Look out upon that Myriad Harbour!

swimmerguy's picture

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.


jeff's picture


I'm seeing the 9/11 Memorial for the first time next week. People visiting always helps you be a tourist in your own town... ;-)

"You can judge the whole world on the sparkle that you think it lacks" - Dawes, When My Time Comes (http://youtu.be/Z0FrcTX6hWI)

elph's picture

Impressive (as expected)...

But also for another quite personal reason that will not even be remotely obvious to the average reader. Thank you!

Bosemaster42's picture

Excellent perspective!

The Arab world seems hellbent on referring to this quagmire we(U.S) find ourselves involved in as a holy war. If you look back in history, to the dawn of Islam, you can see a correlation between Christian vs. Islam. Indeed, many holy wars have been waged. The western world doesn't actually see what is going on today in this way. However, I think the Arab world can't help but think our motives are to destroy their culture and Islam itself. If you look at what we have done across the globe with regard to insurgencies, installing favorable leaders, and allying ourselves to Israel, time and again, it always seems to blow up in our face. I think Afghanistan is a perfect example of that.
The Arab world, as a whole, cannot even agree amongst themselves. They've been killing and conquering their own people since the days of the great empires. For the sake of argument, let's say the Arab world unites all factions and destroys Israel. They'd be dancing in the streets in all major cities in the middle east, burning Israeli flags, as well as, ours. Of course, Egypt tried and failed to take back lands that Israel had laid claims to. How? With U.S. supplied military equipment and training.
Political solutions never seem to pan out because the Arabs want the land back given to Israel. Not just the West Bank either, I truly believe they want it all. Without this on the bargaining table, there can be no peaceful or political sloution. I realize this sounds pretty radical, and I've been scrutinized heavily for saying it aloud in the past and I'm sure I will be again, but I can't help coming to this conclusion.
The middle east wants no U.S. involvement in their business. They also want the destruction of Israel. The only thing they want from us is our money! Frankly, we don't even need their oil, it's just more convienient.
I'm afraid all these people, 911, Iraq war, Afghanistan, and more have all died in vain.

elph's picture

I think I'm in agreement...

but look at this quote:

"Political solutions never seem to pan out because the Arabs want the land back given to Israel. Not just the West Bank either, I truly believe they want it all." (underlining mine)

Who, exactly, is the antecedent to "they": The Arabs or the Israelis? As it reads, this remains somewhat ambiguous.

After the disastrous decision in 1948 by the United Nations to form the state of Israel on Arab land (with primary support coming from U.S. Christian Zionists in the vain hope that it would hasten the prophesied Armageddon), the West Bank remained in Arab hands.

But Israel has all along contended that all of present Israel plus the West Bank (and more) was "given" to them in a covenant with God (dating back to the days of Abraham and Moses)!


Of course... Israel is the one that "wants it all!" For they acknowledge no law or force that would desecrate a sacred covenant with God! (post emoticon for extreme sarcasm)

I hope that is what you meant.

Bosemaster42's picture

Of Course,

I know that Israel believes they have divine rights to the entirety of the territory. I was a little rushed, I apologize for being ambiguous. But I meant the arabs. I believe the arabs(especially fundamental islamists) desire to 'conquer' the Israeli's, essentially by destroying them. Then, they(fundamentalists) would have complete control of Jerusalem. It was a thought on my part, I could be completely wrong.

Bosemaster42's picture


It's a very complicated and thorny issue to begin with. I didn't like generalizing, using 'Arabs', but my response was written in two stages.
I wrote part of it on my coffee break and finished on my lunch break. So, there was bound to be some factual omissions. I'm sure your aware of the many arab nations involved.
I realize the United Nations drafted the final plans to establish the state of Israel, however, the British(In tandem with other european countries) established the first agreements for jewish settlers to begin immigrating to 'The land of Israel'. Some of which was done illegally. The british had 'sovereignty' over what is present day Jordan, after defeating the Ottoman's(Turks) who had control of present day Syria and Jordan. Or am I mistaken?

elph's picture

Yes... The major instigation for this fiasco...

can be traced back to 1917 and the Balfour Declaration by Britain:


However... what, for me, is most egregious is the fanaticism that existed in many Christian communities here in the U.S. in the late 1940s: They were imbued with the certainty that if only Israel could be reconstituted in its biblical setting (a prophecy to be fulfilled preceding Armageddon), the end of the world would be nigh... and all believers would be reunited in heaven!

In the church of my childhood this is a very vivid memory! Without the fanatical support of the Christian Zionists, the displaced Jews (victims of WW2) would have settled elsewhere: Many alternatives existed... but all rejected as anything other would have been inconsistent with biblical prophecy. God couldn't do it on his own; he needed help! :(

Oh... the tragedy of blind belief!

Bosemaster42's picture

Yeah, I agree.

I'll never understand holy rollers. I recognized at an early age some things just didn't add up with Catholicism, specifically the Vatican.