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11 September 2011 @ 10:54 am
Ten Years Later.  
This was not our era's Pearl Harbor.

This was our era's Reichstag Fire.

After reading the responses, and being asked privately, "Does that mean you're a 'truther'?", I feel the need to restate this more clearly:

The events of 11 September 2011 more closely resemble the Reichstag Fire than Pearl Harbor, most significantly in our response to them as a nation.

Certainly, it is not a one-to-one congruence -- but the "Pearl Harbor" comparison is bandied about far more often, with few objections, and the correspondence is no more exact.

The sticking point for most respondents seems to be the identity of the perpetrators of the Fire. That's a niggling detail, irrelevant to the thesis. I find the nature of our national response to be a matter of far greater importance, because we, lashing out in terror for a decade, have done far more damage to ourselves, to our freedoms, and to the world than the people in those planes ever could have.

The Most Significant Point of Similarity is not whether or not it was an "inside job", but in the fact that it allowed the ugly strain of authoritarianism that had been seeping into into our national political culture for years to finally consolidate its power and win the hearts and minds of the public.

If you want more discussion of "the nature of our national response", feel free to consult Mr. Hicks for his opinion thereon.

lyttlebyrdlyttlebyrd on September 11th, 2011 09:52 pm (UTC)
Arcaton: jackassr_caton on September 11th, 2011 10:09 pm (UTC)
Bearing in mind that the Reichstag fire was set by the Nazis themselves to justify their excesses against their own German people....
Your Obedient Serpent: fascismathelind on September 12th, 2011 01:10 am (UTC)
It is widely assumed that the Nazis set the fire themselves, and the assumption is entirely reasonable. As far as I can tell, however, the actual evidence is ambiguous, and there's no actual consensus in historical academia.

In the face of how the Nazis used the incident to consolidate their power, and the subsequent actions they took using that power, ultimately, the question of whether or not they set the damned thing is trivial.
Arcatonr_caton on September 12th, 2011 11:25 am (UTC)
True, dat.
silussa on September 11th, 2011 11:20 pm (UTC)
I'm impressed that you have other readers who caught the meaning of your statement. I would expect for a lot of folks, the comparison is probably a bit obscure.

Sad to say.

I'm inclined to disagree, however, with some of the comparisons being drawn. I don't think the disaster was allowed with foreknowledge...but I do think it was taken advantage of for various gains and to deal with some fears.

I'm going to write a short post on it later, as 9/11 has left me scratching my head for ten years...and today I think I finally understand it.
Your Obedient Serpent: clobberin' timeathelind on September 12th, 2011 01:17 am (UTC)
Wow. That first paragraph is the most arrogant, contemptuous, self-important thing I've read all day, and considering what day this is, that's saying a lot.

I find that I am insulted and on behalf of my readership and my friends—many of whom also read your journal.

As for "foreknowledge", see my reply above to r_caton.
silussa on September 12th, 2011 05:05 pm (UTC)
Given I had to explain to several other people what the Reichstag fire WAS in telling them about the post...I wouldn't have thought so.

Given I've already been blasted via IM and all but accused of being non-American and treasonous for my views...I can assure you that you won't be hearing them again.
Hafochafoc on September 11th, 2011 11:42 pm (UTC)
Don't know if I'd go that far, but there are parallels. For one, in both cases the parties accused (Communists, terrorists) tried to say the crime was a "false flag" operation by the country's leaders (Hitler, Bush). Maybe Goering staged the Reichstag Fire... I'm pretty sure Cheney didn't stage 9/11!

I'm not saying he WOULDN'T HAVE, y'unnerstan.
Your Obedient Serpent: Captain America 01athelind on September 12th, 2011 01:42 am (UTC)
As my expanded, revised, rewritten and slightly cranky post should indicate, I only meant to draw parallels, not assert a perfect one-to-one correspondence. There are more parallels to one than to the other.

As I've stated in my other responses, the degree of complicity of the respective Administrations in any of the three events is at this stage the least important factor.

But yeah, it would totally have been in character for him.

Hafochafoc on September 12th, 2011 02:35 am (UTC)
I'm still not sure I agree.

Reichstag: Internal threat. The other two, external.

Reichstag: Immediate banning and arrest of political opposition. PH: More or less political truce. 911: Business as usual- a continuing drift toward sound bite politics (or is it sound byte now?) and doctrinaire idiocy on all sides. Government by Bloviation.

All three led to the establishment of oppressive security regimes.

All three led to concentration camps and secret police, 'tho I have to say Reichstag led to the most, PH second, 911 least. As far as I know. Remember that after PH we threw tens of thousands of good Americans into concentration camps for looking Japanese, not to mention of course

Crap. Boring.

I think they're all different. I also think we have no idea how to fight a Wah on Terrah. This business that some yahoo from Bananastan can fly around the world getting training and resources, then halfway around the world again to perform an attack on another continent, would seem to be "something new under the sun." A product of a speed of communication and international travel that has never existed before. We have no laws to handle it, no experience, we don't know what to do with it-- or the worldwide pandemic disease that "instant" air travel is going to hit us with, sooner or later, either. THAT's the one that really worries ME, by the way.
Pakapaka on September 14th, 2011 05:04 pm (UTC)
Yeah; thanks to you, I wound up in the "look, it doesn't matter why it happened, what's important is what we went and did next" camp. Much saner I think.

Memory serves, the first thing out of Dubya's mouth was something like "is it the Iraqis?" He was pretty clearly itching for the emotional high of being this great wartime president as well. I'm pretty sure that no matter what could have happened back in 2001, we were headed to war in Iraq. The Patriot Act and Homeland Security might have been an unpleasant surprise, but not our aggression.
Kymrikymri on September 20th, 2011 03:33 pm (UTC)
If you've gotten any messages from my GMail account in the last decade-ish (IE, since I've had it basically) you know my take on this.

I'm of the opinion that it was, in fact, an al Qaeda operation, and that it was neither perpetrated nor allowed by the Bush administration (except perhaps for some negligence or incompetence but while I bear that administration no love, I don't believe that Bush/Cheney would have allowed it KNOWINGLY to happen), but ultimately as you point out in several comments above:

It was in many ways very, very convenient for them, and allowed the implementation of further steps providing political benefits (Patriot Act, invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan) and economic benefits (KBR, Halliburton, Blackwater/Xe, and so forth).

You cannot say 'the terrorists have won' any more than you can say we have 'won the war on terror' because there's no finish line for victory in either case, really. However it's fair to say that the events of September 11, 2001 cause massive and (in the short to medium term) irreparable damage to the United States and the freedoms and civil liberties of it's citizens and those visiting it's territories (and even those further afield than that).

Suffice to say, 9/11 and our response was the watershed moment where I went from loving 'America' to loving the IDEA of America and what we can be and were rather than what we are at the moment. I hope to go back someday.