Rip Van America's Restless Slumber

Twenty years actively rejecting reality is time we'll never get back.

This week, the Intertoobz will be filled with reflections and reminiscing over the past twenty years - has it been so long? - since radical Islamic terrorists murdered three thousand innocent American civilians on U.S. soil.

Just about everything sayable has already been said, at great length, and buried in either patriotic fluff or the profoundest cynicism.

"Never forget"?  We've spent the last two decades all but forcibly prevented from remembering the driving force behind this atrocity, namely, the evil and inhuman teachings generally identified with Islam.

"We stand together"?  That lasted, what, barely a week before the Democrats and the media - but I repeat myself - started throwing rocks at President Chimpy McBushitler, even while he tried to recover and respond to what was reportedly the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil.

Does anyone care that large numbers of Democrats voted to invade Iraq and Afghanistan?  Of course not - everything bad that happened there was solely and exclusively the fault of Republicans.

Given that the world's largest and most expensive intelligence community failed utterly to prevent a handful of Muslims from invading our country on technically valid American papers and murdering us using our own equipment, has any action been taken to punish and reform the agencies that so signally failed?  Yes, absolutely - they've been showered with more gold and rewarded with more power then they could have imagined in their wildest dreams on September 10, for which we received... well, we just got abruptly booted out of Afghanistan less than a week after the President Himself said things there were fine.

Is there one single thing that our entire government or military has done in these twenty years that have made us inarguably better off?  Would we be worse off if we hadn't invaded Iraq?  How about Afghanistan?

Locking terrorists up forever in Guantanamo Bay certainly seemed like a good idea at the time - except that now four of them are ruling Afghanistan.  Would we have been worse off if we hadn't bothered - if we'd just dispatched them with a bullet to the head, say, or even just left them the heck alone in the trackless wastes of Afghanistan, occasionally lobbing a $1m missile at a $10 camel?

When dealing with the Muslim world from which the 9-11 monsters spawned and arose, our various leaders have tried, shall we say, a wide array of approaches.  Obama notoriously gave NASA the chief objective, not of re-reaching the Moon, but of reaching out to Muslims.  It's true we haven't had any space shuttles or rockets hijacked, but that's only because NASA doesn't have any anymore to be hijacked.

The largest previous loss of American civilians to enemy action was Pearl Harbor in 1941.  By 1961, Japan was a friendly ally just about to welcome the world to the Tokyo Olympics.  The only Olympic events suitable for Afghanistan or Iraq are running, jumping, and shooting.

Are we arguing that we should not have bothered to respond to the infamy of 9-11?  Hardly.  We are simply pointing out that if we had done nothing at all, we would have been better off than what resulted from what we did do.

Yes, we spied on vast numbers of Muslims, and even arrested a few - who were mostly eventually released thanks to leftist lawyers, while the law-enforcement agencies moved on to investigate "white supremacists" guilty of voting while Republican.  Again, we would have been both safer and more free had we investigated nobody at all.

Before 9-11, our government was at least run by Americans.  Today, there are quite a few "elected" "representatives" of the "American" people who view their job as representing the sworn enemies of the genuine American people.  Are we better off with our leaders now than we were with those of twenty years ago?

Have we, then, been defeated by the forces of Islam?  Not exactly.  Hitler's Germany was roundly defeated by the Allies, but he and his Wehrmacht made us fight bitterly for every last inch of ground right through to his bunker in Berlin.  There was no doubt whatsoever that Germany did not want to be conquered and resisted with all its might, thus, both we and they knew when they were in fact defeated.

In contrast, when attacked by Islam, America does... what, exactly?  Shoot a few people, yes, and then dump hundreds of billions of dollars into supposedly enemy territory.  Is this the action of an enemy?  A friend?  A frenemy?  A psychopath?  A nation suffering from terminal multiple personality disorder?  How do you know when you're defeated, when you've been doing everything that a defeated power does all along?

Even what should be the one unequivocally good thing accomplished in the past twenty years by America as a nation, namely the death of Osama bin Laden, has been of questionable accomplishment.  Are there fewer terrorists in the world today now that he's gone?  It's been said that many other evil monsters were quite jealous of bin Laden's fame, leading to division and even fighting between different brands of Muslim psychopaths; with him gone, the way is clear to throw rocks at the Great Satan from all sides.

Before 9-11, the existence of Islam was known to most educated Americans, but its reality was entirely irrelevant due to the nearly complete absence of Islam and Muslims from these shores.  Since the deadly nature of Islamic terrorism intruded itself on our nation with such force, we've had nothing but increase of Islam here - in numbers, in visibility, in power, even in elected office.  Pray tell, how many Nazis lived openly in America or held American office in 1961?

No, America has been asleep since 9-11, dreaming restlessly of a victory we're unwilling to pursue over an enemy we're unwilling to name.  We haven't been sleeping soundly though - instead, we've been rolling ceaselessly to and fro, aimlessly and pointlessly crushing friend and foe alike.  The injuries on all sides are accumulating, and like a dog who's bit a porcupine, our mad but insensate clawing at the wounds simply make them worse: we lack the intelligence and mother-wit to properly consider even their cause, much less their proper cure.

How much more of this can America take and remain in once piece?  What will the 40th anniversary of 9-11 look like - or will there even be any purpose in remembering it?

There can be, yes, and likely will be, in those portions of America that are still American.  We need to recognize that those other portions of America that prefer to remember 9-11 by focusing on "shared humanity" that has nothing whatsoever to do with Islam, are no longer American in any meaningful sense of the term.

Because, like Islam, America is not defined by any particular race, color, national origin, or even language.  America is a creed - a belief in personal liberty, self-determination, and individual equality before the law, all of which have been aggressively dustbinned over the past years.  Anyone can choose to be an American, just as anyone can choose to be a Muslim - and, by the same token, anyone can choose not to be either.

Increasing numbers of "Americans" claim to be anything but.  Who are we to say they're wrong?  Wouldn't we do better to take them at their word - and reorient ourselves accordingly?

When the Twin Towers fell, all Americans united in horror - except, of course, those who celebrated.  Since then, an ever-increasing number of "Americans" have moved into that corner, siding with the enemies of America in name and in fact.

A nation is composed of people who identify as such.  An empire is composed of people who are kept as part of the empire by force, but don't really want to be.  Which are we now - and, which would we prefer?

For ourselves, we'd rather be a nation than an empire, which means that those who hate America and don't want to be American shouldn't have to be - and, thus, should be elsewhere than America.  As the saying goes, "Good fences make good neighbors" - would that we had the gumption to finish building ours, and then make every effort to sort folks onto the appropriate side!

Otherwise, inescapably, 9-11 will be forgotten in a cavalcade of horrors far worse.  It needn't be so - it mustn't be so - but we need to wake up, take a long, hard look in the mirror of the last twenty years, and change our ways.

Read other articles by Hobbes or other articles on Foreign Affairs.
Reader Comments

Our leaders never told the truth about the War on Terror. It's not a war we can win in any conventional sense. It's a war of "mowing the lawn," as the Israelis say, of constantly whacking the Islamic terrorists back for as long as it takes to exhaust their rabid desire to kill us.

We could never expect to win in Afghanistan if the Taliban had access to almost unlimited funding from opium sales and winter sanctuary in Pakistan. We never made any serious effort to destroy opium crops controled by the Taliban, nor did we attack their sanctuaries in Pakistan in any systematic way.

US rules of engagement in Afghanistan were a joke. Our soldiers needed approval from lawyers in Florida for artillery and air strikes on positions that were shooting at them. Use of the most effective munitions was limited by the rules of engagement. It was like we had to give our enemies a "sporting chance" to win, at the expense of our own casualties.

We need to get real. General officers need to resign over stupid rules of engagement, and strategies billed as decisive that are guaranteed losers.

The US needs to act like the War on Terror is a Marathon, not a sprint. We need to fight on the cheap, training indigenous forces to fight without hugely expensive US style logistical and technical support. We need to kill terrorists, and help their enemies defeat them in affordable ways. We can't afford to occupy and nation build primitive countries, primarily because it doesn't work.

If we feel the need to replace a government in a country, we must be ready to do what it takes. That means ruthlessly eliminating all guerrillas's funding sources and bombing any sanctuaries in "neutral" countries. If we ain't ready to do the needful, we shouldn't play. Our resources are not limitless. We can't waste any more lives and money on losing strategies.

September 14, 2021 12:14 AM

The CIA since and before its inception has been primarily interested in American Politics and who sits on the throne. The skill of misdirection called "false flag" operations, and deniability are their skills. They know all about evidence. Who had the skill set to kill Epstein making sure the electronic surveillance was off? To kill the guy who stole the DNC files? The only other agency with such intelligence gathering would be the FBI. But the FBI doesn't have anywhere close to the spy tools the CIA does, and the FBI has too many straight shooters to be trusted to pull off murders. Read "Killing Patton" and you will see the start of political murder by the OSS, the predecessor of the CIA. No other organization has the skill set and the kind of people to pull it off.

September 14, 2021 2:41 AM

Great article with zero fluff.
Exactly what I expect from, and why I frequent Scragged.

2 points:
1. Military/Industrial complex needs war hence 20 years and billion$ in spending. "We" didn't win, but wallets and bank accounts of defense contractors and politicians across the US did.

2. Our "elected" representatives, the deep state, and big tech used 9/11 to purposely increase their spying capabilities and actual spying and 24/7 surveillance on all of us and to control, distort and censor information and the dissemination of information, while making us no safer than we were on 9/10.

I do not see the current state of tyranny easing any time soon. And the 2022 elections will just give us more of the same with different faces but the same rhetoric. The left is hoping to prod us into reacting so they can call out the military against us to divert attention away from all the recent debacles out of dc and seal the deal.

I think at this point, it's up to red state governors to stand firm and hold the line.

We shall see.

September 14, 2021 1:24 PM

There are pros and cons in everything. Allies send small contingents to fight with us to learn our equipment and techniques. That is mostly good.
The military wants to test their techniques and equipment in real world situations. That can also be good. Our destruction of Sadam's forces invading Kuwait prompted Libya to reconsider their rearming. (The Germans burning down their "insecticide" (think chemical warfare) plant also helped.
Still there are those who having such military prowess want to use it to impose their ideas of government rapidly on other nations. Stable Governments develop slowly over time and are not externally Imposed. Afghanistan fell after the weak leadership fled after talking to Biden and realizing that they did not have the support of the new US government. Still there is resistance against the Taliban in parts of Afghanistan that were ageist them 20 years ago. If they can prevail over time, it will be a true government of the people and not one externally imposed.

September 14, 2021 2:26 PM
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