9/11, Koran Burning Preachers, And Mosques At Ground Zero – How Did We Get Here?

Dyer Sez: This past weekend, we remembered the ninth anniversary of the attacks of 9/11. While I was in mourning for that terrible day, as many were in the US, I also was grieving what we have lost as a country in the years after the event itself.

Since the infamous attacks, we have seen our civil liberties shredded and tossed aside at an alarming rate; the searchers at airports (including the body scanners which have recently been rolled out, which show you – and your children – completely nude), DNA databases, ‘free speech zones’ for speaking out publicly against our government, a variety of attacks on the right to bear arms, our library records being seized and mulled over by intelligence agencies, and so on.

One would think that we, as Americans, might have learned from our history (or the history of any dictatorship) and spoke out in one voice to tell the powers that be that these injustices would not stand. Instead, most of the country is wrapped up in political infighting and Monday morning quarterbacking of going-ons inside the beltway.  It seems that we have lost the ability to look at the government behind the politics and hold accountable those who ultimately work for us, and along with it the will to stand up and point out the misadventures of our government…unless it’s something that makes the ‘other side’ look bad. Our ire has become selective, which has demoted true anger to nit-picking.

Even worse, no one has really been held accountable for 9/11 itself. After the attacks, there was a lot of finger pointing and gnashing of teeth, but very little action in the way of bringing someone to task for either the attack itself or the massive intelligence failures which allowed the situation to happen in the first place.

Through Congressional testimony we know that our own government dropped the ball (on purpose, according to some) so many times leading up to 9/11, that we may as well have had no government in place to stop the attacks. Throughout the official investigation (which the Bush administration blocked for a year, and then did everything they could to stymie) it was made clear that numerous reports had been filed, meetings had been held, and top secret white papers had been delivered and read(then Sec. of State Condoleezza Rice infamously testified that she, and the Bush administration, were aware of a report titled, “Bin Laden Determined to Attack in the US”, which basically foreshadowed the massive attack on our country), and still no one with the authority to do something, anything, made any sort of move on this intelligence.  

After the attacks, Bush was still playing golf, Cheney was turning the Vice-Presidents office into an above-the-law bureaucracy, Rice was still enjoying Exxon oil tankers named after her, Rumsfeld was hysterical over how the trillions of tax payer dollars which disappeared unaccounted for (he had just testified to his ineptitude, or perhaps corruption, the day before the attacks) on his watch at the DOD was simply forgotten, and Tenant was running around, lying his ass off and playing the victim card to anyone who would listen.

For some odd reason, instead of holding political and governmental feet to the fire, large segments of our population celebrated those who screwed up in the first place…and other large segments of the population simply forgot about the whole mess when ‘their guy’ got into office and he urged them to ‘move forward’; and move forward they did – so far forward, in fact, that events of just a few years before became ancient history who’s particulars were obscured by the dust and cobwebs of partisan politics.

And what of those who supposedly perpetrated the attack in the first place? Some people might assume that after the wars, bloodshed, loss of liberties, and trillions of dollars sunk into the military industrial complex, that we were engaged in taking down those who did us wrong…but upon closer inspection, that might not be the case.

15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi Arabian’s, yet we are engaged in major conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan (neither country had any direct – or even indirect, in the case of Iraq – involvement in 9/11). In fact, the only aircraft allowed to use US airspace besides the military and government in the days following 9/11 were planes carrying members of the royal house of Saud and, according to FBI reports, members of the Bin Laden family back to Saudi Arabia.

Khalid Sheik Mohammed, one of the supposed masterminds behind the plot to take down the towers, was captured and confessed to his involvement…after being tortured over a period of years (including almost 200 cases of water boarding).

The main boogey-man of 9/11, Usama Bin Laden, has somehow managed to evade the combined might of the US military and intelligence services since the attacks nine years ago. Not only haven’t we captured or killed Bin Laden, but we don’t even know where he is (nor is he officially wanted for 9/11 according to the FBI’s own website).  This fact alone speaks loudly of the possibility that our government is more interested in a war without end (which lines the pockets of the power-brokers both in and out of government) as opposed to righting a wrong perpetrated against us; or that we are currently in the middle of the biggest, longest running intelligence failure in the history of the world.  Choose either, as both possibilities are purely inexcusable.

Looking at where we stand today is just as frightening as the day of 9/11 itself.

The supposed ‘war on terror’ sparked by the attack on our country, has devolved from a focused retribution to an attack on our citizenry to a nebulous and largely undefined perpetual state of emergency, paranoia, government secrecy, curtailing of liberties and destruction.

When one looks abroad, the situation for the bastion of freedom which was America, is quite a bit more grim. Around the world, we are being viewed as the ‘bad guys’, much like we viewed Russia during the cold war era. ‘They’ don’t hate us for our freedoms; ‘they’ hate us because we have killed over a million Iraqis, destabilized the Middle East, stolen the resources of other nations, tortured (and indefinitely imprisoned) people who may be innocent of any crime, and are using unmanned drones to kill innocent women and children while we claim to be going after terrorists.  We’ve become the bully of the town, and no one seems to like us anymore; with that thought in mind, perhaps those who have taken arms against us, much like the nerdy high-school kid portrayed in numerous celluloid adventures, are simply fed up and are fighting back in any way they can just so they can be left alone.

Recently, the idea that a Mosque and Muslim community center would be build on the ashes of what used to be the WTC ripped the scab off the festering would in our country. The outcry was instant and heated. People took to the streets (and fired off angry missives on the internet) in protest of the Muslims even daring to think that they can build a Mosque on hallowed ground…after all, they were the ones who took the towers down in the first place.

Forgotten was the fact that it wasn’t Muslim terrorists who destroyed the towers, but terrorists who happened to Muslim. Also forgotten was one of the founding tenants of our nation – freedom of religion, and to practice your chosen faith wherever you want without fear of retribution.  It seems that there are many people who seem to believe that the Constitution is to be applied selectively. I agree that the building of the Mosque may not have been the best plan, but I also defend the right of those who want to build the Mosque to do so, as well as the right of those who protested the structure to voice their opinion. My disappointment comes from the outrage at a protected Constitutional right, in lieu of aiming their anger at those actually responsible for the attack.

Then there was the Florida pastor, Reverend Terry Jones, who decided that he would burn a stack of Korans to commemorate 9/11. This was just as bad an idea as the ground-zero mosque, in my opinion…but, again, no matter how people may have felt about it, the act of burning a book (any book) is Constitutionally protected (as long as it’s not the government doing the book burning).  

Interestingly, the government made some comments concerning the Rev. Jones which seemed an anathema to our Republic and the freedoms we are supposed to enjoy. General David Patraius mentioned that burning the Koran would put our soldiers in harm’s way…as if having our military in places where they shouldn’t be, or the empire building foreign policy our government has been propagating,  isn’t the reason they are being shot at in the first place.

Then  President Obama weighed in, saying: “… that we would burn the sacred texts of someone else’s religion is contrary to what this country stands for.” Actually, Mr. President, the ability to burn such a book is exactly what our country stands for; not to defile another religion, but to express ourselves in whatever way we see fit as long as we don’t harm anyone while doing so. As a supposed Constitutional lawyer, Mr. President, you should know better. Shame on you, sir.

I find it utterly disgraceful that any member of our government would speak out against the freedom of speech of one of our citizens. The place of government is to not encroach upon our inalienable rights, not to publicly pressure someone into not exercising them

After the fact, there were some voices who called for fatwa against the Rev. Jones (who has decided to not go on his book burning spree) or anyone else who burned the Koran. That only drives home the point that such freedoms of expression are somewhat rare in our history, and should not be trampled on due to the playing of the political game.

So now we come to today, just after the weekend of the anniversary of 9/11. The same talking heads in the print and TV media are spewing the same rancid rhetoric of fear and paranoia that they did nine years ago, except now it’s aimed at Iran, Lebanon, and Syria. In fact, the same playbook is being used to promote this line of thought: they have WMD’s, they have connections to terrorist groups, they pose a direct threat to us, and so on. We are being asked to believe this analysis of intelligence from that same agencies (populated by many of the same people) who allowed for the unjustified attacks on Iraq,  9/11 to happen in the first place and who can’t find Usama Bin laden after all these years.

On the wings if this fear mongering ride daily demands from the government that we must give up another and another slice of our liberties in order to keep us safe from the boogey men who hate us for our freedoms. Some of my countrymen think this to be a good idea; but I, for one, take greater heed of the words of Ben Franklyn, who said: They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety”.

Hopefully it is not too late to reverse this course, for if not all the blood ever spilled in the cause of freedom for our nation – including the lives lost on 9/11 – will have been in vain.

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This entry was posted in Civil liberties/rights, Commentary, Free Speech, Government, Media, Military, Police State and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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