By all means memorialize 9/11, but do so in a quiet, dignified way. Don’t saturate the airwaves with endless, over-sentimentalized retrospectives and ceremonies. That kind of overkill cheapens the event and turns genuine grief into mere spectacle. Just for once can we not go over the top? Make it solemn and proud, modest and brief. Make it worthy of the kind of people we imagine ourselves to be, the kind of people we should be.
Most importantly, don’t use it as a pretext to justify more pointless, self-destructive wars.
But there is a sinister aspect to all of this as well. Look at New York City’s security preparations:
There are radiation detection boats in the waters, cameras that have been placed all over lower and Midtown Manhattan and there are cops with guns and tanks and all kinds of weapons, because in New York a terror attack could come from anywhere, and anyone.
“There’s no shortage of people who are willing to give up their lives for the cause,” NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said.
For openers, he has his own navy.
“We actually have the ability to have a small submarine, not manned, to check the part of the boats that are submerged,” Kelly said.
“We have a new boat on order. We envision a situation where we may have to get to an island or across water quickly, so we’re able to transport our heavy weapons officers rapidly.”
Kelly also has his own army — 1,000 anti-terror cops with tanks and weapons, carved out of the NYPD after 9/11.
None of which, one should add, would prevent a random psychopath with a legally obtained assault rifle from walking into a restaurant and opening fire, which happened in my neck of the woods just over a week ago.
Would a terrorist be so stupid as to march into the teeth of such defenses, or would they attack some soft underbelly, like Omaha or Bismark or some equally sedate and unsuspecting place? All of this hyper-security is largely ineffective, and like so much else in America it is primarily designed for show, for effect. In this case, to make us feel safe.
One need hardly point out that turning our police departments into full-fledged armies is dangerous beyond words. It’s far more dangerous than some terrorist threats from abroad which, in the long run, will have proven to be ephemeral. But when Islamic terrorism is a caption in history books (which, of course, few will read), some new existential menace will have emerged from the self-interested minds of our military, police, and political establishment. It might be the Chinese. It might be the Russians. If someone like Rick Perry manages to bumble into the White House, it might be liberals. Regardless, the mechanisms of full repression will have become an established, immovable fact, something we’ve been conditioned to accept, like torture and warrantless wire-tapping have become now.
I said, one need hardly point this out, but in a population as ignorant and pliable as we’ve proven ourselves to be, perhaps one does need to point it out, loudly and continuously, although it’s doubtful it would do any good. From the same article:
It’s been 10 years but our concerns about terrorism are still staggering and constant. Even the death of Osama bin Laden didn’t lessen the fear.All of those “unspecified threats” have done the trick, aided, no doubt, by complicit pollsters.
Two thirds of Americans, 67 percent in a stunning CBS/New York Times poll say killing the al Qaeda mastermind didn’t make them feel safer.
But that’s not all. A majority – 57 percent — say subway security measures are insufficient.
And as for other potential terror targets:
* Only 27 percent say airports are a lot safer.
* Only 20 percent say bridges and tunnels are safer.
* And just 14 percent say area nuclear plants are safer
I don’t think I’m being overly cynical when I point out the following. Our people have become timorous and semi-literate, and our institutions are irredeemably corrupt. Given such a combination, the worst case scenario is a frighteningly realistic possibility, and the worst case scenario has nothing to do with foreign terrorists.