What Have We Learned from Our Response to 9/11?

To hear from our politicians, not much. Since 9/11, we permitted and greenlit the destruction of millions of families – women and children primarily – throughout the Middle East and South and Central Asia through rampant displacement, destruction of basic infrastructure, and air and ground war, snipers, coups, drones, air raids, governmental malfeasance. The priorities of the US and its European allies through the last fifteen years has been to promote an economy that works for those who it has been working for and spreading new markets into new lands through military imperialism.

The grotesque mass murder of fifty LGBTQ people (most of whom are LatinX) by a domestic violence-practicing police stand-in (remind you of anyone?) who worked for a global security firm but claimed ties to both ISIS and its rivals is opportune time to ramp up these priorities. Consider how similar the language is between these major players. And remember, always, that all war is against the poor.

George W Bush on 9/11:

These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our Nation into chaos and retreat, but they have failed. Our country is strong.

A great people has been moved to defend a great nation. Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shattered steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve. America was targeted for attack because we’re the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining.

Today our Nation saw evil, the very worst of human nature…

Our military is powerful, and it’s prepared

Our first priority is to get help to those who have been injured and to take every precaution to protect our citizens at home and around the world from further attacks…

Our financial institutions remain strong, and the American economy will be open for business as well.

The search is underway for those who are behind these evil acts. I’ve directed the full resources of our intelligence and law enforcement communities to find those responsible and to bring them to justice. We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them.

I appreciate so very much the Members of Congress who have joined me in strongly condemning these attacks…

America and our friends and allies join with all those who want peace and security in the world, and we stand together to win the war against terrorism…

This is a day when all Americans from every walk of life unite in our resolve for justice and peace. America has stood down enemies before, and we will do so this time. None of us will ever forget this day. Yet, we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world.

Donald Trump after the Pulse massacre:

We cannot continue to allow thousands upon thousands of people to pour into our country, many of whom have the same thought process as this savage killer…

If we don’t get tough and if we don’t get smart and fast we’re not going to have our country anymore. There will be nothing – absolutely nothing – left.

The bottom line is the only reason the killer was in America in the first place is because we allowed his family to come here…

[Friends and neighbors of the assailants] know what’s going on…They didn’t turn them in. And you know what? We had death and destruction.

and..

We admit more than 1000,000 lifetime migrants from the Middle East each year. Since 9/11, hundreds of migrants and their children have been implicated in terrorism in the United States…

We need to protect all Americans, of all backgrounds and all beliefs, from Radical Islamic Terrorism – which has no place in an open and tolerant society… I am going to be a President for all Americans, and I am going to protect and defend all Americans.

[How did this clown get to this level of trolling I will never know]

Hillary Clinton, post-Pulse massacre:

Whatever we learn about this killer [Omar Mateen], his motives in the days ahead, we know already the barbarity that we face from radical jihadists is profound. In the Middle East, ISIS is attempting a genocide of religious and ethnic minorities. They are slaughtering Muslims who refuse to accept their medieval ways. They are beheading civilians, including executing LGBT people. They are murdering Americans and Europeans, enslaving, torturing and raping women and girls. In speeches like this one, after Paris, Brussels and San Bernardino, I have laid out a plan to defeat ISIS and the other radical jihadist groups in the region and beyond.

The attack in Orlando makes it even more clear, we cannot contain this threat. We must defeat it. And the good news is that the coalition effort in Syria and Iraq has made recent gains in the last months. So we should keep the pressure on ramping up the air campaign, accelerating support for our friends fighting to take and hold ground and pushing our partners in the region to do even more.

So, yes, efforts to defeat ISIS on the battlefield must succeed. But it will take more than that.

We have to be just as adaptable and versatile as our enemies. As president, I will make identifying and stopping lone wolves a top priority.

I will put a team together from across our government, the entire government, as well as the private sector and communities to get on top of this urgent challenge. And I will make sure our law enforcement and intelligence professionals have all the resources they need to get the job done.

As we do this, there are three areas that demand attention. First, we and our allies must work hand-in-hand to dismantle the networks that move money, and propaganda, and arms and fighters around the world…

Second, here at home, we must harden our own defenses

 

It has often been said that our law enforcement, our intelligence agencies, our first responders have to be right 100 percent of the time, but terrorists only have to be right once…

 

We also need to work with local law enforcement and business owners on ways to protect vulnerable, so-called soft targets, like nightclubs and shopping malls and hotels and movie theaters and schools and houses of worship…

We already know we need more resources for this fight. The professionals who keep us safe would be the first to say we need better intelligence to discover and disrupt terrorist plots before they can be carried out.

That’s why I have proposed an intelligence surge to bolster our capabilities across the board with appropriate safeguards here at home.

Even as we make sure our security officials get the tools they need to prevent attacks, it’s essential that we stop terrorists from getting the tools they need to carry out the attack.

 

We also have to use all our capabilities to counter jihadist propaganda online. This is something that I spend a lot of time on at the State Department.

As president, I will work with our great tech companies from Silicon Valley to Boston to step up our game. We have to a better job intercepting ISIS’ communications, tracking and analyzing social media posts and mapping jihadist networks, as well as promoting credible voices who can provide alternatives to radicalization.

And there is more to do offline as well…

Since 9/11, law enforcement agencies have worked hard to build relationships with Muslim American communities. Millions of peace-loving Muslims live, work and raise their families across America. And they are the most likely to recognize the insidious effects of radicalization before it’s too late, and the best positioned to help us block it. So we should be intensifying contacts in those communities, not scapegoating or isolating them…

 

Inflammatory anti-Muslim rhetoric and threatening to ban the families and friends of Muslim Americans as well as millions of Muslim business people and tourists from entering our country hurts the vast majority of Muslims who love freedom and hate terror

So does saying that we have to start special surveillance on our fellow Americans because of their religion. It’s no coincidence that hate crimes against American Muslims and mosques have tripled after Paris and San Bernardino…

Still, as I have said before, none of us can close our eyes to the fact that we do face enemies who use their distorted version of Islam to justify slaughtering innocent people. They’d take us all back to the Stone Age if they could, just as they have in parts of Iraq and Syria.

The terrorist in Orlando targeted LGBT Americans out of hatred and bigotry. And an attack on any American is an attack on all Americans.

A few things are sure here. One is that there is no way to go to the right of Donald Trump and that there is no way that he can or should be taken seriously. In an electoral sense, he is destined for horror.

While there is no doubt that Clinton and Sanders are less hawkish and more nuanced – less prone to use militaristic violence here and abroad, less likely to detain and deport Muslims and Arabs – than their Republican counterparts, there is no shortage of hawkish language here. From Bush to Trump and Clinton, there is the unmistakable language of surveillance and of war, of destruction within and of Muslim families, communities, nations. In fact, Clinton says, we cannot contain ISIS. We must destroy it..

We must be vigilant. We must ramp up our efforts. We must wage a never-ending war… on terror.

We have here pre-crime rhetoric.

This is the kind of political language that puts poor people and people of color (in this case, those from and in the Middle East, Northern Africa, and South and Central Asia) in the crossfires, literally.

As in poor urban communities of color, the language from political leaders is that of hyper-ostracizing, of pitting against each other, of pawning. Both Clinton and Trump believe that Muslims should be reporting against Muslims – or in the popular phrase of W, If you see something, say something.

But this is the root of this violent radicalization. It starts at home with alienation. That is when urban youth join gangs, rural youth use drugs, Muslim youth pique interest in these radical armies, and white youth join White Supremacist movements.

When our political power is used against us and the workers of any nation are turned against each other over demographic reasons, we all suffer, both here and abroad. Wars are fought for the interests of the capitalist class but always at the expense of the working class, who are the first to fight, the first to die, and the most heavily-taxed and hurt. Clinton seems to know this and warn against it even as she uses words to describe doing exactly that.

A Party of the People will seek to unite, not ostracize. It will be radical, but a radical act of saving lives and making them bountiful, flourishing. We are, instead, witnessing the wanton destruction of poor people’s lives.

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