Friday, September 16, 2011


New York Times columnist Paul Krugman posted comments on his blog claiming the memory of the events of September 11, 2001 have been poisoned by those who exploited it to start two wars, and played on America's fears to advance a regressive agenda diluting or eliminating over 75 years of court decisions expanding civil liberties in this country. I had written a similar piece more than a week before the anniversary. In last week's Newsweek, Andrew Sullivan writes about his reaction to that day and ends up in the same place I did as well. He bemoans how he, the punditocracy, and Americans in general, let fear lead them to support calls for war and excoriates the corporate media for shirking its responsibility to act as a check on government excess and falsehoods. He says he is embarrassed he found himself "trusting" the government. Along with Sullivan and Krugman, the publication The Week had on its cover a fortress America with the question, "Did We Overreact?". Once again, sentiments echoing my piece. It warms the cockles of this incarcerated heart to see my mind and perspective have not gone to seed yet. It is also proof what should have been a defining moment of unity in this nation; instead became a political instrument used to irreparably damage America economically, politically and spiritually. (Yes, this is a bit of a self-serving pat on the back, but believe me there haven't been many opportunities for such self-aggrandizement over the last 3 years)

I'm sure Mr. Krugman will not take much solace knowing he and I agree, nor will my words help him weather the tsunami of criticism which inundated the blogosphere in the following days. According to, "liberal" bloggers did not rise enthusiastically to his defense and regressive bloggers had a field day criticizing him. I have no idea why progressive bloggers wouldn't have agreed with everything Krugman wrote but I understand perfectly the vitriol from regressives.

What is most interesting is the nature of the criticism. The attacks on Krugman by the likes of Michele Malkin and Faux and Friends attacked his appearance..."ugly little man with a beard."...Patriotism..."how can one hate his country as much as Krugman must?"...Work ethic..."he only wrote 181 words which is an insult to his readers"...and timing..."how does he post this on the 10th anniversary of the attacks?" What I could not find, and did not see, was one attempt to address the meat of Krugman's piece. The criticism was all ad hominem attacks with no substance. In fact, if you read the more prominent regressive voices, they seem to have ceded the field to Krugman when it comes to the central point of his argument.

Osama Bin Laden knew us better than we knew ourselves. Sullivan writes Bin Laden baited us, set a trap and we fell for it hook, line, and sinker. Bin Laden said one of his goals was to bankrupt America's economy and he also apparently knew our history. Whenever Americans are scared, the first thing they do is abandon the Bill of Rights and look towards a benevolent dictator who will both assure them and keep them safe. 10 years later, not even Bin Laden dared to imagine his plan would work out so well. America is weaker today than it was 10 years ago. Our economy is in shambles and our military is irreparably broken. We have squandered over $1.5 trillion on two unnecessary wars. (Ironically, exactly the number the congressional super committee must cut from the federal budget further damaging a fragile economic recovery) We are at each other's throats on almost every domestic front. We are paralyzed and appear incapable of producing resolutions to vital economic and political problems.

Maybe Bin Laden read the PNAC document Cheney et. al. signed in 1998. Maybe he was a genius and knew given the chance, Bush and Cheney would implement the provisions calling for an invasion of Iraq and projecting American power in the Middle East to protect the Likud party and Israel. His plan would have failed had Al Gore been president. Gore would have invaded Afghanistan, but not Iraq. Gore would have opposed most of the Patriot Act's worst provisions. Gore would have killed Bin Laden at Tora Bora cutting the head off of Al Qaida and the Taliban. (Mullah Omar escaped at that time as well) He would have finished the job in Afghanistan and not diverted resources to Iraq and we wouldn't still be there today. Gore would not have cut taxes for the rich to the tune of almost $2 trillion in lost revenue to the government. He would not have eviscerated environmental and other regulations and he would not have set up secret prisons to torture nor the continuing eyesore that is Guantanamo. For Bin Laden to succeed, he needed Bush, Cheney, Giuliani, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Fife and Tennant in power. They did exactly what he wanted. They "poisoned" the memory of September 11th by so politicizing and manipulating it. Today it is a symbol of a tragedy not caused by terrorism by rather by self-inflicted wounds.

If I have one criticism of Krugman, it would be for turning off the ability of readers to comment. Donald Rumsfeld was forced to tweet. (I love that image) He was cancelling his subscription to the Times. Yes, the comments would have been nasty ad hominem attacks on him and his patriotism, but he also would have read many agreeing with him. More importantly, the dialogue would have been good for us and he could have taken great joy in provoking his enemies and giving succor to his friends.

The butcher's bill rung up for September 11th is still growing. When will it end?


  1. The Iraq war would have been more acceptable if Bush et al. hadn't made false statements about Iraq having WMD's.

    Concerning people who claim that Saddam Hussein couldn't have had ties with al-Qaeda because Saddam and bin Laden didn't like each other: as was pointed out in the book "Michael Moore i a Big Fat Stupi White Man", terrorists can be very practical people. They don't necessarily let personal dislikes get in the way of mutua goals.

    Consider the cooperation amongst Iran, Pakistan and North Korea. The first is minaly Shi'a Muslim, the second Sunni Muslim, and the third an "infidel" atheistic state that worships a corpulent ruling family. Yet, they trade in weapons, nuke and missile technology, etc.

  2. To the clueless genius who posted above. The only reason Bush used that bogus excuse for going to war with Iraq is because the USA sold WMD's to Iraq so he figured Iraq mush have WMDs?

    What other reason could Bush have given for invading Iraq? Educate me genius.
    I wish you would have volunteered to fight in Iraq since you obviously think it was justified to invade Iraq.

    Also Osama Bin Laden wanted to defend Saudi Arabia against Sadam Hussein if Iraq invaded Saudi Arabia during the 1st gulf war. Saddam wanted nothing to do with Al Qaeda. Iraq was a secular state under Saddam . Al Qaeda and the Taliban is an extreme ideology religion.

  3. Sir/Ma'am: please don't put words in my mouth. I never said that it was justified for Bush to invade Iraq. What I meant was, if Bush could have credibly proven ties between Iraq and al-Qaeda, then he could have cited those ties as a justification for the Iraq invasion, rather than the false claims that Saddam had a huge cache of WMD's.

    I was also pointing out that some people were quick to totally dismiss the possibility of such ties existing, just because Saddam and bin Laden didn't like each other personally. As I have pointed out, most Islamists don't like Kim Jong-Il, but that doesn't stop them from doing business with him.

    Note also that Saddam was funding Palestinians who were committing suicide murder bombings against Israeli civilians in 2002, despite Saddam's secular philosophy. Of course, that didn't justify the Iraq invasion either, though I'm sure many Israelis were hoping for it. Personally, I wouldn't have invaded Iraq if I were George W. Bush.

  4. Let's have a Creative Writing Event here.
    I imagine our Lion is not able to view videos for himself these days, so everyone, please watch this and then make a word picture for the Lion...

  5. When the whole media system is presenting an official narrative, as most were this past weekend in reporting on the official commemorations of the tenth anniversary of the tragic events of 911, it is almost impossible for alternative perspectives and critical ideas to be seen and heard.

    “The choice between terrorism and violence and anti-terrorism and violence is a false choice,“ declared Barber in his opening remarks. “You will never deliver peace with war.”

    I have covered and participated in several interdependence events in the past, in Paris, Rome and Morocco. All featured a high level of discourse by prominent public intellectuals, scholars and journalists. While many were covered in other countries, they were mostly ignored in the nation they most wanted to influence.

    That was also true of Sunday's panels that featured prominent speakers including Former Maryland Lt Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, David Steiner former New York State Commissioner of Education, Howard Dean, Former Governor and Democratic Party official, Princeton Professor Cornell West, Khalil Gibran Muhammad, the new head off Harlem’s Library for Black Culture, TV personality Laura Flanders and TV host Tavis Smiley. Smiley recorded a live panel discussion at the event for NPR and interviewed Barber last week for his TV show.

    The ideas were provocative and the analysis was deep calling for news ways of thinking, a new approach to foreign policy, bottom-up organizing in America and the pros and cons of Barack Obama’s leadership and lack of it.

    Many of these were the ideas and issues that a more democratic media would highlight. If we lived in Europe, these events would have been covered. But here in the US of A, it was media business as usual---genuflecting the view of the powerful, sympathizing with the victims, but never debating how things might be different. Events like these were considered a sideshow unworthy of attention.

    What these events stressed is that real change has to become the business of citizens and people’s organizations, not official bodies and antiseptic media.

    If you are interested in taking part, there is another day of panel and events Monday at the 3LD Art and Technology Center at 80 Greenwich Street (Rector Street on the #1 train) near Ground Zero,

    There will be artists, informal discussions and panels with Tavis Smiley, Josh Fox, the newly Emmy Award Winning Director of Gasland, James Early and representatives from youth movements around the world.

    For more information, visit, http;//

    If you are as tired of the exploitation of 911 as I am, consider checking out this emerging interdependence movement online or in person. The future is still ours to shape, we must always hope.

    As everyone knows action speaks louder than words, and I say that as professional wordsmith. Word!

    News Dissector Danny Schechter blogs at He is the director of Plunder, The Crime of Our Time (PlunderTheCrimeofourtime,com) He also hosts news Dissector Radio on The Progressive Radio Comments to

    Danny Schechter is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

  6. I don't understand the celebration surrounding 9-11. It goes beyond memorializing 9-11 to a huge celebration to distract us from the fact we lost so much in the way of civil liberiies, economics etc. as a result. World War II was about a million times more important than 9-11, yet there is nothing close to a billion dollar memorial. I know there are a lot of WW2 memorials, but they are not lavish psuedo theme parks with a $25 admission charge). I'm surprised they didn't throw in a few rides for this "memorial" (although who knows what the future will bring). The 9-11 memorial and all the festivities surrounding it are physical representations to distract us from the real damage done to this country on 9-11.

  7. News item: In Canada, notorious child-killer Clifford Robert Olson is near death from cancer, after spending nearly 30 years in prison.

    "I don't know how to seems almost sacrilegious to feel pleased about someone's impending death." (quote from a family member of one of the victims).

    I think a lot of people felt similarly about the death of OBL.

  8. I can think of no one's death or impending death who made me glad or pleased.