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PORTSIDE  September 2011, Week 2

PORTSIDE September 2011, Week 2

Subject:

Portsiders Reflect #5 - Conn Hallinan

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Portside Moderator <[log in to unmask]>

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[log in to unmask]

Date:

Mon, 12 Sep 2011 22:06:46 -0400

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text/plain (101 lines)

Portsiders Reflect on 9/11 Number 5

Ten Years After 9/11

We at Portside asked a number of our past contributors
and all our readers for brief reflections on the
significance of the event and this anniversary.
This is the fourth in a series of comments on that
day and what has come after it.
the Portside moderators

Statement for portside on 9/11

Conn Hallinan

Whenever I think about 9/11, it brings to mind an
evening in August 1964 in a bar in Yosemite Valley. A
television flashed: "U.S. destroyers attacked by North
Vietnamese torpedo boats in the Tonkin Gulf," and my
heart sank. One did not need a crystal ball to see that
a major escalation of the war in Southeast Asia was at
hand.

Thirty-seven years later my friend and former editor,
Carl Bloice, woke me up with an early morning phone
call and told me, "Turn on your TV." As I watched the
Twin Towers horror unfold I had the same sinking
feeling: we were going to war. What I did not imagine
was that a decade later we would still be at it, or
that the wars would pile up like rush hour collisions:
Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Pakistan, Yemen, and Libya.

I grew up during the Cold War, so I am accustomed to
the ability of the powerful to conjure up demons in
order to instill fear and loathing in a nation"s
people. But I have to admit that I was not prepared for
how effectively our government has fetishized the 9/11
attacks. Indeed, it has been elevated to the level of
Pearl Harbor. That an assault by a marginal terrorist
group could be compared to an attack by Imperial Japan,
at the time one of the most powerful industrial
economies in the world, is simply grotesque.

But grotesque or not, Sept. 11, to lift a line from Karl
Marx, "weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the
living." Behind this phantasm we wage wars, violate
international laws, restrict rights, and do downright
silly things like make people take off their shoes
before they get on an airplane.

"Terrorism" has replaced "communism" as the thing that
goes bump in the night, and to fight it we invade
countries, launch drone wars, and build secret armies.

The 9/11 fetish is currently turning its attention to
Africa, and we had best pay close attention. On Aug.
18, the New York Times featured a front-page article on
the growth of al-Qaeda in Nigeria.

And I had that sinking feeling.

Nigeria is one of Africa's largest oil producers and is
on schedule to supply the U.S. about 15 percent of its
daily needs. It borders the Gulf of Guinea, along with
a number of other oil-producing countries, including
Angola. There is instability in the Niger Delta, and
NATO has already "war gamed" intervention in the case
of "civil disturbances.

Add to this the formation of "African Command," the
ascent of Special Operations Forces officers to major
commands in the U.S. military, and the drive by U.S.
multinationals to corner resources and exploit cheap
labor. Feeling queasy?

But if the post 9/11 world is more dangerous, it is
also one filled with wonderful things like Portside
(and CounterPunch, Upsidedownworld.com, Alternet, Znet,
Truthout, Japan Focus, Foreign Policy In Focus, etc.)
that challenge the demons and counter the fears.

Better than antacids. 

___________________________________________

Portside aims to provide material of interest to people
on the left that will help them to interpret the world
and to change it.

Submit via email: [log in to unmask]

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