Monday, September 11, 2017
By Barbara Kidney
The Continuing Horror of 9/11
Sixteen years later, and tragically, the horrific legacy of 9/11 lives on. Manhattan is my home town. My Mom, like her own Mom, had been born in Manhattan. My Dad (the the Irish-American Brooklynite) worked on Maiden Lane, in lower Manhattan. He had been retired for many years at the time of 9/11, and I had left even more years ago.
At the time of the 9/11 attack, I was living in the Hudson Valley, with friends & neighbors working in Manhattan, including possibly my own husband, working as courier driver. Eventually I found out that no one close to me had died in the attack, but the brother of an acquaintance (the brother had been a Manhattan chef) was killed, and the young adult son of a lovely, typically cheerful friend of mine, on his way to visit his fiancé across the country, was on board one of the planes that hit the towers.
People caught in the attack, NYC Transit workers, police, firefighters, EMT and other emergency personnel, exerted heroic efforts to prevent further deaths and to otherwise respond to the tragedy. As a native of NYC, I certainly was not at all surprised to hear of the various stories of sudden heroism by ordinary New Yorkers, who typically rise to such occasions with down-to-earth decency, humble and amazing courage, and competence. Many of these have had their lives impeded and shortened by harm to their health, from the asbestos and toxins they breathed in, from the lack of protective equipment, and from our nation’s unique failure to provide adequate healthcare to all but the wealthy and the electeds.
And, I am proud to say, like so many of my fellow New Yorkers, including those who lost loved ones in the attack, the very last thing I wanted to have happen after 9/11 was for more civilians to be violently attacked and killed. The last thing we wanted to have happen is for normal humans doing normal activities – people caring for their babies, caring for each other, caring for their pets, going to their jobs, taking their kids to school, growing crops (and flowers), creating art, healing the sick, making music, pursuing scientific enquiry, falling in love- the last thing we wanted after that hellish day, was to have some Americans choose to continue the work of the devil, and go around bombing people, who are just trying to live their lives in their own communities.
However, the very thing we most abhor, the killing of other humans, just trying to live their own human lives, was what those Americans with the most decision-making power chose to do. After arranging for Bin Laden’s family in the U.S to be flown safely out of the US without questioning right after 9/11, W. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Rice, chose to violently kill, maim, torture Afghanis and Iraqis.
Had the governments of Afghanistan or Iraq declared war on us or even attacked us? No, they had not. Which country, besides possibly our own, was most responsible, for 9/11? Our dear friend, Saudi Arabia, to whom we give billions of US tax money for their weapons of terrorism – W. Bush, Obama, Trump…one thing these presidents all have in common is that. Many self-identified liberals and progressives opposed the invasion of Iraq during the W. Bush years, but then supported the US war on the Middle East during the Obama years.
According to well-respected human rights institutions such as Amnesty International, Reprieve, and Human Rights Watch, US military violence in the Middle East has killed hundreds of thousands of civilians, displaced millions, and under Obama, sneak drone murders of civilians in several countries has increased about tenfold compared to W., resulting in thousands of civilians being murdered, and Trump continues the dronings. I use the word “murders” advisedly – bombing people with drones operated across the world, and then bombing the first-responders who come to render aid to the victims, is officially a crime according to international courts of justice, as well to anyone with the least exacting of moral compasses.
US presidents have much decision-making power, but it takes the many to empower their decisions. So many ways to enable US military terrorism. Even though US wars and other military actions have been unjust and often illegal according to international standards, join the military or the National Guard, encourage young people to do so, and thank military members for their service (to Commanders-in-Chief with track records of violently sociopathic policy decisions).
Repeat the malarkey that the US military defends our freedoms (no, we do not have the freedom to kill people in other countries. Are they invading us? No, we are invading them. Are they threatening our Bill of Rights? No, we are doing that to ourselves, with, for example, the “Patriot” Acts, NSA, and Border Patrol allowed to do whatever they want to whomever they want, whenever). Repeat the malarkey that US military are all heroes. Keep silent when others mouth the malarkey. Never speak up about the blatant immorality of US declared and undeclared wars and the drone murders. Never join or support a peace group. Call violence “patriotic” and call failure to support mass murder “unpatriotic,” call those who try to protect their communities against US military violence “insurgents” like that’s a bad thing (hey, remember 1776 – who were the insurgents then?). And when you hear others speak this way, be sure to remain silent. Never write a letter to the editor against US military decisions, never contact your electeds to protest US military actions.
Because fact is, those who can decide to initiate violent militaristic activities, would be utterly helpless to enact them, if it weren’t for all the myriad enablers making all those atrocities possible.
Special acknowledgement to all who remain silent about all that- the ongoing hellish legacy of 9/11 would be impossible without you. So, about three thousand people killed on 9/11/01, and since then, via military actions, the US has killed or otherwise adversely impacted well over a million people, who had, incidentally, nothing to do with 9/11.
To those who did have something to do with 9/11, we continue to give heaps of our tax money and weapons. Can we stop yet? Can we stop the hellish legacy of 9/11? A reminder – in sharp contrast to the Democratic Party, as well as to the Republican Party, the Green Party accepts no corporate (think arms and drone manufacturers) funding, and the official political platform of the Green Party clearly supports peace. Thou shalt not kill. Is this really such a hard directive to follow? What will you do?
Barbara Kidney HVGP Co-Chair
Reprinted from Hudson Valley Green Party Blog, with permission of author.
Barbara Kidney, Ph.D., a counseling psychologist in private practice, resides in the Hudson Valley of NYS and does what she can to promote the welfare of Earth and Earthlings. She is a member of American Psychological Association’s Division 48, the Society for the Study of Peace, Conflict, and Violence, and a founding member of Hudson Valley Green Party and of the Drone Alert – Hudson Valley project 2012 – 2015.