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9/11: We Are What We Loathe…

(NOTE: The following is edited from an article posted at Truthdig by Chris Hedges, a NY Times staffer on 9/11.)

I arrived in Times Square around 9:30 on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. Billows of smoke could be seen on the Jumbotrons above us pouring out of the World Trade towers.

Remembering...

I walked quickly into the NY Times newsroom, grabbed a handful of notebooks, slipped on my NYPD press card, and started down the West Side Highway to the World Trade Center.

The south tower went down around 10 a.m. with a guttural roar. Huge rolling gray clouds of noxious smoke, dust, gas, pulverized concrete, gypsum and the grit of human remains enveloped lower Manhattan. The north tower collapsed about 30 minutes later.

By the time I arrived at Ground Zero it was a moonscape; whole floors of the towers had collapsed like an accordion. Small bits of human bodies – a foot in a woman’s shoe, a bit of a leg, part of a torso – lay scattered amid the wreckage.

Scores of people, perhaps more than 200, had pushed through the smoke and heat to jump to their deaths from windows that had broken or they had smashed. Sometimes they did this alone, sometimes in pairs.

But it seems they took turns, one body cascading downward followed by another. Their clothes and, in a few cases, their improvised parachutes made from drapes or tablecloths shredded. They smashed into the pavement at 150 mph with unnerving, sickening thuds.

The images of the “jumpers” proved too gruesome for the TV networks and were soon banished. The mass suicide, one of the most pivotal and important elements in the narrative of 9/11, was expunged.

The “jumpers” did not fit into the myth the nation demanded. There would soon, however, be another reaction. The plague of nationalism began almost immediately.

The dead in the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania were used to sanctify the state’s lust for war.

Gaza Requiem, "Making facts"...

Those of us who knew that the attacks were rooted in the long night of humiliation and suffering inflicted by Israel on the Palestinians, the imposition of our military bases in the Middle East and in the brutal Arab dictatorships that we funded and supported became apostates.

Images of the planes crashing into the towers and heroic rescuers emerging from the rubble were played and replayed. We were deluged with painful stories of the survivors and victims. The ceremonies of remembrance were skillfully hijacked by the purveyors of war and hatred.

As innocents died here, soon other innocents began to die in the Muslim world. We became what we abhorred.

The deaths were used to justify pre-emptive war, targeted assassinations, torture, penal colonies, gunning down families at checkpoints, and the killing of dozens and hundreds, then thousands and finally hundreds of thousands of innocent people.

The state carried out crimes, atrocities and killings that dwarfed anything carried out against us on 9/11. We have still not woken up to whom we have become, to the fatal erosion of domestic and international law and the senseless waste of lives, resources and trillions of dollars to wage wars that ultimately we can never win.

We do not grasp that Osama bin Laden’s twisted vision of a world of indiscriminate violence and terror has triumphed.

Lest we forget...

The attacks turned us into monsters, grotesque ghouls, sadists and killers who drop bombs on village children and waterboard those we kidnap, strip of their rights and hold for years without due process. It is the satanic lust of violence that has us locked in its grip.

We could have gone another route. We could have built on the profound sympathy and empathy that swept through the world following the attacks.

The revulsion over the crimes that took place 10 years ago, including in the Muslim world, where I was a war correspondent in the weeks and months after 9/11, was nearly universal.

The attacks might have opened possibilities not of war and death but ultimately reconciliation and communication, of redressing the wrongs that we commit in the Middle East and that are committed by Israel with our blessing.

We became the radical Islamist movement’s most effective recruiting tool. We descended to its barbarity. We became terrorists too. The sad legacy of 9/11 is that the assholes, on each side, won.

This post in no way disparages the many heroes of 9/11. But while we’re remembering one day of victims, let’s not forget every day of victims…   Dr. Publico.

Category: 9/11, HedgesChristopher
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One Response
  1. […] All 359 articles in the American Tribune are authored by myself (Nick Medvecky, PsyD; AKA Dr. Publico) except for one. That exception was an edited version of an article by Christopher Hedges, his remembrance of “9/11: We are what we loathe.” […]

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