Saturday, September 11, 2004

Why I Don't Commemorate 9/11

Today I said a prayer for those who perished on 9/11. I prayed that they rest in peace. I prayed that their loved ones find healing. That's all I did today and it is all I will do on 9/11 in the future. I do not watch or take part in any official observances.

Newsday columnist Jimmy Breslin expresses my feelings pretty well in a Salon interview.

"I try not to pay attention to it," he says. "The anniversary is a day for exhibitionists, and for politicians trying to use it to their advantage. Who tried to use it more than Giuliani, the dog?" He uses another word, a gerund adjective, right before "dog."
"What would you want to be around it for? People I know don't care about it. I know the widow of a firefighter, and she doesn't want to hear anything about it. . . . In a recent column, Breslin observed that Osama bin Laden must need a new press agent, since no speaker at the Republican Convention was even willing to utter his name. "Well, one fellow mentioned it, he slipped up," he says. "It was [New York governor] George Pataki. And he had to make recompense with a scathing attack on Saddam Hussein, like he had anything to do with it."

Americans must also learn that many people around the world have suffered because of U.S. government foreign policy. The families of Afghans killed by American forces don't cry less than families of 9/11 victims. At least 11,000 Iraqis have been killed because of greedy people who want access to oil and an American military presence in a land that doesn't want it. The deaths of 2,700 people were used to cause suffering in Iraq. Someone needs to be brave and point that out to the American people. It won't be anyone running for office, so I volunteer for the assignment.

BTW, 9/11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows have been vocal in opposing military action against Afghanistan, an action taken in their name. They have bravely said "No thanks." In return for their great public service, Rush Limbaugh and the Wall Street Journal have attacked them as a Democratic front group and told outright lies about their mission. It seems that 9/11 families are deified only if they get their lines right.

Dick Cheney

Vote for us or die. That is essentially what Dick Cheney said this week. If he and Bush aren't back in office we are all toast. Of course the Democrats messed up their response as John Nichols points out in Common Dreams, but Nichols gives us a clearer, more frightening picture of the mind of Dick Cheney

It is true, of course, that the vice president would say anything and do anything in order to maintain his grip on power. But it does not necessarily follow that Cheney is simply carrying out a political hit. Indeed, if the past is prologue, there is every reason to assume that the vice president believes what he is saying about the damage that will befall the land if he and his minions are not working the levers of authority.

Few figures in American politics maintain a world view that is so consistently apocalyptic as does Cheney. Fewer still have allowed petty fears and profound ignorance to so dramatically warp their actions and public pronouncements.

Cheney's Cold War obsessions have frequently placed him on the wrong side of history, causing him to misread the geopolitical realities of regions around the world -- and of the key players within them. This is the man who was so certain that the African National Congress was a dangerous group that he regularly voted, as a member of Congress in the 1980s, against House resolutions calling for the release of Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners in South Africa.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Fascism Watch

I thought the Secret Service was an independent government entity whose main role was to protect the president and other officials. Boy did I ever get it wrong. Their new job is to help President Bush get elected. Not only is a loyalty oath required to attend a Bush/Cheney campaign event, but protesters are intentionally diverted and the press are told that they cannot attend events if they try to speak with demonstrators. The Seattle Times has the story from a Pennsylvania event.

BTW, if you are going to demonstrate against Bush, make sure you don't wear a wig.