Saturday, September 10, 2011

Saluting Generation 911

Our elected officials have taken a solemn vow not to politicize the 10th anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks.  Apparently, they meant on 9/11 itself, when they will show up and allegedly shut up.  But I guess Nine Eleven Eve doesn't count, because  President Obama unashamedly chose to politicize the event in his weekly radio address on Saturday morning. 

Slick product of an award-winning marketing campaign that he is, Obama couldn't resist coining a new phrase to mark our national day of celebratory paranoia.  He calls those who serve in the military and homeland security "our extraordinary 9/11 generation."

That sounds even more patriotic-trendy than The Greatest Generation, who are dying off at alarming rates and are just so World War Two.  And then there's the "Me Generation" of selfish draft dodging baby boomers  who want to cut their own grandkids off at the knees in their gluttonous consumption of Medicare.  Gen X is just too anonymous and conspiracy theory-sounding and let's face it, closing in on middle age. Millennials  conjure up visions of unemployed slackers living in parental basements.... and the unemployment crisis in general.  We can't have that during a re-election campaign, can we?

The 9/11 Generation of Obama's imagination is youthful, virile, bellicose and nationalistic.  Maybe he and his PR flacks got the idea from the old "Pepsi Generation" ad campaigns, whose creator said:

  "For us to name and claim a whole generation after our product was a rather courageous thing that we weren't sure would take off." The Pepsi Generation was one of the first and best known instances of what came to be known as "lifestyle marketing". It focused on portraying Pepsi drinkers as possessing desirable qualities such as youth, rather than on the characteristics of the product itself. ... "Pepsi was young, spirited, people doing active things—playing volleyball on the beach.... but younger we said in mind, in attitude, in feeling. Young in spirit. Young in heart."

And since Obama's own young, hip campaign logo bears some resemblance to the Pepsi symbol, the Nine Eleven Generation gizmo can't be far behind:

Be All That You Can Be, Nine Eleveners!

Here are a few choice excerpts from the president's remarks today, along with some totally gratuitous and and unpatriotic interpretations. ( His words speak volumes all by themselves, but who can resist this fish-in-a-barrel opportunity).
At the same time, even as we reflect on a difficult decade, we must look forward, to the future we will build together.  That includes staying strong and confident in the face of any threat.  And thanks to the tireless efforts of our military personnel and our intelligence, law enforcement and homeland security professionals—there should be no doubt.  Today, America is stronger and al Qaeda is on the path to defeat.
It's been a whole decade, yet all two dozen members of al Qaeda are merely "on the path to defeat."  We are in Endless Wartimes and have spent ourselves into  the ground in a Military Industrial Complex boondoggle.  We look forward, not backward, by choosing not to prosecute the Bush War Crimes.

We’ve taken the fight to al Qaeda like never before.  Over the past two and a half years, more senior al Qaeda leaders have been eliminated than at any time since 9/11.  And thanks to the remarkable courage and precision of our forces, we finally delivered justice to Osama bin Laden.

I killed Osama, I killed Osama, I killed Osama. Justice is for courtrooms and Judge Judy.

We’ve strengthened the partnerships and tools we need to prevail in this war against al Qaeda—working closer with allies and partners; reforming intelligence to better detect and disrupt plots; investing in our Special Forces so terrorists have no safe haven.
We poured billions into the coffers of defense contractors.  I am best buddies and allied with my partners, the CEOs of G.E. and Honeywell.  We redefined "intelligence" to mean mediocrity, and warrantless wiretapping, and spying on American citizens.  The government definition of "reforming", as you all know, is slashing -- as in, "reforming" Medicare. 

We have disrupted plots orchestrated by FBI operatives themselves in order to entrap citizens.  Real plots have been thwarted by airplane passengers jumping the Underpants Bomber and a couple of street vendors spotting a smoking car in Times Square. But the system worked. Homeland Security Chief Janet Napolitano justified her job by saying so.  A whole bunch of those Special Forces we invested in got shot down in a helicopter after they performed a "night raid" in an Afghan village.  Their dog died too. No word on civilian casualties in that night raid.
We’re constantly working to improve the security of our homeland as well—at our airports, ports and borders; enhancing aviation security and screening; increasing support for our first responders; and working closer than ever with states, cities and communities.

We just ordered a few more million dollars' worth of rapi-scanners for Airport Security Theater.  We will continue groping down nonagenarians and removing their Depends to make you safe. We are forcing cities to participate in our "Secure Communities " program, resulting in the deportation of more Dream Act candidates than in any previous administration.  New York, Chicago and Boston may not opt out.  Their police officers must ethnically profile and send information on all likely suspects and innocent bystanders directly to Homeland Security.
A decade after 9/11, it’s clear for all the world to see—the terrorists who attacked us that September morning are no match for the character of our people, the resilience of our nation, or the endurance of our values. They wanted to terrorize us, but, as Americans, we refuse to live in fear...... They wanted to draw us into endless wars, sapping out strength and confidence as a nation....
And they pretty much succeeded.  Actually, the ruling elites of America succeeded in capitalizing on an act of mass murder/blowback by drawing us into endless wars and making the Security State a very lucrative proposition.  The strength and confidence of a nation has been sapped by the Wall Street psychopaths who still roam free.  They are the real terrorists.

I feel like Matt Taibbi -- who, stuck in a Florida airport last weekend, had the choice between sitting before a blaring TV speech by the president, or joining a group of screaming, plastic weapon-wielding Disneyworld kids high on sugar in a crowded lounge. He chose the latter.


Napoleon said...

I often think president Obama gets a bum rap when it is alleged that he wants to be liked. I suspect that the problem, one amongst many, is, as Karen has described, that he acts as if he wants to be seen as tough, strong, forceful, and as a reliable promoter and practitioner of the use of military force. Another problem, highlighted in the speech before Congress, is that he acts as if he wants to be seen as an independent when it comes to assessing and promoting domestic policies.

In today's essay, Karen critically analyzes this week's radio address by Obama. The mainstream media regularly mentions the fact of the radio address but generally fails to critique it. It is a valuable service to have, as this essay shows, a critique of the radio address. Otherwise, the address gets a free ride. Obama and his advisors should feel the pressure of a critique each time a radio address is given.

Although Karen hasn't highlighted this as a standard practice, she has also critiqued email messages the Obama campaign, or administration, has sent out. There is a need also for a regular critique of this messaging route as well. To preserve the message and programs of the New Deal, there should be no place where the Obama administration, and campaign, can get out its periodic messages without having the messages subjected to a simultaneous critique by progressives, somewhere.

It's not Obama's politicizing of the 9/11 bombings that I regard as a major concern (politicizing 9/11 has become so overwhelming that complaints about it can easily contribute to it-as it were football games on Sunday will rescue a part of the population vulnerable to it) but rather Obama's pretensions in draping himself in warrior's clothes, and doing so while trying to present himself as the bearer of peace in Iraq, and even in Afghanistan.

It's almost shameful that he can't simply say outright that U.S. troops are scheduled to leave Iraq at the end of 2011, not because of anything he has done but rather because of an agreement signed with Iraq by former president Bush. It is the Obama administration, with the Pentagon leading the charge, that is trying to prolong the occupation in Iraq by stationing troops there, under whatever cloak it can use, after 2011. Similarly, it was Obama, attempting to portray himself (and with good reasons but not good enough) as a strong commander-in-chief, who tripled the number of troops in Afghanistan and who, in the same vein, has refused publicly to acknowledge the large number of innocent civilians killed by U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Iraq, and in virtually every place where he has authorized the use of drones to kill. Undoubtedly, he feels he would be depicted as the apologizing U.S. president but one reason for desiring education and intelligence in a leader is to be able to get around obstacles like this.

The independent image raised its head in the speech before Congress when Obama emphasized that "some in my party" differ with me on some policies and when he said that Medicare needs to be reformed in order to 'save' it. But having asserted his independence, he then left blank the reforms he considers are needed and left blank what a "save(d) Medicare would be. This stance unnecessarily deepens anxieties and uncertainties in a large segment of the population. Presumably, he and his advisers believe, for now, this is what strength and independence look like.

These two strains in Obama are acquired features and not, I believe, ingrained. Regardless, they need to be shaken. His fellow Democrats need to challenge him on both. Otherwise, the wars will continue to bankrupt the country, and the independent streak will create an uneasiness that essential aspects of the New Deal are not safe under Democrats.

Denis Neville said...

Welcoming "our extraordinary 9/11 generation” to 1984

There used to be a thing called truth.

Today truth is called reality. “Reality,” according to the ruling party, Orwell wrote, “is not external. Reality exists in the human mind and nowhere else…whatever the party holds to be truth is truth.” By controlling people’s minds the party controls “truth.”

Our government transforms reality according to its interests. The original concept of truth as an objective judgment concerning reality no longer exists. “Reality control,” they call it. In Newspeak, “doublethink.”

“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.” – Senior advisor to George W. Bush

Our leaders have only one purpose, and that is power.

“Power is not a means; it is an end. And power means the capacity to inflict unlimited pain and suffering to another human being.” – Eric Fromm, Escape from Freedom

Orwell warned that fear and hatred of a potential enemy would destroy the basic premises of democracy. A nation constantly in fear of being attacked and continually at war cannot be free and democratic.

Will Generation 911 learn the true meaning of truth? Freedom? Integrity? What is it is to be human? The destruction of our humanity by soulless government and corporate entities creating their own realities has already occurred and so many are not even aware of it. Generation 911 knows nothing else.

As Ted Koppel wrote in the Washington Post one year ago:

“The attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, succeeded far beyond anything Osama bin Laden could possibly have envisioned. This is not just because they resulted in nearly 3,000 deaths, nor only because they struck at the heart of American financial and military power. Those outcomes were only the bait; it would remain for the United States to spring the trap.”

“The goal of any organized terrorist attack is to goad a vastly more powerful enemy into an excessive response. And over the past nine years, the United States has blundered into the 9/11 snare with one overreaction after another…Could any enemy of the United States have achieved more with less? Could bin Laden, in his wildest imaginings, have hoped to provoke greater chaos?”

Suzan said...

I second yours and Matt's emotion.

I can no longer watch today's Manchurian Candidate even once more.

Too sickening.

Kudos to you!

Watch out for FF events coming soon.


Slick product of an award-winning marketing campaign that he is

Valerie said...


I am still using a library computer with only limited time (about a half hour a day) and I didn't get to check out the link you left on RealityChex (before that section of comments closed) about the Civil Liberties abuses you heard on NPR. Would you mind giving me the name of the show here on Sardonicky? Karen leaves her comments up indefinitely and I can check it out when I have Internet access back at home. Thanks

I have thought a lot about the loss of civil liberties in the U.S. since 9/11 and it is very frightening to me. Already, friends have confided that they are nervous about attending the Washington D.C. protest in October because they are afraid of being “listed.” Furthermore, I find I am quite cynical about the true motives for "honouring the fallen heroes of 9/11." It seems to me, every time the general public starts complaining about the cost of war and expresses their weariness with the endlessness of our foreign wars, we start hearing about threats to our security here in the States. I suppose it could be legitimate that those who hate us for our political machinations in their part of the world might want to attack NY on this tenth anniversary. But it seems more like these reminders of the horrors of 9/11 are to manipulate the populace into accepting that we need strong national "security" and if we have to erode some of our civil rights, well that is the price we pay to remain safe.

Valerie said...

I just went over to Fred Drumlevitch's blog (He is on Karen's blog roll)and he has an excellent blog entry on our growing and dangerous national security state. It is high time this disturbing trend is getting the attention it deserves. It has been growing steadily in the dark for too long.

D12345 said...

No contradiction there....he does want to be the military, CIA, corporate CEOs, Bankers...

And we know what's coming down the road...if he succeeds in the payroll tax rollback..

Cutbacks in Social Security...."We needed those payroll tax cuts to prevent double dip recession....(certainly couldn't take anything from savvy businessmen) but now we have to make the hard choice and reduce social security."

Keep up the great work Karen.

Denis Neville said...

@ Valerie

Sources for the investigation by NPR and the Center for Investigative Reporting:

NPR: Shoppers Entangled In War On Terrorism

NPR: Under Suspicion At The Mall Of America

NPR: DATABASE: Mall Of America Suspicious Activity Reports

NPR: Finding Meaning In Suspicious Activity Reports

Center for Investigative Reporting: America’s War Within


Glenn Greenwald yesterday, “Orwell, 9/11, Emmanuel Goldstein and WikiLeaks,”
wrote about Orwell's Emmanuel Goldstein/Two-Minute-Hate ritual in 1984. Goldstein was “in the lore of State propaganda, the Prime Villain, the Root of all Evil, whom Good Citizens blame for all societal evils and on whom they exclusively focus their rage. His image is regularly paraded before the citizenry during a Two Minute Hate Session, accompanied by an authoritative narration of his evil, and mass, inebriating rage results…The ultimate benefit of this ritual is it enables the citizenry to ignore their own plight and the violence and oppression of their own government (political parties use a similar process -- endless focus on marginal, hated figures in the other party -- to keep fear levels high and party loyalty strong).”

Greenwald includes Orwell’s Emmanuel Goldstein’s description of the Party's means of control and manipulation in "War Is Peace," Greenwald adds that it “is easily the best essay for the 10-year-anniversary religious observance of 9/11 upon which we are about to embark.”

Jay - Ottawa said...

While we're trading links and references like baseball cards, let me pass on a couple more -- feature articles poles apart from each other about 9/11.

First, this -- for those of you with a strong stomach: "Did the U.S. Overreact?" in the WSJ of September 9. There, "experts" Paul Wolfowitz, Mark Helprin, Robert Mcfarlane, Anne-Marie Slaughter, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Leon Wieseltier and Joe Lieberman mostly defend the past ten years and lay the foundation for ten more years of disproportionate fear, state-sponsored slaughter and the steady curtailment of civil liberties at home and abroad. In a real reality world some of these characters would be banished from the halls of government. A few would be in prison. Yet the WSJ calls them forth as wisdom figures. 1984, indeed.

You may also have to head for the liquor closet before and after the following article, which stands in contradiction to just about all the maudlin press and TV you'll suffer this weekend. From TomDispatch: "Let's Cancel 9/11: Burry the War State's Blank Check at Sea."

"Cat" will do said...

Hey, Karen.. Really good post. Most of the blogs fall into the category of ad nausaum today. And the coup de grace "The strength and confidence of a nation has been sapped by the Wall Street psychopaths who still roam free. They are the real terrorists."

well said. Bears repeating often. and See the excellent book "The Psychopath Test"

Here' s my humble take on the day.

Jay - Ottawa said...

9/11 and Chris Hedges positions our national hubris on the anvil of another unyielding critique. There are several tough passages. Here, lines of regret from the concluding paragraph:

... "We could have gone another route. We could have built on the profound sympathy and empathy that swept through the world following the attacks. The revulsion over the crimes that took place 10 years ago, including in the Muslim world, where I was working in the weeks and months after 9/11, was nearly universal. The attacks, if we had turned them over to intelligence agencies and diplomats, might have opened possibilities not of war and death but ultimately reconciliation and communication, of redressing the wrongs that we commit in the Middle East and that are committed by Israel with our blessing. It was a moment we squandered...."

Valerie said...

Denis and Jay,

Thanks very much for the links. This is why I love this blog! I not only learn so much from Karen but also from those who comment here!

Neil Gillespie said...


Thanks for mentioning the Greatest Generation, we are loosing the last generation that knows collective suffering and sacrifice of a nation from the Great Depression to WWII. I think this suffering and sacrifice is underrated, it allows for empathy, and a spirit that we are all in this together. For years I employed a number of WWII vets. To me they seemed all-around more resilient, happy, and more capable than later generations. They wanted to put the war behind them and get on with life.

I think your post correctly shows that as a nation we still don’t know why they hate us (hint: our foreign policy) and we don’t care. Instead the country has spent itself broke on security and war. This says it all: "Actually, the ruling elites of America succeeded in capitalizing on an act of mass murder/blowback by drawing us into endless wars and making the Security State a very lucrative proposition. The strength and confidence of a nation has been sapped by the Wall Street psychopaths who still roam free. They are the real terrorists."

@Dennis, thanks for Ted Koppel’s words.

@Susan, I’m hearing more that this was a false flag attack. Did you see the story just released about a house in Sarasota where some Saudis lived, had visits from the 911 hijackers, then moved out shortly before 911 leaving everything behind, even a car and food on the table?

@Valerie, on the loss of civil liberties, correct, what good are they only on sunshiny days?

@everybody, the C-Span interview with Heather Penney, a lieutenant in the Washington DC National Guard, one of two pilots ordered to take off on 911, is worth watching every minute of the one hour video. Click the video playlist complete file to the right at the link.

Valerie said...

Neil (and anyone else interested in a good discussion on the loss of our civil liberties and the growing national security state) Fred Drumlevich has started one on his blog. Jay - Ottawa and I have already weighed in but it would be great to have additional input from anyone else who feels strongly about this.

I feel so much of this growth in national security and the erosion of our civil rights has been a result of 9/11. I have written it somewhere else, I think 9/11 was Bush/Cheney's Burning of the Reichtag. It was the beginning of the end of civil liberties as we knew it.

Just a little FYI - and due to my limited internet access at the moment, I don't know what the American papers are saying - but I just heard a report on the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) that Britain is getting ready to throw up a firewall between investment and commercial banking. If this is true, and I understoond it correctly, this might be a good time for Americans to start demanding that Glass-Steagal be put back in place.

Neil Gillespie said...


Back on June 16th Zero Hedge reported The UK Is Preparing To Return To "Glass-Steagall"

Comment @ "burn orange" wrote: Marcy Kaptur has sponsored H.R. 1489: Return to Prudent Banking Act of 2011 which would reinstate Glass-Steagal here in the USA:

On an earlier post you wrote "Maybe we should start a petition demanding Obummer not seek re-election." I responded but maybe you didn’t see it, so here it is again:

The Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party issued a Resolution in Support of a Possible 2012 Democratic Presidential Primary Challenge, see the link

I just added two stores on the link at my name, one by Democracy NOW! "Obama Has Kept the Machine Set on Kill", and a YouTube of Ron Paul at the Tea Party Debate where he calls for massive cuts to the military. Something is not right with this picture, just sayin...