By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit
Exile in Happy Valley
It’s been twenty years since 9/11 but it feels more like twenty years of 9/11. That’s probably because an entire industrial complex has been constructed around a concerted effort to keep those wounds fresh and harvest the anguish they cause in order to manipulate a permanently traumatized nation into consenting to endless warfare and our own wholesale enslavement at the hands of a rapidly expanding police state. Those attacks didn’t just claim the lives of over 2000 Americans, they ushered in an era of darkness that we can’t seem to escape from.
It’s been twenty years of a global forever war on any strain of Islam that resists western subjugation, from the Islamic Courts of Somalia to the Pashtun tribes of Afghanistan. It’s been twenty years of disastrous regime change and colonialist nation building experiments. It’s been twenty years of sacrificing every civil liberty a plebian has ever managed to get their grubby hands on in this country on the alter of national security and law and order. It’s been twenty years of warrantless wiretaps, extraordinary rendition, and militarized police forces patrolling the inner cities in armored vehicles. It’s been a twenty year news cycle of breathless round the clock fear mongering and chest thumping jingoism. Twenty years of being screamed at by tiny men in expensive suits about the moral priority of chasing Arab boogeymen who never quite materialize. It’s been twenty goddamn years of being held hostage by a single day in September 2001, and what have we learned?
We’ve learned that there is no tragedy too tender for a politician to exploit for profit. We’ve learned that the same men who pounced on our terror from that day like bloodthirsty jackals were also in the perfect position to prevent it from even happening in the first place and either failed or chose to fail to do so. We’ve learned that there is no such thing as a peace party in this country and that both Democrats and Republicans are equally willing to do the bidding of the same war machine that gives our ‘indispensable’ nation its only true purpose. We’ve learned that Saudi Arabia is definitely not our friend and is at least as willing as their neocon cheerleaders to stoke the flames of Islamic extremism to line their own pockets. We’ve learned, once again, that the mountains and valleys of Afghanistan will never be tamed by white men and their tedious experiments with what they refer to as progress. And we’ve learned that terrorism has a funny habit of creeping up like vines anywhere a foreign boot meets the sacred soil of a conquered land.
But even with all this knowledge and the institutionalized trauma that comes with it, we still haven’t learned nearly enough to keep ourselves any safer or less clueless than we were on September 10th. We still haven’t learned to stop investing our faith in corporate backed career politicians or the polluted system they dare to call a democracy. We still haven’t learned that there is zero sunlight between our two major war parties when it comes to lying us into even more open ended foreign bloodbaths, or at least we haven’t learned enough to stop voting for the fucking bastards. And we still haven’t learned after all this time that every bomb we drop creates two new terrorists for every innocent civilian it eviscerates. These kids, the ones we’ve orphaned and terrorized across the Muslim world, have sure as fuck learned something. They’ve learned to hate a nation that has stubbornly refused to learn the most important lesson from 9/11, and that lesson is that when it comes to someone else’s country, the sanest and kindest thing you can do for their people is to simply mind your own goddamn business.