Happy 9/11 Day, our fifteenth anniversary together. If it was a child, she’d be almost ready to drive. They do grow up so fast, don’t they?
We’re instituted full background checks, body scanners and cavity searches at my home for all guests and pets (can’t be too careful!), which keeps me pretty busy, so this will be a short post. Because they hate our freedoms, we’ve taken them away for safekeeping.
So here’s our fun thing for today: reflecting. So let’s get started:
State of Things September 11, 2001
- There was no Islamic State.
- Syria and Libya were peaceful places more or less.
- There was no global refugee crisis.
- There was no Saudi war ongoing in Yemen.
- Iraq opposed Iran, helping establish a balance of power in the Middle East. Any danger Saddam was worth was contained by the no-fly zones and had been, successfully, since 1991.
- Iran’s plans were cooled by an enemy on its western border, Iraq, and one on its eastern border, the Taliban.
- The Taliban controlled much of Afghanistan.
- The U.S. was not at war, and 4,486 Americans had not died in Iraq and 1,935 had not died in Afghanistan. A bunch o’ brown people were still alive. Suicide was not the most common cause of death in our military.
- The US was not known as a torturer, a keeper of secret prisons, an assassin with drones.
- America was represented abroad primarily by diplomats.
- Americans at home were secure, protected from abuses by their government by the First and Fourth Amendments.
State of Things September 11, 2016
- There is an Islamic State (and still an al Qaeda) that makes war across the Middle East and commits terrorism in Europe.
- Syria and Libya are failed states, at war, and sanctuaries for Islamic State and al Qaeda.
- There is a global refugee crisis that threatens the stability of Europe.
- There is a Saudi war ongoing in Yemen.
- Iran has become a dominant power in the Middle East, with well-established ties in Iraq and Afghanistan.
- The Taliban control much of Afghanistan.
- The US government actively and continuously spies on Americans, particularly through electronic means. Once aimed only abroad, the NSA now devotes a substantial portion of its mighty resources inside the US
- The US government drone assassinates American Citizen abroad without trial.
- We’re all scared as hell about terrorism all the time.
Crystal is the traditional material of the 15th anniversary gift. Fitting, in that it breaks easily.
Peter Van Buren blew the whistle on State Department waste and mismanagement during Iraqi reconstruction in his first book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People. His latest book is Ghosts of Tom Joad: A Story of the #99 Percent. Reprinted from the his blog with permission.