Jamala Rogers Headshot

Jamala Rogers

It's been six weeks now. The ceremonies marking the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks have come and gone. There were memorials. The names of the nearly 3,000 victims killed in the attacks were read and memorialized— again. American flags waved. Twenty years later, we still don’t know the whole truth about a day that changed our lives, but we have learned a lot about the U.S. government. 

Most probably don’t remember the 9/11 Commission or what came out of it. The victims’ loved ones demanded answers, and most people in the country supported their cries. The report revealed few truths, so families are still demanding those answers. 

Why was Afghanistan the target of U.S. retaliation since most of the hijackers were Saudis? There were numerous conflicting testimonies and incompatible explanations of evidence. No credible clarifications came from those in authority which always gives rise to abounding conspiracy theories.

What some of us do remember is that then-President Bush refused to testify under oath about anything. No one could explain how the attackers got past 16 intelligence agencies. We remember the heroic acts of first responders to put themselves in harm's way to save people. We remember the compassion of ordinary citizens who rose to meet the horrific scenes with acts of humanity. We also remember the unwarranted physical assaults and social media vengeance that Muslims faced—even Muslims born in the U.S. 

The attacks of September 11 set off a series of decisions that accelerated a dark trajectory for this country. The government used the incident to suppress our civil liberties under the guise of national security, spy on us, and increase the defense budget. 

After the attacks, Congress immediately passed the Patriot Act which among other things, dramatically expanded the spy net with minimum checks and balances on police procedures and legal processes. The ACLU reports that the National Security Agency’s broad powers allows it to spy on massive numbers of our international calls, text messages, web-browsing activities, and emails. All U.S. citizens have apparently become a national security threat.

As for budget, in the post-9/11 years, the defense budget skyrocketed. Any attempts to question the budget were met with criticism of one’s patriotism. After all, the U.S. military had invaded both Afghanistan and Iraq. The two countries became the symbols for the war against terrorism which had an insatiable appetite for deadly and expensive weaponry. 

It is impossible to track all of the dollars expended in the so-called war against terrorism. Some budgets are secret and classified but we know about $4 trillion was spent in Afghanistan alone –a war where the U.S. military played all sides.

For those of us who are woke, the so-called war on terrorism was never effectively justified because it can’t be. We have to expose and challenge this government that is carrying out operations worldwide in our name and using our hard-earned tax dollars to carry out its mass destruction. Ours is a government that has robbed countries of their natural resources. A government that has carried out covert operations to destabilize and overthrow democratically elected leaders. A government that has put sanctions on countries that caused more harm to their people than it did to the dictators in power.  

It is not too late to demand answers about the 9\11 tragedy. It changed the lives of many forever, whether you lost loved ones in the attacks or not. It is not unpatriotic to question what our country is doing worldwide under its cloak of defending democracy. 

What informed international experts have said is that the U.S. has done more to aid and abet global terrorism than it has done to de-escalate it. We now have many more credible outlets for getting news from those on the ground than we did in 2001. We also have whistleblowers inside our own government trying to tell us what’s happening. Those of us in the belly of the beast must pay attention to what our own government is doing so that we better control future backlashes at home and abroad.

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