Fuck September 11.


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To you yahoos with your “Never forget” bumper stickers, your “Always remember” teeshirts, for whom the terrible attacks of 9-11 were a sort of confirmation of your permanent sense that the world is full of evil and danger, that only America and you yourselves are good and victims and heroes, that these savage attacks justify everything this country has done to the world since and everything we’d already done to the world beforehand, to you mindless jingos who clutch the memory of the attacks to your breast as though it defines what it means to be American and justifies all our xenophobia and adventurism, to you people I say, “Fuck September 11!”

To all of you politicians, national security officials, and your media cheerleaders who pounced on the attacks as an excuse to pursue policies you had always wanted to pursue but never could have gotten away with, who pounced so fast that it’s no wonder many folks suspect you were expecting the attacks, you who trot out 9/11 with a noun and a verb any time your murderous and tyrannical actions are questioned, to you also I say, “Fuck September 11!”

I’m sorry, but say you were abused or raped or otherwise traumatized as a child ten years ago, do you “Never forget” and “Always remember?”  As though the crime defined you?  Do you hold a solemn ten-year commemoration of the rape? No, by that point you should have dealt with it, moved on, have it filed away in a corner of your memory no doubt, but you know that there is infinitely more to life, and to you, than that fucked-up incident.

Around here I should probably be saying something heartfelt about the great tragedy that befell nearly 3000 probably mostly good people, their family and friends, the countless wounded, the heroism of the firefighters, cops and other responders that day, the heroism misguided or otherwise of all our young men and women who signed up in the aftermath to defend their nation, and the ummitigated loathesomeness of the attackers … but you can get all that anywhere and everywhere else today.   As for me, I’ll just stick to saying “Fuck September 11.”

Sorry about my language, but there are just too many things that piss me off about the whole fucking thing:

Number one, it pisses me off that some hate-filled religious fundamentalists on the other side of the globe did this shit to thousands of people who never did anything to them; and ALSO that they were ABLE to.  (Allowed to?)

And that’s totally aside from the fact that what pissed THEM off had also been pissing ME off for years, decades, before the crime:

  • my nation’s bloody, greedy, imperialist meddling in that part of the world beginning with the 1953 overthrow of Iran’s last great democratic leader Mossadegh;
  • my nation’s support of cruel, torturing dictators all across the Arab and Muslim world as long as they were “our bastards,” kept the oil flowing and their people down;
  • and my nation’s unswerving support for anything and everything Israel does to the Palestinian people in their decades-long suffocation of the latter’s national aspirations – Israel who wouldn’t even exist if it weren’t for our daily largesse and yet does nothing but get us in trouble with its neighbors out there – START BEHAVING, YOU SELFISH BASTARDS!

It pisses me off that 90% of what our ruling class have shoved down our throat in response to the attacks has been unproductive, bloody and evil bullshit that they were only looking for an excuse to do:

  • ABOVE ALL the invasion and occupation of Iraq with its possibly million dead, our own 4000+ dead servicemen and uncounted maimed;
  • the up-to THREE TRILLION DOLLARS price, unpaid-for by the boundlessly selfish ruling class, that Operation Iraqi Fiefdom will eventually cost our great-grandchildren;
  • the tragic demise of the notion that a war needed to be justified by self-defense;
  • the war-fueled re-election of the war-mongers in 2004;
  • the fact that we’re STILL IN our nation’s two longest wars and nobody can really tell us why;
  • the execrable and Orwellian PATRIOT Act, that mountain of oppressive legalese that just magically appeared while the WTC was still smoldering and had to be voted on by our terrified lawmakers before any of them could even read it;
  • the history-shattering development that we’re now officially a nation that tortures, that imprisons people indefinitely without even charging them with anything, that can assassinate its own citizens simply because the President says sic ’em (an Obama touch) ;
  • that we’re a nation where our government is allowed, is EXPECTED, to study our every word and movement.  To keep us SAFE, don’tchya know.

It pisses me off that we squandered all that “We Are All Americans Now” sentiment that pervaded the whole globe on 9/12, instead  rushing to fulfill the anti-American caricature of the ignorant, pointlessly destructive cowboy.

It pisses me off that, as Ben Franklin correctly notes, the American people don’t deserve either liberty or security, since they happily gave up the former for the latter.

And also, fuck all the morons who will call you unpatriotic for bringing stuff like this up – that shoe fits YOU, buddy.

In short, fuck all this shit.  We don’t need it..

“…I’ll pick up my guitar and play

just like yesterday

then I’ll get on my knees and pray…

that WE DON’T GET FOOLED AGAIN!”

UPDATE

Here’s Tom Englehardt, a better person and writer than me, who it turns out has had much the same thoughts but expressed them with far fewer F-Bombs:  “Let’s Cancel 9/11.”  A few excerpts, but read the whole thing.  And then go have fun:

Ask yourself this: ten years into the post-9/11 era, haven’t we had enough of ourselves?  If we have any respect for history or humanity or decency left, isn’t it time to rip the Band-Aid off the wound, to remove 9/11 from our collective consciousness?  No more invocations of those attacks to explain otherwise inexplicable wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and our oh-so-global war on terror.  No more invocations of 9/11 to keep the Pentagon and the national security state flooded with money.  No more invocations of 9/11 to justify every encroachment on liberty, every new step in the surveillance of Americans, every advance in pat-downs and wand-downs and strip downs that keeps fear high and the homeland security state afloat.

The attacks of September 11, 2001 were in every sense abusive, horrific acts.  And the saddest thing is that the victims of those suicidal monstrosities have been misused here ever since under the guise of pious remembrance.  This country has become dependent on the dead of 9/11 — who have no way of defending themselves against how they have been used — as an all-purpose explanation for our own goodness and the horrors we’ve visited on others, for the many towers-worth of dead in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere whose blood is on our hands.

Isn’t it finally time to go cold turkey?  To let go of the dead?  Why keep repeating our 9/11 mantra as if it were some kind of old-time religion, when we’ve proven that we, as a nation, can’t handle it — and worse yet, that we don’t deserve it?

We would have been better off consigning our memories of 9/11 to oblivion, forgetting it all if only we could.  We can’t, of course.  But we could stop the anniversary remembrances.  We could stop invoking 9/11 in every imaginable way so many years later.  We could stop using it to make ourselves feel like a far better country than we are.  We could, in short, leave the dead in peace and take a good, hard look at ourselves, the living, in the nearest mirror…

…the populace was mustered through repetitive, nationwide 9/11 rites emphasizing that we Americans were the greatest victims, greatest survivors, and greatest dominators on planet Earth.  It was in this cause that the dead of 9/11 were turned into potent recruiting agents for a revitalized American way of war.

From all this, in the brief mission-accomplished months after Kabul and then Baghdad fell, American hubris seemed to know no bounds — and it was this moment, not 9/11 itself, from which the true inspiration for the gargantuan “Freedom Tower” and the then-billion-dollar project for a memorial on the site of the New York attacks would materialize.  It was this sense of hubris that those gargantuan projects were intended to memorialize.

On the tenth anniversary of 9/11, for an imperial power that is distinctly tattered, visibly in decline, teetering at the edge of financial disaster, and battered by never-ending wars, political paralysis, terrible economic times, disintegrating infrastructure, and weird weather, all of this should be simple and obvious.  That it’s not tells us much about the kind of shock therapy we still need…

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About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.