim silent leges is the true rule in America: the Constitution is a set of guidelines, not rules. And the war that silences the laws? Whatever they put on TV.
We’ve failed in Afghanistan; we’ve failed in Iraq, and bin Laden is alive and well on this fifth anniversary, under the protection of or “allies in the war on terror,” the ISI and Pakistan, who, have undoubtedly aided Kashmiri groups bomb India–but of course the war on terror is not a war and it’s not on terror. It’s a pretext for the repression of dissent at home and belligerance abroad.