A post-9/11 accounting that you probably won’t read or hear in mainstream news

9-11 pool

9/11 Memorial – South Pool – CC-licensed photo by HappySkrappy

Eleven years after D-Day (June 1955), the Johnny Carson Show and the soon-to-be-scandal-ridden $64,000 Question debuted on CBS. The USSR and Yugoslavia signed the Belgrade declaration, “in which Moscow confirmed that each nation had the right to follow its own road to socialism.”

The Korean War was over (as was WWII, of course). The U.S. was involved in no war but had sent advisers to Vietnam. The Gulf of Tonkin affair was nine years in the future.

It’s 11 years after 9/11.

On the popular culture front, we have HBO’s Newsroom, which announced in its opening episode that the United States is not “the greatest nation” in the world. Google commemorated Star Trek’s first broadcast 46 years ago.

We are at war in Yemen.

Of the two wars launched in response to that attack on 9/11, we are still fighting a war in Afghanistan that began on October 7, 2001. It became the longest war in U.S. history two years ago.

We have withdrawn from Iraq but the violence there — violence directly related to our ousting Saddam Hussein and changing the balance of power (pdf) — continues. Last fall, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney called our depature a “precipitous withdrawal” that is “more than unfortunate. I think it’s tragic.”

The war in Afghanistan (the”Who Cares?” war) was ignored at the Republican National Convention. President Obama, in his acceptance speech, pledged to end our “longest war” in 2014.

And on the cost-accounting front … in the wake of nearly 3,000 deaths on U.S. soil in attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon and in the crash of a hijacked jetliner in Pennsylvania … there are estimates like these:

How many of these will you hear on the nightly news? Read in the daily newspaper?

I’m guessing, not many.

And here’s why governing by public opinion polling is a bad idea:

  • Oct. 17-27, 2002: 55% “favor taking military action in Iraq to end Saddam Hussein’s rule” despite only 48% believing “George W. Bush has explained clearly what’s at stake” (margin of error: +/-2.5%). That was barely a majority and illustrated a very divided electorate. But ahead we went.
  • Dec 16-18, 2011: 66% oppose the U.S. war in Iraq (margin of error: +/-3%). Amazingly, 48% polled believed that “U.S. involvement in the war in Iraq has had a positive effect on life in Iraq generally.” Really? How’s that externally-imposed “democracy” working out over there?

You’ll see #neverForget a lot today.

I’d argue that there are things we should not forget — but having three planes hijacked are pretty low on my list. Much more important is opportunistic political leadership and Eisenhower’s military-industrial-Congressional complex. Even former Presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is using that phrase now. Remember, GWB’s wars are the primary reason the federal budget went upside down in 2002 when coupled with the cost of war being charged to a monster credit card because of extensive tax cuts. All fueled by hot air.

Oh, yeah. #neverForget. Indeed.