Still a post about conflict, not about medicine, and certainly not for the faint of heart or mind.
Looking ahead, looking behind.
It is Sept 11th 2014, 13 years after the famous terrorist attacks on US soil. Today my Facebook page is already full of memes and posts about remembering “first responders”, American unity, and the defense of liberty.
While I remember what life was like in the US on that day in 2001, I look over the world news and my own life since to reflect and find wisdom in what has happened and what the future holds.
The only logical conclusion I can reach is that the success of Al-Qaida on that day was the beginning of the end for the USA. A decade later, Osama may be dead, but he certainly won.
Shortly after the attacks, the US government passed a series of laws, which in the name of “security” basically destroyed the very values that the world held America in esteem for. Things like due process, protection of privacy, against undue search and seizure, etc. were essentially wiped out. As an additional response, in order to protect against “terrorists” the US began militarizing its domestic police forces and turned its internal criminal investigative agencies into domestic intelligence agencies.
The military response was not to go after the nation the terrorists were from. Attacking Saudi Arabia would have been a rather disastrous policy; instead the US “supported” the side in a civil war opposed to the government harboring the mastermind of the attack. In just a few months, countless lives and treasure would be lost battling for part of the world referred to as “the graveyard of empires” for more than a decade. Like the Empires before, the US suffered (after several times “redefining victory”)a crushing defeat.
During this time period, a fictional link between terrorists and the Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein was fictitiously linked together to start another war the US would ultimately waste lives and money on and destabilize the strategically important Middle East for what now looks like generations to come.
Terrorists groups better funded, further reaching, and even able to recruit Westerners from places like the US and Britain have risen to replace them.
Almost unreported military actions in Somalia, Yemen, and around the globe have taken a toll on not only American lives and money, but also on its morality and world opinion. Just this week an investigation of CIA torture was released detailing that some “suspects” were tortured well beyond American or even human conscience. This double standard is not lost on US adversaries.
In the US, a more ethnocentric culture has arisen. This further erodes US diplomatic clout in the world.
On the home-front, government institutions like the Supreme Court and Congress have passed/upheld a series of laws that consolidate power from the democratic masses to a small minority of oligarchs. Using TV propaganda at a level worthy of Vladimir Putin, has so politically divided the US populous that any power they might have in mass has been for all intents and purposes, neutralized. Not a day goes by that Americans who were once thought of the epitome of tolerance and charity in the world are making villains out of the poor and unfortunate within its own society. Thus in effect creating second class citizens, reminiscent of Palestinians in Israel.
Religious fanatics use both the government regulatory system to code into law their religious beliefs (largely Christian) while at the same time creating the false specter of Muslims wanting to implement Sharia law in the US and denouncing Christians as being persecuted by everyone who is not a Christian.
The income gap between the wealthy and the poor increasingly widens each month, and according to the latest statistics, has not only reduced social mobility in the US (the ability for poor people to climb in social position) it has actually become negative. That means you are more likely to fall in socio-economic status than you are to increase. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the inescapable student loan debt crisis as effectively creating life-long debt slaves, yet Americans will viciously oppose any tax increases. (despite more than 47% of Americans pay no taxes and get a refund)
As Americans become more desperate, fearing the loss of what little they have, they further oppose change to the point of actually labeling initiatives that would help them as “un-American” and evil. For all intents and purposes, they are demanding oligarchy as a form of government, which of course leads to despotism.
The new US culture of “every man for himself” has left the US militarily and economically unable to respond to threats to its own security, such as a resurgent Russia and more aggressive China. From Middle East peace, to NATO interventions, to fighting terror, the US is unable to effectively respond and looks similar to the decline of the British Empire. All the while telling itself it is still the greatest nation in the world. It has even seen a record number of Americans renounce citizenship over the last 4 years as people leave for better opportunity. Once the intellectual and technical powerhouse of the world, the US education system is utterly ineffective. It’s universities costing more and falling well short of other nations, the primary and secondary education not only well behind the rest of the world, but actually demanding to teach myths like creationism. It is so bad, parents are electing for paid, private institutions, and even “home-schooling” where non-accredited parents believe they can teach better than credentialed educators. Children are even criminalized in the public education system for childhood behaviors. That is when they are not socially ostracized and shooting up the place. There is such an aversion to education and science in America, it has one of the leading anti-vaccination and homebirth movements in the world. Intellectualism has been branded as elitism, and homeopathy, once considered charlatanism, or even witchcraft, is not only legal, it is recognized; all because people simply cannot understand modern science due to lack of effective education.
In response Americans demand more restrictions to their rights and further disengage from neighbors “not like them.” Even when friendly nations, long- time allies, and even intellectuals suggest anything that goes against the current dogma, it is immediately rejected as un-American. Considering America is a nation of immigrants, who at one time attracted diverse people for their contributions, this current trend looks more like Russian or Iranian nationalism than “melting pot.”
One of the reasons, perhaps the main reason Westerners and even Americans are going to fight for ISIS and other terrorists groups is not because of embracing a religion. It is because they embrace the chance at social mobility. It is a classic example of volunteering for a military in order to achieve the social mobility and some level of importance and belonging that they cannot find in their home society.
From where I sit across the pond, the complete failure of America is inevitable. Not because I wish it, but because anything that could possibly stop it has been politically crushed under foot by a few hundred of its most powerful and influential citizens.
Modern “terrorism” seems nothing more than a new version of class warfare. Those with nothing attempting a revolution to redistribute power and wealth, not unlike American colonists a couple of hundred years ago.
The Americans who died on Sept. 11 2001 saw America at its height. It looks very different today. I humbly suggest a moment of silence not for those who died, but for those who lived to see America like this.
The contrast between the attack on Pearl Harbor and Sept. 11 2001 could not be more pronounced. The former led to a superpower. The later destroyed it.