There will be hell to pay once the dust settles.
A small band of terrorists got real lucky, if we can call that luck, and managed to murder thousands of Americans.
On September 11, 2001, the planes that crashed through three buildings destroyed far more that three buildings, four jets, and several thousand innocent lives. They also destroyed the principles that had been the foundation of the American state and the foundation of American society. The legitimacy of the the reasoned rule of law that had characterized America has been replaced by laws of fascistic convenience. If their intent was to destroy America, they pulled it off beyond their wildest dreams. But America has been destroyed not by the 9 - 11 terrorists as much as Americans themselves. Cowards shrieked and paniced and watched for the sky to fall; it didn't.
There is now an emerging groundswell of sobriety as the dust settles. People are waking up by the thousands and it will soon be millions. The drunken hysteria is fading and the sun is coming up. The drunken orgy of killing continues but many that were caught up in the confusion of the moment are realizing that American was founded on ancient principles and not on the brutality of cowards. Those principles were penned at a time of threat from a foriegn imperialist state.
While it is true that American had often behaved badly and perhaps didn't deserve a reputation for justice, freedom, and democracy, it still held this noble esteem worldwide. The reputation that it had gained has vanished. The big difference now is that new laws have become legal rot within the body of American law and have sickened the integrity of the nation. The Patriot Act is an affront to the founding fathers of America. It not only undermines and subverts the Constitution but renders it a worthless scrap of paper.
Those that are hawks and those that scream for more protection against 'terror' have done far more to subvert the spirit of America than a thousand box cutter terrorists could have. They are still busy and working hard to build a fascist empire of terror and tyranny. They not only subvert the spirit of America, they are its nemesis.
The Spirit of America
The spirit of America had raised the bar and challenged the world to live up to the noble ideals of truth, justice, and freedom. In spite of the Vietnams, the communist witch hunts of the 50s, and all the crimes commited under the American flag, the spirit of America did not die. It perservered through generations of cowards that not only acted pragmatically for gain and profit, but it also perervered through deliberate attempts to destroy it.
In spite of it all, the spirit of America is far from dead. It can be found in the music of Bruce Springstein, Ani Defranco, and Neil Young. It can be found in the writings of Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, and William Blum. It can be found in the artistic creativity of Michael Moore and Oliver Stone and it can be found on the streets of Washington and in towns and cities and homes all over the planet. It can also be found in Palestine, in Israel, in China and in Iraq. You will not find the spirit of America in the KKK or the BNP and you will not confine it to America or to capitalism or to socialism. You can beat it and twist it but you can never kill it because it really isn't the spirit of America. It is the spirit of humanity and it has been around since hunter-gatherers hunted and gathered. America just gave it a clear basis in legal legitimacy.
Across the globe people have been appalled and astounded, but not altogether surprised, at the reaction of the Bush Administration to the 9-11 attacks. It has been widely understood that those with control of the American state are ruthless and pragmatic. Murder for profit is nothing new and using the state to steal and control resources in foriegn lands has become an expectation. Even torture and illegal detentions have been used to secure 'American interests'; in other words, corporate profit.
What is new is the open advocation of police state tactics not only in foriegn countries, but within the United States as well. What is new is the open promoting of arbitrary arrests, torture, and murderous collective punishment as we have seen in Fallujah and many other places. What is new is the the open and aggressive attack on the freedoms that have not only defined America, but all modern and progressive societies.
A Painful Hangover
There will be, inevidably, a reaction to the reaction. A negation of the negation of the fundamental principles of the rule of law over the excesses of imperialists and cowards. In fact, it has never been absent. So far, it has come mostly from the left and from sincere intellectuals on the right. But it is about to move into the mainstream as the rats scurry off the decks of the sinking ship of Bush's so called war on terror.
The Patriot Act will be scrapped and the torture camps will be emptied with nothing left but a cold wind and bitter memories blowing through them. The carnage will end and tired and disillusioned troops will make their way back home and they won't expect a hero's welcome and they won't get one. Like an orgy of perversion, those that partied hard and participated in this horrible debasement not only of the American Constitution, but of humanity itself, will be exposed for their abominable and cruel acts of opportunistic brutality. And those that urged them on will fall silent under a blanket of shame.
Like the Germens that followed their Furher in the 30s and 40s, they will slip underground. Their families and friends will be ashamed to be associated with them. Their names will live on in infamy in this age of freeflowing information. They will never live this down. Even past their deaths they will not escape judgement for making the beginning of the new millenium the darkest of dark ages; especially for the long suffering people of Iraq.
Some of them still rattle on and demand more war in Iran and more draconian laws to enure that 'Americans' are protected from terrorists. Some demand that democracy and freedom be installed all over the planet at the point of a gun and with the threat of B-52s. They are no different than masianic manics spreading communism, democracy, Islam, Christianity or any other ideology of salvation to the world. What they all have in common is that they know what is best for everybody else and they will slaughter as many as need be to entrench their salvation deep into all societies, forever. What they also have in common is that they are the starkest perversions of what they aim to promote.
And in the End...
The strange irony of this dark age is that those that scream and wage war for America are the antithesis of what America had been. Those that are ostensibly anti-American are true to the principles and foundation of it.
It may be that this is the beginning of an age of tyranny that will last many generations. But we can be optomistic. Even when information could be controlled and communities and societies were isolated from one another, greater ideals and visions defeated the enemy in time. Nowadays, we have the means to share information and ideas around the globe in a split second. The fog of ignorance that tyrants of the past relied on has vanished.
The end is near for the enemies of freedom, equality, justice, and democracy. When the nightmare is over, we will stand tall and drink a toast to one another for having fought a noble fight. And those that have disgraced themselves will be silent.
They will, all of them, have an enormous debt to pay.