FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Uber Day: 9/11

by

It’s that season again. For commemoration – of the bravery and innocence of lost lives? For celebration – of a vigorous and determined national response – and vigilance – renewed against so many dark threats? Or for trying to understand – the meaning of ‘9-11’ –  a kind of “uber-day” in contemporary world history.

On one side, the day stimulated appetites for revenge, and satiated similar desires of some on the other side. Billions were shocked and saddened. But it was possible, on that day, to be saddened and shocked, yet also entertain or risk a suspicion that some strange justice had been brought – however cruelly – to right a ship of so many past wrongs. To some cool observers and perhaps Buddhists, the chickens had come home to roost. For everyone, the day decisively birthed the ‘War on Terror’, compromising the future and making everyone into losers.

My freshman students were only four or five years old on the ‘9-11’. Significantly, they stand as the first big crop of American citizens who remember little if anything at all of the finer and vivid details of that particular day. Time has freighted away the immediacy of the day, yet also guarantees that its meaning is forever protean in the hands of teachers, politicians, media personalities, political extremists and other interested parties. Most of my students have sparse understandings of the political conditions contributing to ‘9-11’, and incomplete, often very confused, understandings of the kinds of demons loosed in the world on that soon to be overburdened day.

Unfortunately, many politicians, national security establishmentarians, and extremists are quietly in love with ‘9-11’, and its progeny, the ‘War on Terror. They have gained a credit card, cloaking device, Trojan horse, and popular marching song all wrapped up in one package, with a half-life of about another generation, I am unhappy to surmise. It’s an irresistible lodestone in relation to cynical politicians and Machiavellians inside and outside of governments everywhere. Flip this political coin and accusations against the terrorist or accolades supportive of authoritarianism are as likely to land face up.

‘9-11’ and the ‘War on Terror’ are implicated in the causal chains that disabused souls of wishing for and imagining a “New World Order” or of “turning swords into plowshares” post Cold War; that continue to spawn “new modes and orders” of discipline and starve the “welfare state” at home and elsewhere; that destabilized and entrenched Americans in the perennial imperialist hunting ground of Afghanistan; that liquidated antiquities, resources, and a half million innocent lives of Iraqis while contracting for and building up a desert of hatred in their place; that brought drones and moans of smaller wars to Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, Nigeria and more; and that now threaten to spread wildfire out of Syria to Lebanon or Jordan or Iran?

As such, ‘9-11’ is also the sad day that “keeps on taking”. It is both thief and hostage-taker, robbing Americans and humanity of precious resources, imprisoning intellects, and fouling moral compasses.

I have commemorated the day in a poem titled, “Uber Day.” I am left wondering what are the implications of starting to erase the vivid details of the day from our collective memory, while remaining tied to a future so painfully subject to its grim uses and consequences? What might be done to help construct the conditions under which the meaning of ‘9-11’ might begin to contribute to a more honest and responsible approach to resolving tensions between the West and the Arab/Muslim worlds? Here it is:

Uber Day

All were sad, many fearful, some angry.

Disaster had exploded the imagination.

 

The sharpness of the visceral

spliced onto deep traditions of

inattentiveness to blame –

causal and moral –

keeping self-examination and implication

remote as a foreign land.

 

Leaders lied, pacified some, lusting after others.

Disaster whet dreams of power.

 

The coldness of their deliberation

froze fears and tears of the otherwise passive

into discipline, destruction,

and screams of innocents –

ripping then rippling

onto the future.

Michael Bradley is a professor of political science and philosophy and a contributor to Counterpunch (“The Dawning of a Liberal Apologetics for Iraq”, March 31, 2010 and “The Syrian Debate”, Sept. 6-8, 2013). He can be reached at mbrad@blackburn.edu.

 

 

Weekend Edition
February 5-7, 2016
Jeffrey St. Clair
When Chivalry Fails: St. Bernard and the Machine
John Pilger
Freeing Julian Assange: the Final Chapter
Garry Leech
Terrifying Ted and His Ultra-Conservative Vision for America
Andrew Levine
Smash Clintonism: Why Democrats, Not Republicans, are the Problem
William Blum
Is Bernie Sanders a “Socialist”?
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
We Can’t Afford These Billionaires
Jonathan Cook
The Liberal Hounding of Julian Assange: From Alex Gibney to The Guardian
George Wuerthner
How the Bundy Gang Won
Mike Whitney
Peace Talks “Paused” After Putin’s Triumph in Aleppo 
Ted Rall
Hillary Clinton: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Gary Leupp
Is a “Socialist” Really Unelectable? The Potential Significance of the Sanders Campaign
Vijay Prashad
The Fault Line of Race in America
Eoin Higgins
Please Clap: the Jeb Bush Campaign Pre-Mortem
Joseph Mangano – Janette D. Sherman
The Invisible Epidemic: Radiation and Rising Rates of Thyroid Cancer
Andre Vltchek
Europe is Built on Corpses and Plunder
Jack Smith
Obama Readies to Fight in Libya, Again
Robert Fantina
As Goes Iowa, So Goes the Nation?
Dean Baker
Market Turmoil, the Fed and the Presidential Election
John Wight
Who Was Cecil Rhodes?
David Macaray
Will There Ever Be Anyone Better Than Bernie Sanders?
Christopher Brauchli
Suffer Little Children: From Brazil to Flint
JP Sottile
Did Fox News Help the GOP Establishment Get Its Groove Back?
Binoy Kampmark
Legalizing Cruelties: the Australian High Court and Indefinite Offshore Detention
John Feffer
Wrestling With Iran
Rob Prince – Ibrahim Kazerooni
Syria Again
Louisa Willcox
Park Service Finally Stands Up for Grizzlies and Us
Farzana Versey
Of Beyoncé, Trudeau and Culture Predators
Pete Dolack
Fanaticism and Fantasy Drive Purported TPP ‘Benefits’
Murray Dobbin
Canada and the TPP
Steve Horn
Army of Lobbyists Push LNG Exports, Methane Hydrates, Coal in Senate Energy Bill
Colin Todhunter
“Lies, Lies and More Lies” – GMOs, Poisoned Agriculture and Toxic Rants
Franklin Lamb
ISIS Erasing Our Cultural Heritage in Syria
David Mihalyfy
#realacademicbios Deserve Real Reform
Graham Peebles
Unjust and Dysfunctional: Asylum in the UK
John Grant
Israel Moves to Check Its Artists
Yves Engler
On Unions and Class Struggle
Alfredo Lopez
The ‘Bern’ and the Internet
Missy Comley Beattie
Super Propaganda
Ed Rampell
Great Caesar’s Ghost!: A Specter Haunts Hollywood in the Coen’s Anti-Anti-Commie Goofball Comedy
Cesar Chelala
The Public Health Impact of Domestic Violence
Ron Jacobs
Cold Weather Comforts of a Certain Sort
Charles Komanoff
On the Passing of the Jefferson Airplane
Charles R. Larson
Can One Survive the Holocaust?
David Yearsley
Reading Room Blues
February 04, 2016
Scott McLarty
Political Revolution and the Third-Party Imperative
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail