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In the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks the then national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, called in her senior staff and asked them to think seriously about "how [to] capitalise on these opportunities". The primary opportunity came from a public united in anger, grief and fear which the Bush administration sought to leverage to maximum political effect. "I think September 11 was one of those great earthquakes that clarify and sharpen," Rice told the New Yorker six months afterwards. "Events are in much sharper relief."
Ten years later the US response to the terror attacks have clarified three things: the limits to what its enormous military power can achieve, its relative geopolitical decline and the intensity of its polarised political culture. It proved itself incapable of winning the wars it chose to fight and incapable of paying for them and incapable of coming to any consensus as to why. The combination of domestic repression at home and military aggression abroad kept no one safe, and endangered the lives of many. The execution of Osama bin Laden provoked such joy in part because almost every other American response to 9/11 is regarded as a partial or total failure.
But beyond mourning of the immediate victims' friends and families, there was an element of narcissism to this national grief that would play out in policy and remains evident in the tone of many of today's retrospectives. The problem, for some, was not that such a tragedy had happened but that it could have happened in America and to Americans. The ability to empathise with others who had suffered similar tragedies and the desire to prevent further such suffering proved elusive when set against the need to avenge the attacks. It was as though Americans were unique in their ability to feel pain and the deaths of civilians of other nations were worth less.
It's a narcissism best exemplified by former vice-president Dick Cheney's answer when asked just last week on what grounds he would object to Iran waterboarding Americans when he maintained his support for America's right to use waterboarding. "We have obligations towards our citizens," he said. "And we do everything to protect our citizens."
True, Obama killed Bin Laden, and his administration plans to draw down troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and has retired the phrase "war on terror". But they have maintained many of the most problematic elements of that war, including Guantánamo Bay, extraordinary rendition and military commissions, while intensifying the war in Afghanistan. Meanwhile on the right, the hubris displayed by Rice that America could simply bend the world to its will and whim has since given way to denial and occasional bouts of impotent rage. Islamaphobia is on the rise, Muslim has become a slur and Iraq, apparently, was a success.
In 2004 a Bush aide (widely believed to be Karl Rove) chided a New York Times journalist for working in the "reality-based community", meaning people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality … That's not the way the world really works anymore. We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors … and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do".
Originally posted by syrinx high priest
you mention narcissism, then explain the "never let a crises go to waste" idea
are you making a case the US should have simply stood by and done nothing ?
it's a rather confusing thread tbh