The uproar over building an Islamic center a few blocks away from the site of the World Trade towers, combined with the threat of a Florida preacher to burn the Quaran, once again fanned the flames of fear, hatred and patriotism.
For nine years, in the name of 9-11, the U.S has been at war against the people of Afghanistan. Tens of thousands have been killed, the country is in ruins, and the Obama administration is now sending even more troops into this endless war. In the name of 9-11, since 2003 the US has been at war against the people of Iraq. The war killed an estimated one million civilians, and wounded countless others. There are millions of internal refugees and those with the means, have fled the country. What was once one of the most technologically advanced countries in the region now lies in ruins with its citizens lacking even the basics of electricity and running water.
In the name of 9-11 thousands of American military personnel have also died, countless more have been seriously wounded and are suffering from PTSD. Now, as they return home, many are jobless, homeless and are ending up on the streets of our towns and cities. In the name of 9-11 the US government has imprisoned and tortured people at the Guantanamo Bay base in Cuba. They and others have been taken to be tortured in secret prisons in other countries.
In the name of 9-11, Congress passed the Patriot Act and other laws which have attacked our civil liberties at home. Curbs on domestic surveillance have been just about ended. Homes can be invaded by law enforcement, without court order. No-fly lists and now, targeted killings are legal under these laws – all in the name of supposedly protecting us from terrorism.
The spending on the wars are staggering. More than one trillion dollars have been spent on the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2011, California tax-payers will pay $21.6 billion of our federal taxes for these wars. This war spending has totally distorted the US economy, and helped to drive the economy into a recession and led to massive unemployment, which led to foreclosures. As our tax dollars go to these wars, we are facing even larger cuts in city, state and federal services. With drastic reductions in spending on education, healthcare and all the other so-called safety net government programs are being slashed. Poverty is as high as it was in the 1960s, and homelessness keeps increasing. (Look at www.costofwar.com to see these costs.)
The costs have not been borne equally. While the ordinary people of Afghanistan, Iraq and the US have suffered terrible losses, the military contractors, the oil companies, the weapons manufacturers, and the large corporations that supply the military have made out like bandits. Their earnings and profits are soaring. Their executive salaries are at royal levels. So is the wealth of those politicians, military leaders and business people in Afghanistan and Iraq who have tied their fate to the US military presence in their counties.
Those who attack the idea of an Islamic center or a preacher who wants to burn the Quaran in no way respects the lives lost in the 9-11 attack. They are using the 9-11 deaths to stir up blind fear and hatred, to allow the US politicians and the big business interests they represent to justify the continuation of war with all of its death and destruction, here and around the world.