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George Packer: The Decade Since 9/11

The New Yorker’s George Packer on the decade since 9/11, and how it has changed the world.

Construction continues on the National September 11 Memorial at the World Trade Center site, Tuesday, May 10, 2011 in New York. On the left is 1 World Trade Center, also known as the Freedom Tower. (AP)

Construction continues on the National September 11 Memorial at the World Trade Center site, Tuesday, May 10, 2011 in New York. On the left is 1 World Trade Center, also known as the Freedom Tower. (AP)

It’s the week of reflection, on 9/11 and all the years and wars and ways we’ve traveled since 9/11. How we’ve changed in these ten years, and how we haven’t.

The New Yorker’s George Packer is with us today. The 9/11 attacks were the biggest surprise in American history, he says. One of just three sets of attacks that provoked the United States into major war. 1861, the Civil War. 1941, the Second World War. They changed our political culture, he says.

But after 9/11, says Packer, we’re stuck. Not changed –- yet.

This hour On Point: George Packer on the decade since 9/11.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

George Packer, staff writer for the New Yorker – his new article is “Coming Apart: After 9/11 Transfixed America, the Country’s Problems Were Left to Rot.” He is also the author of The Assassins’ Gate: America in Iraq and Interesting Times: Writings from a Turbulent Decade.

Highlights

Ten years after the worst terrorist attacks nation’s history, New Yorker writer George Packer has come to the startling conclusion that the attacks themselves really didn’t alter the course of the nation as much as we might think.

“The basic reality is 9/11 didn’t change this country very much,” Packer told On Point today. “It was a small event in the life of this country, in the sense that we were already on a certain course, that I think was a downward course, and we continued on that course, pretty much uninterrupted, after 9/11.”

Packer discussed numerous aspects of the past ten years, including the war on terrorism and how its emphasis has shifted, the way that the United States has interacted with the rest of the world, and the human and economic toll that the country’s war has taken here at home. In the end, Packer said that the ten years since 9/11 have been marked by big surprises and our national response to them.

Tom Ashbrook It’s all around us this week and, in some ways, we cannot resist looking back and reliving. In other ways, we’re very aware that ten years have gone by and that lots of problems have accumulated. Lots have not been solved. Where did you decide to put your fork in this, George, to look back on these ten years, this decade?

Packer It’s a good question Tom, because it has been a very strange decade — a really hard decade to get a grasp of. It doesn’t define itself easily. The trajectory of it is very strange. The way I see it is as a series of surprises that the country was not ready for. We were in this mode that we’re not used to.

We like to think of ourselves as being in command of our fate. That’s sort of been an American idea. Perhaps at times an illusion, but it has certainly guided us for a long time. And in the past ten years, we have been whipsawed from the fall of the towers, to the war in Iraq, the failure to find any weapons of mass destruction, the rise of the insurgency, the surge, the return of the Taliban, the rise of Barack Obama, the financial crisis, the repudiation of Barack Obama, the killing of Bin Laden. All of these have been a kind of a series of shocks that for a lot of Americans there was not much preparation, and a hard time to really understand what the larger trajectory was. Instead it seems like a zig-zag course across the decade. So, the question of how to get a hold of it is a good one.

I started by writing about foreign policy, which is what I have been writing about on-and-off for most of the decade. And I just kept coming back to the fact that the real problem was here at home. There’s a lot to be said about foreign policy and what was right and what was wrong over the last ten years, but the basic reality is 9/11 didn’t change this country very much. It was a small event in the life of this country, in the sense that we were already on a certain course, that I think was a downward course, and we continued on that course, pretty much uninterrupted, after 9/11.

From Tom’s Reading List

The New Yorker “The events of September 11th, as grim as they were, offered the prospect of employment to a generation of working-class Americans who were born too late for good factory jobs. If the Bush Administration’s “global war on terror” had gone the way of the Second World War, mass mobilization in the armed forces, combined with mass production in the factories, would have revitalized a stagnant national economy and produced a postwar boom.”

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  • Cory

    Okay, I’ll say it.

    Is it at all possible that this decade has gone exactly as Osama Bin Laden hoped as he planned the 9/11 attacks?  A superpower that had long since lost its adversary, living large on the credit card and the final vestiges of the post WWII colonial system.  A spectacular 24/7 news style terrorist attack on the symbols of American power.  A prideful and jingoistic over-reaction leading to unfunded wars and unjustifiable security legislation.  Finally a financial collapse predicated on the accumulated debt and the underlying corruption of a bubble and burst economy.

    I guess we will likely never know if this actually was the plan.  If it was, Osama Bin Laden would have to be considered one of the greatest strategists of all human history.  Imagine a single man with the help of a few dozen accopmplices destroying the equivalent of the Roman Empire within 50-60 years of its peak.

    • http://bookofzo.blogspot.com Joshua Hendrickson

      “Imagine a single man with the help of a few dozen accopmplices destroying the equivalent of the Roman Empire within 50-60 years of its peak.”

      It didn’t happen right away–it took a few centuries–but the man did come within those 50-60 years of the peak. His name was Paul.

    • http://bookofzo.blogspot.com Joshua Hendrickson

      Osama probably was looking for a lot of those kinds of consequences, generally if not specifically. But if any one major figure is to blame for the eventual collapse of the United States, I’d point to Ronald Reagan.

    • http://richardsnotes.org Richard

      I think your comment is right on the money Cory and I’m glad it’s the first one in my list this morning.

      I’ve been saying Bin Laden and whoever actually thought up the 9/11 plane attacks were geniuses for years now and people look at me like I’m some kind of traitor.When Bush et al called these people cowards it seemed so incredibly wrong to me. The pilots knew the plot ahead of time even while they were flight training. They were no cowards.

      Whether Bin Laden and the upper ranks of al qaeda knew how far the ripples of their attack would go we’ll probably never know but no doubt they knew it would have a bigger effect than just the immediate loss of life and destruction.

      By the way, George Packer is a brilliant writer, this should be a great hour.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

        Politicians and military commanders continue to use the term “cowards” to refer to simple farmers and shepherds wearing sandals using basic weapons to repel from their lands a far numerous force of the most sophisticated, drones and satellites, and heavily armed and kevlar protected military force imaginable.  

        Cowards?????  I really dont think so.  
         

    • Rational

      I don’t think the economic, security, or even the building collapses were in the plans.

      Lets not brand a terrorist a visionary genius.

      Its always easier to destroy complex systems, than it is to construct and sustain them. Those with the lowest IQ’s can cause fearful destruction if given access to the machinery of civilization. Its why we don’t let children drive cars. If we start branding destruction as genius, then how did the earthquake plan for the tsunami and the nuclear disaster in Japan.

      As to the financial ruin, loss of freedom, etc… Look no farther than the rat. They thrive after disasters, because disasters give fertile ground for vermin that feed in the chaos.  Those vermin can be human as well. 

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

        You are not that “Rational” if you did not consider Larry Silversteins timely insurance policy and his sweatheart lease AND the fact that the recession and ultimate high office vacancies were clearly predicted… not too mention that the Twin Towers were full of asbestos and in need of considerable renovations. 
        YES indeed, it certainly looked like building collapse WAS in the plans, as bizarre and unlikely according to thousands of qualified engineers and architects.

        • Rational

          I’ve read some of that 9-11 conspiracy Truth over there in the kook thread. The Alien Death Ray with holographic airplanes was my favorite. And I’m being irrational…. LOL!

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

            Hey Rational,  you are coming across as a shill for the official story.  Intelligent people are aware that the holographic airplanes story is obviously bogus disinformation put out by the very perpetrators of 911 to discredit the truth movements.   I bet you wish that Henry Kissinger should have accepted the appointment to lead the 911 commission… LOL.

          • Rational

            Oh yes the  “disinformation” agents, again.  The unfaithful or rational atheists must be brought to the fires and cleansed if they will not accept the one unshakable truth. Your 9-11 cult is equivalent to all faiths. It has no truth, a plethora of parables, many messiahs, and casts judgements on lack of faith.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

            Yes… I guess disinformation is not possible in your white picket fence world where the corporate media shills for the defense industry and an israel lobby, while the CIA is biggest bag of dirty tricks in the world with a virtually unlimited budget.  Disinformation…lies…deception Naaahhhh our govt wouldnbt do that to us.

            As for “cults”  Mr. Rational, looks like YOU are the one drinking the Koolaid… or rather serving it to the rest of the lemmings.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Yes, a two-year-old is capable of pulling a trigger that kills, but FEW can save lives at risk!! 
             That destruction HAD to be in someone’s plans!  Too much went wrong, and was destroyed, to be coincidence!!
             The vermin HAVE THRIVED on their destruction, in SO MANY WAYS!!  Just look at how much money is ‘unaccounted for’!!

    • SteveV

      I suggest Osama’s plan went far better than he ever imagined. I doubt he would have thought, when planning 9/11, that we would have been so stupid to react as we did. We’ve lost more than 3000 of our citizens since 9/11 in these “wars” and the economic costs are staggering and will be with us for years. I also suggest that right after 9/11 a more mature, measured response would have received the support of the world and been more beneficial for us in the long run.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

    Here we go again, we had to endure the fantasy Bin Laden raid story by Nick Schmidle, and now another superficial interview from another propagandist from the New Yorker. 

    One big change over the past ten years has been that  NPR and PBS have totally become part of the media charade to wage war in the middle east on behalf of oil and defense corporations, banks and Israel. 

  • Winston Smith

    America is still the godless, immoral, materialistic nation that it was 10 years ago.  We still murder more children through abortion than were killed in the terrorist attacks that day.  We tolerate and actually embrace the immoral lifestyle choices such as co-habitation and homosexuality as we did then.  To a large extent, we still try to exclude God from our society as much as possible.  We still disregard the incredible sacrifice of the voluntary death of His Son on the cross for our sins and His invitation to us to repent of our sins and embrace Jesus Christ as THE SAVIOR.  In short, we have learned nothing.  And our society is still as deserving of God’s judgment today as it was back then, perhaps more so as we have more information and are therefore more accountable for the Biblical knowledge that we have chosen to disregard.

    • Rational

      So, Ed. Disasters happen because you have determined that God has reached out and punished the innocent for your judgements on America, by being godless, immoral materialistic, abortion, co-habitation, and homosexuality.

      Since you decide what God does and why he does it… that makes YOU God. Its a miracle to have God Himself commenting here Today.

      • Winston Smith

        You can choose to embrace the message that Jesus Christ came to pay for our sins and provide a means of reconciliation to God by repenting of your sin and accepting His free gift of eternal life.  Or you can ignore it at your peril.  He doesn’t force His will upon you.  And if you reject Him, He will give you exactly what you want…eternal separation from Him and all that is good.  The decision and consequences of your decision are yours.

        • Rational

          Did you consider it coincidence, that you God have the same fears, hates, and judgements? No of course not. Your judgement of me and America is noted Oh Messiah!, My words are not on trial here. How you judge yourself as speaking for God is the subject.

          But since you have elevated yourself to His level perhaps He should should be asking for Your forgiveness. 

          • Back at ya!

            So who made you God’s messenger?  People come to God on their own terms, and time.  Rational, you’re being anything but; you’re off topic by using God to stand on your little soap box and preach.  Why do people feel that God needs defending?  Why do people think the things that have been going on in this country has anything to do with God? We created this mess, the lies that were told to send this country to war, where people lives have lost senselessly only to benifit GW Bush, and his croonies, the Enron Scandal, the housing bubble, highest unemployment rate that stems from Bush era, but we tend to want to forget that.  The saddest thing about it is, people won’t connect the dots, it’s a plan alright, and God has nothing to do with it.  Stay on topic please.  You sound like my friends to the right, who ran on getting the country back to work, and hasn’t created 1 job. I don’t approve of calling names, but we need people with varied opinions about what effects all us in this country, to stir the waters. I am not upset with Mr. Hoffa, what goes around comes around.

          • Rational

            Learn to read, before posting. Yikes!

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

          You choose to reject the message of Allah, sent through his prophet Muhammed.  How is that any different from what you wrote?

    • Hidan

      “America is still the godless, immoral, materialistic nation that it was 10 years ago.”

      If only we went back to the good old days, where women couldn’t vote, lynching happen after church services, Priest could touch little boys, blacks had no rights, one could be beaten or killed for being gay. Where good old all American racism was out on display.

      The last thing the Religious rights knows how to do is embrace the teachings of Jesus Christ

      The good old days,
      http://www.killfrog.com/animations-of/93-little-susie-experiments-5.html

    • AC

      I don’t understand this comment?

    • Acnetis

      I’m surprised to find your comment here.  I wouldn’t have thought this show was broadcast in Mississippi.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Yes, we still have the hypocritical Catholics that support Child-Molesting (homosexual and heterosexual) and Child-Abuse!!
         Yes, we still have the other preachers that screw their flocks, financially and physically, while preaching “Do as I SAY”!

    • Anonymous

      I would have predicted that a 9/11 conspiracist would have had the most insane post today but I was wrong. 

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

        Perhaps Winston Smith needs to read some of those documents before he sends them down the memory hole…

    • nj

      Oh, no…cohabitation! The downfall of us all!

    • Back at ya!

      Here we go again!  I am a believer in God, and in His Son, as anyone else who calls themself a Christian however, I was taught that every man or women, living in this country, has the right to practice their own beliefs, or not to if they so choose; that said, we need a balance in this county.   People need to be more respectful others rights, and hasn’t that been the real issue all along? Lack of respect for the higest office in the land, the Cheif of Staff?  Excuse me if I step on your toes here, cause you’re sounding like a teabagger to me right now.  A lot of the teabaggers that talk about taking the country back, but my question is, from whom? Many would rather sink this country then vote for the current President because he’s black, when it was the Republicians that caused us to be in the shape we’re in today.  Prejudice and hatred does not have a place in Christianity, and it’s not your position to judge.  Let God do the judging!   He will set all things straight, after man has sent it to hell, some Christians included.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Right On!!

  • Rational

    It is a certainty that the exploitation of a single event will draw to it a cadre of individuals who make it their mission find their version of the one truth regardless of common sense.

    This irrational quest for justice seems to occur when these individuals become locked in the denial step of emotional processing and must seek something larger than the obvious to sustain the emotion, and then feed a narcissistic stimulation of a limited intellect and irrational ideologies on the basis of being a crusader for the one true story which will never be realized.

    Or, more simply. The Kooks are coming, the kooks are coming….

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

      Based on my own survey:  the most intelligent people I know, DO NOT believe the official version of 9/11.   

      Alternatively, the most ignorant TV, food, and sports addicts that I know… have not take the time to research the facts,  but will offer banal comments such as “nuke me all” .   These are the vacuous self absorbed people that a corrupt America relies…. these are the REAL KOOKS.

      • http://richardsnotes.org Richard

        Maybe you need to get out and meet more people, your sample sounds pretty small.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

          Hey Rich,  How do you know how small my sample is????   I’m actually quite a proficient analyst and I talk to many people.

          You are a prime example of the most presumptuous and manipulated ( the vast majority), who offer no more than insults and baseless responses to intelligent inquiry. 

      • PsyOp

        So…you are largely against Americans who disagree with your beliefs. That would be most of America, and you are against most of the US government and believe its corrupt to the core, and acting against your core principals. 

        I don’t see the difference between you kooks and the terrorists. I hope you aren’t taking flight lessons to wake up the masses to your irrational beliefs.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      You are saying that there are no holes in the Official Conspiracy Theory?  You DON’T find it curious, that ‘W’ had a millitary exercise of EXACTLY  that scenario running THAT day, and then said that NO ONE could imagine someone doing that?  You don’t find it questionable that there was NO air-defense of the nation’s capital, the largest city, and the nation’s financial center, conviently arranged by an administration that promised to make us safer?
          You call yourself Rational?

  • Hidan

    “George Packer: The Decade Since 9/11″

    What Changed?
    -America now tortures
    -Politicans use fear to even a greater degree to get elected
    -More spying by our government and civil rights violations in the guise of “Security”
    -Even (many) Democrats are on board with the above(Boxer one of them)
    -Terrorism worked against Americans, where small or attempted attacks on America, now requires(of course base on fear) our government to spends Billions in supposed safety measures.
    -We still support despots and terrorist states when it’s in our interest.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      And a LOT more!!

  • AC

    Do you ever think we’ll go back to the days of not removing your shoes for airport security? If not, do you think there is anyway they can ban flip-flops? Nothing like an 8-hr flight next to a person in flip-flops with dirty feet……:(

    • Hidan

      Too much profit to be had with the added “emotional security” since much of it has not really made us anymore secured. I believe it will get worst as the years go on and many Americans will openly give up there civil liberties cause our politicians Right/Left will tell them it’s the only way. On the side those same politicians will be getting there kickbacks from the lobbyist who promoted such security.

      As for flip flops, not as bad as taking a flight will someone who takes almost two chairs and of course the crying baby.

      • Gregg

        Where is the profit in endless delays and ramped up personnel?

        • Terry Tree Tree

          More personnel require more executives to manage them, meaning more money for the executive that manages them! 

          • Flowen

            It’s not just the profit to the screeners and equipment makers; it’s mostly subsidy to the airlines and oil companies.

            Why do taxpayers pay for airport screening?!?…it’s corporate socialism…corporate welfare.

          • Gregg

            That makes no sense.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            More personnel are normally managed by the same management?  What multiple? 
                Most places that I have seen, hire more low-level managers, as personnel doubles, as those lower managers double, more senior level managers are hired, senior management gets raises, because they are ‘responsible’ for more people.  What makes no sense?

          • Gregg

            It makes no sense that hiring more employees and paying managers more money results in higher profit.

        • Anonymous

          You don’t believe there has been quite a bit of profit in the over-$40 billion we have spent screening airport passengers since 9-11?  As far as time wasted in “endless delays”, the proposed market approach to addressing your complaint is to ask “how much are you willing to pay to save an hour of your time in line?”  Sounds like more profit coming down the pike.  Just not for you. 

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Profits in 3 times-priced bottles of water, and ALL other concessions, that you NOW must NOT carry past the security check!!  You’re more likely to buy them with the long delays!!

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Everyone on here, was a baby once!  Show me one that wasn’t!!  Some remain babys forever!!   I VOLUNTEER  to be seated by, or near babies and small children, when I fly, to help people like you, and the parents!  I play games with them, make faces, talk to them as a person, and generally act as I do with my grandchildren.  They make the flight more enjoyable to me, and therefore shorter!
            Babies have limited ways to communicate.  They tell you they hurt, or are uncomfortable, but cannot define.

  • Brett

    I’ve never thought of Jesus Christ as my personal savior, nor have I, in adulthood, thought of Jesus Christ as “The Savior,” but I do recognize perhaps the need to hedge my bets a bit, as it were, so I take trains more frequently now than I did 10 years ago, and I try to avoid planes very concertedly. 

    Somehow, in my sinning throughout my life, I’ve managed to escape God’s wrath quite astonishingly, really; but, who knows, my days may be numbered, my hourglass appears to be running out of sand as we speak, er, write. I don’t think the Bible mentions anything about trains, though, good or bad, so I feel safe…pretty safe.

       

  • Terry Tree Tree

    How many people feel SAFER, than you did in 2000?  That’s when ‘W’ made that as one of his campaign promises!  Along with making the Budget Surplus BIGGER!  Let’s NOT FORGET the promise of MORE EMPLOYMENT!  Ah, yes, the promise (O.J. Simpson-style) to GET the ones that did this, however long it takes personally, standing on the trapped victims of 9-11!!

  • AC

    I was a freshman in college during 9/11. I’ve since asked myself questions from both corners I’m seeing here, but I’ll admit. I think I have become more ‘worried’ in a sense. 
    I want to explain this because some people may think I’ve been preyed upon by people who work to inspire exactly that kind of fear, but – it really wasn’t just 9/11. It was being a kid and hearing about the people who waited for the bus, with Nikes and a pocketful of change for a ride on Haley’s comet. It was growing up a little and watching a bunch of people in Waco Tx all die for a cause I’m actually not to certain about, but I think had something to do with their minister being Christ. (Also, I think it had something to do with taxes?)
    9/11 seem to drive home to me that people who are unable to rationalize, or look at things objectively – or are too fanatically devoted, can in fact find one another. The few ‘rotten apple’ lunatics really do spoil the bunch. But it was the realization that sometimes, they have the means for more than Nikes, or a few gallons of kool-aid and they want to cause harm outside of just their group. I really can’t think of a way to wipe this trait from humans, so the possibility will always exist, which is what keeps me worried.

  • Flowen

    Makes me sick listening to Bush the Monkey on the radio again!

    Baseball and Political Football…you got that right W!

    • Flowen

      Bin Laden got it right: Americans will never feel secure again.

      “People get the best government they deserve, and the worst government they will tolerate”

      Heads UP! Watch out above!

  • Chris

    Considering that we had the sympathy of the world after that attack and an opportunity to look inside and ask ourselves “why do some hate us so muc that they did this”, we lost an opportunity to change ourselves for the positive. Instead, we made war, intimidated people inside and outside our country, and let greed take the upper hand, we lost a great opportunity for change.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    ‘W’ faltered, stumbled, bumbled, and was grossly hypocritical, throughout!!

    • Modavations

      Affirmative action presidents!!!!Bush(silver spoon type)and Obama(racial type)

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Since when do Silver-Spoons need Affirmative Action?  Money, political connections, paybacks aren’t enough to get a Drunk AWOL Deserter almost anywhere he wants to go?
            The Glass-Ceilling needed broken!!  All my life I heard “anyone can grow up to be President!” !  I could look around my third-grade class and tell 2/3 of them couldn’t, no matter how great they were!  Now, they have a chance!  The racism was so obvious, and the chauvinism, it was sickening!!  Could we have done better?  Sure!  Could we have done worse?  Time will tell!  Was it past time?  YES!!

  • john

    Sadly I have to agree with the guest.
    I am a veteran of bot Iraq and Afghanistan. I come back and nothing has changed here, people being unwilling (and unasked) to make sacrifice…
    If you did not have “skin in the game” ie family in the military or DIRECTLY effected by 9/11 basically not a whole lot changed

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Thank you for your service to your country!! 
          I disagree with you that millitary families have not had change.  Reservists, National Guard, and other NON-active-duty personnel got their incomes drastically diminished, family members unexpectedly whisked out of their lives, unexpected expenses, and a multitude of problems, due to a call-up not seen since WWII!!
         Those families have my sympathy, and empathy!!

      • john

        Thanks for the reply…
        I am a reservist, I do count Reserve/ National Guard members and their families as people making sacrifice. I think (but am not certain) that they part of the 1% of the country that make up the military.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    ‘W’ tried to favorably compare himself to the great Presidents, FDR, Lincoln, etc…   One example is that FDR’s FIVE SONS served in WWII, one with Carlson’s Raiders, U.S. Marines that made small-unit raids on Japanese-held islands!  ‘W’s girls violated national security to slip off, and under-age drink!!  Yes, we see how much alike their parenting was!!

  • Parkeycm

    911 served the base agenda of the Neo-Con ‘leaders’ and that has had a sorry and chilling effect and affect on our society and especially how we interact with each other as individuals and how we as a divided and devisive people interact with the world….maybe the attack has been successful as it has created a paradigm shift!

  • A. Diggins

    As a recent law school graduate in 2001, I was horrified that the Bush administration upended international law and played into the hands of the international criminals who conspired to accomplish the attacks on our country by obliging them in their desire to be viewed as our military opponents.  This, in my opinion, was a terrible mistake that set us on the path of costly military mindset & adventurism (ushering in structures that normalized unwarranted detentions & torture of frequently innocent foreigners), the erosion of Americans’ domestic constitutional rights, and insecurity as an American way of life.  All because of the Bush administration’s desire to use military tools instead of international legal tools to deal with the danger posed by extremist jihadis.

    Please comment!

    • Flowen

      No Doubt. The only reason W and most other politicians are not judged to be criminal is because they are the “law-makers.”

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Pretty good analysis, as far as it goes!

  • Modavations

    Whenever I suffer from insomnia,I pick up one of those facile,25 page treatises ,from the New Yorker.I’m unconscious by pg.2

    • nj

      The comment was lame the last time it was posted under the McFee thread.

      As if anyone cares about your napping habits.

      • Modavations

        and what page do you start passing out at?

  • Modavations

    The Crusades never ended

  • William

    It is amazing that the new twin towers project has not been completed.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      It costs money, something that we are lacking lately.

    • Modavations

      Some environmentalist found a wayward bug and litigated

  • Modavations

    War has always been with us:Cain and Able.We’re hard wired,like lemmings.Like the Plagues,war is an invisible population control.Freud says,war,pursuit of money,etc,. is all for scoring ,good looking chicks.I’m smarter then Freud,it’s an invisible population control.Face it kids,it’s aways gonna be with us.

    • Flowen

      You mis-understand Freud: the need for money, power, and domination is a substitute for their inability to connect sexually…hell! money can buy plenty of good-looking chicks…but domination is not sexual fulfillment.
      Our worst leaders are sick…psychopaths!

      • Modavations

        Big bucks attract better chicks!!!!

        • Flowen

          Girls can’t help it…they’re hard wired for survival. Guys do the same thing, just a different game.

          But the biggest bucks go to/for the trophy chicks, not the better chicks.

  • Steve

    To say that the events of September 11th were but small blip in the history of the country and didn’t change the course America was on before then is to discount the experience of an entire generation of Americans. I was thirteen when the towers came down, and for myself and everyone in my age bracket, these events will forever represent a loss of innocence as a nation; the moment when everything in all of our lives became serious all at once.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Having lived through a part of the Cold War and then its end and the Clinton years, I do agree that 9/11 was a shock, but it seems that all that changed was an acceleration of the rush toward a technobabble society with no privacy and no rights.

  • A. Diggins

    Yes, yes, yes!  A stateless group of actors!  Thank, you, Mr. Packer!!!

    Can we pull it back from the clif we went over?

    • Modavations

      Belgium hasn’t had a govt for 14months.My pals in Antwerp say, noone notices.

  • Modavations

    Dick Cheney said the war would cost us no more then $80billion and thus,no need to raise taxes.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      And of course, it NEVER cost more than that, since the ‘W’ admin. had God’s ear, and could NEVER make a mistake!!  Cheney probably meant that he wouldn’t get more than $80Billion from it!

      • Modavations

        He kept getting bad advise.Remember Clinton’s CIA guy whispering”it’s a slam dunk Mr.President”

  • Anonymous

    On 9/11, I was crowded around the small TV with my classmates and teacher in sophomore algebra class watching the second plane crash. I was 15. I was not a voting member of society. In the following decade, I’ve become a voting American and watched my friends and colleagues be deployed. I’ve also been through college and faced a poor economy with few jobs. Travel and other increased security measures are a regular part of American life for me because I’ve not really known otherwise. So I think many in my generation don’t necessarily have a pre-9/11 point of reference. This past decade is our life. I would like to hear the guest speaker comment on how my upcoming generation’s experience will shape what America becomes in the coming years. How will we vote, view economy and individual rights, work toward social justice, embrace diversity (especially religious), etc.

    Thanks for this topic today.

  • Modavations

    Up until the advent of the effeteleftist, the warrior king had always been praised.He still is in three quaters of the world.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Compared to LEADERS that lead into peacful progress, without destruction, are your warrior kings worth the praise?  ANY one can be destructive, it takes caring and intelligent people to build things that will last!

      • Modavations

        Reminds me of an episode on Star Trek.
        .Intergalatic,anti-war hippies.I don’t think the episode ended well.Gahndi didn’t save India,free enterprise did.

    • Robert Riversong

      You might learn history before putting foot in mouth. Unfortunately, war has no party affiliation. Most US wars were initiated or escalated by “effete liberals”, including Barbary War by Jefferson
      (enlightenment liberal), War of 1812 by Madison (enlightenment liberal), Mexican-American
      War by Polk (Democrat), WWI by Wilson (Progressive), WWII by FDR (New Deal
      liberal), Vietnam War by JFK (effete liberal) and escalated by LBJ (Great Society
      liberal), and now the Iraq/Afghan/Pakistan/Libya wars escalated and expanded by
      “socialist” Obama.

      If you believed what you claim, you would be worshiping at the feet of effete liberal warrior kings.

      • Modavations

        I’m talking the Birkenstock types.Kennedy was a man,so was Daddy Bush.The New Yorker guy,not so much

    • Anonymous

      So Madison, Jefferson, etc. were “effetleftists” in your view?  Interesting.

      • Modavations

        Madison no,Jefferson yes

  • Yar

    Go back to the couch potato analogy. Oil and Coal are fat and salt. Lack of exercise is our failed education and prison system.  Our failed healthcare system is our chronic disease.  Our political system is the entertainment that keeps us on the couch. 

    • Modavations

      Between Medicare and Medicaid we pay 800bill.ish per annum.35 million are on medicare and 35mill. on medicaid.That’s about $850.00 each.Why don’t we all get our own health policies and have the govt.pay it.Since all the Medicaid clients are kids,this should save a few kazillions.

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

        Because the health expenditures of nations with universal healthcare are much lower than ours.

        • Modavations

          Death Panels!!!!!!!!

          • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

            Uh huh, as opposed to letting people die because of no insurance.

          • Modavations

            I’m for the Death Panels.I can’t see keeping a terminal guy alive an extra 6months ,at a cost of 200,000.00.Unforetuneatly,in England, the Death Panels start affecting people in their 60′s.England’s system is so creaky,you can now buy private policies.

          • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

            Sure, you use England as your counterexample.  I see it and raise you Canada, the Netherlands, France, Germany, etc.

          • Modavations

            The Premier of New Foundland(?)went to Florida for a heart operation, because he was told he’d have to wait a few eons in Canada!!!

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Here, the Death Panels-Insurance Company executives-start affecting people before birth, and throughout life.  They can and will kill at any  age!

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Insurance company executives that arbitrarily cancel coverage, and have for decades!!

          • Modavations

            Not in Ma.

    • Modavations

      For those of us with private health ins.,let’s do this.Go to the doc and take a BMI.The closer you are to your optimum BMI,the less you pay per month.The more “off the mark”,the more you pay.As you get in shape,moving closer to your optimal BMI,the smaller and smaller your payment

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

        And for those of us without insurance of any kind?  Should we just go away?

        • Jasoturner

          I’m sure the marketplace will provide for you…

        • Modavations

          Go to your church,or synagogue,or heaven forbid,your family

      • Yar

        Measure what you want to change.

  • Modavations

    The wars cost us 120billionish per annum and we will pay 457billion interest on our debt this year.

    • Robert Riversong

      The best estimates of the total cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars is $5 trillion, and half the federal budget and half the national debt is due to wars.

      • Modavations

        We spend 3.5trillion a year and the wars are about 120Bill.a year

  • Michael in Putney

    If the goal was to inflict maximum damage on the United States, the timing of the 9/11 attack was perhaps its most brilliant aspect. It caused america to embrace a “president” whose legitimacy was in doubt by a large minority of Americans at the time. He then became free to damage America’s standing in the world and set us on a path to failure at home. The two cherries on this sundae might be the war on Iraq (whose actual purpose may never be known), and the financial collapse of 2008 — the crowning achievement of blind deregulation.

    George W. Bush was the perfect Ginger Rogers to Bin Laden’s Fred Astaire. He couldn’t have been a better dance partner in damaging America.

    • Robert Riversong

      I couldn’t agree more about dancing with the enemy. But the purpose of the Iraq war couldn’t have been more clear from the start. It’s original code name was Operation Iraqi Liberation (OIL), but that was quickly changed to Operation Iraqi Freedom to keep with the pretense of democracy-building.

  • BHA in Vermont

    To the last caller:
     HEAR HEAR!!!

    We have TOTALLY screwed ourselves fighting wars on a credit cars.

     And by “we” I mean the people in charge when these wars were started and those who still believe the finances of this country are best served by cutting spending ignoring the need to raise revenue as well.

  • jim

    One of the callers said one of the most important and most overlook question which the Democrats have no guts to remark:

    Why do the Republicans refuse to pay for the war on terrorism?

  • Barry

    9/11 is the latest example in a long history illustrating how a small, relatively powerless group can bring down a mighty power.  The mature response, the response that might have allowed us to adjust to the changing reality of the world, would have been to use this catastrophe to confront our addiction to oil, our self-serving support of Middle Eastern tyrants, our hubris in thinking we have a natural right to the world’s resources, our unwillingness to shrug off death and destruction visited upon other peoples in pursuit of our own material comforts, the military industrial complex and corporate control of our political system.  That, of course, was too much to ask, given the oil men who were our political leaders,corporate control of the media, and the ignorance and complacency of the citizenship.  It is the decline and fall of the latest Empire that’s playing out in our politics, in our economic collapse, in the new civil war tearing the country to shreds.

  • Aboehnke

    With this talk of direct correlation between Bin Laden and the attacks on September 11, are neither Tom, nor his guest, going to mention that the FBI never indicted Bin Laden for 9/11? Sure, let’s talk emotion, loss, remembering, patriotism – but the facts?

  • Steve Tiffany

    Millions of Americans have watched the collapse of World Trade Center Building 7 on YouTube and concluded that it had to be a controlled demolition.  Watch it for yourself: it looks like somebody opened a trapdoor under the thing.  BBC reported this collapse 20 minutes BEFORE it happened, though no steel framed highrise has ever collapsed from fire before or since.  You only have to open your eyes a little bit to see that the official story doesn’t add up.  

    • Terry Tree Tree

      20 minutes before?  Like someone that knew the explosives were placed, wanted it observed?  Interesting!

    • Modavations

      Check out Art Bell late at night.He’s right up your alley

  • Starke

    I am a Vietnam Vet. and I feel George Bush and Dick Cheny should be tried for Crimes against humanity for their attach on Iraq.
    They caused the death of 4000 American forces and 100′s of thousands of Iraqi’s for no valid reason; other than EGO.
    they still don’t get it!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

      I agree but even FDR, LBJ, JFK, Woodrow Wilson, and now Obama could not avoid the corporate and foreign lobbyists and their coercive means to drag US troops needlessly to war. 

      Look at that elitist weasel Winston Churchhill and the deaths he caused in Gallipolee and elsewhere.  The more he screwed up, the more that pompous warmonger kept getting more power…because he was ruthless and he did their bidding.

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

        So you’d prefer Hitler to Churchill?  Churchill wasn’t perfect, but he certainly led his nation to victory through one of modern history’s most dangerous periods.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

          “”Led is nation to victory ????????????????”””   dont you realize how ridiculous this flawed your comment is ??? Churchill made the wrong decisions and dragged the US in to save his butt.

          Churchill could have avoided war and all of its destruction.  Churchill was NO statesman… he was a compromised, ruthless warmonger.  

          As we write this,  Winston continues to burn in hell… no paintbrush, no brandy.. no trowel,  no cigar.  

          • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

            So leaving Hitler the master of Europe was the better choice?  There are millions of European Jews, Gypsies, French Maquis, and on and on who would disagree.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

            You obviously are lacking  perspective and historical facts, going back to the instigations of international bankers and the Balfour agreement.  Hitler was the Osama Bin Laden of his time and unfortunately for millions of people of all nations, jews and gentiles alike, this particular boggyman was groomed by deliberate consequence and responded to his cues as expected.  But you can continue to get your simplistic historical insight from your grammar school textbooks.

          • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

            I’m well aware that the Versailles Treaty set up a situation in Europe that led to the Second World War.  But if you’re suggesting that Hitler was a patsy of international bankers, do you expect to be taken seriously?  What books are you reading?

          • Modavations

            Birds of a feather!!!!!!!

          • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

            Birds of a feather?  Hitler and the millions that he killed were the same?  Are you aiming to be offensive or stupid?

          • Modavations

            National Workers Socialist Party.Mousillini(?)head of Trento’s socialist newspaper ,Avanti and on and on

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Chamberlain did so well?

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Don’t forget the POWER and MONEY they got, and still get!!
          A Vietnam Era vet, I agree with you!!

    • William

      But should you not put Congress on trial too? They approved the action. Then, Bill Clinton pushed through the Iraq Liberation Act, so he should be arrested too. Then we have Obama, well, he is attacking Libya how can you excuse this?

  • Me

    I blame the “republican(s)”

  • Mfessary

    I wish that even one of the profiles of people affected by 9/11 would be of an Iraqi civilians whose life we have destroyed — we have close to a hundred thousand to choose from. 

  • Wayne

    A small percentage of people volunteered because we did not (and do not) believe in the most current, Bush plus Obama, politics and worldview of the U.S.  Everything in the U.S. centers back to and revolves around the military, military contractors and our new found support of our own for hire militias.  I’m tired of it.  This is not the nation I want to belong to.

    Thanks,
    Wayne
    Vermont

    • Robert Riversong

      Then please consider joining the Vermont Secession movement. We fared better as the world’s first independent constitutional Republic that outlawed slavery. Then we were coerced and bribed into joining the Union and became enslaved to it.

  • Mel

    George is completely correct.  The big question I always have is how the electorate can place people in government that do not think goverment can do much of anything – and, according to Norquist, make government so small that you can drown it in a bathtub.

    I blame Ronald Reagan’s retoric, not actions in many cases, that government is not the solution, it is the problem.  The conservatives seem to remember the speech and not the actions – increasing taxes, increasing spending.  Bush followed suit.  Cut taxes but keep on spending.  And they keep talking about Democrats taxing and spending.  At least by taxing, we would not have a giant debt.

    The conversation, however, MUST go to job creation and NOT a balanced budget. 

  • John in Amherst

    In many ways 9/11 was a perfect fit for the GOP agenda.  It united a country fracured by the election of 2000, and helped legitimize the Bush administration.  It allowed for a privatization of military functions unheard of previuosly, simultaeneously obscuring the cost of war, the need for a draft to “staff” a protracted war, and enriching companies like Haliburton which had strong ties to the Bush whitehouse.  It paved the way for extra-constitutional practices at home and abroad that never would have been tolerated without a “state of national emergency”.  And most important for the GOP, it permitted the draining the national coffers and spawned the severe budget deficits that now are forcing a downsizing of government.  One could certainly be forgiven for buying into the conspiracy theories that postulate the Bush administration was complicit in the attacts by ignoring intel that pointed toward al Qaeda and the possibility that it was preparing to attack us.   

    • Jasoturner

      Ah, most declining empires turn to mercenaries when the end game is near…

      The GOP has realized that the American Empire is coming to a close, and the the time is now to amass riches, before we descend to second-world status and the accumulation of wealth will be much more difficult.  It is rather ugly, unseemly and unpatriotic but…well, who’s calling them patriots anyway?  But a gated community in a second world country sure beats toiling with the working class stiffs trying to compete with Asia in the global economy.

      This month’s Foreign Affairs magazine has an interesting article about China and America’s relative decline.  One does not come away encouraged, even if one takes issue with many of the points.

  • CindyCB

    I do agree with email of one listener, we cannot dismiss the impact of 9/11 (…and I emphasize as individuals).

    But collectively, I agree with the George Packer, how did that major event change the way Americans live their lives and view our country globally? Enough change to answer one of the biggest tragedies of our country?

    The most we could have done, as Packer mentions, is have skin in the game with the resulting wars.

    I respect our soldiers and all they give in both wars, and many give all they have to answer the call of our country, more than I have done for my country. The least I could do is not complain about paying for it. Our Bush leadership failed us in so many ways, including not focusing our efforts on Afghanistan exclusively.
    _Cindy Barnard

    • Robert Riversong

      Which Afghanistan do you refer to? The one whose insurgency we supported for ten years against the Soviet occupiers, feeding the Islamist jihadist movement? The Afghanistan that the CIA turned into the world’s largest exporter of heroin? The Afghanistan that was balking at allowing Unocal to build an oil pipeline from Turkmenistan to Pakistan? Or the Taliban regime which was willing to extradite bin Laden to the US if we would present some evidence of his culpability in 9/11 (which we could not)?

      Perhaps you’ve forgotten that the alleged 9/11 terrorists were all from Saudi Arabia and Egypt?

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

        Yes, the terrorists on the jets were mostly Saudis and Egyptians.  The Saudi leaders who helped bin Laden have much to answer for.  But those two nations were not harboring al Qaeda.  They weren’t allowing al Qaeda a base of operation and training.  That’s the Afghanistan that we invaded.

        • Robert Riversong

          You mean the al Qaeda base the CIA/ISI created in Afghanistan and Pakistan to torment the Soviet Union. The most beneficent construction we can give to the invasion of Afghanistan was that it was a mopping up effort to get rid of the evidence of our own culpability in creating and supporting Islamist jihadism.

          • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

            We didn’t set up a base for al Qaeda (The Base, in Arabic).  We were helping the Afghani people throw out the Soviets.  Our error was then to leave once the Soviet occupation was over.  Nation building often saves money and lives in the future.  The problem is that when those are saved, many can’t see that it happened.

      • Gregg

        I’ve never heard about the Taliban offering up Bin Laden. I’m sure their word was good as gold. I did hear about the Sudanese offering him to Clinton after the first attack on the WTC in 1993. He passed. 

  • Dean

    If there was a missed opportunity to reexamine ourselves in the aftermath of 9/11, it was because the last half century has witnessed the death of American civic culture, which has been replaced by consumer culture, on one hand, and deepening culture wars, on the other.  It is interesting that the American Civil War and the Second World War have both been evoked for comparison purposes.  I would tweak Packer’s narrative by placing those two events, and others, along a continuum.  Meaning, the Second World War birthed the mass consumer culture in which we are now immersed, while the culture wars of the past 50 years are in no small part a product of the backlash against the civil rights movement, which was itself born of the legacy of the Civil War, which ended slavery, but failed to challenge racial inequality. 

  • Unclejs

    Important show, thank you.
       I agree with comments that Iraq war was where we lost our way…the world in general was sympathetic to U.S. immediately after 9/11 (including 1 million young people participating in candle-light vigil in Tehran, Iran), and willing to accept retaliatory strike against Afghanistan.  However in January & February 2003–just before start of Iraq war in March–literally millions of people on all continents around the world joined in coordinated demonstrations to try to stop US march to Iraq war.  In my view–and in view of most of world–the Iraq war was about oil conquest, not only in Iraq but in Middle East in general…which the world and many in US did not support…meanwhile throwing tax-cut party @ home, accelerating the debt/deficit process with mantra not to worry about it, let the kids and grandkids pay the bill–obvious sign of the type of internal US decay that Mr. Packer has drawn attention to.

    • Flowen

      True enough.

      This past year, they reported Iraq has the potential to pump 12 million barrels per day!…would make Iraq #1 producer in the world! Surprise, surprise!

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Showing ID is a major change.  A person’s statement used to be his bond.  Now we need lots of government seals of approval.

  • Modavations

    As is the case with all “New Yorker”, elite types,this guy has made me “sleepy”.

    • http://richardsnotes.org Richard

      So tune out,  you won’t be missed.

    • Jasoturner

      The use of “elite” as a pejorative is the mark of a knee-jerk ideologue.  Is your standard the “sufficient”, the “sort-of knowledgeable”?

  • Charles A. Bowsher

    This guy is a writer for the New Yorker? He doesn’t really get it at all.. He glories in the murder of Bin Laden? He should have been captured, tried and convicted. Another low point in our countries history if you ask me. 09/12 we should have asked ourselves more than just “Who did this”, we should have asked “Why did they do this?”, “Was their something we did that made them think this drastic of a step was needed?

    Our country is not in danger from Al Quaeda. They are not going to destroy America. We reacted as cowards, because we were lead by a coward and a cowardly traitor (Cheney). They did not ask us to sacrifice for the effort, because they themselves and their ilk were not willing to make the kinds of sacrifices the “Greatest Generation” made.

    Now we see what allowing the Supreme Court to appoint a president can lead to.  

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      If you punch me, I’m not going to ask you why you did it.  I’m going to stop you from harming me and then I’ll let the police ask you the questions.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Now the black-robed seniles, are stupid enough to claim that corporations are citizens, without Birth-Certificates to prove it!
          Where are the Birthers?   This is far more obvious than a U.S. Citizen mother’s child!!   Why have the Birthers NOT been all over this, since it was FIRST brought up, long before it hit the Supreme Court??

      • Flowen

        From recent personal experience, as well as the obvious stuff in the news, the legal system is at least as broken as the political system. Doing the right thing is simply not on their agenda, nor are they capable of it.

        Prepare for increasing, accelerating, and more frequent breakdowns at ALL levels. We have an existential crisis no one in power wants to recognize.

        • Modavations

          Those flash riots are a taste of things to come

    • Flowen

      Al Quaeda has done a lot less damage to US than the elitist politicians and their corporate managers, owners, and lobbyist/politicians.

      • Modavations

        Look what Dem.Welfare society has done to the black family.It’s a friggin holocaust

        • Flowen

          No argument there.

          But politicians of both stripes, problematic as they are, are not the source of our biggest problems, except in that they have granted the large corporations, public and private, licenses to steal.

          Most people see the fact that corporations have more cash and better balance sheets than ever as a good thing, in view neither governments nor (most) people have any….it is clearly evidence that they have stolen it. I speak from much personal experience, as can you if you look at it that way.

          • Modavations

            Dude,your animus should be towards the Crony-Capitalists(GE-Obama),not businessmen in general.This class warfare stuff drives me nuts.The business of America is business.

          • Flowen

            I have no problem with businessmen/women in general; I am amongst those. I am entirely in favor of free markets, which don’t exist in the USA, contrary to popular/political opinion.

            I am against having my tax money wasted, used destructively, socially and environmentally, “for our collective good,” while it benefits 900,000 Americans obscenely, by creating slanted playing fields where money just falls out of our pockets into the fat, pudgy hands of the “capitalist” pigs (not to denigrate pigs) the politicians bend over to brown nose, at the expense of 200 million Americans.

            If you don’t realize we’re in class warfare, it’s because you/we have already lost. Most Americans are slaves to our system of “free enterprise.” 

          • Modavations

            I started with 10,000.00 and have made a bundle.Crony capitalism is Solyendra,where a Dem.Fund raiser has protocals short circuited,e-mails destroyed and bankruptcy.Each Green job created in Ca.has cost about 2mill.ish.Get rid of the NLRB,EPA,XYZ and America will cook.And leave my friggin lt.bulbs aloneIf the Dems.would let us drill,we wouldn’t need the mideast at all.You guys are causing these wars to save some bugs

          • Flowen

            As an environmentalist, I’d be glad to do away with the EPA and let you drill your little hearts out if you would pay for the damage you cause. 

            Instead of taking a depletion allowance on taxes against depleting oil supply, why not pay for depleting health and the environment?…the oil spills, refinery soil contamination, the health costs of your carbon monoxide and smog, re-location costs due to floods and winds in a boiling atmosphere, military adventure costs, rising sea level costs, contaminated water supply costs?…ad nauseum.

            And the $16 Billion oil industry tax subsidy?…you still need that, right? XOM only makes $10 Billion net income (after they spend everything they can legally get away with on themselves and the Status Quo) every 90 days, and manages to avoid that 35% corporate tax rate….and the $.50/gal ethanol subsidy?…can’t take that away! Why that would be raising taxes. Everything is so sensible in an alternate opposite inverse reality!

            Or, just be happy?!

          • Gregg

            Are you also against subsidies for Solar and Wind? We got nothing to show for it.

          • Flowen

            Are you kidding?!?

            US oil use has declined from 21 M barrels/day to 18.6 2007 to 2010, despite massive government support.

            Renewable growth is so fast multiplying people can’t track it.

            Sure…pull the government (you hate, yeah, right!…your tool!) support for oil, gas, coal, nuclear, ethanol, and kiss your 6000# SUV on the ass as it goes over the cliff!

            No renewable energy subsidy is fine with me! The government “picks winners” only to end up with BIG LOSERS! What else is new?

            BTW, you prefer Gov Perry or Bachman? You sound like you work for Perry.

          • Gregg

            Subsidized Solar companies are shutting their doors right and left. Boone Pickens had to abandon his wind farm and sell his windmills. what are you talking about?

    • Jasoturner

      They hate our freedom…

    • Modavations

      There’s a hit piece on C.Thomas in the New Yorker.You’ll like it.I got to page 4 and fell asleep

    • Gregg

      “Now we see what allowing the Supreme Court to appoint a president can lead to.”

      Are you talking about the Florida Supreme court. Because they were not successful in appointing Gore, try as they might. Every court above and below them saw thing much differently. In fact judge Sanders Saul had the whole thing wrapped up nicely until the FSC intervened. The SCOTUS by a 7-2 vote saved us from a Constitutional crisis.

      BTW, if Algore had been elected, I believe he would have gone to Iraq.

      • Modavations

        The Black Caucus had hearings about voter intimidation in Fl..There was not one credible case

        • Gregg

          Meanwhile, Obama’s DOJ dropped charges on a clear case of voter intimidation by the new black panthers. Go figure.

  • Modavations

    Bush,Bush,Bush.He even caused the embroglio between Cain and Abel.This guy is so boring,I’m going to the gym and I hate the friggin gym.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      It’ll improve your BMI, if you exercise!!

      • Modavations

        Who said “healthy body healthy mind”,you ask.Let me tell you.It was a guy named Jubenal around 50AD(Rome).He was a satirist and also came up with”bread and roses”.While I hate working out,I am a firm believer in the lad’s ditty

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Good for you.

    • Flowen

      Bush would have been nothing if it hadn’t been for the biggest figment of the American imagination: Ronald MacDonald Raygun!

      • Modavations

        When they had his funeral,so many people showed up along the funeral route,you’d think the king of the cosmos had died.Mr.Gorbachev “tear down this wall”,as opposed to “hope and change,change and hope”!!!

        • Flowen

          Reagan told the people what they wanted to hear. It wasn’t the truth, that America is entitled to whatever it could get it’s hands on, but it was what they wanted to hear. He was a figment of the collective media imagination…he never grew out of playing “cowboys and indians.”

          I think the Beatles were much more influential in the collapse of the USSR than Reagan’s military build-up ever was. Remember Star Wars…Yucca Flats….and nuclear power that would be too cheap to meter? 

          As bad as Reagan was, he was not as out of touch with reality as this current crop of Republican pirate/hijackers: he raised taxes even as he expanded debt and deficit. He had a genuine interest in the country, even perverted as it was by the ideas in his head, and his friends in the Boardrooms.

          BTW, trivia question: what was the last Republican who did not preside over increasing debt and deficit?…I can’t remember.

          • Modavations

            Regan was an optimist.You guys spend your lives “wringing your hands”

          • Flowen

            “Those flash riots are a taste of things to come”

            Liberals aren’t the only ones wringing their hands!…anyone who is not totally out of touch at 45,000 feet in their corporate jets knows things are going to get worse before they get better (not for the fat cats of course, I’m betting on them to come out on top, with a hedge, maybe an accelerant, in gold and silver and other commodities)…the only question is how much worse?

            Anyone who believes the US has not peaked is not an optimist, they’re just out of touch. Reagan’s Shining City on the Hill?….it’s easy to be an optimist if you live in LaLa Land, unless your constituency REALLY IS the top 0.3%.

            As long as our 5% of the world population utilizes 25% of world resources at consumer prices well below world average, feeling entitled to (and yes, trapped in) a lifestyle that has been “paid for” with debt, taxpayer subsidy, and avoidance of external costs in corporate operations, we will continue to win the Race to the Bottom…how can it possibly be any other way?…even with the magical powers of being the “world reserve currency” the greenback is well ahead of all other currencies in the Race to the Bottom…as world reserve currency status fades, our pace in the race to the bottom can only accelerate.

            BTW, I’m an equal opportunity realist: just because Repubs are a little evil, the Dems are no better, being a whole lot incompetent.

          • Modavations

            The beauty of the US is that even “hand wringers”can enter the ranks of the 5%

          • Modavations

            Mao-20-40 million murdered
            Stalin-10-20 million murdered
            Hitler-2-5mill.murdered
            Pol Pot-3mill.murdered(one third of the population)
            Fidel,Hugo and on and on!!!!!!
            Common denominator=Leftists

            General Piniocet-5,000 murdered
            Samoza and asst Latin Dictators 50,000 murdered

            Leftist murders 100 million,right wing murders 100,000.But who’s counting

          • Flowen

            I don’t argue with that!…except you’re a little low on Hitler’s numbers.

            I am a CT Yankee capitalist, just not a pig!

            Frankly, just like Republicans call themselves conservatives (not!), our free market capitalist system is that in name only. It is really a weird reverse socialism where profits are privatized, and expenses are externalized and socialized. In my experience, most Americans couldn’t even recognize a true free market.

            And, last I checked, the only way a foreign hand wringer can follow our great immigrant tradition, is if they have $500,000 to invest in a US business.

          • Modavations

            Newt and the boys,who with Pres Clinton dropped the Cap.Gains from 28 to 15% and gave us 4 years of profit.The Debt was still 1.5trill.ish

    • http://richardsnotes.org Richard

      Don’t strain yourself (thinking that is).

  • Nls2

    I’m having trouble understanding with Packer’s point is.  Yes, we need to have better national conversations about the direction of the nation, but that doesn’t mean that our country “hasn’t changed.”  I feel like everything is different. 

    Just because we’re not rising to the occasion doesn’t mean the country isn’t different.  There’s been a climate of fear ever since, and the ripples in national security, the economy, and the military are substantial and touch us all.

  • trishgordi

    AT LAST!!! Some one is NOT afraid to talk about the TRUTH about 9/11! YES! I was there too! & it was one of my darkest days!!!! I could NOT AGREE MORE with GEORGE PACKER!!!! People Still WANTS to refuse to see the obvious reality…. Its is just easy to “repeat what your cnn says…

  • Peter

     All people with even a mild curiosity of the repercussions of the events relating to September 11 2001 may want
     to follow the Toronto hearings this month on the 8th – 11th.
    Please tell your state representatives about this event and all whom you care about.

    http://canadianpressroom.com/newspost/international-hearings-on-911-to-begin-in-toronto-in-september/

    http://torontohearings.org/media/

  • Rachel

    The caller who asked why the Republicans didn’t want to pay for the war raised an important question. I believe that, as David Stockman said long ago, the Republican goal ever since Reagan was to bankrupt the government, and thus to force the end of the programs established by the New Deal. Tax cuts, war debt, etc. all add up to the current deficit which has even a “progressive” like Obama talking about revising Social Security and Medicare. The unpaid for war was perfect for their agenda, as well as supplying lots of military industrial and contractor funds. Thanks to George Packer for wanting to discuss what we should have been discussing for ten years, and thanks to you, Tom, for hosting it.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      They only wanted to profit from it!!!

  • Robert Riversong

    “At last the truth” says trishgordi. Just another mainstream denial of the truth. While much of what Packer said about our government’s ideological refusal to address the fundamental issues that were destroying us as a nation is correct, he missed an essential element of the 9/11 response.

    As far as “closing the circle” with the alleged murder of bin Laden, this is nonsense. The FBI has always acknowledged no evidence linking bin Laden to 9/11 and the government has given American’s (and the world) no proof that he was killed (half of all CIA analysts believed he died ten years ago).

    But, more importantly, G.W. Bush instituted a new foreign policy: capitulating to terrorism. Osama bin Laden, who was little more than a figurehead and spokesperson of the jihadist movement, was clear that the goal was to draw the US into long-term combat with Muslim extremists in order to polarize the world. Bush complied.  

    Bin Laden was also clear that a major motivation for the attacks against the US was the staging of US troops in the land of Mecca and Medina (Saudi Arabia). When Bush brazenly announced “Mission Accomplished” in  2003, the only thing accomplished was the removal or troops from Saudi territory to Kuwait and Iraq just days before.

    If the goal of the jihadist provocation was to cut down America’s status in the world, undermine its economic strength, and restrict it’s own much-touted freedoms, then Bush was fully an accomplice in the effort. This is what changed after 9/11 – the downfall of American hegemony.

    • Gregg

      When GWB said he didn’t spend much time worrying about Bin Laden he was excoriated. When Obama blustered on about Bin Laden and upped the anti in Afghanistan he was praised. Obama is the one who “cut down America’s status in the world, undermine(d) its economic strength, and restrict(ed) it’s own much-touted freedoms”. I don’t recall nuns getting felt up at airports during Bush. I don’ recall credit downgrades or even talks of such during the Bush years. I don’t recall Merkel rejecting wholesale Bush’s economic suggestions, or the Dalai Lama being snuck out the back door through the trash of the White house, or Bush sending the Queen videos of his speeches. Heck Obama wasn’t even invited to the royal wedding. Snubbed, big time. But Gaddafi called him “My Muslim brother” so maybe there are a few that still respect him.

  • Charles A. Bowsher

    To Greg Camp in reply to Charles A. Bowsher – You say that if someone hit you, you  would have prevented them from hitting you again and called the police. Seems reasonable to me. But what does not seem reasonable is to invade two nations a half a world a way and killing tens of thousands of civilians and spend trilllions of dollars on credit. Seems like the first thing to do is to set up a really good defense. Then go capture the bad guy and when you are close to doing it you don’t turn the other way as we did in Bora Bora. The repubs nominated an incompetent, who appointed more incompetents and cowards. In return we are left holding the bill, while they are in their gated communities hanging out at the country club. Or writing books that will “make heads explode” what a dweeb!

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      I’m not suggesting that Bush did things in the right way.  What I mean is that if a nation is attacked, it has the right to respond with military force.  That accounts for Afghanistan.  Iraq is another and separate matter.

      • Robert Riversong

        Attacked by whom? A dozen box-cutter wielding Saudis and Egyptians (if you believe the official conspiracy theory)? No nation attacked the US, and the Taliban were even willing to extradite bin Laden if the US presented any evidence of his culpability. We could not and they did not, and we needed to remove the Taliban at the behest of Unocal who wanted a pipeline through Afghanistan (US-installed President Karzai was a Unocal consultant).

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

          The Taliban harbored bin Laden.  That makes them at least accessories after the fact.  And yes, I do accept the “official” story.  We had every right to invade Afghanistan.  The fact that we bungled it doesn’t change our right to go in.

          • Robert Riversong

            Ex CIA operative Luis Posada
            Carriles has admitted to acts of terrorism in Cuba, yet he lives comfortably in
            Miami under US protection, having recently been acquitted of perjury charges in
            Texas. The US government has not tried him for terrorism nor have they been
            willing to allow him to stand trial in Cuba or elsewhere for crimes he has
            publicly admitted participating in.

            So that, by your standards, gives Cuba the right to invade the US. 

          • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

            If they wish to try it.  We have been in a cold war with Cuba for a long time.  Are you saying that al Qaeda was at war with us?  If so, we had a right to fight back.

      • Beez

        That is true which is why Iraqi and Afghan citizens have every right to defend themselves against the U.S. insurgency

  • grinma

    I remember being struck by the response the mother of one of my son’s (born ’02) friends gave to the kid’s question – “… but why would some one want to do that?” She said – “Well, there were people flying those planes who really thought that what they were doing was right. They believed that that was the best way to follow what they believed.”  I found this really instructive, because rather than it being an opportunity to talk to children about how destruction and violence are horrible and ineffective, it brought to light the importance of seeing beyond your own perspective. That there is more than just “your way” of seeing things… ultimately one of the most important things a child can learn and take on his/her life journey. What then did they believe? What about the U.S. culture and policies engendered the various agendas of “terrorists”? What about the plight of Palestinians? If not purely gratuitous violence, then what is the goal of the action? In the eyes of a child, it can seem so obvious and simple to look for the basic – “oh that’s why they thought that was right.” Terrorism is horrific, no doubt, no matter the perpetrator or their perspectives or agenda. (likely the U.S. and it’s policies abroad could easily be interpreted as “terrorist” from some perspectives)  Still, I would like to hear a conversation on On Point about U.S. policy/attitudes pre 9/11 from both national and international perspectives exploring cause/effect relationships, and how, if at all, any of these have changed in the past decade. Osama BinLaden can be killed, but if the circumstances which engendered his choices and actions remain, won’t another person grow to make similar choices and take equally horrific actions?

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      If a mugger demands your wallet, do you really care why?  When he says, “your money or your life,” I’m going to draw my sidearm and give him something else.  I won’t discuss my life under threat.

      • Robert Riversong

        The “mugger” of 9/11 demanded our freedoms, our international status and our economic hegemony, and Bush handed them over on a silver platter.

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

          Yup, you’re correct there.  I’m no defender of Junior.

        • Jasoturner

          Concisely put.  Well done.

        • Modavations

          What would you say if in 20years from now,the entire mideast is run by democratically elected presidents,who say it started with Iraq and George Bush???

          • Harris

            If I break-in to your home, and then kill you and your wife, but by sheer luck the kids survive. A few years later, through hard work and perseverance, the kids grow up to be successful members of society, I suppose I should get credit for that.

          • Ellen Dibble

            Will “the entire mideast” “say it started with Iraq and George Bush”?  I think they will say it started with cell phones and Facebook — and maybe an overwhelming sense that the United States “needs help.”

          • Gregg

            As was the Arab Spring.

          • Jasoturner

            Thanks in no small part to the policies of George Bush, America is generally reviled in the middle east.  I dare say that, if the middle east were to be populated with democratically elected governments, they would tip their hat to George Bush (and the U.S.) about as much as we tip our hats to the French.  Which is to say, with much derision and dislike.

          • Modavations

            I was in Dehli about 2 weeks ago and the line snaked around the block, with people waiting to get visas to the dreaded US.I was told it took 6 hours to get in the Embassay door and that was just to pick up the paperwork.I was in Joburg last Sept and the lines were even worse.Je veux decir,merci a mis amis francais!!!!!!!

          • Jasoturner

            Anecdotes are not evidence.  Nor are India or Africa necessarily representative of the “Middle East” as we usually think of it.

            http://pewglobal.org/2011/05/17/arab-spring-fails-to-improve-us-image/

            Maybe these guys were all lying so the visa lines would be shorter.

          • Modavations

            keep spinning

          • Anonymous

            just don’t look at evidence, such as the poll I linked to.  More important that you saw a big line in India.  I’m sold!

          • Gregg

            I have not seen your name nor avatar before so I’m not sure what poll you are referring to. If you are Jasoturner, then that poll suggest Obama is the problem not Bush.

          • Jasoturner

            The poll cited was to demonstrate that the US is not admired in the middle east.  That fact that neither Obama nor Bush is popular is true, but secondary to the point.  Was this related to the post where someone was using the witnessing of a long line for visas in Bangalore or somewhere as supposed evidence of how beloved we were in the middle east?  I can’t recall but I think it was.  This anecdotal evidence is in conflict with the Pew polling which is based on a much larger sample size.

            The Pew site is worth browsing.  There is some interesting stuff in there.

          • Gregg

            “…America is generally reviled in the middle east.  I dare say that…”

            Less than an hour later:

            “Anecdotes are not evidence.”

            Which Middle Easterners like us less now than before Bush? The voters with purple fingers? The victims of rape and torture? Or the terrorist who attacked us?

          • Modavations

            To quote Boehner:It’s like negotiating with jello

          • Flowen

            I especially liked the throw the shoe at the monkey game in Iraq during George the Chimp’s “I AM VICTORIOUS” press conference in Iraq. One of the few times seeing him on TV felt good. Made you feel all warm and fuzzy inside thinking about those Iraqis we liberated.

            George is real good at duckin’.

             At least he’s still welcome in Saudi Arabia.

          • Anonymous

            I would say the propagandized rewrite of history was complete.

          • Flowen

            What would you say if 12 months from now, the entire American population blamed Bush the Chimp for the great evaporation of wealth beginning 2007? That’s the truth, whereas Bush’s foray into Iraq is a gift to the oil, defense, and financial industries; and, an ego trip to boot.

          • Modavations

            The tech bubble burst at the end of the Clinton Presidency.Nasdaq was 4500ish.In 30 years it’s never regained half it’s value.

          • Flowen

            30 years?…must be a typo.

            Yeah, but the tech bubble and the Nasdaq at 5000+ was based almost entirely and exclusively on the “nifty fifty” tech stocks in 2000. It caused a recession, and hit investors chasing momentum hard, but it didn’t turn 401ks into 201ks, or rip your house value down 30, 50, or 70%, precipitating millions of foreclosures, or cost 20 million jobs, with lots of others working for half of what they were, or gasoline at $4-5, plus corn too expensive for tacos, nevermind copper, aluminum, lead, coffee, etc, etc, or $3 Trillion deficits and $14 Trillion debt; all the while savers and retirees are getting decimated earning 0.02 – 1.0% interest; and the banishment of the moral hazard and too-big-to-fail: sure, bail out the millionaires and billionaire financial wizards and industry captains that created the problems…and on, and on, and on…not to mention two wars on the “credit card.”…where, precisely, was the benefit?
            Sure, Clinton’s crew contributed, but Bush the Chimp made it happen.

          • Gregg

            Well, I can’t agree with all you wrote but I give you great credit for illustrating the mess Bush inherited. It was not at all the fault of Clinton. It was a bubble and it popped. Clinton managed it well and for a time the tax hike was a good thing. The booming economy could handle it. Whoda’ thunk? Not me at the time. BTW, I can’t give much credit to Clinton for bringing about the bubble. He really didn’t have much to do with the benefits of it or the detriments of it’s bursting. He was pragmatic enough to listen to the people and reluctantly (after 5 tries) agree with Newt to balance the budget while the bubbled money was flying in. I again give him great credit. Obama is different.

          • Flowen

            We must be in opposite inverse realities…if so, why are you wasting time on this board? You must have better things to do than argue for what you already got?!?…like go out and enjoy it?

            Bush set us up with everything a righter could want: lowest income/estate taxes in 80 years to create all those high paying jobs with great benefits at McDonalds and low cost temporary, or illegal immigrant work, not to mention all that trickle-down GDP growth!; the defense industry’s Secret War, with all its’ financial and spiritual rewards; unfettered financial and energy industries with regulations not enforced, and taxpayer subsidies, tax loopholes, judicial rulings and government promotion thrown in (with sex and drugs at the regular regulatory orgies, I mean, oversight meetings) to keep free enterprise from abandoning America; and Citizen’s United, allowing any white trash billionaire, even mere multi-millionaires, to spew lies and poison with abandon, and yet in the complete privacy of their media and legal empires. They even have the American people convinced that regressive taxation, unattainable unaffordable healthcare, and curtailed government services and regulations is in their best interests!….what more is there? It’s better than slavery…no responsibility for room, board, or healthcare!

            Sounds like a right-side paradise! Why bother yourself arguing with me?

          • Gregg

            Tax rates were lower under Reagan so I dispute your 80 year claim. The rest of your comment is black helicopter stuff with no evidence.

            Can you dispute anything I wrote?

          • Flowen

            What taxes?…oh yeah, sales and property taxes!

            Big Corporations and tax-exempt political campaign organizations even evade, ooops, I mean “avoid,” those taxes.

            BTW, you know how the Bush Chimp made his millions while he was Gov of Texas?….check it out, it was based on raising taxes on the people of Arlington, Texas…yeah, he turned $800,000 into $15 Million…typical hypocrisy, typical cover-up.

            I could dispute you if I could understand you. 

          • Gregg

            Tax rates. The top rate was 28% under Reagan. It’s now 35%. Your claim is false.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Well Said!!  

          • Terry Tree Tree

            It’s been 30 years since the end of the Clinton Presidency??  Heckuva DeLorean you have there, Doc!!!  Which time zone do YOU live in?   To slow-poke me, it’s only been 11 years since Slick Willy and the Budget Surplus that ‘W’ promised to make bigger!

        • http://richardsnotes.org Richard

          Robert, that is a brilliant comment. One of the best I’ve read here in a while.

      • Jasoturner

        Not a strong analogy.  A better one would be, a mugger knocks you unconscious with  a lead pipe because you were caught totally by surprise.  Weapons, or lack of weapons, have nothing to do with it.  And you are literally in no position to discuss anything.

        Then you wake up and start shooting carelessly and somewhat indiscriminately because you’re terrified of getting mugged again.

        Unfortunately, you’ll never learn who the muggers are, or why they operate the way they do, with this approach.

        This needs to be revisited.

  • Sean McGuire

    Neither this show nor last week’s show on 9/11 conspiracy theories confront one of, if not the biggest problems in our post-9/11 world.  Consider everything that has changed in foreign and domestic policy since that day, and yet the federal government has done nothing to produce forensic evidence to support the original story, upon which all since has hinged.  Why did the President and Vice-President fight so against testifying? Why did NIST, rather than let the facts determine their conclusions about the collapse of the 3 WTC buildings, start with conclusions and then torture their data/models until they fit their already drawn conclusions?  The 9/11 Commission co-chairs say they were set up to fail; Max Cleland quit the commission in disgust over administration stonewalling.
    Our government’s unwillingness to honestly examine the events of 9/11 has tragically tainted all that has come since.This disdain for the truth is a stench in the nostrils of Lady Liberty

  • Gvc1946

    I could not disagree with you and your guest more!  Then again I shouldn’t expect any less from the liberal media.  You mentioned several items you felt were more important than 9/11.  Do you honestly feel those issues could have been addressed when we were constantly looking over our shoulder?  Since 9/11 as a country we have had to prioritize the issues.  Security should and always will be number one!
    Maybe your real purpose was to create a distraction from the poor job of our CURRENT president!

    • Robert Riversong

      Security, as we are supposedly trying to teach the less developed world, is based on democratic freedoms, economic strength, civil rights, and the rule of law.

      Bush’s response to 9/11 (planned years earlier by the Project for a New American Century) was to undermine those foundations of security at home for the sake of global hegemony and the enrichment of the corporate elites. In that, it was an overwhelming success.

      • Modavations

        Paternalism

        • Terry Tree Tree

          ??

    • Jasoturner

      I think you are over-reacting.  About 3,000 died on 9/11, the result of a handful deluded individuals taking advantage of lax security to commandeer four airplanes.  This security breech has been, for all intents and purposes, addressed.

      Each year there about 30,000 traffic deaths, and about 12,000 homicides in the U.S.

      While 9/11 was horrific, we grossly over-reacted and made strategic errors as a result.

      If by “security” you mean saving American lives, then you should be more up in arms about automotive safety and local policing than about a largely unsophisticated cabal of extremists half way around the world.  We can and will contain them.  But for us to have wasted trillions to do so is a crime against this country and against my children and their children.

      • Modavations

        Great wars were fought over Cleopatra and Helen and obscure Arch Dukes!!!!!!!

        • Terry Tree Tree

          That makes them smart, or right?  Right-wing!

        • Jasoturner

          Cleopatra’s Egypt was a client state – a very, very rich client state – of the Roman Empire.  The Romans did not fight over Cleopatra, they fought over her wealth, and over the threat and destabilizing behavior of Marc Antony, who lived in Egypt as had Caesar before him and who had a claim to Emperor himself.

          But historical details aside, on what basis are these “great wars”?  What is that even supposed to mean?

      • Gregg

        “…handful of deluded individuals…”??

        Just in case you missed it there is a worldwide jihadist effort supported by rogue nations to kill all infidels.

        • Jasoturner

          Easy grasshopper.  I said a handful of individuals commandeered four airplanes, which is factually correct and unimpeachable.  As for the impressive sounding “worldwide jihadist effort”, they are ill educated and ill equipped to inflict much damage on the U.S. homeland, nor are the truly dangerous members likely to total more than a few tens of thousands at best.  I dare say one mismanaged nuclear warhead from a nominal ally (or at least non-enemy) could do infinitely more damage and would certainly lend a useful data point as we calibrate our fears.

          Yes, there are some crazy Islamists out there, but lets not panic and think they can bring this country, let alone the world, to heel.  To think so is to display a laughable credulity.

          • Gregg

            Sorry, not buying it. There were trainers, recruiters, Nation sponsors, planners, logistical support over years and brainwashing theocratic oppression for century’s. The hijackers themselves were highly educated and Bin Laden was a millionaire. There have been attacks all over the world and even here since 9/11. They are already past the point of no return in much of Europe regarding the loss of national identity. That’s what’s unimpeachable.

          • Modavations

            Oh Sinsei,
                   Don’t you think if it would be nice if the US ,Islamist leaders would condemn.The silence is deafening

          • Anonymous

            They have, early and often.  How many times does their condemnation need to be stated to satisfy you?

          • Modavations

            bULL.hOW BOUT  a million muslim march on Wash.!!!

          • Terry Tree Tree

            ???

          • Terry Tree Tree

            ???

          • Jasoturner
          • Larrypayne

            Hard to believe how uninformed this conversation is. I suspect CNN and Fox News are to blame.

          • Jasoturner

            If you are suggesting that Fox and CNN represent equivalent purveyance of partisan propaganda, I am afraid you cannot be taken seriously.

          • Gregg

            Absolutely true. When CNN did a poll that clearly showed majority support for “Cut, Cap and Balance” they did not report their own poll. They are shills for the Democrat party.

  • Ssgabster

    Oh so painful to hear, but he is right about the past decade.  History will judge the Iraq War to be the beginning of the country’s decline.  It was a preemptive, bankrupting, unnecessary war based on lies.  Clinton had a sexual liaison and they wanted to impeach him for lying about it, yet the criminals that started the Iraq War have never been called to answer for this disgrace and scar on our national psyche.

    • Modavations

      The destruction of the Black family by LBJ’s rascist,”Great Society”,gets my vote

    • Terry Tree Tree

      SOOO corect!!!

    • http://richardsnotes.org Richard

      Well said. Frankly, I hold Pelosi and Obama responsible for letting Bush, Cheney, Woo, et al off the hook. I know why they did it: they wanted to unify a divided country but in fact, we’re more polarized now than then. We are so ####ed.

      • Modavations

        To quote Pres.Clinton’s CIA chief,whispering into Bush’s ear:”it’s a slam dunk Mr.President”

  • Dainbug

    Yes we were all shocked as we watched the images of the attacks on September 11th. But I’m not particularly a smart guy, and “I” saw what the GOP were going to do. Call me overly political, but  your guest is absolutely right. We could have had a defining moment and helped heal the world. (Hell even the Yasser Arafat (sp) gave blood!) But it was OBVIOUS to me that President Bush and the Republicans were not interested in helping the Country/World, they were interested in PROFIT, and their ideology.

  • Ellen Dibble

    I can’t find the transcript of Vice President Biden’s remarks on Labor Day in Cincinnati, but I made notes at the conclusion.  He said that if you want to know my values, look at my budget.  To know your values, your priorities, look at your budget.  And values, he said, the bedrock American values, are not the ones guiding the other side.  (I don’t recall if he said the other side was the campaign financiers, the deciders of Citizens United in the Supreme Court, or Republicans of a certain sort or what.)  He said they really believe what they say:  “It’s how they think we’ll sustain ourself,” he said, “by concentration of power.”  Their value is the concentration of power.  That’s what he said.  (It would seem an anti-democratic value, but maybe the future belongs to Big Brother; vote blindly and Bring It On.)  He said this core American value of “concentration of power” is hugely at odds with how America is viewed around the world, and he cited the number of miles he has flown and the number of places he has been to.  Globally, “they think that we are fair” (our notable characteristic), that we are a fair and decent nation, with the values of dignity to all, with fairness and respect.  So he said, “Vote, vote, vote your values.”
        I believe he was preaching to the choir.  Interesting the transcript isn’t up.  I did my best.  It’s a gutsy stand for a politician, to invoke concentration of power as not being in our best interests.

    • Modavations

      Love your stuff E.,but they’re too long.Many of us have ADHD.Now where was I……………..

  • Modavations

    Wars and rumors of wars…….Mr.Hoffa declared war on the Tea Party,while introducing the President,yesterday.The Brown Shirts were estatic.When Pres Obama was asked if he approved of Herr Hoffa calling a bunch of “white haired “,Tea Partyers Sons of Bitches,the President voted Present.Hoffa’s calling a bunch of grandmas and grandpas “sons of bitches” is the same stuff I hear all the time on this site.

    • Anonymous

       I prefer “uninformed idiots”.  It’s more accurate and not so demeaning to my canine friends.  But the fact that the “keep-government-out-of-my-Medicare” crowd need to be fought at every turn is unimpeachable.

      • Modavations

        We spend 800bill.ish per annum on Medicare and Medicaid.35mill get medicaid and 35mill.get Medicare.That’s $850.00 a pop.Why don’t they all buy private accounts and have the govt.pay it.Since most of the Medicaid recipients are kids, we should be able to save a few zillion.

      • Modavations

        Didn’t Lenin refer to niave leftists, as “useful idiots”

  • Billarmy

    10 years later, as Americans, we have not learned much and we keep on refusing to learn. We think we know it and we know it all. What an arrogant attitude that got us to where we are today.

  • Billarmy

    I must add to my comments a suggested solution for many of the problems we have had with terror. 
    We spent trillions and trillions of dollars on senseless wars, we killed many of our loved ones and killed many of innocent people world wide. Not to mention that we made more enemies that we have ever had.
    Having said that, we a fraction of the $$$ we have spent, we would’ve spent some our money on education for the Afghans, Iraqi and many other nations to eliminate ignorance and radicalization. 
    That is one part of the solution, but the second part which is the cause of all problems that we need to stop catering to the terror regime that occupy Palestine and the cause of all terrorism issues. 
    The Israeli regime continues to kill the 
    Palestinians daily, defy all UN and Security Council acts daily; and we still want to back them up blindly and support them in killing more Palestinians. This is why those radicals wake up one day and want to take it on the US because of the pain and suffering we are causing every day. 

    Not to mention of the new revelations we have been seeing in the Arab worlds revolutions, that the US supported and continue to UNJUSTLY support those dictators to oppress their people. An other reason for those radicals to wake up in the morning wanted to hurt American.

    Have we learned anything? Are we going to learn anything? If not, then we should brace for more radicals from all of those we hurt…..but as we see in the Arab revolutions, we will face that day when we are with them or against them. Not even Oil lands are immune of such revolutions.
    Let’s think about our future and the future of our children and what kind of problems we are leaving behind.
    Bill.

    • Modavations

      We’re hard wired for war.When has there ever been more then 30 yrs,without a major one.In Europe they’re so warlike they had skirmishes named The 50 Year War.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Unfortunately, you may be right!!

  • Modavations

    Do you guys realize Democrats hate TeaPartyers more then Al Queda.Check out Hoffa and Pres.Obama,yesterday

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

      At least the TeaPartyers are REAL,  Al Qaeda is a CIA/Mossad creation.

      • Anonymous

        Look you had your fun over on the 9/11 thread, I think it’s time to give it a rest. 

        • Modavations

          Free speech dude.wHAT Are you, a self appointed censor.Paolo check Art Bell and the flying Saucer show at 3:00 EACH MORNING.yOU TWO WERE MADE FOR EACH OTHER.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

            No thanks, the holograms, flying saucers, alien spaceship visits and crop circles are really out there.  Meant to discredit the real stuff.  

            I’ll stick with reality… that is international banking cartels and neoconservative zionist warmongers.

            Hey wasn’t Art Bell was lead singer with the Drells down in Houston ?… oh right… that was Archie.

          • Gregg

            I can’t help but chiming in here. Years ago I played piano for “Archie Bell and the Drells” (actually the “Drell’s” were long gone by then). Archie’s hit was “Tighten Up”, went to #1 in 1968. The kick is, we used to listen to Art Bell while driving all night. He was a hoot but the callers were hilarious. I’m surprised he’s still on. Those were good times, thanks for the memories.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Cool Connection!! 

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

            “we can dance just as good as we want” 

          • Gregg

            Nice!

          • steve

            tighten’ up

          • Anonymous

            Yeah, free speech. I’m suggesting, that people stop spamming the same stuff over and over again. There is a point when it becomes obnoxious.

        • Larrypayne

          Isn’t this a 9/11 thread?

  • Modavations

    Did Herr Hoffman and Pres.Obama read any of that new antibullying legislation?

  • Modavations

    Speaking of war.What about 40 armed Fish and Wildlife agents busting into the Gibson Guitar factory.

    • Robert Riversong

      40 armed fish. That’s really frightening. Must be the revenge of Gaia. Should’a seen it comin’.

      • Gregg

        It’s a serious story, and a great indicator of how Obama’s heavy handed regulations are destroying the job market. You should look it up. 

        • Anonymous

          They raided the factory looking for illegal wood. There are two sides to this story however. I’m airing on the side of caution after reading a few accounts.
          http://news.mongabay.com/2011/0902-eia_statement_gibson.html

          • Gregg

            Which side are you [sic] airing on? Gibson seems to be on solid ground by all I’ve read. Have you checked out their side of the story?

  • The man from UNKLE

    andrew j bacevich wrote/quoted in his book “The Limits of Power” that empires act most perniciously on the realization that its decline is well underway. I took the decision to invade Iraq as this moment. 

    George Packer is echoing some of what Bacevich has written and said. Anyone interested should check out Bacevichs book and/or his Bill Moyers interview (on youtube/PBS podcasts). 

    Good show. Thanks

  • Lilya

    Tom Ashbrook :

    How difficult can it be to get it.  We cooked it up and serving it to you.
    http://www.TrumpTowels.org/fbi
    Jusk click & use 2 oz. of common sense.
    Journalism has never been easier than this …BUT FOR THE VICTIMS’S  SAKE, DO YOUR JOB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    What do you want to see, that was found by the FBI New Jersey on Sep 11, 2001 …. suspicious characters, failing lie tests, lying to th Feds, bomb suits, explosive residue, plane tickets for the next day, celebrating the 9/11 attacks in real time, phone call records that are “directly” connected to 9/11 players

  • Lilya Lopekha

    Tom Ashbrook :

    How difficult can it be to get it. We cooked it up and serving it to you.
    http://www.TrumpTowels.org/fbi
    Jusk click & use 2 oz. of common sense.
    Journalism has never been easier than this …BUT FOR THE VICTIMS’S SAKE, DO YOUR JOB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    What do you want to see, that was found by the FBI New Jersey on Sep 11, 2001 …. suspicious characters, failing lie tests, lying to th Feds, bomb suits, explosive residue, plane tickets for the next day, celebrating the 9/11 attacks in real time, phone call records that are “directly” connected to 9/11 players     

    • Anonymous

      I am sorry but this kind of response is a little out to lunch.

  • Anonymous

    Good article by Noam Chomsky at counterpunch:

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/09/06/was-there-an-alternative/

    • Modavations

      What do Noam and Krugman have in common?.They are consistently wrong about absolutely everything

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

        Let’s see… Um… Noam and Paul just scratch the surface, but never dare get to the real cause of the problems.

        • Gregg

          Now you’re getting it!

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

        Wait a minute… second guess….. very insightful people call both of them “gate keepers”.

        • Larrypayne

          Here’s a prime example of Chomsky being a gatekeeper:

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoDqDvbgeXM

          When he says, “Who cares who did it,” does he realize he is saying that bringing to justice the perpetrators of mass murder is not important in his mind–that the laws of the world do not need to be administered in this case?

          Or is he just saying that to protect Israel?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

    How about when smirking chimp appointed Henry Kissinger to lead the 9/11 investigation. 

    Didn’t y’all get that warm and fuzzy proud to be American feeling ?  I know I didn’t.   It felt like Argentina after the coup.  Scary stuff.

  • Modavations

    War on our bankrolls:Solyndra and the democrat fund raiser,herr Kaiser

  • Darshan Haward

    Was listening to the show …

    George Pecker is playing the same drum that will not change anything.What is the problem with him…. can’t see stuff that is put in front of him

    Just click here and use your common sensehttp://www.TrumpTowels.com/fbi
    If this investigation was about members of the Japanese Military or North Korean, we would not stop talking about them.

    What does Bush’s tax cuts have anything to do with the biggest structural and inexplicable collapse in the history of the world.

    Did not hear him of say anything about the URBAN MOVING COMPANY

    • NrthOfTheBorder

      Get a life.

  • twenty-niner

    In terms of bringing the country down, I’ll put this little piece of legislation, signed back in ’99, up against Bin Laden any day.

    “Agreement Reached on Overhaul of U.S. Financial System”

    “The Clinton Administration and top Republican lawmakers reached an agreement early Friday to overhaul the financial system, repealing Depression-era laws that have restricted the banking, securities and insurance industries from expanding into one another’s businesses.”

    “With such situations in mind, the banking, insurance and securities industries spent more than $300 million in 1997 and 1998 alone on a combination of donations to political candidates, soft money contributions to political parties and lobbying.”

    “White House officials withheld final approval of the agreement until aides could see the measure’s language. But the officials indicated Friday night that, with broad support from Democrats in Congress, the measure was all but certain to be signed by President Clinton.”

    http://partners.nytimes.com/library/financial/102399banks-congress.html 

    • Modavations

      I’ll trump that.In 1985(?) we had Graham-Hollings”.It said if you don’t reach budget targets,we get automatic reductions.The oligarchy rescinded that one “toute de suite”.Term Limits anyone?

    • Flowen

      No doubt!

      If they wanted to correct the situation, they would require that all industries/companies spending money on pro-lobbyists, should equally fund public-interest lobbyists to debate the issues.

      Instead, the status quo lifts candidate and issue campaign finance limits, and enables/ensures more complete anonymity.

      What have we to look forward to?…continuing and accelerating breakdown at EVERY level…what else?

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Such a surprise!! NOT!! 

  • Darshan Haward

    http://www.TrumpTowels.com/fbi

    http://www.TrumpTowels.com/fbi

    www . TrumpTowels . com / fbi

    George Packer + Tom Ashbrook ….Now you have no excuse for NOT knowing what the hell is going on

    • Gregg

      Font color is still blue.

  • Anonymous

    Just a suggestion but would the people who have links to post please see the recent On Point episode on 9/11 conspiracy theories and post them there instead. It’s not like most of us have just crawled out from under a rock and/or have slept through the past decade whereby the theories to be in the least new or insightful.

    • Darshan Haward

      >>>most irritating and unnerving hours of my life <<<

      Are you serious???   What are you Veggie?

    • Larrypayne

      If you are not interested in 9/11, why are you here?

      • Anonymous

        How you managed to arrive at the conclusion that I am not interested in 9/11 is anyone’s guess. 

        • Anonymous

          Don’t waste your time, these people are not interested in anything but their own echo chamber. If you look at the 9/11 conspiracy show’s forum you will see plenty of evidence of this, about 3500 comments worth of it. If you disagree with them they attack you.
          It’s a waste of time trying to reason with the unreasonable. 

          • Larrypayne

            Most of the name-calling done on the 9/11 conspiracy theory show forum came from people like yourself and Questionman.

        • Larrypayne

          OK, then what you are saying is that you are not interested in 9/11 truth. More and more of us are and you are going to have to get used to it. http://rememberbuilding7.org/10/#aevideo

  • Lee Bartell

    9/11 didn’t come out of a clear blue sky, as you said.  The Towers were attacked in the early 90s, the USS Cole was bombed, the embassies in Kenya & Tanzania were bombed, and more.  These were all signs of how much we were hated by these groups.  We never tried to have a dialogue, to engage, to say “Look at your people.  Let us help you.”

    And as far as Iraq goes, the White House was going to call it “Operation Iraqi Liberation” until they saw that the acronym was OIL, so they changed it to “Operation Iraqi Freedom” and boy oh boy, is it ever OIF!

  • http://twitter.com/mikewashere Mike Washere

    I totally agreed with the last caller to George Packer! I about choked on my Veggie Burger when Packer blamed our invasion of Iraq as something we did to stop terrorist groups. DUDE we invaded IRAQ for OIL! I can’t believe you would even think differently. We are in LIBYA because of OIL. USA is not in YEMEN, SOMALIA, EGYPT, WEST AFRICA or SYRIA, WHY, cause they don’t have OIL.

    • Darshan Haward

      Oil?  Are you sure? 
      Did Bush personally call you while he was ignoring the rest of us?

      http://www.HumanGenome.org/iraq/reasons.htm

    • Gregg

      Gas in my town is pushing $4/gal. How’s the oil thing working out?

      • Larrypayne

        Just because the oil cartel gets it cheap doesn’t mean they’ll sell it cheap.

        • Gregg

          Gas is 12 cents a gallon in Venezuela.

          • Larrypayne

            Venezuela is not a member of the oil cartel. Hugo Chavez sets prices in Venezuela.

          • Gregg

            91 cents in Saudi Arabia.

          • Larrypayne

            ExxonMobil made 33 billion in profit last year. They can afford to appease some of their source.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

      Israel

  • http://www.thomashughes.info Tom Hughes

    I’m a longtime fan of Mr. Packer and a lifelong New Yorker reader, but I disagree with his assessment of the design outcomes at the Trade Center site. The view from my western window is a broad slice of the WTC site including the South Tower memorial, which tonight is running the fountains and for the first time (that I’ve seen) testing their lights. It’s a slightly windy evening, and the combination of the falling, waving sheets of water, the light rising up through them, and the trees that embrace the whole memorial, is both astoundingly beautiful and deeply moving. With that “loss of innocence” may, at least, have come an appetite and a talent for great, humane design. More than any other thing, the resurrection of the Lower Manhattan peninsula gives me hope that our frail and struggling democracy can nonetheless surmount the challenges we face.

    • Gregg

      Thanks for that Mr. Hughes.

    • Larrypayne

      You find hope in a memorial to the greatest false flag crime in history?

      • Anonymous

        You have a lot of nerve. 

  • DjE

    An essential understanding is the underlying racism of the United States. As a white woman, I know it robs me of all of my intellect by the insidious ways I seek not to be defensive. The sum of that diminishes our brilliance over time and over a population. It causes us to make assumptions about ourselves and others that are wrong. For people who are not white privileged, their brilliance is silenced or not heard. When 9/11 happened, I wondered how tribal people of the land called the USA endured repeated 9/11 experiences. We each can make the personal change that has the sum of a nation-wide revision of our analysis of ourselves. This is not easy, yet it is necessary work.

  • Rmacaskill

    I’m a knitter interested in knitting history. We knit for our troops during World Wars I and II.  http://www.nationalww2museum.org/learn/knit-your-bit/knitting-during-wwii.html

    I so agree with the gentleman who asked why the Republicans didn’t want to pay for the war. Knitters didn’t knit for the war either, at least not the way they did in WWII.

    It didn’t feel like our war.  

    -RMacAskill 

  • East

    Did not 9/11 revert a huge amount of resources towards security? Was such an amount forseen and budgeted for? Was this new allotment paid for? Was it not important that it was paid for? Were the leaders fiscally responsible? Did not the housing fiasco illustrate this deliquence.

  • Linda

    The question that wasn’t asked, and still has not been asked, is Why were we attacked?  The answer is not that our attackers hate freedom, as Bush claimed, but our policy of total support for Israel.

    • lv

      That’s right. And because Israel does not want a state named Palestine, USA does not want it either -regardless of otherwise hypocrite politics pretending that we do. Then we gained the whole Muslin world -and the extremist within it as our enemies. What do we expect from hard-line enemies? Hard inflictions.  We would be better off leaving the Arab countries, Israel and Palestine solve their own problems than siding with Israel and gaining enemies that were never ours to begin with. Let the United Nations to mediate between countries in conflict. The Israeli-Palestine conflict may not be easy to resolve but our unconditional support to Israel has not help. Far from that it has made it worse and brought a war upon us. What for? 

    • Rory

      The attackers do hate freedom, but that is not why they attacked us.  It is our foreign policy and presence in the middle east that motivated them, as you surmise. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brennan-Moriarty/100000655771831 Brennan Moriarty

    The pacifist and the Pacific/west coast
    Primary Freedom/security [geo-denominated by] secondary norms dis-freedom and responsibility to navigate such denominators.
    Concider secondary norms as [hidden obstacles] submarine seamounts/reefs in the shipping channels of Primary norms [obvious passes].
    America floats between 2 unconnected oceans -panama shmanama [shamans contradict science of depth/obstacles,] and geography can dispose of those who would ask what is the way out -those normative variables …under-water, loose lips, lost smiles [isolation obsurdity].
         The peace ship [friendship] requires the sonar images to bounce back[geo-response-ability/representation of national esteem and face] with the gravity[qualification] they have[quantification], but it’s lonely and hopeless down there on the happy-china pacific pacified west-coast of america.
    Up on the mast the lookout is clear but the mad-scientist telling the navigator [and captain?] to do something! in the fog of sociological economies, is polarizing when he sees his image in the new-ocean meta-worldly paradigms. But when the images return [bounce] to the vehicle of america and the path become clear… we can only let history smile fore the present is to complicated, it’s a new path for many youth to navigate in their deep dispair.
    GW Bush “said” tourism and terroism…
    Obama “listens” _X_x_X_x_…; only science can filter the jumble, for politics and dis-navigation in pacified realms is treacherous.
    Only knowing the map/history/norms and monitoring the worldly/national conditions [winds and storms/elections] can navigate fear and keep offence at bay,  {and accomplish the good-of-war/moral-ceramony, without! war or badness}

  • Terry Tree Tree

    3100 Security Organizations, Private and Government, most with NO real oversight, private contractors checking private contractors, hiring government personnel-for the same job at a much higher price-is quite a financial incentive for what happened!

  • Jjcajko

    hello Tom , re: 9-11 , no sob stories please just the truth , you filtered out my comment about the N.Y.C. big hole  , I call the black eye , due to greed and stupidity we have no momument to view , how sad ,.. also where are the plane engins if… a plane hit the PENTAGON , TOO MANY UNANSWERED QUESTIONS , A LITANY OF B.S. AND COVER-UP , JC / VT

  • http://twitter.com/davepetri David Petri

    I was quite surprised to hear Mount Airy discussed.  I live in Mt Airy, and see the unemployment and loss of textile industry base here.  At the same time, I would have loved to have George come to Nester Hosiery and see that despite the textile downturn, there is a successful textile company here that is growing.  Much to be learned from what we have accomplished.

  • Anonymous

    We have substituted share price as the new currency, creating an urgency for businesses (publicly traded uber-corporations) to focus their attention on the next quarter. A three-month time horizon. This is why corporations will not now, will never, and have never been, the way forward for this country. The national vision comes from the body politick, and it’s time for the nation’s consumers (that’s all we are now) to take back the role of citizen. It will happen eventually. But will it happen in time? And how bad will things have to get, first?

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  • Ecantarow

    HERE IS WHAT I MEANT: A Moment of Silence
    Emmanuel Ortiz
    Before I begin this poem, I’d like to ask you to join me in a moment of silence in honor of those who died in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11th, 2001.
    I would also like to ask you to offer up a moment of silence for all of those who have been harassed, imprisoned, disappeared, tortured, raped, or killed in retaliation for those strikes, for the victims in Afghanistan, Iraq, in the U.S., and throughout the world.And if I could just add one more thing.
    A full day of silence… for the tens of thousands of Palestinians who have died at the hands of U.S.-backed Israeli forces over decades of occupation.
    Six months of silence… for the million and-a-half Iraqi people, mostly children, who have died of malnourishment or starvation as a resultof a 12-year U.S. embargo against the country.
    …And now, the drums of war beat again.
    Before I begin this poem, two months of silence… for the Blacks under Apartheid in South Africa, where “homeland security” made them aliens in their own country
    Nine months of silence… for the dead in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where death rained down and peeled back every layer of concrete, steel, earth and skin, and the survivors went on as if alive.
    A year of silence… for the millions of dead in Viet Nam­—a people, not a war—for those who know a thing or two about the scent of burning fuel, their relatives bones buried in it, their babies born of it.
     
    Two months of silence… for the decades of dead in Colombia, whose
    names, like the corpses they once represented, have piled up and slipped off our tongues.
    Before I begin this poem,
    Seven days of silence… for El SalvadorA day of silence… for NicaraguaFive days of silence… for the GuatemaltecosNone of whom ever knew a moment of peace in their living years.45 seconds of silence… for the 45 dead at Acteal, Chiapas…1,933 miles of silence… for every desperate bodyThat burns in the desert sunDrowned in swollen rivers at the pearly gates to the Empire’s underbelly,A gaping wound sutured shut by razor wire and corrugated steel.
    25 years of silence… for the millions of Africans who found their graves far deeper in the ocean than any building could poke into the sky.For those who were strung and swung from the heights of sycamore treesIn the south… the north… the east… the west…There will be no dna testing or dental records to identify their remains.
    100 years of silence… for the hundreds of millions of indigenous peopleFrom this half of right here,Whose land and lives were stolen,In postcard-perfect plots like Pine Ridge, Wounded Knee, Sand Creek, Fallen Timbers, or the Trail of TearsNames now reduced to innocuous magnetic poetry on the refrigerator of our consciousness…
    From somewhere within the pillars of powerYou open your mouths to invoke a moment of our silenceAnd we are all left speechless,Our tongues snatched from our mouths,Our eyes stapled shut.
    A moment of silence,And the poets are laid to rest,The drums disintegrate into dust. Before I begin this poem,You want a moment of silence…
    You mourn now as if the world will never be the sameAnd the rest of us hope to hell it won’t be.Not like it always has been.
    …Because this is not a 9-1-1 poemThis is a 9/10 poem,It is a 9/9 poem,A 9/8 poem,A 9/7 poem…This is a 1492 poem.
    This is a poem about what causes poems like this to be written. And if this is a 9/11 poem, thenThis is a September 11th 1973 poem for Chile.This is a September 12th 1977 poem for Steven Biko in South Africa.This is a September 13th 1971 poem for the brothers at Attica Prison, New York.This is a September 14th 1992 poem for the people of Somalia.This is a poem for every date that falls to the ground amidst the ashes of amnesia. This is a poem for the 110 stories that were never told,The 110 stories that history uprooted from its textbooksThe 110 stories that that cnn, bbc, The New York Times, and Newsweek ignored.
    This is a poem for interrupting this program.
    This is not a peace poem,
    Not a poem for forgiveness.
    This is a justice poem,A poem for never forgetting.
    This is a poem to remind usThat all that glittersMight just be broken glass.
    And still you want a moment of silence for the dead?
    We could give you lifetimes of empty:The unmarked graves,The lost languages,The uprooted trees and histories,The dead stares on the faces of nameless children… Before I start this poem we could be silent forever
    Or just long enough to hunger,For the dust to bury usAnd you would still ask usFor more of our silence.
    So if you want a moment of silence Then stop the oil pumpsTurn off the engines, the televisionsSink the cruise shipsCrash the stock marketsUnplug the marquee lightsDelete the e-mails and instant messagesDerail the trains, ground the planes.
    If you want a moment of silence, put a brick through the windowof Taco BellAnd pay the workers for wages lost.
    Tear down the liquor stores,The townhouses, the White Houses, the jailhouses, the Penthousesand the Playboys.
    If you want a moment of silence,Then take it
    On Super Bowl Sunday,The Fourth of July,During Dayton’s 13 hour sale,The next time your white guilt fills the room where my beautiful brown people have gathered.
    You want a moment of silenceThen take itNow,
    Before this poem begins.Here, in the echo of my voice,
    In the pause between goosesteps of the second hand,In the space between bodies in embrace,Here is your silence.
    Take it.
    Take it all.
    But don’t cut in line.
    Let your silence begin at the beginning of crime. And we,Tonight,We will keep right on singingFor our dead.
     
    ————————————————
    Emmanuel Ortiz is a third-generation Chicano/Puerto Rican/Irish-American community organizer and spoken word poet. He is the author of a chapbook of poems, The Word Is a Machete (self-published, 2003), and coeditor of Under What Bandera?: Anti-War Ofrendas from Minnesota y Califas (Calaca Press, 2004). He is a founding member of Palabristas: Latin@ Word Slingers, a collective of Latin@ poets in Minnesota. Emmanuel has lived in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Oakland, California; and the Arizona/Mexico border. He currently lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana, the “buckle of the Bible Belt,” with his two dogs, Nogi and Cuca. In his spare time, he enjoys guacamole, soccer, and naps.
     

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  • OBD2
ONPOINT
TODAY
Jul 23, 2014
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Crisis at the US border. What do Latinos on this side of the border have to say? We’ll ask our special roundtable.

Jul 23, 2014
Actor Wallace Shawn attends special screening of "Turks and Caicos" hosted by Vogue and The Cinema Society at the Crosby Street Hotel on Monday, April 7, 2014 in New York.  (AP)

From “The Princess Bride” to “My Dinner with Andre “and “A Master Builder,” actor and writer Wallace Shawn joins us.

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