Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Memorial Bowties?

Really, that's the best you can do to perpetuate the horror?

I thought we Americans would eventually get over the nasty sucker punch we took on September 11th, 2001.  Instead we've made 9/11 a national holiday and ground zero into a police state theme park.    

This week, on the occasion of the 11th anniversary of Osama bin Laden's terror attacks, Slate has an excellent essay online this week.  Written by a very talented and titled Do You Have a Photo ID, Young Man?, it questions the excessive security in place at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum (& Gift Shop).  Bruce Schneier was interviewed for this edgy piece and he does not fail to deliver.

Schneier responded to a description of the memorial’s visible security with a pointed question: Is the memorial to the victims—or to our collective stupidity?   The tactics, Schneier said, “assume we can guess the plot. But as long as the terrorists can avoid them by making a minor change in their tactics or target, they're wastes of money.”
In one of many pointed paragraphs from this excellent essay:

In terms of balancing America’s most cherished values, no other American memorial marking a terrorist act has struck anything like the “balance” New York has. The Oklahoma City memorial, the Flight 93 memorial, even the Sept.11 memorial at the Pentagon: None require advance names, photo ID, or airport-style security, let alone all three ... Abroad, access to highly urban memorials in freedom-loving countries better acquainted with terrorism - Spain, the United Kingdom - is unfettered. Neither the memorial to the London July 7, 2005, attacks nor the Madrid station bombing memorial require preregistration, ID, or security checks.

I remember the horrible morning of 11 September 2001, but a decade and a year later I choose not to be crippled by fear, or to let my judgement be clouded by anger. But neither will I celebrate itThe USA and its coalition members have killed tens of thousands of Iraqis, Afghanis, Pakistanis, and Yemenis  in reprisal for Al Qaeda's dastardly attacks.  Perhaps it's time to share some of our national outrage with those who have cynically guided, leveraged, perpetuated, and profited from our reflexive and jingoistic response to the original offense. 

We have sacrificed the lives of more than 6,000 military personnel and maimed tens of of thousands, spent two trillion dollars and have not stopped counting, cheered while the alphabet agencies told the Congress precisely where to gut-rip our Constitution, and now stand patiently in cattle chutes while the TSA gropes our grandmothers and looks at naked pictures of our children.

All that's left is to send Al Qaeda GeeDubya's "Mission Accomplished!" banner.

And when you're done refreshing your dread at ground zero don't forget to visit the Gift Shop where you can purchase four dollar rubber bands, co-branded NYPD ball caps ($18.00) and NYFD T-shirts ($22.00), and memorial bowties ($57.00?!!).