Monday, September 12, 2016
Watching History Replay
Today being the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, there are memorial documentaries all over TV. There are also a few appeals on the Internet for personal reminiscences: where were you, and what were you doing when it happened, and how did it affect your life afterward? So, here's my account -- with added thoughts.
It was early morning here in Arizona, and I was asleep in bed with one of my lovers when his housemate slammed the door open, ran in, and yelled: "Wake up! Wake up! Arab terrorists have crashed a jetliner into the World Trade Center!" -- and then ran out again, back to the TV news.
We woke up fast, took all that in, and the first words out of my mouth were: "This means war."
As we crawled out of bed and felt around for anything to wear, my lover asked why I had said that, and I explained. History is my hobby, and I'd been noticing for a long time the parallels -- and differences -- between the political/economic situation today and in the years just before World War Two. We'd had an economic "recession" for years that left large numbers of people unemployed or underemployed, much like the Depression. We'd seen the rise of a passionate fascist movement overseas, using Jews and the western nations for scapegoats, often using the exact same propaganda -- which it spread with great volume and efficiency, through large numbers of agents and immigrants, around the world. We'd seen the other countries of the world squabbling with each other, accepting easy bribes and easy excuses to ignore their danger, as the fascist regimes began flexing their muscle with scattered but growing attacks, demands, takeovers of minor countries and outright war with others who were our allies, until finally the fascists were ready to attack us directly.
9/11 was the replay version of Pearl Harbor.
As we watched the news for the next several hours, I saw the differences between then and now. For one thing, the current fascist enemy is decentralized, not the product of or contained by any one country (or two, or three) and its official government, but spread unevenly across several countries and semi-independent of their governments. This new fascism is rooted in fundamentalist religion rather than racism or nationalism, and uses laws enforcing religious tolerance to cover and excuse its actions, a religious tolerance which of course it does not extend to any other religions in territories which it controls. It also has the advantage of controlling territory which contains a valuable resource, which it uses to bribe other countries' governments into complacency or compliance.
The attacks on the WTC were intended to cripple our economy, the one on the Pentagon was meant to destroy our military command-center, and Flight 93 had pretty obviously been aimed at either the Capitol building or the White House and meant to paralyze our government. All of them had failed in different ways; Flight 93 was brought down by heroic passengers, the Pentagon was much more fortified than the attackers had expected, and the WTC was not the control center of our economy. Our economy is much more decentralized than the fascists had expected, and that expectation reveals something about them and their societies. This attack had succeeded in arousing fury and determination without doing any damage to the US's ability to wage war.
If the US had declared war then against the heart of the enemy, instead of just a minor satellite, the whole regime would be gone by now. Instead, the US and its allies took up a limited, vague, inconclusive war which allowed the fascist regime time to regroup, refine its tactics, gain more territory and spread hundreds of thousands of its agents into the countries which could otherwise oppose it. This means that the "allies" have lost the advantage they had 15 years ago. The real war, when it comes, will be as bad as WWII.