Just wrote this on Facebook:
Back when we were in New York, we visited the new 9/11 memorial.
The Empire State Building, that craziest of tall buildings, was built in the 30's and was the tallest building in New York until the 70's, when the twin towers were built, each being taller than the Empire.
But, after 9/11 attacks, it was again made the tallest in the city, until just a few months ago, when the new World Trade Center One, also known as freedom tower, (going to be 1,776 feet tall, for the signing of the Declaration of Independence), surpassed it.
At the foot of the rising tower are the original footprints of the North and South tower, now made reflecting pools, the names of all the dead from every facet of the attack, every flight, inscribed on the sides, almost 3,000 of them, in all.
Now, I'm not sure exactly what the purpose of terrorism is, putatively it's a holy war, but I think that's rather dubious.
I happen to think it's an attempt to cause as much damage to the human race as possible.
And, measured by that criteria, it's hard to imagine being more successful with the resources they had.
If, say, the siege of Leningrad is one of the saddest events in human history because of how much life and how many resources were wasted for absolutely nothing: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Leningrad
then 9/11 has to be one of the saddest events in human history because of how much was "accomplished" with how few resources.
Really, it might be one of the most "successful" ventures in human history.
That's because, 9/11, in my mind, isn't over, and won't be, for a long time. With 19 people, versus minimal security, bin Laden managed to take over 4 planes, and with them collapse 2 of the most important buildings in the world, and cause damage to another vastly important one.
2,977 people, from 90 countries, were killed.
Comparably, a rather small number, (considering it's figured about 1,500 people died in car crashes that happened because people were too afraid to fly after 9/11) if it's compared to various other tragedies in history, and to the population of the country as a whole.
But the toll in deaths, though great, was not by any measure all of the damage. Probably nearly every single American, and many around the world, had to watch as those 2 mighty towers smoked black smoke into the sky, before collapsing.
About 3,000 died, but the attack was felt by everyone.
One of the things that was sad to me, is that this tragedy is felt by most to be an "American tragedy", as if it only affected Americans.
See, I look at the globe, and I see a lot of lines, dividing land and people from each other. A lot of these lines have absolutely no geographic basis, they're nothing but lines in the mind, drawn by people, for reasons that, at the core, amount to just xenophobia.
Why we can't feel every tragic death that happens to other human beings around the world the same as if they happen to human beings who happened to live in the same arbitrary area as us, I don't know.
But worse, once it was felt we had our "American tragedy", that should have been a general human tragedy, then it was time for payback.
The casualties of the wars I like to think of as "9/11 ongoing", the Iraq War, and the War in Afghanistan, altogether equal about 40,000, and counting.
Once again, the death toll and the financial toll only show the tiniest portion of the immense damage, including the rise of Islamaphobia in the United States, and hugely unpopular drone strikes and collateral damage ruining whatever credibility our country might have ever had in the Middle East.
Add to that a general "Us vs. Them" mentality, where Us is the United States, Christians, and "Them" is Muslims, or Arabs, although in many people's minds those 2 things are the same thing.
Photos were released rather recently of U.S. soldiers pissing on the dead bodies of Taliban soldiers, and yet, well, some comments:
"They should get ribbons for that."
"whats the problem with posing with dead hajis again?"
"Number of protesters after the 16, mostly women and children were killed: 250
Number of protesters after the Korans were burned: 200,000
A backward culture that values a book more than it values it's women and children deserve to have their dead pissed on."
"Fuck em!! I'm sure the people who were burning alive on 9/11 in the towers or the people that jumped 80 stories were thinking gee I hope nobody pisses on dead camel jockeys because of this"
No doubt, those are some of the crazier Americans out there, but it hits on a common theme: Americans are angry about 9/11, and figure that since we got attacked "first", we'll kill them all, and piss on their bodies, and laugh about it.
My basic point in a nutshell: We got attacked, but not really "first", we've just been meddling in the Middle East since the Cold War era to attempt to stop Soviet advancement, and some of the more radical Middle Easterners decided the way to respond was by killing a lot of people.
After that, we retaliated with an attack on the group we unfortunately supported for many years, the Taliban, and have been fighting against them ever since, and then decided, somewhat oddly, to invade a completely unrelated Middle Eastern Country hundreds of miles away and change their government.
Or in essence: NOTHING GAINED, all that's come of it is more ignorance, more death, more violence, more refugees, and more arrogance on the side of America, and it all just makes me more ashamed of the human race.
It's hard to be more "successful" than that. Too successful, as Osama bin Laden found out almost 10 years afterwards, finally, finally, the cycle of violence, destruction, and violence he'd started had come full circle, and now, at last, it had come for him, leaving him as just one more casualty in a war of ignorance.