Monday, October 16, 2023


NEW YORK NOT IN OUR NAME / OUR GRIEF IS NOT A CRY FOR WAR read half of the signs produced for the October 7th 2001 march and rally. I carried one that read MAKE HISTORY NOT WAR, desperate for my fellow Americans* to recognize the enormous possibility of that moment when so many hearts around the world had opened to us in compassion.


Watching the towers fall from my Brooklyn rooftop, I was angry. Angry that the people of New York City, so often the scapegoat and target of conservative ire, were taking the hit for the so called masters of the universe. In the aftermath I couldn’t stop thinking about the innocents that would die in a rain of bombs when they decided where and how hard to “hit back.”

The back of my sign read REAL PROFITS FROM PEACE. Despite my hopes for a dramatic shift in policy, naivety did not blind me to the opportunities war offered. I had been to DC several times since the 2000 s/election to protest the illegitimate squatter in the White House. A war was exactly what he (they) needed to validate his stolen presidency. The bush cabal were primed to make a killing, turning war profiteering into a proverbial art form. Inextricably connected to The Carlyle Group, Bechtel, Halliburton/KBR – they all wanted a piece of that pie. Never before had the corruption in our government been so overt, we were quite literally being led (lied) into a war for profit. They branded it the “Global War on Terror.”



When it was announced at the rally that the United States bombing of Afghanistan had begun, I started to sob uncontrollably. The circle was closing, our vengeance was at hand. 10,000 New Yorkers marched to Times Square, united in common conviction that the United States government should not exploit the September 11th attacks as an excuse for war; a war that all but one lone member of our congress authorized, a war that would go on for the next 20 years…

About 243,000 people have been killed in the Afghanistan/Pakistan warzone since 2001. More than 70,000 of those killed have been civilians.


The war has cost more than $2 trillion, which breaks down to $300 million per day for twenty years, but this is only the beginning. The United States will continue to pay Afghanistan and Iraq War veterans benefits for years to come (an additional $2 trillion), not to mention the interest on these costs spent entirely in deficit (interest estimated to top $6.5 trillion by 2050).


Twenty years later the Taliban are back in power, Afghanistan is in chaos with thousands killed in a recent series of earthquakes, the opioid crisis rages, and the endless Global War on Terror continues. Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Pakistan, Libya, Yemen. Any and all ongoing conflicts disappeared from mainstream media and the minds of Americans. The Authorization for Use of Military Force of 2001, used to unilaterally wage endless war, has yet to be repealed in the United States Congress.


Mainstream media has been quick to adopt an analogy between the October 7th Hamas attack and 9/11, establishing the attack as precedent for an unrestrained Israeli military response.

United States politicians stepping up to espouse their unconditional support for such military action have had twenty years to wash the blood from their hands. They have yet to account for our use of cluster bombs, depleted uranium, and white phosphorus; not to mention rendition, torture, indefinite detention without trial. They take no responsibility for our perpetuation of violence as the largest arms dealer in the world. None of this was a choice, it was all necessary, inevitable, unavoidable...


No one in our media will ask them to justify the deaths of 70,000 civilians in Afghanistan/Pakistan and three times this number in Iraq. No one will ask if these wars ever actually achieve their stated goals, or perhaps more pointedly, why they continue if they do not?


*Using this term for dramatic effect, well aware of its jingoist application.

The $8 Trillion Cost of Failure – Tom Engelhardt
American Idiots Kill the American Century – Mac William Bishop

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