9/11: 20 Years Of Phony Tears

Wars were planned, writes Caitlin Johnstone. And the public was psychologically brutalized into accepting them.

Sept. 11, 2011: Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a 9/11 anniversary service at the Pentagon, in Arlington, Virginia, (White House, David Lienemann)

By Caitlin Johnstone

Listen to a reading of this article:

The mass media are churning out articles and news segments commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, many of them featuring adoring retrospectives of their celebrity president’s actions as a U.S. senator that day.

Biden’s ceremonial PR tour to New York City, Pennsylvania and the Pentagon can be expected to receive a great deal of coverage as outrage swells over the president’s controversial new nationwide vaccine mandate.

And it’s all just so very, very stupid. This nation which has spent 20 years weeping about its victimization with Bambi-eyed innocence reacted to 9/11 with wars which killed millions and displaced tens of millions and ushered in an unprecedented era of military expansionism which has funneled trillions of dollars to some of the worst people in the world.

The death and destruction visited upon Iraq alone dwarfs the 2,977 people killed on 9/11 by orders of magnitude; hell, this was true of the death and destruction the U.S. had been inflicting on Iraq even before 9/11.

In a saner, more emotionally intelligent world, it is those deaths that Americans would be focused on this Sept. 11.

There’s a great thread being shared around on Twitter right now by someone who found a book full of political cartoons published in the wake of 9/11, and it’s a perfect reminder of just how insane people were being driven by mass media manipulation during that time. The brazen Islamophobia, the flag-waving jingoism, the mawkish histrionics and the government bootlicking contained in those vapid comics are like an emotional time portal back to the lizard brain mentality of that point in history. I especially recommend it to those who are too young to remember how people came to support the monstrous foreign policy decisions made in the aftermath of 9/11.

It’s also an excellent lesson on why it is always best to avoid being swept up in the emotionality of a major event that’s getting a lot of narrative push, no matter how loudly the mass media are shrieking about it and no matter how many of the people around you get swept up in it.

There was no real reason Americans needed to respond to 9/11 with slobbering patriotism and the banging of war drums. It would have made sense for everyone to feel shocked, afraid, angry and sad, but that’s all that would have happened had their minds not been manipulated by the mass media and the Geroge W. Bush administration into believing that the sane response to a terrorist attack is to start launching full-scale regime change invasions of sovereign nations.

Americans could just as easily have felt sad for a bit, and had that be the end of it. Imagine. Imagine what a better world we’d be living in if the public had not consented to wars and had instead just felt their feelings for however long it took to feel them, and had that be that.

U.S. military personnel and civilians form a human American flag during a 9/11 memorial ceremony in Virginia Beach, Va., on Sept. 11, 2006. (U.S. Navy, Christopher Hall)

Without being told so by solemn-looking pundits and politicians, it never would have occurred to ordinary people that the sane response to an attack by Al Qaeda was to invade and occupy Afghanistan, much less Iraq. People would’ve expected to see the individuals responsible for the attacks captured and brought to justice, just as they’d seen happen with every other terrorist attack in their country, but on their own it would never have occurred to them to think of it as an “act of war” for which wars were an appropriate response.

But wars were planned. The U.S. had already been strategizing to oust the Taliban before 9/11. Donald Rumsfeld, as secretary of defense, was pushing for the Iraq invasion within hours of the planes striking. Further wars were planned within days. The official 9/11 narrative itself was riddled with gaping plot holes. And mass media pundits were fired if they didn’t support the Iraq invasion.

So. people were psychologically conditioned by mass-scale propaganda to believe that 9/11 was some unforgivable atrocity so egregious that it could only be paid for by rivers of blood. And that conditioning remains today, as we will see from brainwashed empire pundits weeping their crocodile tears on the 20th anniversary of an event which, compared to the consequences of their government’s retaliation, wasn’t actually a very big deal.

It would have been infinitely better for everyone had America done nothing, absolutely nothing, in response to 9/11, or better yet if it had left the Middle East altogether to make sure there are no extremist groups wanting them dead due to their actions there. But, again, wars were planned. And the public was psychologically brutalized into accepting them.

This is what we should all remember on 9/11. Not those 2,977 deaths on U.S. soil. As sad as they were, they’ve been grieved more than enough by the general public. Now it’s time to begin addressing the giant stain upon our collective soul that is the vastly greater evils those deaths were exploited to justify.

Caitlin Johnstone is a rogue journalist, poet, and utopia prepper who publishes regularly at Medium.  Her work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking her on Facebook, following her antics on Twitter, checking out her podcast on either YoutubesoundcloudApple podcasts or Spotify, following her on Steemit, throwing some money into her tip jar on Patreon or Paypal, purchasing some of her sweet merchandise, buying her books Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative MatrixRogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone and Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers.

This article is from CaitlinJohnstone.com and re-published with permission.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

11 comments for “9/11: 20 Years Of Phony Tears

  1. Frank
    September 13, 2021 at 12:25

    Thank God there are good independent reporters like Caitlin Johnstone please continue writing your excellent articles.

    Frank from Scotland a small nation that should not be involved in imperial wars.

  2. peon d. rich
    September 12, 2021 at 19:11

    We should have conditionally surrendered: U.S tropps out of Saudi Arabia and the Middle East, an end to sanctions against Iraq, and a fair and even policy toward the Palestinian/Israeli questions (the three reasons allegedly cited by Bin Laden for allegedly committing 9/11 acts, $2 trillion dollars in reparations and economic development and independence to Africans, the Middle Eastern people, South and Central Americans, Indigenous people around the world; and another $1 trillion in reversing global warming and pollution. All funding spread over 20 years. These commitments would be conditioned on the surrender of Al Qaeda including Bin Laden. If they had refused to surrender, they would have become pariah to the people of the Middle East and Africa and throughout the world. They would have been seen as hypocrites. Gove would have been any pretense that these people were serious in their fight against the U.S. empire and domination. And if they had surrendered, we would have gotten off cheap, we would have taken the high road, and our nation would have been admired and liked, instead of being despised. And, finally, we would be a strong nation no longer saddled with the weight of empire. U.S. citizens would have had to fight for their share of a smaller pie, but they would have had that fight and not phony patriotic distactions. Maybe they would have stood up.

  3. Robert Emmett
    September 12, 2021 at 15:16

    Not only were alarm bells rung & red flags waved, unheeded, but the fix was in. The facts & intelligence fixed around the policies.

    Did your god whisper words of war into your ear, George W, to launch (or catapult maybe?) the neo “crusade”? (Oops, that word slipped out “misspoken”, remember?)

    For a so-called Christian nation the so-called leaders sure do a powerful lot of un-Christ-like things, don’t they? Maybe that’s because the big wigs of finance, military, religion, gov-mint & media in their arrogance arrogate decisions to override the imperatives of their Christian god. The only god they do appear to abide by is the god of greed.

    And now what? Well, take a look around and see for yourself.

    “They make the laws
    To serve them well
    The clergy dazzle us with heaven
    Or they damn us into hell
    We will not worship
    The God they serve
    The God of greed who feeds the rich
    While poor man starve”

    (from “The World Turned Upside Down”, Leon Rosselson)

  4. historicus
    September 12, 2021 at 14:03

    Giving a war is the establishment’s best way to silence domestic opposition. Provoking Japan to launch a preemptive strike on the war fleet he ordered moved to Hawaii from its home bases in California allowed FDR to get the anti-intervention movement and the Depression-fueled labor uprising back under control. The neocons of 2001 had plans that they knew would also not be well received by the American people, so once again a powerful, bloody spectacle needed to be arranged in the time-tested tradition.

    On the other hand, by maneuvering the insurrectionists to fire the first shot on Old Glory at Fort Sumter, Lincoln brilliantly mobilized public opinion for immediate military action against their existential challenge to democratic self-government. And no one lost their life during that clash.`

  5. TPG
    September 12, 2021 at 06:39

    I sent this email to my friends and family on 9/11/2021 to offer some perspective missing from the MSM and our presidents’ (past and present) rhetoric.

    Toll taken on 9/11
    2,977 people killed
    More than 6,000 injured + longer term health impacts of those at ground zero

    “But I say to you that listen, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you.” – Luke 6:27-31

    The words of a simpleton? What might 9/12 and onward have looked like if we hadn’t vowed revenge. This is what that revenge has brought us.

    US Troops
    7,057 active duty deaths
    30,177 suicides of active duty soldiers and veterans
    1.8 million with service connected disabilities
    Unknown impact for those with PTSD and its effects on marriage, child abuse, substance abuse, homelessness, etc.
    Estimated cost of veteran care between 2001 and 2050 – $2.2 – $2.5 trillion

    War on Terror Realities
    $6.4+ trillion spent
    801,000 deaths from direct violence
     Of which 335,000 were civilians
    Created more than 38 million refugees
    $6.5 trillion Interest on the national debt by 2050
    Number who identified as al-Qaeda in 2001 – 400
    Number who identified as al-Qaeda in Syria alone by 2019 – 20,000
    A 2010 survey or Afghan men reported 92% knew nothing about the 9/11 attacks
      Few Afghans knew why foreign troops were in their country
    Billions upon billions in arm sales continue to flow into countries around the world
    Militarization of our domestic police forces
    And more….

    Why do “they” hate us?
    Remember before 9/11, in Iraq alone, some half million (mostly) children perished under Bush I’s destruction of their infrastructure in the first Gulf war and the Bush/Clinton sanctions that followed the war—right up until the second Iraq invasion. And recall Madeleine Albright’s evil hubris when she was asked about these deaths, “We think the price is worth it.”

    “…he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

    Data Sources
    Veterans Affairs Department
    Watson Institute, Brown University

  6. Jennifer
    September 12, 2021 at 06:08

    I comment on your words, “Americans could just as easily have felt sad for a bit, and had that be the end of it.”

    Whereas I appreciate the overall intention and theme of this article, this is where you lost me. To write that sentence belies a fundamental misunderstanding of the American experiment. You are Australian, and as you’ve rightly pointed out, your country has no Bill of Rights. Australia still pays dues to the Queen, and remains part of the erstwhile colonies through participation in the Commonwealth. America kicked the British the hell-out of U.S. territory twice. You grew-up with an entirely different mind-set. The suggestion that Americans would have “felt sad for a bit, and then that had been the end of it” sounds like a mommy talking to her child about her ice-cream scoop falling off the cone: not about a major attack on the financial and political institutions of the country, and the greatest loss of life in a wartime attack since the Civil War.

    When the U.S. was attacked at Pearl Harbor (notwithstanding all the valid points about foreknowledge, and internal machinations, of which I’m aware), the words of the Japanese were “I fear we have woken a sleeping giant”.

    The problem with the United States was the administration in-office at the time.

    They were already planning to go to war with Iraq, and apparently already were planning war in Afghanistan.

    So the attacks were used as excuses for endless wars, which I’ll call “the war”.

    The war made a lot of money for U.S. big business.

    The war provided impetus for removal of many rights enjoyed by U.S. citizens.

    The war gave reason (or excuse) to promulgate rights-violating laws and treaties abroad.

    The war led to the deaths of millions and the destruction and damage to lives and property.

    The war disrupted and damaged the international order: the U.S. weaponized international institutions which had been founded to promote peace.

    What could have been done differently is a large question, and an important one.

    But to say that Americans should have “sat down and shut up” after having been belies a misunderstanding about the United States and about the American people.

    • Consortiumnews.com
      September 12, 2021 at 13:31

      As Johnstone says in the article, the perpetrators of the attack should have been found, arrested and put on trial. War was not necessary.

  7. Larry Hines
    September 11, 2021 at 22:45

    The attack on the U.S. resulted in the loss of many freedoms and the start of many restrictions on Americans. That knee jerk reaction is my biggest regret.

  8. Rex Williams
    September 11, 2021 at 21:59

    I doubt if your writings will elicit a great number of supporting comments form the CN audience, Caitlin, even as rational as they are.

    Being in Australia as you are and I am, what applies to the US certainly applies here as well. We were also geared up to attack anyone the Americans determined needed attacking before 9/11. It is the nature of the subservient beast to always be ready to carry the bags of the aggressor, as though a naval battle in the Coral Sea in 1942 requires us to have this ridiculous sense of obligation and commitment for ever and a day. For the record, the ANZUS Treaty guarantees nothing in the way of protection for this country of just 25 million people. But you would know that.

    What is surprising is the continued fantasy that 9/11 was an al Qaeda action, well promoted by all the White House occupants. The fact that the attack was well known to occur ahead of time, indicates that as with the Kennedy assassination and the stage-managed White House group watching the dispatching of bin Laden’s body parts into the deep ocean, the whole world is a manipulated stage. All the powerful players have to do is scare the daylights out of their inner circle of informed public servants, feed the media the “inside” story and it’s all done. WMD in Iraq, a classic example. The deaths that followed just written off as”collateral damage”…in the millions.

    Still doing it today. The next one is on the way with the US, Japan, India and New Zealand and other trained US sycophants preparing plans as we write. South East Asia this time with China as the target.

  9. craig L Jones
    September 11, 2021 at 18:47

    at last I got to cut my hair , I grew it for twenty years in response to the 911 show, saying I will cut it when the war that surely must follow has ended, a pathetic response I admit, but having lived the Vietnam disaster , I knew this bait was to much for the warlords to resist, and I knew there was going to be a lot more suffering and dead young men, my sons age.

  10. Vera Gottlieb
    September 11, 2021 at 14:59

    How about some real tears for the thousands who have perished all over the world on account of America’s blood thirst.

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