So, here we are, five years after a horrible mass murder took place. If you live within earshot of a media source you've probably been bombarded by endless political-spin of revisioning five year-old history. No doubt the President will come on the tube tonight and carp about how "far" we've come, in the war on terror, and he will likely use the occasion to call for more war and death, more invasions and occupations, if he sticks to his usual pattern.
The disaster of 9-11 plays well into the NeoCon agenda. In the seminal document from the Project for a New American Century
called "Rebuilding America's Forces,
suggests that a catastrophic event, like "a new Pearl Harbor," is necessary for "revolutionary change."
Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some
catastrophic and catalyzing event -- like a new Pearl Harbor. Domestic politics and industrial policy will shape the pace and content of transformation as much as the requirements of current missions.
Did Bush and the NeoCon's plan 9-11? To me, the question is irrelevant. So long as this Administration sits in the Big White Mansion of power: we shall never know the truth. But, the important thing is how is the tragedy in 9/01 still being used by the Powers that Be?
Mostly, they use this tragedy to keep us in a constant state of fear. Maroon alerts, "sudden" leakings of revealed terror-plots--that all seem to end in few arrests, strawmen excuses for the stripping of our civil liberties via hastily-passed (and poorly understood) bills, while a lapdog press meekly plays along, stifling the news of the White House engaging in illegal wiretapping for a whole year, in the midst of a Presidential election.
The 19 terrorists who participated the attack must be very pleased, if they could survey their handiwork from the afterlife. They have managed to keep the nation's policies and its people locked within that terrible moment, five years' ago. All the President has to do is get up on TV every couple of months or so and mention 9-11...and, boom! Back we are again, locked in front of those TV screens showing the towers falling, over and over again. We ignore all the lies, the trickery and the blatant hypocrisy that went on before, as we are fed yet another tidbit of fear.
Do we, as a nation, really want to be stuck in that day, for the next two years?
It's important to remember the other 9-11's
that took place, before 2001.
September 11, 1973 Chile's democratically-elected President Salvador Allende died in a CIA-backed military coup
September 11, 1977 Anti-apartheid leader Stephen Biko was being driven to Pretoria where he would die a day later on a prison floor after being beaten by South African police
September 11, 1990 Guatemalan anthropologist Myrna Mack was murdered by US-backed death squads
September 11, 1971 Attica Prison uprising that saw New York State Troopers kill 39 men and wound 88 others.
And there are even more notable September 11's, if you look back far enough.
But the President wants us to remain locked in an ever-present state of uncertainty, and fear. He needs this war to go on, forever if need be, because he can claim unfettered power in this "emergency." And so he summons the undead ghost of 9-11, to shock and awe our brains into the deep-freeze, of fear.
20 Things We Know 5 years After 9-11
Perilously Close to Dictatorship. We know that Bush has no great love for legitimate democratic processes, certainly not inside the United States. (On at least three occasions, he has "jokingly" expressed his preference for dictatorship, as long, he said, as he can be the dictator.) He much prefers to rule as an oligarch, but to do that, he had to invent legal justifications that he could claim granted him the requisite power. So he had his longtime lawyer-toady, Alberto Gonzales, devise a legal philosophy that permits Bush to do pretty much what he wants -- ignore laws on the books, disappear U.S. citizens into military prisons, authorize torture, spy on citizens' phone calls and emails, etc. -- whenever Bush says he's acting as "commander-in-chief" during "wartime."
And, since "wartime" is the amorphous "war on terror," from which there is no end, Bush is home free. There always will be terrorists trying to do anti-U.S. damage somewhere around the globe, or inside America, and the "commander-in-chief" will need to respond. Ergo, goes this logic, Bush is above the law, untouchable, in perpetuity. Bush&Co. also made sure that U.S. officials and military troops would not be subject to indictment by any international court or war-crimes tribunal.
Neither Gonzales, nor Bush, has disavowed this legal philosophy of a dictator-like President being beyond the reach of the law. No doubt the issue ultimately will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, to which Bush has appointed ultra-conservative Judges John Roberts and Samuel Alito. In a chilling decision, the appeals panel, of which Roberts was a member prior to his ascension to the Supremes, ruled that the Commander-in-Chief's arbitrarily-designated "enemies" are non-persons, with no legal rights. Bush now feels free to subject anyone he likes to the "military tribunal" system he has concocted; even the Court's recent objections to the tribunal system has had little effect on day-to-day violations of detainees' rights, as Bush&Co. always manage to postpone and delay implementation or find ways around the court rulings.
I say that it is important to remember the past, not to get caught within it. Fascism, it is said, will come to America "with a smiling face." There won't be brown shirts and street-demonstrations: instead, we'll get religious extremists with increased powers telling us that their right to rule was "ordained by God," that their wars are really "crusades." We'll be told that to criticize the gov't is unpatriotic, and an unhealthy, hypermasculine image of the military will become the norm for American society, and downright stylish. There will be an increasing partnership between business and the military, and secrecy will become the norm for gov't.
Aikido is a paradoxical means to fight this paradigm. By maintaining an ethic of respect and warrior-discipline, we nonetheless have a foot in both camps, as we aim to achieve harmony. We train for peace, in the midst of a ceaseless (and pointless) war.
Now, off to teach class. Don't be fooled by the hype: stay vigilant.