"Ethan looked at her with loathing. She was no longer the listless creature who had lived at his side in a state of sullen self-absorption, but a mysterious alien presence, an evil energy secreted from the long years of silent brooding"--Ethan Frome
Saturday was the 20th anniversary of 9/11. President Biden called for unity. (What's the Doddering Groper going to call for, disunity?) Did it really change America, or just bring out Uncle Sam's true face? The American government may not have (or may have) been guilty of imperialistic hegemony in the Middle East before then, but there's no credible doubt that it's guilty now! We still hear the calls to remember, yet Americans are encouraged to remember without learning, like the Bourbons.
I remember how my flight to England was delayed two days because of all the American planes landing in Toronto, which does seem pretty minor. And I remember Americans asking "Why are we hated?" but unwilling to listen to any answer that didn't have a pro-American spin. (Which only leaves "They hate us for our freedoms...") I also remember ceremonies commemorating the three-month anniversary on December 11, which was a little much.
Twenty years later, Adolf Bullyani is finally discredited. But back at the time, of course, the American press turned him into a hero because he'd said some reassuring things. That tells you everything about what's wrong with the mainstream news media! They decide what the people want to hear and reward those who say it, just like with Reagan. (When Howard Dean raises his voice, on the other hand...)
Twenty years later, the Afghanistan and Iraq wars are both discredited. But I remember all the liberals who supported the Afghanistan invasion to show how "balanced" they were, while hoping that Iraq wouldn't be next. (Who was naive?) In particular, Salon published an article titled "We Were Wrong," by a progressive apologizing for having opposed the Afghanistan invasion, like a heretic's official recantation. And I remember born-again hawk Christopher Hitchens obtusely insisting that what Noam Chomsky said no longer mattered! (So who looks irrelevant now?)
The remarkable thing about the American response to 9/11 wasn't the predictable self-pity but the quick shift into self-congratulation! (Shortly afterward The New York Times quoted some American asking, "Why did they attack us when we're so good?" I smell doublethink...) The real winners, of course, were the corporations that made a killing from their piece of the taxpayers' billions that were spent on the military adventures that followed. No price is too high when you're "getting tough," right?
I guess I've said most of this before, but it bears repeating. The Pentagon may misplace trillions and the CIA may keep dropping the ball, but the answer is always to give them even more money and power. The USA's two-party system has produced a false consensus which endlessly benefits the Military-Industrial Complex. Thank you, Ronald Reagan.
Meanwhile, it turns out that the local NDP campaign does have an office after all, so I'm doing some office work there. Yesterday I finally finished Ethan Frome, with the book club coming up on Thursday. I could have finished it a lot earlier, but I just prefer reading history to reading fiction! I think that for our next book we'll read Stephen Leacock's Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town.