So, today marks the five-year anniversary of the World Trade center attacks in NYC. I woke up this morning, as most Americans, I am guessing, to news coverage of solemn remembrance ceremonies, narratives of friends and families of people lost on 9/11, and footage of the planes flying into the buildings.
Surprisingly, or not so surprisingly, Cheney was on the news yesterday admitting that there is no proven connection between Saddam Hussein and 9/11, nor are there any weapons of mass destruction, nor is there any connection between Saddam and Al-Qaida. Yet we are doing a "pretty good job" in Iraq!
Therefore, the "war on terror" is still justified, as is our presence in Iraq, according to the government, pundits, and a lot of Americans. Along with the justification for increased fear-mongering about the lack of security at our airports, borders, ports, etc. And meanwhile, nothing has happened on American soil in the 5 years that we have supposedly been at war. Nothing, that is, except for Arab and South-Asian looking men being detained for no reason, civil liberties being eroded, people being pulled off of planes for speaking Arabic, and a slew of other "suspicious" activity.
So, every reason for being in Iraq is refuted, there is no terrorism to speak of against America, and here we are, hundreds of thousands of civilians later, with two toppled governments overseas, and the possibility of expansion into other Middle Eastern countries based on a supposed war that is being fought.
Why? The sentimental pull of 9/11, its fortification of a particular kind of American identity (non-brown), and the branding of Arabs, Islam, and Arabic as perpetually suspect allow for American military action overseas to be justified, no matter what the facts of the matter are. This is blatant racism, yet it is hardly ever called such, except for in isolated incidents. So, pulling someone off a plane might be racist, but since there is a "real" threat from Islamicists, screening Muslim men is a legitimate consideration. But tell me what is the "real" in the threat, please, because I have yet to see it, and things have gotten so blurry that it seems as long as there is a Middle East, and as long as there is Islam, Americans will think there is a threat. What is this besides racism? If you paint with a broad enough brush, everyone is a potential terrorist, and we are in a renewed stage of American expansionism, or if we are calling things by their true names, imperialism.