North America, in case you haven’t turned on a computer, television, or radio this past week, is remembering the terror attacks on the twin towers, and the Pentagon, ten years ago tomorrow. Gerald Kaplan wrote in yesterday’s Globe and Mail:
Of the million stories that reflect the world since that moment, here’s the one I find most revealing. As a direct result of toiling in the ruins of the twin towers, many New York firefighters, police officers and other emergency workers became seriously ill, some terminally. These “first responders” have been lauded to the hills for their heroism, often in the most cringe-worthy manner by craven political opportunists. Saints, they were, saints, my dears, and we’ll never ever forget their sacrifices.
Late last year, the American government proposed a bill to provide funding to aid these damaged saints. A no-brainer, eh? Not in post-9/11 America. In fact the Republican members of Congress united to oppose such funding unless the tax cuts George Bush had gifted to the top 2 per cent of Americans were extended. Only when they were shamed publicly by Jon Stewart did the Republicans finally relent. But fear not. They of course won those continuing gifts to the filthy rich when President Barack Obama caved on raising America’s credit limit.
Writ small, this is the history of the post-9/11 world in the United States, in Canada, in Britain, and wherever else business interests and conservative politicians have been able to have their way with us – us being the vast majority of the world’s population.
Naomi Klein’s revelatory book Shock Doctrine, Kaplan goes on, is an accurate description of how America’s “free market” policies have come to dominate much of the world through the exploitation of people and destabilized countries. He concludes that:
Osama bin Laden inflicted a terrible crime on the American people. America’s elites and their allies have done the rest.