September 11: How Much has the US Really Changed?

February 14, 2002 at 10:58 am
Contributed by:

Hello
all you defenders of the free world,


 

Here’s
a good one.

 

I hope
you all are still reading and keeping your critical ears on and paying attention
out there. Anybody heard the name “bin Laden” on the news lately? Where did
Public Enemy #1 go, and why are we suddenly no longer concerned with him? As a
friend pointed out yesterday, “we went after him in such a sloppy
manner that we never intended to catch him so he can always be at large, always
be a threat, and we will always have funding for our long, protracted war and be
able to drop the “renewed terrorist threat” on the people anytime we need to get
a little support and/or get the fear engine goin.'”

 

Everybody ready for another venture against Saddam? Are
you all fully aware now about the “Axis of Evil” and is it perfectly clear why
that’s our new target?

 

Smell
the spin.

 

–C

 

—–Original Message—–



September 11th: The Terrorism Totality
Michael
Parenti

The really compelling politico-economic issues, the central
imperatives
that afflict our nation and much of the world, are regularly
shut out
of public discourse.  No on in the corporate media dares to
dwell on
how the undemocratic powers of corporate America create
injustices for
working America, how wealth for the few creates poverty for
the many.  
No critical examination is offered concerning the
inequities of the tax
system and the gross inadequacies of our human
services.  The threats
to the world’s ecology posed by transnational
globalization, and the
monopolistic “free trade” treaties like NAFTA,
GATT, and FTAA that
undermine our democratic sovereignty earn hardly a
glance.  And never
do official circles or corporate media acknowledge
how US military
forces (or their US-supported surrogates) have repeatedly
delivered
mass terrorism upon unarmed civilian populations in Vietnam,
Laos,
Cambodia, Guatemala, El Salvador, Panama, Grenada, Indonesia,
Angola,
Mozambique, Iraq, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and scores of other

countries, at a cost of millions of lives.

With all these central
issues systematically suppressed, a void is
created in the life of the
polity, which the media attempt to fill with
endless puffery and stories
about Monica Lewinsky, OJ Simpson, etc.  
What the terrorist attacks
of September 11 gave the opinion makers is
an issue of compelling
centrality, equal to any of the ones they have
suppressed, but one that
could be selectively treated with CONSERVATIVE
EFFECT, an issue that
rallies everyone around the flag and points a
finger at a fanatical
Islamic sect rather than at corporate America or
the US national security
state.

So for several months the media have been consumed by the
tragedy of
September 11 and its aftermath.  Every panel of pundits,
syndicated
column, guest column, and every news story dwelled on the
terrorist
attacks, offering a seemingly infinite constellation of spin-off

stories.  And not just the news media.  The editor of a poetry
magazine
worried that in the “…profoundly changed world …” created by
September
11, “…will we now say that poetry is even more irrelevant?”
 
Predictably, he concluded that poetry was MORE important than
ever.

In similar spirit, stand-up comedians announced that humor was
needed
more than ever.  Movie reviewers wrote that this or that film
was a
welcome antidote to the horrific events of September 11.  And
travel
writers reassured us that a good vacation was all the more a
healing
experience.  Sporting events began with militaristic
patriotic
commemorations.  All the mail that crossed my desk,
including
subscription and fund-raising appeals from every organization

imaginable – from the Yale Alumni Association to the Center for Cuban

Studies – felt compelled to reference September 11 before launching

into their pitch.  Friends wrote to tell me that they were “doing as

well as might be expected in this post-911 world”.  Almost as if
one’s
credibility depended upon it, nothing could be communicated without

referencing September 11.

President George II announced that “..our
nation can never go back to
what it was September 10.”  A tearful TV
anchorman appeared on a late
night show and blubbered about how this
“…wound has changed America
forever.”  The drumbeat carried across
the political spectrum.  A
statement from the Communist Party, USA
issued in mid-November began:
“Our world has changed on September 11.”
 And others wrote that “…the
indelible images of the World Trade
Center will remain with us
forever.”

Those who fear that our world
or our nation has changed irretrievably
should think again.  Very
little has changed.  President Bush proposes
billions in tax cuts for
the rich just as he did when the World Trade
Center stood tall.  The
White House pushes an “economic stimulus”
package of $100 billion – really
nothing more than the usual corporate
subsidies, bailouts, and retroactive
tax cuts – to help poor little
struggling businesses like IBM, Ford, GE,
and GM, while doing nothing
for the tens of thousands of workers who have
been laid off.  The Bush
gang readies itself to drill for oil in the
Arctic National Wildlife
Refuge.  And a compliant Congress pumps
billions more into an already
bloated military budget.
 Unfortunately, here is a nation profoundly
Unchanged by the recent
terrorist attacks.

Other things in the newly “transformed” America seem
drearily familiar.  
As in previous decades, our fearless leaders
continue to wage
devastatingly one-sided aerial wars agains small weak
impoverished
nations, while loading the media with jingoistic hype.
 They continue
to deny the terrorist role they themselves have played
around the
world.  And they continue to neglect human services and
loot the Social
Security surplus in order that they might claim that
Social Security is
“going broke” and must be eventually
eliminated.

Still other things remain the same.  As they have done
during every
crisis, liberal legislators supinely line up with
conservatives to vote
the president absolute powers.  Media lapdogs
talk about how this same
president has “risen to the challenge” and “grown
in office”.  Flag-
waving yahoos call for blood, believing that their
government only
opposes terrorism and never practises it.  Meanwhile,
thousands of US
residents are subjected to ethnic profiling.
 African-American
communities are terrorized by trigger-happy cops.
 And fanatical
Christian fundamentalists commit terrorist acts
against abortion
clinics, while law officials seem unable to stop
them.

So the struggle to inject reality and justice into the national

dialogue continues as always.  It feels very much like September 10
to
me.



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