Owning the Shares of Shame

In the days following 9/11, the world was told the “official” story. People “jealous of our freedoms” wanted to destroy our way of life.

George Bush said, “Anybody who would attack America the way they did, anybody who would take innocent life the way they did, anybody who’s so devious, is evil.”

Bush was referring to terrorists—and he was right. Because his response to the attack was to exact a Reign OF Terror (ROT) during which innocent lives have been taken since bombing began in a frenzy of vengeance.

As Bush boarded Air Force One in Florida on September 11, 2001, he told an agent, “Be sure to get the First Lady and my daughters protected.”

Laura Bush’s reaction to that day: “I was horrified. I thought, ‘Dear God protect as many citizens as you can.’ It was a nightmare.”

For Afghans and, then, Iraqis, it has been so much more—nightly nightmares and daily daymares.

“Be sure to get the First Lady and my daughters protected”?? Just allow that directive to penetrate your consciousness and think of the Afghan and Iraqi fathers who would give anything, anything to protect their wives and children.

And think of servicemen and women Bush consigned to multiple deployments in what has become the longest war in US history.

According to George Bush, his “decision” weighed heavily on his psyche and heart:

Any time you commit troops to harm’s way, a president must make sure that he fully understands all the consequences and ramifications. And I wanted to spend some time on it alone. And did. Could we win? I didn’t want to be putting our troops in there unless I was certain we could win. And I was certain we could win.

Yet, former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill told author Ron Suskind “from the very beginning, there was a conviction, that Saddam Hussein was a bad person and that he needed to go.” In fact, O’Neill said that this was discussed 10 days after the inauguration, eight months before 9/11. “It was all about finding a way to do it. That was the tone of it. The president saying, ‘Go find me a way to do this.’”

A way was found.

The warnings that Osama bin Laden was planning to attack our country were clear. Multiple countries provided this intelligence. Starkly revealing is the declassified memo, dated August 6, 2001 and sent to President Bush as part of his Presidential Daily Briefing, with the title: Osama bin Laden Determined to Strike in US.

On 9/11, Dick Cheney was bunkered in the White House. He said: It’s important to emphasize it’s not personal. You don’t think of it in personal terms. You’ve got a professional job to do.”

Cheney’s “professional job,” ROT, swiftly was executed. The plan he carried in his briefcase became the Bush Doctrine, one of acting preemptively against states developing weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Even if those countries were NOT developing WMD. September 11 provided Cheney the opportunity for which he lived and breathed, for which his diseased heart continued beating, while nationalistic Americans shouted “USA, USA, USA” and “God Bless America.”

More than nine years later, family members of those killed on 9/11 have not seen justice. The 9/11 Commission, tasked to investigate the crimes, was negligent. And neutered. The media, politicians, and a fearful public failed to demand accountability.

Now, the wand has been passed to Barack Obama, the man who, as candidate, orated hope and change. He, like the 9/11 Commission, is an epic failure. Under his leadership, the war has widened with the droning of Pakistan and Yemen.

This week, I received a mass email from former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright—a plea for a donation to continue the Democratic Party’s hopiness and changiness, so we can be certain after Election Day that we “kept the country we love on the right path to the future.” Immediately, I thought of Albright’s appearance on 60 Minutes in 1996 when Leslie Stahl questioned her about US sanctions on Iraq: “We have heard that half a million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?’

Albright answered: “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price—we think the price is worth it.”

We are paying the price today with an achievement of hate status throughout the world. And we are collapsing from immorality’s weight via a racist foreign policy and a classist/racist domestic policy.

Meanwhile, politicians from both mainstream parties, including the Tea-wingers, “perform” with jaw-dropping stupidity and incivility, exploiting anything and everything to win a trip to Easy Street—DC’s path of influence and ineptitude. During the debates, we have heard nothing of substance, no acknowledgment or questioning of war. Insults and accusations have been hurled. On the campaign circuit, Mama Grizzlies roar “reload,” Mafioso wannabes are ready to do something or other with someone’s kneecaps, and, well, the traditional, lackluster, robotic, career hunker downers, like Harry Reid, are trying, desperately, to retain their jobs.

But they are one and the SAME—possessed by Wall Street.

And we the people, whether we choose to vote or not, are witnesses to evil; we corner the market, ruthlessly, owning the shares of shame.

MISSY BEATTIE lives in Baltimore, Maryland. Her email address is missybeat@gmail.com.

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com