Sunday, September 04, 2011

The Wasted Decade

It's now just one week until the celebration of one of the most crucial dates in American history, and the promos for that celebration are coming fast and furious. Unfortunately for this country, our rulers still don't get it, or (and this is far more likely) refuse to get it. 9/11 didn't just happen because a group of deranged jihadists hate us for our freedoms. It happened because of our imperialist arrogance, something us dirty fucking hippies have been saying for ten years.

Other countries get it, however, as I discovered during my weekly visit to Watching America. Several of the articles noted the effect of the past decade on the world, including the death and destruction in Afghanistan and Iraq. But the disaster extends beyond the tangible. The US response, which led to the responses of other "civilized" nations, has been devastating to the spirit which initially impelled the grand experiment by our founders.

Perhaps the most cogent of those articles came from Sweden's Sydsvenskan.

Few can look back over the past decade and assert that the world has become safer, but nobody can disregard how international law and the most basic human rights have been infringed upon in the name of the so-called War on Terror.

With all of the rhetoric about security and freedom, the war has been launched in violation of international law. People have been imprisoned without trial, summary executions have been carried out and surveillance has been extended at privacy’s expense.


But here is the crucial part, something which our nation and its owners still refuse to acknowledge:

The U.S. chose to ignore terror’s breeding ground: the hopelessness and frustration born of poverty. Islamophobia and oppression are terrorists’ best friends and should be the foremost enemies for those of us who want to see a democratic world at peace.

Had the U.S., in 2001, chosen to withdraw its support for oppressive regimes in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Egypt, given its support to a free Palestine and started to pursue commerce and aid policies that counteracted poverty, the world would be far more secure today.
[Emphasis added]

Yes, again.

That the most volatile region of the world has exploded in the "Arab Spring" should be ample evidence of the thesis advanced. We could have done more than walk hand-in-hand with the House of Saud, but we decided that oil was more important. We could have brought pressure to bear on Hosni Mubarak to loosen his death grip on the poorest of his citizens, but we decided that while he was a ruthless dictator, he was our ruthless dictator and he helped keep Israel afloat in the midst of that nation's most egregious violations of human rights.

Ten years later and we are no safer. In fact, the world has grown more dangerous as the economic disparities widen in all nations, including this one. And, to add to this lethal draught, our own liberty has been shredded to keep us in line: our phones and emails monitored without cause or oversight, our right to speak and assemble freely curtailed, even our access to the voting booth limited.

It was a noble experiment our founders set in motion. I fear that the experiment is over and that we have lost our best and only shot.

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