The Destruction of the USA Took a Decade—Not a Day

One of the latest (and tallest) attractions in the 4th Circle of Hell
Sure, only a few buildings were destroyed and a relatively small number of people were killed or injured on 9/11. The terrorists were after all, just a handful of young men wielding boxcutters, not an invading army. And though they captured and used as attacking missiles four commercial jets, what was really striking about what they did was how easy it was after all.

Osama bin Laden understood something essential about the USA on September 11, 2001. He understood that when the underpinnings of its extraordinary sense of invulnerability were destroyed, by a relative pinprick to what the Republican House recently described as America's symbols of "power and success", the USA would react like any other empire. It would, in other words, strike back ruthlessly—thus playing right into the hands of Qaeda's critique of America as a brutal oppressor of Muslims.

From Afghanistan to Iraq to Somalia to Gitmo, the USA replaced the Statue of Liberty as its chief symbol to the world during the Terror Wars with images of bloodthirsty hi-tek rage, perpetrated against countless numbers of innocent people all around the world. It was as if the planes flown by the terrorists on 9/11 struck not only buildings, but flew into the very moral center of the nation and burned it to ashes.

The terrorists calculated that what would be left after that holocaust would be an anti-Islamic demon, which they had been preaching was all the USA really was anyway. As it turned out, the Qaeda terrorists faced enemies—Bush, Cheney and their torture crews—who matched the almost comicbook profile of the USA that Qaeda had sold to so many Muslims. 

It is hard to recall this now, but in the days following the horrific images of 9/11 broadcast all around the world, the USA had a higher moral position, and enthusiastic sympathy and support in the world, than had been the case since the end of WWII. George Bush went straight to work helping the terrorists, by destroying that good will. Eighteen months after 9/11, as the USA prepared to invade Iraq, the world had completely turned on the American vengeance tour, and cities everywhere saw huge demonstrations opposing the illegal invasion. 

Meanwhile, Bush insured that the US Constitution, the Geneva Convention, and any legal documents that might stand in the way of his total conversion of America into a brutal terror state, were declared by his legal henchmen as "quaint" and disposable. What this meant was that while the USA was blithely dropping massive bombs on villages of innocent human beings—seeking to kill a few alleged terrorists—it was also kidnapping and torturing people to shape confessions. Of course, and not that this should matter respecting war crimes by the USA, but no small number of the tortured were innocent of any terrorist connection whatsoever.

What Gore Vidal has called "perpetual war" has done its grisly work on the American psyche and culture, never exactly a civilized enterprise, with greed and hatred becoming the chief default assumptions and attitudes amongst so many of its rage-filled people, and especially amongst the rich and the powerful in the USA.

But now, the chickens on that count have definitely come home to roost. A great deal of the Terror War carnage was perpetrated by the vast and highly destructive arms of rich Americans against some of the poorest people on Earth. The USA actually calculated that blowing poor foreign babies to bits—over and over again—and dismissing it by calling them in ghastly newspeak "collateral casualties", was a proper means to conduct American foreign policy. Of course, the USA assures everyone that the babies weren't to blame. Oh no, it was the "terrorists" who kept hiding amongst them that were the problem.

This mirrors the attitude of the Republican Party, really the traditional attitude of the Republican Party, which demonizes poor people, and especially single mothers, in the USA, and treats their children and babies as collateral casualties in the great war against "socialism", fought by Republicans to insure that rich people remain in charge and untouched by any economic disasters—especially the ones caused by rich people.

Poor people, on the other hand, in the USA, in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and all over the world, know who the enemy is, and while Qaeda may be a tiny, bizarre, instrument of that enemy (Osama bin Laden was after all a rich patron of jihad), its main generals and masters sit in the capitals of the economic powers of the world, especially in the West. Whereas for many decades it seemed a kind of social contract existed between the masters and the plebs, it has been burned by the rich once again. 

In that sense, no doubt the rich thank Osama bin Laden for 9/11, as it enabled the final nail to be driven into the coffin of the anachronistic American soul. Yes, Abe, it has perished from the earth.