[Rerun from 2011] Ten Things I Want My Kids To Learn From 9/11

This is what I wrote on the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

Last 5 posts by Ken White


  1. Kratoklastes says

    That piece ranks as one of your more self-absorbed, and is full to bursting with American Exceptionalism. You really ought to run these things past Clark.

    The economic refugees who join the military and invade others' countries… these are 'heroes' in your taxonomy? How about the Afghan tribesmen who dislike having an alien culture imposed by force (and tech), and who resisted these 'heroes' of yours? No mention of them; no mention of the children and pregnant women killed by your 'heroes'; no mention of the (roughly) 3.3 million excess deaths in Iraq alone, due to US-led sanctions and war… of which, about 750,000 were children as young as your kid. But they were just Arabs, right? They don't get a mention.

    No mention of the possible notion that, instead of some infantile Manichaean notion of 'evil', the events of 911 were the poor-man's asymmetric response to a hundred years of bad-faith dealing by successive US governments in the Arab world?

    As I and others have said more than once: if WTC I and II were in downtown Kabul or Baghdad, and the US incinerated them with a half-million Tomahawk launched fom a guided missile frigate… well, the mouth-breathers would have been informed that it was a command, control and communications centre, and thus a valid target – irrespective of the civilian casualties. All clean, and legal-like: John Yoo could write a memo about how totally legal and not-remotely-a-war-of-aggression it was.

    If you kid learns anything about 9/11, let it learn that a century of deliberately and cynically manipulating a foreign people, will lead those people to do desperate things in an effort to get you to back the fuck off. If you spend a century with your boot on someone's neck, you have no right to bitch when your victim takes the one chance he gets to kick you in the balls.

    This goes into the same reprehensible pit of ignrance and self-absorption that makes Americans renowned for their 'tin ear': half a million Iraqi children were declared – by the US Secretary of State, on national TV – to have been "Worth the price", with no career consequences… but kill a few hundred Yanks and the tears flow for half a generation.

    It speaks to a genuine national mental illness, that beheading a journalist is morally repugnant – but nobody has qualms about raining drones from the sky on wedding parties (with the obligatory 'double tap' on non-US – and hence axiomatically non-'hero' – "first responders").

  2. En Passant says

    This goes into the same reprehensible pit of ignrance and self-absorption that makes Americans renowned for their 'tin ear' …

    tin andra, tin eroa, tina theon,
    What god, man, or hero
    Shall I place a tin wreath upon?

  3. Frank Ney says

    What's the difference between 9/11 and a cow?

    After 13 years you stop milking the cow.