So much we are supposed to forget or not know and/or care about, so little we are supposed to remember.
“We must never forget” 9/11, when “America was attacked” (when, as cannot be said without sounding “controversial,” the United States Middle East policy blew back on the nation’s financial and political capitals).
For 20 years I resisted making any personal remarks about the attacks September the 11th, particularly regarding the World Trade Center in NYC. I thought it was inappropriate and inconsequential because I did not suffer personal loss like so many that day. But I have been reflecting a lot on that historic event lately. And given that the US war against Afghanistan is now over, at least officially if not covertly, I think there is good reason for that.
Geo Maher, the author of the just-released book, A World Without Police, talks about why the police are actually designed not to do what we think they are supposed to do, to “serve and protect” the general public, but actually serve and protect property owners and more generally those who benefit from racism and inequality. He goes on to outline what a world without police could look like.
It’s Labor Day, and that means millions of Americans are celebrating. Most Americans have no idea what Labor Day is, other than self-serving political speeches, hot dogs, burgers, a pool party, and the last day of a three-day holiday. Few even know that Labor Day exists to allow people to remember and honor the struggles for respect, dignity, and acceptable wages and working conditions for the rank-and-file employees.
I wanted to share some thoughts with you on Afghanistan, as it sits atop the rubble of another indifferent imperial folly with the dread of once again living under a fundamentalist authoritarian regime on the horizon. And especially on the American public’s disconnect from its own government’s culpability in spreading misery there and throughout the Global South. I wanted to talk about reflection too.
President Biden put a popular flag-waving wrapping for America’s forced withdrawal from Afghanistan in his 4 PM speech on Monday. It was as if all this was following Biden’s own intentions, not a demonstration of the totally incompetent assurances by the CIA and State Department as recently as last Friday that the Taliban was over a month away from being able to enter Kabul. Instead of saying that the massive public support for the Taliban replacing the United States showed the incompetent hubris of U.S. intelligence agencies – which itself would have justified Biden’s agreement to complete the withdrawal with all haste – he doubled down on his defense of the Deep State and its mythology.
On the show this week, Chris Hedges discusses the importance of the scholar Edward Said with Professor Hamid Dabashi. Dabashi is the professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University.
It’s far from the longest U.S. war. There was no peace before or after it. There is no after it until they end it — and bombing has always been most of what it is. It has had nothing to do with opposing terrorism. It has been a one-sided slaughter, a mass killing over two decades by a single invading army and air force dragging along token mascots from dozens of vassal states. After 20 years Afghanistan was one of the worst places to be on Earth, and the Earth as a whole was a worse place to be — the rule of law, the state of nature, the refugee crises, the spread of terrorism, the militarization of governments all worsened. Then the Taliban took over.
“The Taliban is not the North Vietnamese army. There’s gonna be no circumstance where you see people being lifted off the roof of a embassy of the United States from Afghanistan.” — US President Biden, July 2021
The Communist Manifesto was conceived as an outline of the basic beliefs of the Communist movement. The authors believed that the European Powers were universally afraid of the nascent movement, and were condemning as “communist,” people or activities that did not actually conform to what the Communists believed. This Manifesto, then, became a manual for their beliefs.