Lessons of 9/11

As I write this, 9/11 ceremonies are taking place in lower Manhattan and in Washington D.C. While families and friends remember their loved ones this past weekend who were killed in Manhattan, in the Pentagon and on Flight 93 in Pennsylvania, 9/11 should also be a reminder of the greatest federal government failure in American history.

The Bush/Cheney administration’s failure to thwart the hijacking of four planes on 9/11 is testimony to putting this obvious fact down the Orwellian memory hole. Despite spending hundreds of billions of dollars on military personnel and equipment and untold billions on intelligence gathering, less than two dozen hijackers were able to kill thousands of Americans on 9/11 and destroy billions of property, even though there were reports of suspicious young men from the Middle East taking flying lessons months earlier. In addition, we still do not know what foreign intelligence services knew about the movements of the hijackers before 9/11, especially the Mossad, Israel’s highly regarded service

Imagine a private security firm protecting the headquarters of a major corporation where tens of thousands of workers are employed, and on one beautiful September day a terrorist attack destroys the building(s) and kills thousands of workers. Do you think the corporation would continue its contract with the security firm and not sue the principals of the firm for negligence and breach of contract, even if it were revealed that the security firm had some evidence that a terrorist attack may occur?

Although Bush/Cheney and other administration officials were not criticized for their failures on 9/11, nor were any high or low level officials of the CIA, NSA, and other American intelligence agencies fired, the president was able to rally the country so he could order the invasion of two countries, only one of which was a sanctuary for Al Qaeda and bin Laden, while Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. Bush/Cheney lied about Saddam having WMDs because they hell bent on taking out Saddam Hussein. Even if he were trying to build a nuclear weapon, which he was not, Saddam was not a military threat to America.

Ten years after the attacks on 9/11, thousands of American soldiers are dead, tens of thousands are maimed for life, hundreds of thousand Afghanis and Iraqi civilians are dead and untold property destroyed. In addition, the cost of the Bush/Cheney/Obama’s misguided foreign policies are at least three trillion dollars, all of which has been borrowed. However, Osama bin Laden is dead. The cost of killing bin Laden has been obscenely high. Was it worth it? To ask the question is to answer it.

Another fallout from 9/11 is the unpatriotic Patriot Act, one of the greatest assaults on the American people’s civil liberties. No longer do government agents have to get a judge to sign off on a search warrant to show probable cause to obtain information about a suspect. They can now write their own search warrants. To add insult to injury, now all the American people are subject to the most demeaning treatment at the hands of TSA agents at the nation’s airports. In short, the federal government now treats all American, from 90-year-old wheelchair bound individuals to infants and toddlers to nuns to men and women who have had a colostomy as potential terrorists. How un-American can the federal government get?

Despite the permanent war on terrorist fever for the past ten years, and the “high terrorist alert” this past weekend because of a “credible’ report of a potential attack on America, many Americans, especially in New York City, still cannot defend themselves by owning a firearm. This is the American paradox. Send troops all over the world in the war on terror but disarm the American people at home so they cannot defend themselves and their loved ones at home against any unfolding threat.

In the final analysis, the federal government has one awesome responsibility, to protect the American people from attacks. On September 11, 2001, the federal government—the Bush/Cheney regime–failed its constitutional duty to protect the American people, and their subsequent policies of preemptive war, also pursued by President Obama, are draining valuable resources out of our economy and have created a permanent war mentality.

September 11, 2001 was a horrific day in American history, but the lessons of that day have been ignored or forgotten. The most important one is and always has been untrue: “We’re from the federal government and we are here to help you.”

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