Yesterday, I decided to take a break.
As a guy from New Jersey who was around in 2001, the whole mix of emotions that linger with that event makes it tough to have any good commentary. Plus, you get hit with the whole range of everything from the anti-war activists to the flag-waving jingoists.
I think for most of us who were closer to the events that day, there is another dimension to the 9/11 story. That is the very personal side of it from the people who lost loved ones then.
I know in my workplace, one of the execs in a satellite office had a son, maybe 24, who worked for a consulting or accounting firm in the City. He was at a breakfast meeting on the top of one of those towers, and he never came home of course.
Since I was in money management then, our brokerage also had a lot of connections to Cantor Fitzgerald—a firm housed in one of the towers that basically got wiped out. I think they lost 600 people.
There were the stories of course in the newspaper about the cars in commuter parking lots that sat there for days. Maybe of the people who drove them in to work didn’t make it back.
Then, the young kids who lost their parents too early.
It was of course right to go for bin Laden—who is incidentally still at large–but the politicking afterwards got ugly really quick. Some nut in our defense establishment decided to put some of our weaponized anthrax out into the postal system—which killed a handful of people and made many others sick.
Our government decided to respond with tax cuts for wealthy people, and an encouragement to go shopping. This made no sense.
A lot of people started sticking flag decals to their cars and plastic flags on their antennas. Nice if it was a football game.
The EPA told the clean-up crew at what became the “Ground Zero” site that the air was safe—even though it was clear that the Trade Center site was the biggest toxic dump in Manhattan. Everyone who disputed what the EPA was saying was labelled a crank.
And yet eight years later a large number of the first responders and other later workers around Ground Zero are getting myserious cancers and breathing disorders. We are supposed to pretend that their illnesses are not tied to 9/11.
The thing that worries me the most is the next time. Because for sure, something bad will happen again like 9/11. Even if it’s 100 years from now.
Frankly, frankly, the asinine way that the government and the public handled the response to 9/11scares me. As an American, it didn’t give confidence that America could effectively counter any enemy, much less a rag-tag band like al Qaeda who were relatively powerless but very creative.
If you look at the attack segment from the 1983 made-for-TV movie, “The Day After”:
Forget the cheezy special effects, which were actually pretty good by early ’80’s standards.
The sheer amount of foolishness and waste that we went through, courtesy of our “leadership”, after 9/11/2001, makes you wonder what we would have to endure after something more like a nuclear attack on one of our cities.
Are you really confident that that 9/11 faction within our country could be of any use to the rest of us in the event of a real Ground Zero?
I don’t get any sense that the people who yelled the loudest and continued with the over-emotional responses to 9/11 would be of any use to our Nation if we got hit with a big one.
That, to me, is the most disturbing thing about “the post 9/11 world” in America. Which is that we let a bunch of tax-cut, flag-waving yahoos show the rest of the world (and our enemies) just how weak we really can be when the wrong people have the mike and/or are in charge.
We went and invaded Iraq, which most people now consider a big waste. We have inserted ourselves into Afghanistan for about 8 years, and really don’t have a lot to show for it. World War II was just four years and we helped reshape the geopolitics of the world.
If bin Laden is still alive, somewhere, then, well, he is still around. Bush never got him. That would count as a failure, right?
Getting back to that hypothetical nuke attack by a terrorist group, what do you think is likely out of the Republican noise machine?
1) They’re more likely to say that the radiation poisoning is a fiction or overblown. Or that the victims should have thought ahead and secured iodine tablets.
2) They would obviously say this shows a weakness in the Obama Administration and that the government should be overthrown.
3) We would need a tax cut to spur economic activity in the impacted zone, or the rest of the American economy.
4) We should just send our nukes out at anyone who might be a perceived threat.
Right? This is what you would be hearing out of them.
My biggest fear is that they set up a cultural tone where, through repetition, a number of our citizens would just blindly agree with this sort of thinking. Even though it’s total nonsense and would just set us further back.
Look at how they bitch about a simple thing like changing the regulations on the health care system in America. They send their impressionables out to Town Hall meetings to scream like nut cases. Then say that this people are representative of others in the general community who have their concerns. (Rather than help address concerns, they fan flames.)
Well, if it was a nuke, what would they do?
And since that nut wing seems like 20% of our country anymore, what does the other 80% do? They would hold us back in the event of our getting hit with the big one. They would, in effect, be the ultimate traitors to our country and our flag.
You see how they denied the health problems of the First Reponders and those who cleaned up 9/11, or those who lived nearby in the toxic soup.
What would they do if it was a nuke?
They’re useless to us, really. Isn’t it?
These are the sad things you end up thinking about on 9/11.