Friday, 9 September 2011

Now we are 10

No, I can't remember what I was doing. Nothing special. In the early afternoon, J.'s mother phoned from England, urging us to turn on the television: unbelievable events were taking place in New York. Within a couple of minutes of switching on, the second aircraft went in. Like the rest of the world, we were gripped by the horror, the outrageous enormity pulled into sharp, human-sized focus by those pathetic, desperate souls throwing themselves from windows. Then the collapse, the Pentagon and all it stood for violated, the mystery of the fourth plane.

Then the phone never stopped ringing. J.'s niece was in New York, a couple of miles away. Bizarrely, she had heard nothing about it. My friend A., also with a daughter in New York, phoned; outraged, but expressing a certain stupefied admiration for an organisation capable of dealing such a monstrous blow. The rest of the family phoned, more out of solidarity than seeking news. Each call took us away unwillingly away from the television: might we miss other explosions?

Then the fist-shaking anger, the natural thirst for revenge of so many Americans saying they were going to enlist to fight this evil. (I wonder how many did?) Then the mistrust of the entire Islamic world, and the need for the United States to strike a mighty blow in return. It would have taken a far stronger man than Bush to say no, be patient, wars against enemies like this aren't won by vast armed mobilisations: on the contrary, we must use invisible, low-profile, subtle and secret counter-insurgency weapons. As indeed they were to take out bin Laden.

Then the idiot invasion of Iraq, which seemed to me to be no more than a dismal strategy to satisfy US public opinion that something, anything, was being done to efface the shame of 9/11. Then the treacherous Blair fabricating feeble excuses for trotting alongside, making a bad situation much worse and wasting so many lives, essentially lives to be lined up with those who perished at Ground Zero. And countless millions of ill-afforded national wealth squandered on a pointless exercise.

Then Afghanistan, a ludicrous and shameful escapade, an unwinnable campaign with flawed objectives and no prizes. A futile hearts and minds campaign undertaken by ordinary soldiers speaking no Farsi or Pushtu: how could they hope to communicate with Afghans? Then the honours rightly accorded to the fallen, victims of a more vicious enemy than the Taliban, political ineptitude and military blunder. Then everyone knowing perfectly well that the reasons officially touted for military involvement in Afghanistan are false, and that the mourner leading those sad cort├Ęges at Wootton Bassett is lifting his top hat, and those flag-bearers are lowering their colours, in salute to a sacrifice for a sham.

Please excuse me for writing something less frivolous than usual. The photo above I took in Spain earlier this week. It's of dawn, not sunset. Maybe better things lie ahead.

18 comments:

Rog said...

Well said old chap. Couldn't have expressed it better.

I can relate to the squirming indignation most Americans felt - I feel it welling up every time I see Alistair Campbell pimping his smarmy face on the media or Blair's permatanned smugness.

Have a nice weekend with you and yours - I've done a post about Lily dreaming.

Tim said...

Finely expressed. I was thinking about writing something about that, but now I don't need to - you have said it all.
Just on a lighter note - emessoid. I'm beginning to subscribe to your WV theory ... I shall work on a plausible definition of that word.

Vicus Scurra said...

I have to confess that when I began to read this my reaction was that I didn't want to read another one of these.
I did read it however, and my reaction is that all of those people who have bored us with their memories and opinions should have waited to read yours and then realised that there was little to add.
Thank you.

Tim Footman said...

Tony Blair has said that he really likes the idea of regime change in Iran.

Sigh.

Martin said...

Yes, well said, Christopher. More recently, I heard Cameron justifying regime change in Libya. He said there was a real danger that thousands of innocent people may otherwise die. Can he really hear himself?

moreidlethoughts said...

Nothing to say.

Christopher said...

Thank you, dear friends. Having got that off my chest perhaps I can now return to my usual pursuit of the frivolous.

Anonymous said...

I too saw all this waking on said date from some ghastly dream that still carried on while bleary-eyed I had turned on the tele which push button I'd reached at and poked at arms length with a bedside stick - and that NY 9/11 mayhem was in realtime enacted. My first thought was "What was it so terrible that the USA had done to them that they felt necessary to retaliate with such extraordinary retribution?"

Z said...

What they said, particularly Vicus.

Mike and Ann said...

I think, and hope, that it made a good many Americans realise just what they'd been encouraging by their monetary support of the I.R.A.

Christopher said...

Anon, Z, M&A: Thank you. We look to a brighter future.

letouttoplay said...

Well said and thank you Christopher.

Sarah said...

Ditto everyone. Nice pic. Lucky you

Sarah said...

Full moon tonight !

Anonymous said...

Quick!...plant your Belladonna, Stink Horn and Hemlock seeds NOW! for improved efficaciousness next year.

Christopher said...

Thank you, Mig.

Amazing coincidence, Sah: It's full moon here too.

Anon: I see you've been appearing on Borgias' Question Time again.

Friko said...

Yes, Christopher.
Measured and calm.

I'd have done some unpleasant ranting, that's why I keep quiet on such occasions. Hypocrisy does not suit me, mine or others'.

Having read a few more blogs along your lines I feel that the blogger universe is a pleasant place to be; or perhaps I simply don't follow the raving loonies.

Christopher said...

Thank you, Friko. I too find your little corner of blogland is a sheltered haven with peace of mind and ease of spirit guaranteed at the moorings.