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September 9, 2011

September 11ís Additional Victims

Roy Meachum

In addition to the nearly 3,000 lives taken on September 11, 2001, all Americans suffered the loss of constitutional rights for the sake of a federal bureaucracy that was really responsible, in the first place, for the attacks.


There were signs and omens aplenty before the four commercial airliners planes were turned into killing machines. A Boston-area TV report disclosed the laxity of security at Logan Airport, the site of several hijackings. Questions were raised when so many Saudi Arabs applied to flight schools that specialized in multi-engine planes. In various parts of the country eyebrows lifted at the eventual murderers’ activities; so many that the whole mess turned into jurisdictional turf battle.


The Bush-Cheney Administration’s answer was to bring forth a new federal bureau, the Department of Homeland Security, which caused air travelers to postpone and eliminate flights in their future. I was departing Istanbul when it was announced my expensive after-shave must be dumped. When I flew to Texas to visit “son” Mike Colgan, I learned shoes must be removed and put separately through a scanner.


By far the worst punishment was the right to free speech; informers informed and law enforcement officers arrested numerous innocents while their remarks were investigated. The United States of America became a police state.


Attempts to solve the snafu that underlay 9/11 continue to be thwarted; attempts to name a chairman of the 17 federal intelligence agencies still frustrated, as demonstrated in the appointment of Gen. David H. Petraeus to head of the Central Intelligence Agency. In the first place, how does an Army guy become the director of the agency that came to life as the civilian counterpart to so many military offices? Bureaucratic battles drag on.


Despite President Dwight Eisenhower’s warning, the Military-Industrial Complex (MIC) reigns supremely; more so after the 1975 congressional act banned conscription. The last 10 years demonstrated our growing reliance on “mercenaries,” the academically proven theory for the Roman republic yielding to a series of despots, if some were beneficent. The current political debate promises more of the same MIC tyranny.


To illustrate the growth in bigotry, among the almost 3,000 mortalities a substantial number was Muslim. Anti-Islamic prejudice romped freely on the basis of the hijackers’ religion. Mosques in this nation were desecrated, generally by broken windows and spray paint – arson here and there. Their congregations received insults questioning their patriotism, while thousands of Muslims served in the U.S. armed forces – not the first time Americans acted in a non-American way. The intolerance toward Irish Catholic immigration raged until the Civil War demanded manpower.


Sunday ceremonies are scheduled at Manhattan’s World Towers, the nearby Pentagon and the Pennsylvania field where passenger revolt crashed the fourth hijacked airliner. Unless I prove to be totally wrong, no speaker will dare to mention the death of Constitutional rights and the rise of bigotry: a Virginia county’s post-9/11 ban on building a mosque was judicially vacated this week.


The shortest New Testament verse contains two words: “Jesus wept.” I also must weep over the state of my country. The Red-White-and-Blue no longer waves “o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”


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