Written by Dale Suderman Wednesday, 05 September 2007 04:35Maybe there was a secret, second terrorist attack six years ago on 9-11. The entire United States was hit by a Dumb Bomb causing us to take leave of our senses producing irrationality, amnesia, moral blindness and a sheep-like acceptance of political absurdity.
Conspiracy theories about the Al Qaeda attack on the World Trade Center were inevitable. All tragedies, from Pearl Harbor to the assassination of JFK, produced nonsensical explanations. But even nonsense may contain an element of truth.
The consequences of a Dumb Bomb hitting the United States helps to explain events of the past six years. The Dumb Bomb is completely different than the computer guided Smart Bombs that strike with pinpoint accuracy.
Therefore, when citizens of Saudi Arabia trained in Afghanistan and Pakistan attack the United States, the government gears up for a takeover of Iraq. This made as much sense as invading Argentina after Pearl Harbor.
(Saddam Hussein was a devilish dictator—but he was a secular dictator with as much to fear from the religious zealots of Al Qaeda as any secular state.)
Now as Iraq disintegrates into an aimless collection of warring religious, tribal and political factions our president appeals to the collective amnesia of Americans by waving the bloody shirt of Vietnam as a rationale for another decade of military sacrifice.
(I do not hold President Bush at fault for his error in “misremembering” Vietnam. He was in a chemical fog during much of that war and reading history books was never his strong suit.)
The Dumb Bomb has made us feel that we have been inducted into a War on Terror. As recruits we have alternately been told to buy duct tape, go to Disneyland, keep on shopping, keep on the lookout for odd packages and powders and not to worry about our civil liberties.
A trip to any airport is now an Orwellian experience. Anonymous loudspeakers blast terror alert levels. Like sheep we stand in lines, take off our shoes, abandon our shampoos and nail clippers and try not to think about the fact that our most advanced airport security technology still cannot distinguish between a Wisconsin cheese and a plastique explosive.
If, at some future date, we are told to strip naked and hold our hands over our heads and march single file through the metal detectors we will grimace a bit and accept this as part of the price of being recruits in the war on terror.
The Dumb Bomb made decent Americans accept the erosion of their civil liberties and moral decency. Maybe a little bit of torture isn’t so bad. Maybe prisoners can be held indefinitely without recourse to trial. Maybe the government does have the right to eavesdrop and threaten you with prison if you tell anybody you are under investigation.
When we express doubts about the War on Terror, the government turns up the fear level like the faucet on a sprinkler system.
When a decent guy like Pat Tillman abandons a football career and enlists in the Army in a moment of patriotic fervor and ends up taking three bullets to the head at close range from his fellow soldiers in Afghanistan we can just wrap his body in a flag, give him a medal and collectively forget the gruesome details.
Nobody knows how long a Dumb Bomb affects thinking. There are some indications its effects are wearing off. If you catch yourself smelling a whiff of absurdity, feeling some fatigue from the political rhetoric and the shouting heads on Fox News and have a growing suspicion that Comedy Central is giving you more accurate information than the president, maybe you are awakening from a collective national nightmare rather than abandoning the War on Terror.
If the Dumb Bomb is wearing off, maybe we can tell every presidential candidate—in both political parties—and every hot-shot general and elected official, “Enough with the rhetoric and blowing smoke. We are waking up.”
You can contact the writer at Dale.Suderman@gmail.com