Monday, September 11, 2006

Wake me up when September ends

Thoughts on 9/11 -- Patriot Day

Over the past few years, September has been a terrible month for America and for me. Today, we mark the anniversary of September 11th. Last year, Hurricane Katrina killed thousands and displaced hundreds of thousands. Two years ago my father died during this month.

As a child I hated September because it meant the end of summer, the return of school and the beginning of an Indiana winter. I dread it even more now.

I always feel guilty during the 9/11 tributes. Over three thousand innocent people died, yet I have come to hate what 9/11 stands for. It has come to stand for jingoism, know-nothing superiority, the surrender of our freedom, our integrity and the beginning of an endless war.

The attack on the United States created an unquenchable bloodthirst for some. For weeks after the attack, I listened to Americans talk about bombing Afghanistan, Iraq and other brown people. I listened to our President speak of a new crusade. I listened to explanations like “they hate us for our freedom”. I listened to attacks on Islam and other non-Christians. I knew it would not take long for bombs to fall.

War came. I am no pacifist. I supported action in Afghanistan, but I was worried whether we would be there to pick up the pieces after the Taliban had gone. Five years after their “defeat”, they are in control of a large part of Afghanistan.

The real war came later. The President spoke of weapons of mass destruction. He linked Saddam Hussein to 9/11 by innuendo. Over 70 percent of Americans believed Saddam had some responsibility for 9/11 even though there was no proof. The President promised he would bring freedom and Democracy to the Middle East. Our President and our military were brilliant in planning for war, but abysmally stupid in planning the peace. He was completely unaware that there existed two rival religious factions in Islam. He was completely unaware that given the chance the people would elect a hardline fundamentalist like Mahmood Ahmadinejad in Iran.

At home, the war on terror has affected our lives. The act of flying on airplane, attending a major public event or even driving near the Hoover Dam may never be the same. In our rush to protect the homeland, we have forgotten our Constitution. We offered new powers to the government in the Orwellian named Patriot Act. American citizens have been held indefinitely and without access to a lawyer. We have captured foreign nationals and have held them indefinitely at Guantanamo Bay. We have become torturers. We have secret prisons. We have become many of things we have fought against.

There are two Americas. There are those with the yellow ribbons that read “God Bless America”. They do not question when the President can only say they “hate us for our freedom” rather than looking inward and asking why this happened. They are the ones who meet dissent with the cry of “Support our Troops”. These same patriots fail to support our troops by voting in a Republican administration and Congress who have failed to provide adequate Kevlar jackets; armor for humvees; and tried to cut imminent danger pay. This same administration is also responsible for creating a reliance on “citizen soldier” National Guard units; has tripled the cost of military medical insurance; and began a back door military draft. This same administration has created an expensive reliance on private contractors to do the job the Army once did at several times the price. These facts mean more than the empty rhetoric of a yellow ribbon magnet.

Now, it is September 11, 2006 or as it is newly known -- Patriot Day. America has changed a lot in the past five years. I respect those who serve in the military and wish them a safe passage home. I mourn those who died on 9/11 and those who have died in the war on terror, but forgive me if I do not wave my flag.


Blogger indymtgpro77 said...

Torpor, very well written and accepted by this Patriot. Excuse me for not waiving my flag either.

FYI, I think you posted twice, or was the repetition purposeful?

September 11, 2006  
Blogger torporific said...

It was a test to see if anyone actually read it! Thanks for catching that, Tim.

September 11, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very well done.

I hate that the word "patriot" seems tainted to me now. I hate that the administration has stolen its true meaning. I hate that so many Americans believed the lies and voted W in...again.


September 11, 2006  
Blogger Jim said...

Well said. I was thinking some of the same things this morning after getting bombarded yesterday with the media orgy about the fifth anniversary. While I think that we should certainly never forget what happened five years ago, what's more important is that we use our memories of those terrible moments to be constructive, not destructive. Far too often, the current administration has opted for destructive option.

September 11, 2006  
Blogger torporific said...

Nice blog entry by Keith Olbermann

September 12, 2006  
Anonymous Kevin said...

Amen and well said brother! (You did a fellow Sycamore proud.) ;-)

September 12, 2006  
Blogger torporific said...

We need something to be proud of since we have the nation's longest Division 1 losing streak in football.

September 12, 2006  
Blogger John Good said...

Well stated, Torp! Hope you had a great time in Vegas. I apologize for my absence here. My ever-growing blogroll and 12-hour workdays have been daunting to my time as of late. . .

September 15, 2006  
Blogger lastlifeinmyuniverse said...

well written indeed... a lot of us feel the same way and im glad you had the guts to say it out.

September 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I respect your right not to raise the flag. However, I would argue you should say what you believe and wave your flag that much higher so that those who might not know may associate your views with that flag. I guess what I am saying is: if you feel strongly, take it back, don't abandon it.

September 19, 2006  
Blogger torporific said...

anonymous, I see your point, but I can't do that right now.

September 19, 2006  

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