The fires which began with the 9/11 attacks were never extinguished. They continue to burn fiercely from Afghanistan to Iraq to Syria to Yemen to North Africa, as the region and its regimes came unglued in the wake of George W. Bush’s ‘war on terror’.
The 16th anniversary of 9/11 was marked in America with the usual somber memorials and directives to ‘never forget'. But this definitive 9/11 slogan always takes me back to the overwhelming tide of pro-war fervor that swept the US and stifled any deeper reflection or debate in the years after September 11, 2001. Sadly, I was part of that fervor – and this too I will never forget.
The militarism of my youth
I joined the US Marine Corps as an idealistic 18-year-old in 2000, with a firm resolve – as I enthusiastically told my military recruiter shortly before leaving for boot camp – to “fight evil in the world”. This resolve was rooted more deeply in my veins after the 9/11 attacks. As a relatively new Marine, I had temporarily worked at the Pentagon while attached to a headquarters computer programming unit in the two months just prior to that tragic day, and was fortunate not to be there when it was attacked.