We Will Never Forget (Again)
Posted by PintofStout on September 11, 2007
What were you doing on this infamous Tuesday six years ago? What were you doing on this Monday a year ago? Today is the first anniversary of the five-year anniversary of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. Last year I wrote all that needs said about the first in a lengthening history of dastardly deeds meant to control the population of the planet and the Untied States of America, in particular, through fear. In the immortal words of H.L. Mencken, “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”
Amid the endless and varyingly tasteful recollections, tributes, and remembrances one could almost certainly find a reference to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. This infamous attack was the breaking point propelling the U.S. into WWII, a very popular and righteously perceived war (not is small part because of Pearl Harbor). The association of September 11, 2001 with Pearl Harbor is meant to capitalize on the popularity of WWII and garner some of that support for the (now) very unpopular War on Terror. Sadly, the need for popular support is a relic from a long-gone era when the government was (sort of) accountable to the public. Now, the weak efforts at propaganda are carried out by vehement supporters while the politicians simply pay lip service to the appearance of listening and caring while cashing their checks from the war profiteers.
Some of the propaganda is in the form of stickers or magnets for our automobiles, which in an ironic twist are actually the ones helping to fuel the war rather than vice versa. Mostly the stickers appeal to those with an overly sensitive need for belonging and approval; they don’t want to be the only one without a sticker! A portion of the bearers of these magnets obviously never had the capacity to read Mark Twain and his definitions of patriotism and, consequently, manhood. This crowd usually sports the “These Colors Don’t Run” and similar macho emblems. Well, the Red Army never ran either (because they’d be shot by their superior officers if they did). I’m not saying there are parallels here, but I feel something cold and hard jabbing me in the back. The more sensitive of the herd more often opt for magnets that appeal to the softer emotions such as the weepy “We Will Never Forget.” While the people driving behind them in traffic may never forget, it is a pretty safe bet that the bearer has already forgotten what it is they were supposed to not forget; and I’d go double-or-nothing they weren’t remembering what should have been burned into our collective memory decades, nay, centuries ago.
War is a very old institution. In fact, it can properly be described as a specialized branch in the world’s oldest profession. In this long history it is seldom that those footing the bulk of the bill are ever the driving force of initiation. Unless the war pits those fighting to throw off the yolk of oppression or stave off invasion against the enemy on their own shores, the public, the bulk of which are poor and/or soldiers, are hesitant to be imperiled for minor cause. So in most every conflict, there must be a large hobgoblin and trigger to actually turn the public willingly towards war out of fear or rage (arguably the same). In modern times we have the Maine, the Lusitania, Pearl Harbor, the Reichstag, the Gulf of Tonkin, and now 9/11. Apparently, we’ve forgotten…over and over and over again. Perhaps we never knew.
Among the things we should never forget: Where we were when habeus corpus died, where we were when the PATRIOT ACT was passed and replaced our Constitution, what we were doing while innocent people were being inhumanly tortured in our name, where we were going the first time we were completely humiliated in the name of security while traveling, where we were the first time a loved one “disappeared” because of a book they checked out of the library, who we voted for in the very last election and why it didn’t matter, and where our heads were while a bunch of well-connected half-wits send us off to kill and be killed for the sake of profit and control. Who are the victims of 9/11? We all are. Who are the survivors of such great tragedy? We will someday find out.