Osama bin Laden Won

OK, it’s the 10th anniversary of 911, and looking back, I can draw no other conclusion.

As a result of the events of that day we are:

  • Embroiled in two ruinously expensive wars, neither of which has any meaningful end in sight.
  • Have no money for even the most basic infrastructure.
  • Have set up a state security apparatus that is structured, and frequently functions, as the core pillar of a police state.
  • Have convinced the generation after mine that the idea of a unipolar world, with US military and Hegemony is foolish.
  • Has turned us into torturers.
  • Has set to policies that create more terrorists.
  • Has massively expanded and radicalized, the right wing.

I would suggest that anyone who hasn’t read Eric Frank Russell’s magnum opus Wasp, in which a man is sent to be an agent provocateur on the planet of an empire at war with Earth, and his mission is not to collect intelligence or do damage, but rather to provoke an overreaction by the authorities:

“Phew!” Mowry raised his eyebrows.

“Finally, let’s consider this auto smash. We know the cause; the survivor was able to tell us before he died. He said the driver lost control at high speed while swiping at a wasp which had flown in through a window and started buzzing around his face.”

“It nearly happened to me once.”

Ignoring that, Wolf went on, “The weight of a wasp is under half an ounce. Compared with a human being its size is minute, its strength negligible. Its sole armament is a tiny syringe holding a drop of irritant, formic acid, and in this case it didn’t even use it. Nevertheless it killed four big men and converted a large, powerful car into a heap of scrap.”


“However,” Wolf went on, “the problem becomes less formidable than it looks if we bear in mind that one man can shake a government, two men temporarily can put down an army twenty-seven thousands strong, or one small wasp can slay four comparative giants and destroy their huge machine into the bargain.” He paused, watching the other for effect, continued, “Which means that by scrawling suitable words upon a wall, the right man in the right place at the right time might immobilize an armoured division with the aid of nothing more than a piece of chalk.”

The country has changed, and none of these changes to our benefit, and none of them were really required, but rather the product of mindless over-reaction.

We are those drivers in that doomed car.

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