I do not have the energy to say anything more.
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.