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What Social Animals Owe to Each Other

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Ten Lessons Plus

Ten Lessons, Plus One, We Should Learn from 9/11:

1. Killing one or many innocents, regardless of one's grievances, is monstrous. This elementary principle would seem to apply to George Bush, and now Barack Obama, as much as to Osama bin Laden. Can someone say why it doesn't?

2. Despite all its guarantees -- contrary to its ideological justification for existing -- the state can't protect us -- even from a ragtag group of hijackers. Trillions of dollars spent over many years built a "national security apparatus" that could not stop attacks on the two most prominent buildings in the most prominent city in the country -- or its own headquarters. That says a lot. No. That says it all. The state is a fraud. We have been duped.

3. The shameless state will stop at nothing to keep people's support by scaring the hell out of them. (Robert Higgs writes about this.) That people have taken its claims about "why they hate us" seriously after 9/11 shows what the public schools and the mass media are capable of doing to people. But the people are not absolved of responsibility: They could think their way out of this if they cared to make the effort.

4. Blowback is real. Foreign-policy-makers never think how their decisions will harm Americans, much less others. They never wonder how their actions will look to their targets. That's because they are state employees.

5. As Randolph Bourne said, getting into a war is like riding a wild elephant. You may think you are in control -- you may believe your objectives and only your objectives are what count. If so, you are deluded. Consider the tens of thousands of dead and maimed Iraqi and Afghanis (and dead Pakistanis and Yemenis and Somalis and Libyans). What did they have to do with 9/11?

6. No one likes an occupying power.

7. Victims of foreign intervention don't forget, even if the perpetrators and their subjects do.

8. Terrorism is not an enemy. It's a tactic, one used by many different kinds of people in causes of varying moral hues, often against far stronger imperial powers. Declaring all those people one's enemy is criminally reckless. But it's a damn good way for a government to achieve potentially total power over its subjects.

9. They say the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Maybe, maybe not. But it seems abundantly clear that the enemy of my friend is also likely to be my enemy. See the U.S.-Israel relationship for details.

10. Assume "your" government is lying.

11. Politicians will stop at nothing to shamelessly exploit the memory of the American victims of blowback if it will aggrandize their power. No amount of national self-pity, self-congratulation, and vaunting is ever enough.

(Adapted and re-posted from 2006.)


Anonymous said...

So because its they're 24/7 its our fucking fault? We had to suffer that loss because they can't get a grip of they're own people? We were not over there doing this to them they were doing this to they're selves don't add in that we should feel bad for them to and you can go fuck yourself.

Rachel said...

Pete, this comment would be much stronger if you had mastered the use of 're.

ACET98 said...

Really Rachel; he makes a point - a spot-on one, I might add - and all you can retort with is pointing out his one grammatical error?

So you agree with the comment, then?

Sheldon Richman said...

Mr. Daniels's aggressive tone is more telling than his grammatical error. He seems rather ignorant of the long record of atrocious U.S. policy in the Middle East, from active support for brutal and corrupt autocrats to the enabling of systematic Israeli oppression of Palestinians.

rachel said...

Actually I don't. I feel that his comment shows a complete lack of perspective.

I would also like to point out that he made not just a simple grammatical error. We aren't looking at a comma splice or anything like that. He doesn't know the difference between there, their, and they're!

Anonymous said...

i understand what you're saying. however, 9/11 was a horrible event that can't just be looked at like it was no big deal. things like 9/11 and the crimes committed against the Iraqi and Palistinians should never happen. EVER. that being said, we should respect the topics as to not offend anyone. i'm not saying what you said isn't wrong, just to be respectful to both sides.

Anonymous said...

10 things, plus 1, that I disagree with in this blog.

1. killing innocent people is bad, I agree, but comparing Bush and Obama to bin Laden is ridiculous. Bush sent troops in retaliation and Obama is using a missile strike to take out chemical weapons being used on innocent civilians. bin Laden on the other hand attacked three buildings, filled with civilians, unprovoked.

2. So "the state" didn't see an unprovoked terrorist attack, the likes of which had never been seen before, coming. Let's say a random stranger tries to punch you in the face without any warning, he would probably succeed.

3. The media and public schools weren't trying to scare people. The media showed what happened, and people were sad about American citizens dying, and public schools simply tried to walk their student through the situation, and they reacted in a by being sad or scared of airplanes falling out of the sky. You also said the 'people could think their way out of this if they cared to make the effort' so why don't stop all Americas problems, or is the extent of your "effort" writing a blog. I'm sure that will get a lot done.

4. I'm sure foreign policy makers have never thought about how their decisions could affect anyone on earth(sarcasm).

5. In your examples of other countries experiencing deaths, I believe the U.S. took out the leaders who were doing the killing. It was terrorists terrorizing their own country.

6. Decisions are hard to make sometimes you have to do things people won't like to accomplish things that are needed.

7. I actually agree with this one, good for you.

8. I think you're trying to make an argument that terrorism is good or can be use for good, well it isn't, it can't, and never will.

9. Wow if my friend has an enemy, they are also my enemy. I would have never come up with such a profound thought(more sarcasm).

10. The U.S. actually has one of the most open governments in the world, unlike places like North Korea.

11. People like you will stop at nothing to shamelessly exploit the memory of the American victims of blowback if it will make people believe them about the government being evil.

P.S. I sincerely apologize for any grammatical errors, but I'm sure instead of defending your point you'll just point them out.

Anonymous said...

I say fuck em. They bought and paid for the ass whipping they're getting.