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A Decade After 9/11: We Are What We Loathe

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We have still not woken up to whom we have become, to the fatal erosion of domestic and international law and the senseless waste of lives, resources and trillions of dollars to wage wars that ultimately we can never win. We do not see that our own faces have become as contorted as the faces of the demented hijackers who seized the three commercial jetliners a decade ago. We do not grasp that Osama bin Laden's twisted vision of a world of indiscriminate violence and terror has triumphed. The attacks turned us into monsters, grotesque ghouls, sadists and killers who drop bombs on village children and waterboard those we kidnap, strip of their rights and hold for years without due process. We acted before we were able to think. And it is the satanic lust of violence that has us locked in its grip. 

As Wordsworth wrote:

Action is transitory -- a step, a blow,
The motion of a muscle -- this way or that --
'Tis done; and in the after-vacancy
We wonder at ourselves like men betrayed:
Suffering is permanent, obscure and dark,
And has the nature of infinity.

We could have gone another route. We could have built on the profound sympathy and empathy that swept through the world following the attacks. The revulsion over the crimes that took place 10 years ago, including in the Muslim world, where I was working in the weeks and months after 9/11, was nearly universal. The attacks, if we had turned them over to intelligence agencies and diplomats, might have opened possibilities not of war and death but ultimately reconciliation and communication, of redressing the wrongs that we commit in the Middle East and that are committed by Israel with our blessing. It was a moment we squandered. Our brutality and triumphalism, the byproducts of nationalism and our infantile pride, revived the jihadist movement. We became the radical Islamist movement's most effective recruiting tool. We descended to its barbarity. We became terrorists too. The sad legacy of 9/11 is that the a**holes, on each side, won.

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Chris Hedges spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years.

Hedges was part of the team of (more...)
 

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but not as visually perceptive as Paul Craig Rober... by larry payne on Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 1:25:14 PM
Much as I appreciate what Chris Hedges says, he ma... by Ned Lud on Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 5:06:50 PM
Well, actually it is more than unfortunate.  ... by Mark Triggs on Monday, Sep 12, 2011 at 2:54:15 PM
Educated Muslims know that in 1191 Richard "The Li... by E. J. N. on Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 1:28:30 PM
You know what, I don't care what the muslims think... by bern on Monday, Sep 12, 2011 at 10:10:39 PM
The seeds of terrorism go back much farther than 1... by Bill Johnson on Monday, Sep 12, 2011 at 10:46:12 PM
That quote from the book of Numbers reveals an exa... by E. J. N. on Tuesday, Sep 13, 2011 at 2:12:19 PM
I think John Perkins's sums up well, that Corporat... by Michael Dewey on Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 1:28:33 PM
There is no such thing as 'mutant' Capitalism as s... by Ted Newcomen on Monday, Sep 12, 2011 at 8:37:32 AM
About Socialistic appropriation of capital to... by Michael Dewey on Monday, Sep 12, 2011 at 2:38:35 PM
We were unable to accept the reality of this anony... by Michael Dewey on Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 1:29:00 PM
A trillion-dollar-a-year military and intelligence... by larry payne on Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 3:54:02 PM
It is true that we have become what we loath. ... by Patricia Gray on Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 1:37:58 PM
I totally agree with your sentiments. 9/11 was an ... by Sassanka Samarakkody on Monday, Sep 12, 2011 at 4:20:05 AM
As a Fireman, I still use that term, because it re... by Roy Pilkey on Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 1:59:33 PM
What stands out for me ten years later, is the dom... by Steven G. Erickson on Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 2:10:56 PM
There was an alleged retired Mossad Colonel who ow... by Steven G. Erickson on Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 2:12:23 PM
Unfortunately, Chris is essentially and meaningful... by Harvie Branscomb on Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 2:52:25 PM
author fails to remember that the ugliness that he... by zon moy on Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 5:07:44 PM
Who can untangle the terror that globalization and... by Ray Tapajna on Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 5:36:37 PM
Thank you, Chris, for what may be the most importa... by Bob Portune on Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 8:48:48 PM
   There is always some hope when so man... by Richard Lee on Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 9:15:53 PM
There is so much that is untrue and disgusting in ... by bern on Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 9:54:43 PM
Hi Chris, Thank you for putting into words what ma... by John Randolph on Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 at 11:35:43 PM
Mr. Hedges, you have a marvelous command of our la... by Robert Tracey on Monday, Sep 12, 2011 at 12:04:24 AM
It is our duty to expose the lies of criminal-enab... by aberamsay on Monday, Sep 12, 2011 at 10:06:02 AM
Our society badly needs authentic, spiritual voice... by Craig Daniels on Monday, Sep 12, 2011 at 12:04:43 AM
Simply brilliant, thank you Mr. Hedges... by Adnan Al-Daini on Monday, Sep 12, 2011 at 5:06:10 AM
I agree whole-heartedly with everything you have s... by Michael Hayes on Monday, Sep 12, 2011 at 8:33:07 AM
Your sickening tactic of juxtapozing the gruesome ... by aberamsay on Monday, Sep 12, 2011 at 11:00:41 AM
FINALLY,Someone who found the exact words that I H... by Ted Rosa on Monday, Sep 12, 2011 at 11:04:55 AM
And you have failed the test, Mr Chris Hedgessmoki... by aberamsay on Monday, Sep 12, 2011 at 11:25:57 AM
Taking the official account as true, I arrive at t... by Philip Pease on Monday, Sep 12, 2011 at 11:29:58 AM
The now well-past-its sell-by-date "blowback" theo... by Paul Carline on Monday, Sep 12, 2011 at 12:20:26 PM
I personally do  not believe even for a minut... by Mark Sashine on Monday, Sep 12, 2011 at 12:38:27 PM
I don't agree with everything you write either, bu... by Robert Tracey on Monday, Sep 12, 2011 at 6:50:13 PM
and the rage is that brilliant people like Hedges ... by Mark Sashine on Tuesday, Sep 13, 2011 at 8:57:02 AM
Truth. We will never heal until we have the truth.... by Robert Tracey on Tuesday, Sep 13, 2011 at 12:28:58 PM
The American people are divided and in conflict as... by E. J. N. on Monday, Sep 12, 2011 at 1:36:43 PM
You are in total denial. The facts are that there ... by bern on Monday, Sep 12, 2011 at 10:00:20 PM
by the US invasions, France and England, Russia in... by Mark Sashine on Tuesday, Sep 13, 2011 at 8:32:20 AM
YES , THE WORLD HAS A ENEMY, AND HAS HAD FOR 1500 ... by bern on Tuesday, Sep 13, 2011 at 3:00:32 PM
...before plunging into intelligent debates a... by aberamsay on Tuesday, Sep 13, 2011 at 10:11:06 AM
Sorry, but you are wrong. You need to read the his... by bern on Tuesday, Sep 13, 2011 at 4:38:46 PM
Radical anything is bad for you, but I'll give you... by Robert Tracey on Tuesday, Sep 13, 2011 at 12:43:59 PM
but the experience had proven to all of us, at lea... by Mark Sashine on Tuesday, Sep 13, 2011 at 1:02:13 PM
How about someone addressing the 17,000 plus terro... by bern on Tuesday, Sep 13, 2011 at 2:55:11 PM
I ignored the anniversary because after 9/11 I was... by DFinnigan on Tuesday, Sep 13, 2011 at 2:00:06 PM
We're under terrorist threat because we occupy s... by Richard Clark on Tuesday, Sep 13, 2011 at 3:39:38 PM
Sorry, but you are wrong. You need to read the his... by bern on Tuesday, Sep 13, 2011 at 4:33:33 PM
...if you still believe in  ghosts, I mean in... by aberamsay on Tuesday, Sep 13, 2011 at 6:53:05 PM
According to Ron's criteria,  IBM and Microso... by bern on Friday, Sep 16, 2011 at 3:37:33 AM
What brought down building 7.  Heard all of t... by Michael Dewey on Tuesday, Sep 13, 2011 at 3:57:11 PM
The irony to that statement is that before 9/ll at... by Elizabeth Grieco on Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011 at 8:02:04 AM
I love how so many commenters have pointed ou... by Ted Guertin on Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011 at 1:29:02 PM