"if it bleeds it leads" was (is) a popular quote thrown around most local TV station news rooms. On the days leading up to the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the national media battled each other in an effort to lead the most. Of course this came as no surprise. Everyone knows that 10 is a far cooler number than 11 or 12 and that by the 17th or 18th anniversary, many probably will break their pledge to never forget. When was the last time anyone outside of Hawaii or Annapolis took a moment of silence for the 2,000+ sailors killed at Pearl Harbor? Even George Bush the Senior, a navy flier and World War II veteran, got the dates of Pearl Harbor wrong while speaking to 6,000 veterans during his 1988 campaign for President.
10 is the big one and the media would make sure everyone was there for it. There to watch the horrific attacks over and over again (just in case you missed them the first time around or when they were re-aired for the 5th anniversary), watch the death, destruction and countless tears. There to wave the Chinese made American flags and remember that the country forever changed 10 years ago.
Of course the country has changed, but has it changed for the better? Were 3,000 Americans gruesomely killed so that we could lose our civil liberties? So that our phones can be legally tapped? So that our e-mail accounts can be legally hacked? So that we're treated like criminals upon entering airports, subways stations and even sports stadiums? Were we attacked so that we could attack a country that had nothing to do with 9/11? So that we could spend 3 trillion dollars in that illegal invasion and occupation? So that 4,500 American soldiers can die during that same invasion? So that 300 soldiers of the Coalition of the Willing could also die in Iraq? So that 100,000 innocent Iraqi civilians could also die in the blood bath that the media used to cheerlead with embedded reporters, but has long since forgotten. So that we could promote torture in Abu Ghraib? So that we could promote it in secret locations throughout the world? So that Congress can try watering down a bill which funds the medical expenses of our heroic first responders? Were we attacked so that (as American patriot, Stephen Colbert, recently pointed out) local companies can profit off 9/11 wine? So that people can sell 9/11 dog leashes and 9/11 sandals on the web? So that less internet savvy types can sell 9/11 t-shirts on the very spots where 3,000 people were murdered? If only Iraq had that type of sales team to profit off their invasion!
Yes, 9/11 is a day that forever changed America. Yes, family members of the victims have all had a part of them killed on 9/11. Yes, few can even fathom the type of heroism which leads a firefighter to climb up the stairs of a tumbling skyscraper while everyone else is running down those same stairs. Yes, every single one of their stories is heartbreaking. But how can we watch the endless hours of media coverage without also talking about the second tragedy? The one that led to so many more needless deaths throughout the world. Those deaths, sponsored by this country, count too.
How can lawmakers convene on the steps of the Capitol singing "God Bless America" when many of them voted for the Iraq War? When so many of them voted for the Patriot Act? When they echoed our non-elected President by telling the public to respond by shopping! When so many of them tried denying our first responders the long term medical treatment they deserve? When to this day they drum up public anger against allowing a privately funded group from building a Muslim culture center within two blocks of Ground Zero. This despite the fact that one of the Twin Towers contained a mosque inside of it. How is that for progress? Of course this is the same government body that either happily went along with war criminals like Cheney, or claimed to have been duped by a Mensa monster like Dubya.
Duped by Dubya? Even the thought of that is ridiculous. Almost as ridiculous as a Mayor making millions in book sales, speaking gigs and outside consulting fees following the attacks. Attacks that Giuliani worsened by moving his emergency command center to the World Trade Center site, and doing so AFTER the first Twin Tower attacks. That's right, the WTC had already suffered a deadly attack in 1993. What? Did you forget?*