The Legacy of 911:  An Institutionalization of Terror at Home and Abroad

by Chip Pitts       Saturday 10 September 2011

Bill of Rights Defense Committee ¦ Op Ed
Nation of Change

Our national character seems to have morphed into national caricature – an extreme, almost cartoon version of characteristics our nation possesses at its worst rather than its best: violence, racism, discrimination, arrogance, stupidity.

Re­spond­ing to ter­ror per­pe­trated by 19 men with box-cut­ters a decade ago, the US gov­ern­ment has now put hun­dreds of mil­lions of in­no­cent Amer­i­cans into count­less mil­i­tary, in­tel­li­gence, and law en­force­ment data­bases with­out sus­pect­ing them of any crime. The Na­tional Se­cu­rity Agency eaves­drops on over 1.7 bil­lion pieces of our email, phone, and other com­mu­ni­ca­tions each day. And the gov­ern­ment has spent tril­lions of dol­lars on often worth­less “home­land” se­cu­rity bu­reau­crats and tech­nolo­gies—not to men­tion the ad­di­tional tril­lions spent on the var­i­ous de­clared and un­de­clared wars as­so­ci­ated with the on­go­ing “war on ter­ror.”

In the name of fight­ing ter­ror­ism, the gov­ern­ment has in­sti­tu­tion­al­ized a mas­sive re­sponse based on fear more than any­thing else. In the name of de­fend­ing our free­doms, our gov­ern­ment has frac­tured them as thor­oughly as the WTC tow­ers and Pen­ta­gon. In the name of en­hanc­ing se­cu­rity, it has dam­aged the au­then­tic se­cu­rity and fu­ture of the na­tion.

Pro­pa­gan­dis­ti­cally “sell­ing” the new se­cu­rity in­sti­tu­tions and tech­nolo­gies to Amer­i­cans has served the self­ish in­ter­ests of dem­a­gogic politi­cians, a con­flict-lov­ing main­stream media, and the wealthy con­trac­tors from the mil­i­tary-in­dus­trial-sur­veil­lance com­plex. But this has come at the ex­pense of every­one else in the na­tion, now and in the fu­ture. Ter­ror­ists and crim­i­nals can eas­ily evade most of these tech­nolo­gies; or­di­nary cit­i­zens won’t.

Article image

As care­fully doc­u­mented by Dana Priest and William Arkin in their new book, Top Se­cret Amer­ica (based on the Wash­ing­ton Post se­ries of the same name), no one—not even the gov­ern­ment it­self—has any real idea how much money’s being spent or who’s doing what in these new agen­cies; and worse, they are so se­cre­tive, du­plica­tive, and in­ef­fi­cient that they sim­ply don’t work.

As with the PA­TRIOT Act it­self, mis­sion creep and the rar­ity of ac­tual ter­ror events means that these new Key­stone Cops are in­creas­ingly using these awe­some new pow­ers and tech­nolo­gies for petty crime (like en­sur­ing that pro­ceeds from neigh­bor­hood mag­a­zine sub­scrip­tion sales aren’t pock­eted) or, worse yet, for ac­tive re­pres­sion of peace­ful dis­senters, en­vi­ron­men­tal and anti-war ac­tivists, an­i­mal rights and pro- and anti-abor­tion rights ac­tivists, Tea Party mem­bers and lib­er­tar­i­ans.

The FBI, CIA, the mil­i­tary’s new North­ern Com­mand, and the top-se­cret Joint Spe­cial Op­er­a­tional Com­mand, in part­ner­ship with local po­lice, cor­po­ra­tions, and the 72 du­plica­tive and in­ef­fec­tive “fu­sion cen­ters,” use the pow­er­ful new tech­nolo­gies and sur­veil­lance au­thor­i­ties to se­cretly ac­cess our bank records, emails, air­line and other travel in­for­ma­tion. Mus­lims, im­mi­grants, African Amer­i­cans, and other eth­nic mi­nori­ties are par­tic­u­lar tar­gets. Iron­i­cally, again, the mil­i­tary and law en­force­ment au­thor­i­ties sup­pos­edly pro­tect­ing our free­doms and democ­racy are jeop­ar­diz­ing those rights and that democ­racy.

This new us-ver­sus-them, jin­go­is­tic mil­i­tarism has even crept into our pol­i­tics (just look at de­bate over drones and troops at the bor­der), TV shows (from 24 to NCIS: Naval Crim­i­nal In­ves­tiga­tive Ser­vice), music (from Lee Green­wood’s “Proud to be an Amer­i­can” to Toby Keith’s “The Angry Amer­i­can”), and movies (from Cap­tain Amer­ica to Cow­boys and Aliens). Our na­tional char­ac­ter seems to have mor­phed into na­tional car­i­ca­ture – an ex­treme, al­most car­toon ver­sion of char­ac­ter­is­tics our na­tion pos­sesses at its worst rather than its best: vi­o­lence, racism, dis­crim­i­na­tion, ar­ro­gance, stu­pid­ity.

Re­spect for rights is in­deed the only source of true se­cu­rity in our na­tion — the most di­verse in the world – es­pe­cially in a world that con­tains both newly em­pow­ered di­ver­sity and di­ver­si­fied power.

Pres­i­dent Obama has com­pounded the er­rors of Bush and Ch­eney by cyn­i­cally con­tin­u­ing es­sen­tially the same flawed ap­proaches. Most egre­giously, he has dra­mat­i­cally es­ca­lated some of the most morally and legally in­de­fen­si­ble and coun­ter­pro­duc­tive tech­niques, in­clud­ing the global drone at­tacks now con­demned even by Obama’s for­mer Di­rec­tor of Na­tional In­tel­li­gence Den­nis Blair, and in­creased re­liance upon ex­tra-ju­di­cial killings or as­sas­si­na­tions that com­pletely side­step fair tri­als and due process by tar­get­ing even US cit­i­zens.

These may pro­duce some short-term “suc­cesses,” but they yield long-term cat­a­stro­phe as re­venge kicks in, those killed are quickly re­placed, fur­ther off­shoots of al Qaeda are cre­ated, both non-nu­clear na­tions like Yemen and the Philip­pines and nu­clear na­tions like Pak­istan are desta­bi­lized, and, in short, the US cre­ates more ter­ror­ists.

What Abra­ham Lin­coln noted about the ironic vul­ner­a­bil­ity of our free­doms could just as read­ily be ap­plied to our au­then­tic na­tional se­cu­rity: “Amer­ica will never be de­stroyed from the out­side. If we fal­ter and lose our free­doms, it will be be­cause we de­stroyed our­selves.”

WAMMToday is now on Facebook! Check the WAMMToday page for posts from this blog and more! “Like” our page today. You may also subscribe to WAMMToday from the blog website.
By Published On: September 11th, 2011Comments Off on The Legacy of 911: An Institutionalization of Terror at Home and Abroad

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!

Subscribe via email
Enter your email address to follow Rise Up Times and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 3,899 other followers


VIDEO: Militarism, Climate Chaos, and the Environment