Have we learned anything?
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Twenty years ago, at the time of the 9/11 attacks, American Renaissance was a monthly newsletter. The attacks were the cover story, with the title, Will America Learn its Lessons?
I noted that the 19 hijackers all entered the country legally and attracted hardly any attention, even though some of them couldnt speak English. There were already so many Middle-Eastern Muslims in the country, they blended right in. When some of them overstayed their visas, no one cared. Twenty years ago, I was naïve enough to think that this band of murderers might jolt the country out of idea that diversity is strength.
I wrote: If, because of these terrible attacks, the country manages to turn a calculating eye on the costs and benefits of playing host to millions of Arabs, the red-ink dead-loss bottom line should raise questions about other groups. What earthly good do Cambodians, Nigerians, Guatemalans, Haitians, and all the rest of them do the country?
Silly me. Just a few days after the attacks, President George W. Bush visited an Islamic center to proclaim how wonderful Muslims are, and to remind us that Islam is a religion of peace.
Later, at a joint session of Congress, the president said something so abysmally stupid it was clear he wouldnt learn anything: They hate right what we see in this chambera democratically elected government. Their leaders are self-appointed. They hate our freedomsour freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other. [[14:49 15:15]]
Are we really supposed to imagine Osama and the boys saying to each other, Those Americans have so much freedom, well just have to kill them? Both before and after the attack, bin Laden explained why he wanted us dead. Wikipedia lists his Stated Motives, and right at the top is Support of Israel by United States.
He also didnt like America soldiers on the sacred soil of Saudi Arabia or sanctions against Iraq.
Whether or not they were justified, not even to acknowledge bin Ladens stated grievances was borderline psychotic. Mr. Bush and his pals claimed the attack had nothing to do with anything we might have done. It was because we are so wonderful. And so, just a week after the attack, Congress gave up the power to declare war, and voted to let the president kill anyone he likes, whenever he likes, so long as its part of the War on Terror.
And we did a heap of killing. The Watson Institute at Brown University figures that the human cost has been somewhere around 900,000 people dead, including about 15,000 Americans and another 15,000 NATO allies.
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