As reported by Dana Priest and William Arkin, 9/11 has spawned a virtual Fourth Branch of government which grows secretly and exponentially with every passing anniversary of the attacks:
* Some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States.Therefore, all the president can do to try and control the permanent War on Terror is to renew America's State of Emergency for a 16th straight year, and continue issuing proclamations and uttering platitudes about the Nine Eleven Generation. These are the young people who have never known a day when their nation has not been at war. Although the marketing campaigns are creepily similar, they are not to be confused with the Pepsi Generation. That might be way too crass.
* An estimated 854,000 people, nearly 1.5 times as many people as live in Washington, D.C., hold top-secret security clearances.
* In Washington and the surrounding area, 33 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work are under construction or have been built since September 2001. Together they occupy the equivalent of almost three Pentagons or 22 U.S. Capitol buildings - about 17 million square feet of space.
* Many security and intelligence agencies do the same work, creating redundancy and waste. For example, 51 federal organizations and military commands, operating in 15 U.S. cities, track the flow of money to and from terrorist networks.
* Analysts who make sense of documents and conversations obtained by foreign and domestic spying share their judgment by publishing 50,000 intelligence reports each year - a volume so large that many are routinely ignored.
Crass, my ass: Coke, in true capitalistic competitive spirit, marked our great national day of hegemony and death by constructing a Twin Towers replica made entirely out of soda cans. To add insult to injury, they built it in a Florida Walmart. The marketing geniuses apparently didn't realize the display was in bad taste until thousands of shoppers told them so, and the exhibit was duly removed by $8-an-hour associates with no company health insurance benefits.
Meanwhile, 9/11 continues to be very, very good for neoliberal capitalism. As Nobel Laureate J.M. Coetzee writes in his Diary of a Bad Year,
The bogeyman Osama bin Laden has succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. Armed with nothing but Kalashnikovs and plastic explosives, he and his followers have terrorized and demoralized the West, driving nations into wholesale panic. To the bullying, authoritarian, militaristic strand in Western political life, Osama has been a gift from the gods.No matter that U.S. special forces executed a cowering Osama in 2012 in the run-up to Barack Obama's re-election campaign. The patriotic spirit of terror lives on, with or without him.
The September 11 attacks were the pretext to invade Iraq a year and half later. Nearly 7,000 U.S. service people and at least a quarter of a million civilians have died since the start of the war, which continues with the deployment of at least a thousand new Gen-9/11 troops to fight Isis. Obama's drones have murdered at least hundreds of innocent women and children in areas with whom this country is not even officially at war.
Bill Quigley writes:
Since 9/11 US spending on our military cost well over $3 trillion. Direct combat and reconstruction costs for wars in Afghanistan and Iraq since 9/11 have officially cost US taxpayers $1.6 trillion dollars according to the Congressional Research Service. Additional trillions have been spent on growing the Pentagon budget and for present and future increased health and disability benefits for veterans.War profiteers like Boeing and Lockheed Martin and Raytheon have raked in billions of dollars in profits in the 15 years since 9/11. Although Saudi Arabia has been at least indirectly implicated in the attacks, the United States continues to sell that repressive regime billions of dollars worth of arms for the slaughter of Yemeni civilians. President Obama is expected to veto a bill which would allow 9/11 families to sue Saudi Arabia for monetary damages.
The US military captures 55 percent of our national discretionary spending and spending on veterans benefits is another 6 percent. Since 9/11 military spending has increased by 50 percent while spending on other discretionary domestic spending increased by 13 percent according to the National Priorities Project.
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton rails against the millions of Donald Trump supporters who have been carefully and incessantly taught to be Islamophobes by the leaders and corporate media of America. The "deplorables" of Flyover Country simply didn't wake up one morning and start railing against Muslims based upon any direct knowledge or experience. They simply turned on CNN and Fox and MSNBC and watched the sycophantic mass media cozily embed themselves with the American invaders. They learned to think of Muslims as bad guys whose pictures were on decks of cards. "Clash of civilizations" propaganda has been polluting our airwaves with a vengeance for going on two decades.
It seems that Clinton forgot to notice all the rotten eggs of the Military-Industrial complex in her own Basket of Deplorables. Despite an overpowering reek, they're nesting there comfortably in their abundant money grass. Not only have they never been convicted of torture and war crimes, graft and corruption, they are getting pride of place at the gourmet table. And because they're encased in solid gold, there's no danger of them ever getting devoured themselves. People are too weary to develop a taste for rebellion against the forever wars being waged in all our names.
So we turn away in apathy or disgust. And then we hold our noses, and we choose a commander in chief using the parts of our brains which process fear rather than exercising those which enable rational thought.