It Looks Like We Forgot, by Peter Van Buren

In Washington, nothing succeeds like failure. It’s become a hard-and-fast rule, particularly in the military. From Peter Van Buren at theamericanconservative.com:

Twenty years later, the people who ruined everything are still sitting on top.

Apr. 2, 2003 – U.S. Army Sgt. Mark Phiffer stands guard duty near a burning oil well in the Rumaylah Oil Fields in Southern Iraq. (U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 1st Class Arlo K. Abrahamson.)

I know it’s almost October, but I’m not done with 9/11. I know we had the 20th anniversary, promised for a day to never forget whatever, and then an old-looking Bruce Springsteen rose to sing about everyone dying around him. (Read the room, Bruce.) But missing from the day was a hard look at what happened over the last 20 years.

Before we move on, can we address that? Because after the symbolic Big Two-Zero anniversary, and with Afghanistan sputtering out of our consciousness, this might be the last 9/11 article.

Part of the reason for the lack of introspection over 9/11 is the corporate media went back for “takes” two decades later to the same people who screwed everything up. It’s kind of like inviting students to grade themselves. It was familiar, like the parade of generals following the Vietnam war who blamed the politicians and vice-versa. I wanted a browser widget that blocked 9/11 commentary from any of the people who were wrong about WMD, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, or Yemen. The last thing anyone needed was to hear David Petraeus’s or Condi Rice’s take on anything.

Yet, as if to create the anti-widget of my dreams, the Washington Post instead reviewed the sprawling literature to emerge from 9/11 over the past two decades—what they generously called “works of investigation, memoir, and narrative by journalists and former officials.” The books included on the list were written by people taking post-mortem credit for issuing warnings they themselves never acted on, agencies blaming other agencies as if all that happened was the FBI lost a pickup softball game to the CIA, and, of course, journalists who helped sell the whole WMD line profiting off their mini-embeds to write a new “classic” war book about What It’s Really Like Out There, Man.

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