Monday, December 22, 2014

The place Empires go to die

Reminds me of elephants, the largest beasts of the jungle. When they know their time has come to go into the wide blue yonder they head towards the "dying place"... now that might be a myth with elephants but it's not so with Empires.  We are seeing a monumental period in the history of our world ... the downfall of a mighty empire and just like Rome and England did before their deaths, America has also been waltzing around in the same places as the other two.

Andrew O'Hehir writing at Salon:
Dick Cheney’s dark victory: Torture and the demise of American democracy
Can we quit pretending torture is some huge aberration? It fits into a larger pattern of America's imperial decay.

 If 9/11 was a test of America’s national character, we failed it. As distant as this possibility seems now, Americans of all creeds, colors and political affiliations felt united for a few weeks after the collapse of the Twin Towers. Yes, that soon gave way to jingoism, to strip-mall attacks on presumed Muslims and to the invasion of Afghanistan, which even a cursory, Cliffs Notes history of the Near East will tell you is the place where empires go to die.

But bear with me for a moment here. For any New Yorker who lived through that time, those weeks of trauma and communal mourning remain a key event in one’s personal relationship to the city. I can remember the mounds of white dust inside the storefronts near Ground Zero. I can remember when every Urdu-speaking cab driver and Cantonese-speaking shopkeeper sported an American flag. I can remember the NYPD bagpipe choir marching through the mists of Broadway early one morning, in memory of their fallen brothers. Those images and many more, like especially lucid dreams, will be with me until I die.

If the attacks themselves seemed like a latter-day Pearl Harbor, a call to unified national purpose, it soon became apparent that there was no purpose around which we could unite. The “war on terror” had no clear enemy, no clear goals .........

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