Instead of uniting Americans, left and right, around 9/11, Bush used it for bald political purposes. Rather than work for international consensus, he dealt with Iraq unilaterally. Rather than upholding the constitution, he edits the inconvenientparts, much to the delight of his obsequious base.
Today, on this fifth anniversary of the attacks, two 9/11s fight for the soul of America. There is the actual day when Americans of all persuasions united with a sense of purpose. Even the French were American. So were the British, whose Buckingham Palace band struck up the Star Spangled Banner. Iranian youth lit candles and prayed, while impotent religious police glowered nearby.
It was a truly global event, kind of like the Olympics, but more spiritual and without the closing ceremony. Until President Bush, flight helmet in hand, strutted across the field of honor to extinguish the flame. The prize was too great. Carpe diem, carpo bellum.
The shared experience and all that it has taught us is gone now, says Publius:
The loss, the heroism, everything — it has all been replaced by the second 9/11. And the second 9/11 is not the day, but the concept of the day. And more precisely, it is the concept that has been tailored and mangled to fit the needs of the Republican Party. This cheap imitation of the day has been dressed up and whored out to justify Iraq, to justify torture, and to justify a political and policy agenda that has destroyed tens of thousand lives and made us reviled throughout the world.So today we have two 9/11s: one to remember what was, and what could have been; and one to to behold the monuments, reflected in the eyes of the Great Divider.
And those are the reasons why I (like many liberals I suspect) have been annoyed with the 9/11 remembrances. We feel like we have to go along, but inside we resent the anniversary and want it to be over. Inside we’re coming to hate the day. But we shouldn’t. That’s because it’s not the day we hate, it’s the second 9/11. It’s the Frankenstein-like creation that Bush and Cheney and Rove created for political reasons.