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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

One More Reflection on the 10th Anniversary of 9/11

Category: Iraq War
Posted: 09/10/11 15:37

by Dave Mindeman

It was a beautiful day in Minnesota. I had the day off and was looking forward to just relaxing...doing nothing. I remember walking into the bedroom from the kitchen and seeing the TV with a picture of smoke pouring out of a skyscraper. I stared at the screen trying to get some context. The announcers were talking about a plane hitting the World Trade Center. A plane? Even at that first moment my mind didn't trust this to be an accident.

I went to the living room and turned on the main TV and started channel flipping the news channels. Indeed, it was on every one. The various reporter commentaries were trying to make sense of how this could happen. I remember watching the financial channel (CNBC) and the picture of Mark Haines staring at his monitor and using words of disbelief. He was showing more than just a reporter's tone -- he was emotional.

Then the second plane hit the other tower. Things became a blur, and over the years, I have lost track of some of the sequence of events. The Pentagon gets hit. A plane is missing over Pennsylvania. Fighter jets are scrambled. President Bush is in the Midwest. Dick Cheney is in an undisclosed location. The towers fall one at a time. And the dust....the dust that blankets the scene.

I listened as the reports came in about how the passengers on those planes were held hostage as the planes flew into the buildings. I have this coping mechanism that my mind does when I hear such things....I imagine myself in that situation. I remember visualizing being on the plane....knowing that death is the probable outcome of the situation. Would I simply wait quietly for the end?....or would I make some desperate attempt to fight back knowing I'd probably die anyway? The whole exercise is a feeble attempt to try and understand what is happening. And the ultimate difference is that it is all in my imagination. Those people had to deal with if for real.

Although I was still bitter about the election loss of 2000, I knew that we had to stand behind the decisions of the current administration. This was a call to arms. A legitimate use of military retaliation...but, as it turned out, the legitimacy was extended much too far.

That Tuesday, 10 years ago, changed things. Changed everything. But it was also a moment...a brief moment...when the country was acting as one. We supported one another. We set the politics and the divisions aside, ever so briefly. And even in our vulnerability of the moment, the power and resilience of this country was immediately evident as well. People performed selfless acts. People didn't have to be asked to help each other. Although fear seeped into our psyche, it did not paralyze us. We acted when we had to. And we found the strength when we needed it.

In the 10 years that have followed, the power of that moment was abused, leading us to deeper divisions both politically and socially. Yet, 9/11 still showed us what we are capable of. That inner strength that is more powerful than any enemy or crisis we can face. We are still the greatest nation on earth. We still meet any challenge and vanquish any foe. We are still, deep down, the UNITED States of America. And even in times of deepest controversy and division, we know that our capabilities are infinite.
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The Silence

Category: Iraq War
Posted: 08/27/11 02:40, Edited: 08/27/11 02:45

by Dave Mindeman

Inter arma enim silent leges.

We will soon be marking the 10th anniversary of a day that changed our country, in ways far beyond our comprehension. Those insidious assassins took the lives of too many innocent people and too much of what this country has stood for. The assassins began this decade of fear, but we, as a people, have perpetuated the ugliness with our uncertain expectations from those who governed us.

Inter arma enim silent leges

From the suspension of habaeus corpus to the foul Patriot Act, this country stood by and watched as our own rights and liberties were threatened by our own fear and hatred. The beloved Constitution that today has become a battle cry for the wrong cause....was never invoked when its wisdom..its strength...its fairness, was needed most.

Inter arma enim silent leges

In the name of all of us, our leaders lied us into a war. A war based on lies and perpetuated with lies. We sent too many of our sons and daughters to their deaths because of misguided patriotic zeal. That war was a cancer, a boil, a sickness that cast a shroud over our ability to reason. We destroyed one country and let our enemy escape in another.

Inter arma enim silent leges

Fear became a political tool. Fear became a slogan, a campaign. We let our government listen in on our intimate conversations. We let our government dictate our travel. And, most hideous of all, we let our government and military debase themselves by covering the Geneva Conventions in a shroud of darkness, while we let our leaders order the most contemptible of military acts - torture.

Inter arma enim silent leges

And, unfortunately, the legacy of this decade continues. None of the conspirators paid any price. None of the decision makers that have nearly ruined this country economically and in moral standing have been disgraced. This will be our lost decade. This will be our decade of fear. And the rule of law means less now than it did before.

When we examine the events of the past 10 years, I hope we examine carefully the totality of what was lost. Those innocents of 9/11 deserved better than this....most assuredly.

Inter arma enim silent leges

In times of war, the law falls silent.
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Divest from Iran Bill: Special Interests Reach into MN Leg.

Category: Iraq War
Posted: 05/18/09 08:27, Edited: 05/18/09 08:28

by Ross Rowley

Governor Pawlenty signed the little debated, easily passed ?Iran Divestment Bill? into law on Saturday (May 16). Few people noticed it because the end of session, budgetary brouhaha over the state deficit consumed all the local newsprint. It seems that only a 94 word AP article about its passage was generated.

This bill now mandates that the state Board of Investment rid itself of all foreign energy investments in Iran within a 15 month timeframe that begins 90 days from its signing. It is estimated that this law will cost Minnesota as much as $3 million in transfer fees alone to comply. With oil prices so low, mandating the sale of stock funds will most likely also mean tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars lost from state pension funds.

So why are we divesting funds now? Is it because of demands from the U.N? Did human rights groups or a coalition of concerned European allies urge the divestment? Or did the Obama Administration request it? No, no, no, no. The State of Minnesota Investment Board is going to be forced to divest because a very powerful pro-Israeli interest group wants it done.

Our state of Minnesota , in a terrible, struggling economy, stands to incur losses of millions of pension investment dollars in order to pursue a policy pretty much guaranteed to fail. Boycotts and/or divestments with nations we consider our enemies have historically had little effect. Many would argue that the forced divestment is actually counter-productive. One only has to think of the financial- trade embargo of Iraq throughout the 1990s which hurt innocent Iraqi civilians but strengthened Saddam?s hold on the country.

What does the passage of this law really show? It demonstrates that most of our state legislators along with Governor Tim Pawlenty have what it takes to be leaders at the national level: the willingness to sacrifice their constituents? interests to satisfy the objectives of a powerful interest group.
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