Tuesday, September 11, 2012

September 11 2012, a letter to my North American friends

Dear Friends

Inasmuch as I sympathize for you a lot today, and I do, I am writing to you to let you know that it has been 11 years now. I think that grieving for the World Trade Center should be over, you should move on and start taking back your place in world leadership.  You may think that by invading Iraq and Afghanistan you showed who is the boss, but you did not. Invading Afghanistan was good, but invading Iraq was not, on so many levels, including damaging any possible good you did in Afghanistan.

The heritage is clear. The current crisis can be in part tied to the ballooning deficit of the Iraq war, paid on credit card. While you were mired in Iraq, China and India became major economic challengers,  challengers still, for sure, but challengers nevertheless.  While you needed secure oil for Iraq you lost Venezuela and maybe your influence in all of Latin America where today you are seen as whinny drug consumers who try to push your problems on us.  I am not talking of Chavez, I am talking of Brazil who used Chavez as one of its tool to extend its influence while you thought Chavez was the problem.

Europe made a point to counter your Iraq intervention by becoming even more of a welfare state. As such its deficits made them join the crisis and now none of you two can help the other get out of it.

While your boys and girls were busy in Iraq you did not solve immigration, you did not refurbish your tax system, you kept playing gay baiting and what not. Any excuse but talking of the USA real problems, at home and outside.

The Arab spring caught you pants down even though you were in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The world has changed a lot while you were watching your navel.

Now it is time to get out of your grief. You cannot transform 9/11 into another confederacy battle played all year around by southern boys with too much time on their hands.  Celebrating defeats never led to ultimate victory, be it Kossovo, Gettysburg or WTC.

I have lived enough years among you to know that you are a great country, a great people, much greater than many of my friends around here are willing to accept.  I do. I love and admire the USA even though I have no problem criticizing your flaws.  You are the final point of Western civilization but you are also the starting point of its new phase. You are the ones that are transforming Western heritage, making its best points accepted by other civilizations.

It is not possible anymore to lead by strength.  This died in the sands of Iraq. Now you can lead us by example. Get on it.


  1. Well-said, Daniel. Couldn't agree more.

  2. Anonymous9:49 AM

    Could you be more clear as to what you mean by strength by example?

    Real Unemployment Rate: 20+%?
    Three Hour Emergency Room Visit = $83,046?
    46.7 million on food stamps?
    World record prison population?
    Prescription drugs? Obesity? Junk food in schools?
    Militarized police? The surveillance state?

    Or does all that fade into irrelevance as you gaze into your iPad/iPhone?

    1. I am afraid you have completely misread this post.

  3. Very well written. I do believe that we as a country should come back to our roots, end these useless wars and fix our own problems. While lately we have stepped back some, We have spent long enough meddling in the affairs of other countries. I disagree with you however on the fact the country is still grieving. While many who were directly affected with the loss of loved ones are, the country itself is not. I believe we have been on a revenge campaign the last ten years with little time to grieve. It finally became apparent last year with one part of the war drawn to a close as people flocked to the new memorials built. I also believe that the Iraq was was a (very terrible and stupid) ploy by Bush to draw attention to Iran and their nuclear program. But now that Bin Laden is dead, and most of those who might have planned 9/11 are captured or dead, we should be on the defensive at home. Also, yes war carries its debts. We all know that. So does three $787 billion government spending packages that did little or nothing to spur the economy in the last three years. Much like Venezuela is, We are at a crossroads. Depending on who wins our election, we will change drastically or not at all. Maybe both candidates should read this.

  4. Anonymous11:36 AM

    The battleship USS Maine sank in Havana bay in 1898. Nobody realy knows if the Spaniards sank it (they deny it to this day). But this was the incident that started the Spanish-American war, and produced much LatinAmerican resentment of North Americans, who kept repeating to themselves "Remember the Maine, the hell with Spain!" for decades after the end of that short war in the summer of 1998. Our northern friends took much too long to forget the Maine. I remember seeing a memorial to the sinking of the ship in a park in Oakland, complete with a piece of recovered machinery. Don't get me wrong: I agree with the second part of the war cry, but it really is time to forget and make peace with the southern neighbors. And to burry the unnecessary memorials.

    September 11 is something similar. I would say "forget 9-11 and burry the memorials before you lose the good will of any remaining Arab friends". The visible legacy of 9-11 is the Homeland Security agency which likes to play with technology to spy on its own people and threaten retribution on anyone who does not obey its every whim on the spot. About the analytical equipment used for detecting explosives on a broad scale, for making sure that the coffee you are drinking is not going to explode in your stomach, or for doing a facial feature analysis to determine if you are good or bad, any experimental physicist will tell you that the technology being used is a waste of taxpayer's money. But perhaps the plan is to kick-start the US economy by investing borrowed money on analytical equipment manufacture, however useless in the short term.

    Just forget 9-11.


  5. Well written Daniel. I too lived many years in the US and miss it. Because of that, just like you, I also know that the US is a great country, with good people. That's why, now that I live in Europe, it pains me that the US has such a bad image over here. It used to be that in Europe, the US was a reference in everything from industry to technology to culture. Not anymore I've found out.

    1. Cesar,

      It is interesting to see that the bad image of the US is so prevalent in Europe, especially seeing as how it is a cohesive force for the establishment of the Eurozone.I mean the different countries might not have much in common, but they are definitively anti- American,verdad? Hate is such a political force all over the world.

      Now on the other hand Europe is viewed in quite a positive light here in the US.Somehow I don't think that before, when Europe " looked up" to us, that they simultaneously, saw themselves in a bad light.Of course not.

      All in all I would say that how we perceive others and ourselves has more to do with our own tendencies than it does with the actual 'other'. But people have a hard time seeing that.

    2. I wouldn´t say that I've perceived hate against the US in Europe in general. What I have seen in my admittedly very informal observations is that European people tend to view the US as a kind of strange place, where weird things happen, and weird laws are enforced. I guess it has to do with TV seldom missing the chance to show some wacky news from the US. I always tell people that in a very televised land of 300 million, wacky stuff is bound to happen and to be televised for all the world to see, and that I don't think there are necessarily more wacky news from the US than the world average, but rather that we are shown more of it on TV. But more seriously, the recent wars and the role of Wall Street in the financial crisis I believe are two big factors promoting indifference about the US among the average European.

  6. A bit of omphaloskepsis can be useful to all people, in my opinion.

    A new Daily Kos/SEIU poll finds that 78% of Americans have an unfavorable opinion of the political media, as compared to 10% who have a favorable view.This in my opinion is the leading quality of most people in the US : the grand and wonderful LACK of interest in, or love of the political and of being a super power.

    We criticize ourselves more than anyone, precisely not realizing the political impact this has on us.People tend to take us for our word, though I dare say most should stick to criticizing their own countries a bit more.I don't include Venezuela in this list as Venezuelans also criticize their own country way too much.

    We are not grieving 9/11...we just want to protect ourselves from what is perceived as an increasingly and threateningly immoral world, both within and without.We are a culture that airs dirty linen in public because of a very free press and it is often used by countries with much worse behavior as a way of attacking the US and pretending to be far superior to us.

    Not that we see other cultures in such a bad light....we actually love Europe, LA , and some of the Asian cultures to a point that I think is often unmerited, and naive,yet most want to see the US protected from rogue states, and world wide criminals.We don't share the Chinese values that as Confucius said:"Let the ruler be a ruler, the subject a subject, a father a father, and a son a son" We crave individuality and not hierarchy..

    We did not go to Iraq for oil.The US oil companies are the ones least involved in IRAQ.If oil were the main motivator it would have made much more sense to invade Venezuela, giving us independence from the middle east oil.

    I don't think people here compare themselves to others that much.Europe can be Europe....LA can be LA......

    We are very patriotic as a whole, but not really that interested in leading others.....I think that most of us would prefer to be left alone.This is not naval gazing only.It is the realization that most people cannot be pleased,and each country has different expectations of how we should behave, and we are tired of being criticized for absolutely everything about our society.

    LA is in dire need of serious naval gazing itself...after all, this is the only way we can come to terms with our real goals.

    I don't see what possible leadership we could have at this point.Obviously we have done a very bad job of it, and we have no desire for it either.

  7. Anonymous5:56 PM

    I think your point is misleading. I am writing both as a Venezuelan and a US citizen. No one here is "celebrating defeat." Today is commemorating the deaths of over 3000 innocents in a terrorist attack. I wonder if you would write the same thing to a crowd of Venezuelans who were laying a wreath for the fall of 3000 compatriots who were attacked by a terrorist group. Moreover, today's ceremonies have been somber and dignified. No one is politicizing them.

    You are, of course, welcome to your opinions on navel gazing by the US, but that was all happening well before Sept. 11. And, of course, the US is moving on. This is why troops have been moved out of Iraq, and why Obama wants to end the war on Afghanistan. I do not question the point of the mistakes done in the wake of Sept. 11. But your suggestion that all of the current problems the US is facing are a result of our fixation on 9-11 is, to put it charitably, reaching. Put another way, would you tell the Europeans to forget D-Day and point out all of their problems (economic, racial, etc) and ask them to move on? I think not.


    1. Anonymous6:34 PM

      There is no fixation on D-Day. All our economic problems stem from the banking crisis in the US (which, I admit, had nothing to do with 9-11).

    2. Anonymous9:07 PM

      I was not suggesting there is any fixation on D-day. The point is that every year Europeans commemorate soldiers who died during WWII on D-day. Yet, no one is telling them to stop their naval gazing and that while they were at it, their racial, political and economic woes grew.


    3. Yep, I'm down with hgdam on this one. And I completely understand your post and read it three times just to make sure, Daniel. :-)

    4. First, you cannot compare D-day with anything. As a battle it was a bloody victory. There was no surprise effect, the Germans were ready and waited for wherever the landing be. As a political coup it was priceless because it brought the war back to western Europe and proved Hitler could be defeated. And yet there was still a year of war left.

      September 11 was a terrorist attack, not even the start of the war on terror even if that one boomed after. On its own merits, if you forgive me this unfortunate choice of words, neither can it be compared to anything.

      I chose Kossovo because the serbs still ponder ways they could have defeated the Turks. Gettysburg because good old boys keep reviving plenty of these battles wondering what Lee could have done. And I am afraid that 9/11 may be revived a tad too often though today a certain modesty appeared, mercifully.

      Second, you are entitled to your opinion but I look at the big picture, you pay more attention to details. Thus I am afraid you did not quite get my post.

  8. Anonymous6:09 PM

    Correction: I should have said misguided instead of misleading when I referred to your post.


  9. As many of the "Social Democrats" already know, the capaz Barack Hussein Obama shall soon lead us to new heights of greatness.

  10. Dr. Faustus8:52 PM

    The Saturday after 9/11 I found myself wondering what to do for the day. There was no football on television and everything was transfixed on events coming out of Washington and New York. I decided to head down to the local watering hole and found myself seated next to the usual suspects. Before long there was about 10 of us gathered around the bar, all watching the television monitors. Before long an old friend of mine wandered-in and sat next to me. It was Walt, and he looked disheveled. I asked him, "Walt, ya look like sh#t, what the hell ya been up to?" "Oh, we've been driving all night from New York." New York? A cold shiver ran down my spine. Before long he told me that he and his sister were in Manhattan looking for his sister's son,....who worked in the World Trade Center. He was a young kid, only 23 or 24. It was his first job, been there only a couple of months. After college he and his roommate were offered jobs on the top floor of the World Trade Center. On the night before both young execs went out drinking on the town. When they staggered in after a few drinks, they both went to sleep. When 7:00 came around the one kid (Walt's nephew) took a shower, got his clothes on and hopped the train into town. The other one stayed in bed. Needless to say that when he finally rose that morning he was devastated. Crushed. A very sad story. They never did find Walt's nephew among the survivors. He was one of the 3,000 that day. Walt, however, didn't want a dirge that day at the bar. He stayed for about 3 hours. We all got drunk, told dirty jokes, hurled insults at one another and laughed till our belly's hurt. t was that kind of day.

  11. Misguided, misplaced and verging on disingenuous, as in I love you but..... Not to mention presumtuous, who of your friends, do you honestly believe, would want to receive Such a letter?
    Perhaps you should have called it a rant at north Americans.

    Now you may paint my with the same disingenuous brush as I tell you I very much enjoy reading your blog, but this one post certainly does not live up to your usual standards

  12. Anonymous10:09 PM

    Firepigette said-"We are a culture that airs dirty linen in public because of a very free press and it is often used by countries with much worse behavior as a way of attacking the US and pretending to be far superior to us."
    Example- Castro and Chavez. Long time ago someone said in Miami-"If you want to know what is happening in US -listen to Castro"
    Another example- US- 4th of July-no word from Chavez. 5-July Venezuelan Independence Day-
    words of congratulations from Sec. of State Hillary Clinton.
    Every day Chavez claims Capriles is backed
    by the Empire-meaning the US.
    Do Venezuelans believe that? Maybe I should ask
    Do"ni-ni's" believe that?
    Seriously- how many Venezuelans believe they are better off being controlled by Cuba or
    (if they were) controlled by the USA?
    Anonimo #5

  13. How long ago was Simon Bolivar? Would you listen to advice from a foreigner that your democracy died 14 years ago and you should get over it?

    The world gets their views of the US from very bad sources (US press is very socialist-leaning)

    We shouldn't stay and nation build in Afghanistan and Iraq. Kill the bad guys and get out should be the goal. They will never be free democracies, their culture is too backward for that.

    The US needs to end foreign aid, needs to eliminate some of its 76 welfare programs. Our "impoverished" are probably living better than your middle class. It's bankrupting us.

    The US is starting to totter because of socialist programs.

  14. Much of what you say, Daniel, I agree with. But I draw the line at your attempt to minimize the annual memorializing of a tragedy. Let me provide you with an example of what happens across the border, in sleepier (and sometimes more peaceful) Canada.

    It's been almost 100 years since the end of the Great War (WWI). To this day, starting in October of every year, paper poppies are available, in exchange for contributions, at most business establishments across the country.

    The paper poppies are a reminder of the fallen soldiers of WWI and the poem that inspired it. Politicians (and the British royal family) wear the poppies with great flourish. The rest of us plebes do so quietly, if we wish. And I do -- until just after the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of every year. At that point, leaders of government - from any level, veterans, and the military lay wreaths at cenotaphs in all major cities and most small towns across Canada. They do so before keeping one minute of silence to honour the fallen.

    That minute of silence at the eleventh hour is also respected by schools. Schoolchildren learn a little history and learn to honour the sacrifices made, during that long-ago war, even though it might not mean anything to them. Por ahora.

    It has been almost 100 years of memorializing, using touchstone symbols that have mutated in significance over time. However, the essential significance remains, and provides an annual reminder of what it once meant to fight for a greater good. (And I don't like War.) That significance and the history surrounding it is not a bad thing to enshrine in a culture.

    Likewise with the memorializing of 9-11. I have no problem with September 11th being a touchstone for the majority of US citizens, particularly those living in Manhattan and DC, as well as for families who suffered shocking losses that day. September 11th has become and should remain a part of US history, no matter what mutation takes place surrounding the memorial, until its essence has surfaced.

    1. Syd

      I sort of replied to you above. One thing is outright long and bloody war, another a given infamous event.

      I really do not mean to minimize 9/11. I still remember exactly what I did that day, one thing was to refuse to watch TV, so strong my denial was.

      My point is that sometimes the psychological effect seems out of proportion. Pearl Harbor anyone? That is one event that should be commemorated over and over. The changes it brought to America were infinitely bigger than 9/11 where most everyone saw it distant, not an impediment to hang out at the malls.

    2. Daniel,
      Never underestimate the myriad ways in which people (and politicians) have in dealing with national grief, in the short, medium and long term, whether the grief is the result of a long and bloody war, an attack on one's harbour by an axis power, or multi-attacks on thousands of civilians by rogue Taliban.

      No national tragedies over a span of decades can ever be compared. That's why I see as irrelevant the discussion over the comparative changes brought by 9/11 vis-à-vis those as a result of Pearl Harbor.

      You're welcome to your opinions, of course. I just don't agree with them, preferring to respect the memory of the innocents, their families, and the ways in which a country wishes to deal with their tragedy.

      I know you are generally not an insensitive person. That's why your opinion on this matter surprised me. In a way it reminded me of a comment from what I thought was a good friend, long ago. After many, many years, I finally revealed a personal tragedy, to which the response from this friend was, "oh, get over it." I was horrified by the callous lingo, which has become way too common, nowadays. I was also puzzled by the response, because I'm not one given to exaggerations, or to fantasy constructs, or to bleating my personal life, even to friends.

      Trust, me, Daniel. There are just some things you never get over. And why should you, just to please those who want you to get on with it?

    3. Syd

      Of course, there are things one never gets over. They are called personal tragedies for one reason.... I have them, of course.

      But making a national tragedy your own personal one even if you were not directly affected is another thing.

      Remember that my hobby numero uno is history and I always see things in historical context. So perhaps I am ready to bring down 9/11 to its just measure whereas most people are not. I can see why this can come across as insensitive and I apologize because it is not my intention. But my point is still valid even if not acceptable.

    4. Syd, then again we should never forget the media feeding frenzy which is at the heart of some of the misunderstandings in this thread. Media likes to have issues to revive for slow days....

      Maybe Kepler below is right, I have become a mere charming provincial in Yaracuy, woefully uninformed of what happens in the world and what is adequate to grieve on or to forget....

  15. Anonymous2:20 AM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. You are allowed to trash me. But use at least a full sentence, if anything in deference to those who did state their reasons.

  16. Daniel, I love you, and I read and understand your post, but I still think it's a crock of shit and your timing is just f-ing offensive. But bully for you. I respect you enough to know that you're not shooting from the hip and that you have deeply held convictions that make you draw the conclusions that you do. I respectfully disagree with you and wish you well.

  17. Anonymous5:26 AM

    sorry. i obviously i read your blog, so i don't discount it or you whole cloth. but it was self evident to me that no matter how articulately written, your blithe "get over it america," comment is tasteless, disrespectful and cruel while at the same time being a shallow pretense as a critique of american foreign policy. i lost friends, colleagues, and acquaintances in the pentagon crash; i've met people that barely escaped with their lives from the towers and have a slightly haunted countenance to this day, and many others who lost people close to them. i'm reminded of that christmas when the hills fell on macuto and la guaira, and all who were lost there. no matter how remotely i traveled in venezuela, cars and porpuestos (is that what they were called?) would stop on lonely mountain roads and the occupants share stories of lost ones in the mudslides. i would never, never dishonor the memories of those people the way i feel like your comments dishonored our dead, by telling them "c'mon, pull up your bootstraps and get on with it for crying out loud. so they're dead, we get it, move on." anyone who still feels the need to acknowledge their loss through acts of remembrance should be respected. more so if a whole nation mourns. the victims of the mud slides and the 911 attacks share the loss of innocent lives. but at least the lives lost in the derrumbe in el llitoral weren't taken maliciously. this adds to the abject revulsion your comment provokes in me. i don't even recall what i wrote. deplorable? indefensible? i believe either would apply. again, i'm not discounting you en toto, just registering my offense at this posting. am i being overly reactive? perhaps. were you asking for it by posting una plasta putrida como ese? yes.

    1. I am really at a los to see why you think I disrespect the victims, be they WTC or Vargas. I can understand why you think I may disrespect survivors, but please, do not make me that shallow.

      For your info, since we are getting personal apparently, I am direct descendant of WWII survivors. Bombs and all.

    2. Anonymous7:33 PM

      Well, let's don't play Who Has More Pain in Their History. It's a no-win spiral to the bottom. But c'com, you honestly don't think a blog of this nature posted ON September 11 isn't deliberately inflammatory? You aren't shallow, although masking something so offensive as this as innocent political commentary, is. It's also disingenuous to pretend otherwise. Just like the mediocre, cretinous "filmmaker" and the twice-born, hell-bound Florida preacher deliberately poked the "eternally offended" muslim hornets' nest, WANTING to provoke the violent response in the middle east that murdered our ambassador, you deliberately chose the most offensive possible date to air your this-time very shallow commentary. Keep me posted on the appropriate date that we should "get over" Ambassador Steven's death. Will you let us know on the anniversary of his slaughter, or perhaps his birthday? His wedding anniversary? You see my point...

    3. I think you need to take a deep breath.

    4. Anonymous4:34 PM

      Deep breath taken. Ahhh...Thanks! But look! In spite of that deep breath, your posting is still a deliberately insensitive, juvenile piece of provocation, saturated with embarrassing delusions of intellectualism. I wouldn't recommend that you take a deep breath just yet. The stench of deteriorating relevance must be powerful.

    5. JUVENILE! Thank you! You made my day!

  18. Boludo Tejano5:56 AM

    The Arab spring caught you pants down even though you were in Iraq and Afghanistan.The world has changed a lot while you were watching your navel.

    As you supported the election of Barack Obama in 2008, I find the above to be a howler. You asked for him, you got him.

    Anyone who claims that he is SHOCKED by Obama's non-response to the Arab Spring - or the 2009 election in Iran for that matter- made no effort to inform himself about Obama before the 2008 election.


    1. Boludo

      You are going to get over it: as the GOP is evolving, the less likely it is I will vote for them.

      And as far I recall house went gop in 2010 and senate missed by one. Lots of pants down there too.

    2. Boludo Tejano8:33 PM

      ...as the GOP is evolving, the less likely it is I will vote for them.

      !Que bolas! Now you are a US citizen. So you now travel around with THREE passports? What a howler.

      You are going to get over it: as the GOP is evolving, the less likely it is I will vote for them.

      Au contraire , I have long accepted that in looking at US politics, you most resemble a yellow dog lib. Were you a US citizen, you would no more vote for a Pub than you would vote for Thugo in Venezuela. That is a given. Given your living inside the university bubble in the US, I suppose this was inevitable.

      As far as I can tell, your thinking goes like this: Thugo→Jesse Helms→ anyone who has the effrontery to disagree with a lib.

      I accept as a given that in terms of US politics you are , in effect, a yellow dog lib. What I find amusing are the contortions you undergo in this process. Really, Daniel, you are quite entertaining. Your position in this thread can be summarized thusly: "I am upset enough at the 'watching your navel' approach to foreign policy of the Obama administration to condemn this approach in my essay on US foreign policy, yet were I a US citizen, I would still vote for Obama in 2012."

      Te hacés payaso.

      Please keep writing about the US, Daniel. I can always use a comedy break.

    3. In all honesty, after reading you twice I am not sure I got your point besides a "you know nothing about the US and I don't like you, and a very possible you really suck". If there is more to it, please enlighten me.

    4. Boludo Tejano2:54 PM

      BT:What I find amusing are the contortions you undergo in this process.
      Daniel: In all honesty, after reading you twice I am not sure I got your point..... If there is more to it, please enlighten me.

      If your ideological blinkers are so strong that you are unable to perceive the contortions I pointed out in your recent statement on US foreign policy, there is not much I can do to further enlighten you. But regarding further proof of your contortions regarding US politics, I came across a recent Thugo quote: "I hope this doesn't harm Obama, but if I was from the United States, I'd vote for Obama." You and Thugo have finally found something you can agree on!

      Regarding your three-pointed comment about my POV, you are spot-on on your first point. Your knowledge of US politics, while greater than most outside the US and inside the US, is not as great as you believe it. I am reminded of the old joke about Argentines: how do you get rich? Buy an Argentine for what he's worth and sell him for what he thinks he's worth.

      The gap between what you think you know about the US and what you actually know about the US most likely occurs not because you are a furriner, but because you apparently get most of your news from yellow dog lib sources. Had you remained in a university environment in the US, instead of returning to Venezuela, the same would have probably occurred.

      At one point I did dislike you for making partisan, ignorant comments about US politics. I would have preferred your being more neutral. I changed from dislike to laughter when I read your recent comments on US foreign policy, compared with your previous- and current- support of Obama. Someone for whom I never voted put it well: "There you go again."

      But as a read on Venezuela, you are well worth the time. For example, your previous electoral predictions have been rather good. Your narratives give a good feel for what it is like to be on the ground in 2012 Venezuela. As Charlie Parker once said, "the stories, the stories."

      Ironically, my time working in Venezuela was pivotal in changing me from a yellow dog lib into what I would term Post Liberal. In an Anaco cafe- it was not a bookstore-I purchased a copy of Carlos Rangel's Del Buen Salvaje al Buen Revolucionario. The book helped articulate the contrasts between the "progressive" catechism about Latin America I had picked up at university and what I saw on the ground in Latin America.

    5. I think it is better for both of us that I do not reply.

  19. Anonymous8:34 AM

    To a tourist arriving in the US, the first thing that hits you is 9-11. The infamous Homeland Security people go over you most unpolitely looking for proof that you are a terrorist. Insults come and go, and you have to remain silent for fear of a blow to your head, or worse. The American people are vigilat, looking for signs of strange behavior that might give you away as a terrorist: a simple shout from some old woman is enough for a lynch mob to surround you. All this because you look different (and why shouldn't you if you are a tourist!).

    Then you notice that the people of that great country appear prepared to surrender civil liberties in exchange for some sense of security, thinking that the Homeland Security people actually know what they are doing. This blind submission to armed authority is not what a tourist expects to see in the land of the free.

    Then you notice that when 9-11 comes up in a conversation you are instantly looked at with suspicion, as if all foreigners had something to do with the Twin Towers attack.

    Then you look at the faces of these American citizens as they regard you with suspicion, and you think: these guys look just like me. I bet their ancestors arrived here at most a couple of generations ago, many from the same place I come from. And you think: is this sense of national grief real? How can it be?

    By all means do what you need to do to cope with your grief, national or personal. But don't let your politicians take advantage of your loss to erode your civil liberties and personal freedom. It should be preferable to continue living in the land of the free, even at the risk of another terrorist attack. Consider that 9-11 could be used by your leaders to control you in ways you wouldn't wish to be controlled. Consider reducing your dependence on 9-11.

    1. Luckily Anonymous,

      Most of us are not as paranoid as you are.

      Most of us have have a much deeper understanding of civil liberties than being checked at the airport, and we realize that

      Freedom for criminals and terrorists does not give innocent citizens freedom.

      Also there are different kinds of freedom, and the freedom most of us want here in the US is not to be be able to get through an airport check-in unchecked, but rather the freedom to be who we are , and speak our minds, expressing ourselves as individuals in our daily lives....

      unfortunately the world has gone to hell in a hand basket, and the US feels the need to protect itself by screening those who enter...all power to her.

      I can understand your feeling uncomfortable with the check-ins, and my suggestion to you is if it bothers you , don't come.That's only fair and is a personal and valid choice for you.

      We are not reacting to 9/11, we are reacting to the State of the world today.

    2. Anonymous2:39 PM

      Have you ever gone to a restaurant that served you a bad meal, and on expressing your opinion you get the answer "if it bothers you , don't come?

    3. Anonymous2:52 PM

      Anonymous 2:04
      You need to see a shrink - urgently.

    4. Ann,

      The problem is that the definition of 'bad', is an individual affair not a Universal value.We can express an opinion (of course) but we should not expect others to change for us.

      If I don't like a restaurant, I don't go.I don't blame the restaurant.

      This is called personal choice, and it is a function of maturity.

      The US does not exist for your personal pleasure, or displeasure.


    5. Anonymous3:29 PM

      I was not referring to personal pleasures, but to your bad manners ("bad" being an individual affair, not a universal value as you rightly say). You could have made your point with equal force without being rude.

    6. Ann,Perhaps some might consider it rude as well that Anonymous was indulging in some pretty heavy, and unadulterated psfery.

    7. Anonymous7:34 PM

      you are in need of rehab

  20. Anonymous10:12 AM


    I have been a quiet admirer and reader of your blog...Venezuelan by birth, North American by education and work... I can really relate to your quote and in my opinion should be on USA politicians in this time of economic and social transformation in the US and latin america... "You are the final point of Western civilization but you are also the starting point of its new phase"... one of your many great quotes, we do need more of your rethoric in mainstream venezuela.



  21. Sept 11 is becoming the symbolic date chosen by the eternally offended Muslim mobs to murder U.S. personnel and burn U.S. embassies to the ground across the world. Witness what just happened in Benghazi and Cairo yesterday (Sept 11). 5 Americans killed, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya.

    The date? Sept 11. Chosen to engrave in everyone's mind that the first Twin Tower attack was just.
    The excuse then: U.S. support for Israel and presence of U.S. army personnel in Saudi.
    The excuse now: someone in the U.S. made a home made crackpot film about Mohammed that has never been shown to any audience.

    The response by the U.S. government this time around? #SecClinton: The U.S. deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. state.gov. The Cairo embassy: The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. Today, the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.

    The curtailment of freedom of speech will likely not prevent further attacks by offended Muslim mobs on Sept 11, but anyway in December 2011 the State Dept met with the OIC to see what it could do to eliminate criticism of Islam in the US. At that meeting Clinton said:

    We also understand that, for 235 years, freedom of expression has been a universal right at the core of our democracy. So we are focused on promoting interfaith education and collaboration, enforcing antidiscrimination laws, protecting the rights of all people to worship as they choose, and to use some old-fashioned techniques of peer pressure and shaming, so that people don't feel that they have the support to do what we abhor.

    In other words, Clinton could not and did not promise the OIC that the US will get rid of the first amendment but she did promise the US government will act as a bully (apply the old fashioned techniques of peer pressure and shaming) against those who speak out against Islam...

    She is acting on that promise now.

    The US will not forget Sept 11 because the Islamic world will not allow the US to forget: on that date US personnel will be fair game for Muslims everywhere.

  22. Geez...is this all a satirical post?

    The US "the final point of Western civilization"? Iraq bad, Afghanistan good? As simple as that?

    Obama -> bad response for Arab Spring, the contrary apparently a better one?

    Muslim mob? Speak out against Islam?

    Really laughable.
    Daniel, it seems your stay in the US and later your isolation in Yaracuy have left you with a particularly tunnel vision of the world.
    Have you tried to understand who actually propulsed the Taliban in the first place? Do you know how the USA has interacted with Pakistan's SIS in the last few decades?
    Do you understand at all what kind of mess the US was already in Afghanistan before it even got into the Iraq War On Oil and Weapons Contracts?

    And you, Boludo:: do you have an idea what kind of role the US was playing with all the dictatorship in the Muslim world? And how it crushed, together with Britain, one of the most interesting experiments in democracy in the Middle East (Iran, fifties)?

    Geez, guys...by feeding on CNN, Fox, NBC, NYT news you really have a very limited vision of the world.

    History doesn't stop.
    No Empire - and that includes the United States of America - is eternal.
    Not a single one.
    It's about time to stop believing in the Fairy Tale and think the Middle East is explained by reading Leon Uris' "Exodus".

    1. Kepler,

      Often, different people come to different conclusions because they are starting with different premises. So examining all the premises of each argument is a good place to start.

      I don't think invalidating a persons background is a good place to start.It actually creates a fallacious argument.If we were to do that, your lack of experience living in the US as an adult would certainly disqualify your expertise on the matter.

      Sticking always to the Al Jazeera version of reality of the Middle East does not constitute a valid point either.

      You said: "it seems your stay in the US and later your isolation in Yaracuy have left you with a particularly tunnel vision of the world."

      Going back in history to past grudges to justify present attitudes is very artificial because who can arbitrarily choose the cut off point? Kepler? or Al Jazeera ?

    2. Yes Kepler, you flushed me out. I know nothing.

  23. Larry4:44 PM

    And now we are enjoying the results of Libyan and Egyptian muslim extremists who obviously fear freedom of speech; therefore we should forget 9/11! I will not broad brush stroke all of Islam as a bunch of loonies whose only intent is to win converts through fear to their way of understanding a right relationship with God. These extremists bring discredit to any intelligent person's search for truth. If we accept that God is omnipotent, we cannot accept that the only way to Him is through fear. He doesn't want it nor need it. To understand omnipotence is to accept that free will is at the very center of God's relationship with His creation. If He forces us to accept Him, He does not need to be omnipotent. We therefore have the freedom to reject Him. However, we will never be outside His influence.

    1. Ahem... Free will is a judeo christian concept and probably the only religion that embraces it in full (though many in the clergy think it should be otherwise).

  24. WASHINGTON (Reuters) - General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the U.S. military's Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke with Pastor Terry Jones by phone on Wednesday and asked him to withdraw his support for a film whose portrayal of the Prophet Mohammad has sparked violent protests - including one that ended with the death of America's envoy to Libya. "In the brief call, Gen. Dempsey expressed his concerns over the nature of the film, the tensions it will inflame and the violence it will cause," Dempsey's spokesman, Colonel Dave Lapan, told Reuters. "He asked Mr. Jones to consider withdrawing his support for the film." U.S. military officials are concerned that the film could inflame tensions in Afghanistan, where 74,000 U.S. troops are fighting. The Taliban earlier on Wednesday called on Afghans to prepare for a fight against Americans and urged insurgents to "take revenge" on U.S. soldiers over the film.

    I would call this "bullying" by the U.S. govt against those who criticize Islam.

  25. The whole argument of whether or not the yearly convocation / honoring of the victims of 9/11 is nonsensical in my opinion.

    1. Honoring and remembering are NOT necessarily the same as grieving. Most people are not grieving they are honoring

    2 Nobody knows how long it takes individuals to overcome the loss of loved ones in the tragedy.I might see the need for emotional healing, whereas some else might not, and this is a personal choice.

    3. Coming together in a Memorial service is often very healing for those who felt a personal loss.It can form part of the healing process itself.

    4. Coming together as a Nation is good for cohesion

    5. Comparing the meaning of one loss with another makes no sense.We cannot put a dollar or cents sign, or a number on an emotional impact. Emotions are irrational,and cannot be treated in a rational way most of the time.Some people can, most cannot.

    6.Most people are not able to react to your post, in a rational way....thus you can see what I mean about
    the futility of applying rationality to the irrational.

    Therein lies the basic reason that Politics are so misleading, and so fundamentally damaging


  26. What Bush ruined , Obama buried

    USA is weak , as exemplified by the events of this past week in Egypt , Sudan , Tunisia and Yemen

    The White House and State Department responses are a disgrace , the apologizing , the appeasement

    Obama makes Jimmy Carter look like a stand-up guy --- he is a fool and History will judge him on all his failures , especially these weak actions , even as the Liberal Media bends over backwards to make him look good

    1. And what do you suggest? Nuke Benghazzi?

    2. Not Benghazzi; I'd start with Mecca.

    3. And what else would you nuke once they nuked Saint Peter's square? Get a grip!

    4. why would you even think that is an option ?
      why would you imply that is what I thought ?

      You're better than that

    5. You seem to have implied that Obama was appeasing. Thus I imagined you wanted a stronger response, of a military nature. Maybe nuking was too strong, but the real point was: what is it you propose.

      By the way, since this thread started the Lybian government has taken actions, justifying perhaps the patience of the US.


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