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Truthout - September 11, 2019

"Like an arrow fired at the sun on 9/12/2001, our inevitable trajectory downward to “President Trump” or someone just like him has been as ruthless as gravity itself. George W. Bush was a bloody appetizer, Barack Obama a lethal holding pattern. Like acorpse flower, the forces deliberately unleashed by the few against the many after that day have come to full, stinking blossom in the brigand’s morality cultivated by the current Oval Office occupant."

The September 11, 2001, terror attacks are old enough to vote now, old enough to enlist in the military and go fight in one of the ongoing wars spawned by that woeful day. “Never Forget,” went the enforcer’s refrain: Grind in the horror, amplify the fear, profit from the rage, and take no lessons from the sorrow. That is the biography of the last 18 years, and the method has taken deep root.

Some $6 trillion has been spent to date on the so-called war on terror. That money did not disappear like your lap does when you stand up. It now belongs to a very small group of people neither you nor I will ever meet: fossil fuel magnates, media titans, weapons manufacturers and the like. The austerity measures peddled by Republicans as they gleefully passed trillion-dollar tax cuts are but signposts on this road to perdition, one we were already on for decades before the Towers fell. After the attacks, we flipped on the blinkers and slid over into the fast lane, and now, here we are.

“This timeline sucks” is an oft-heard online refrain. The quip is a nod toward quantum physics and the idea of infinite possible timelines existing simultaneously, each new one spawned by a decision or event. This timeline has seen the stolen presidential election of 2000, which begat the inauguration of George W. Bush, which begat 9/11, which begat the unfulfilled promise of Barack Obama, which begat President Donald Trump and the current accelerating calamity we share together, whether we all know it or not.

Such a gruesome farce is “Never Forget,” the slogan that appeared everywhere immediately after the attacks. What is it we are expected to remember? For those who survived that day and those who bore witness, the sacrifices of the first responders are seared in memory with little need for goaded recall. The tears which still come because of that day are bottled nightly and lovingly preserved at the memorial in New York City, yet one does not need a pilgrimage to locate that grief. It is in all of us; 18 years old, yet still fresh if we allow it to slip past the barriers we have erected within so as to cope and move on in what ways we can. Everyone has a 9/11 story, because that story never ended.

The powers that be told us to “Never Forget” for one overarching reason: to feed the fires of permanent war (and the ocean of money that comes with it). “Never Forget” meant “always be afraid, and always be angry,” because political opportunism and the profit motive are furnaces ever in need of feeding, and wrath makes for powerful fuel. ...
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