Time to Forget ‘Never Forget’

John Puccio

John Puccio is a communications consultant from New York, living in New Jersey, who self-identifies as a Floridian. He majored in History at Loyola University Maryland back when it was still just Loyola College. A lapsed stoic, John is a life-long New York Jets fan, which explains a lot.

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38 Responses

  1. Chip Daniels
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    says:

    The author’s bio includes a reference to Stoicism, which would be a pretty useful thing for America overall to get to know and embrace.

    The basic premise of course is that we can’t prevent calamity from befalling us, but we can always control our reaction to it.

    Our reaction to 9-11 didn’t need to unfold the way it did. We could have made different choices, better choices and made ourselves into a better nation and people.

    Because other nations have. Every nation and people have suffered attacks and violence that dwarf 9-11 and yet often they manage to struggle through it and improve.Report

  2. Pinky
    Ignored
    says:

    I saw the title of the article and assumed it was about the Holocaust.

    I don’t much care about the ritual of never forgetting. The important thing to me is that we actually don’t forget those who suffered and died that day. That’s not about vengeance or security; it’s about humanity. We should learn lessons from everything and not forget those lessons, but that’s something different.Report

  3. Dark Matter
    Ignored
    says:

    The lesson to learn from 911 is there are evil people on the planet who engage in mass murder because they oppose everything we are.

    They used airplanes because they didn’t have nukes.

    We can’t make peace with them. We were mostly ignoring them at that time. We treated them as criminals, let them commit the occasional terrorism and then arrested any survivors.

    They used airplanes because they didn’t have nukes.

    Holding up a dozen people killed in a suicide bomb in another country is fine, but claiming we’d be left alone if only we had the same policies we had before 911 is not.

    They used airplanes because they didn’t have nukes.

    They’re still around. A few years ago they almost founded a country in the Middle East. A sub-section of the world’s population finds their ideas and ideals attractive.

    They used airplanes because they didn’t have nukes.

    Getting nukes has gotten easier since the 1950’s. All you really need is a country and enough time. We can’t afford to give them that.Report

    • North in reply to Dark Matter
      Ignored
      says:

      And now they can’t use airplanes any more and can’t get nukes.Report

      • Dark Matter in reply to North
        Ignored
        says:

        Unfortunately that will require ongoing effort.

        Even more unfortunately, part of that effort now requires the Taliban to keep their word.

        It also requires a certain amount of stability and common sense from Pakistan.Report

        • North in reply to Dark Matter
          Ignored
          says:

          Probably.

          Probably not. There’s no end of poorly governed central Asian wasteland that lacks an American presence and has been for decades and it made not a wit of difference for terror threats.

          I suppose stability and common sense helps but it’s not necessary unless you’re talking about Pakistan selling nukes which, not even they seem dumb enough to do.Report

          • Oscar Gordon in reply to North
            Ignored
            says:

            I worry less about them selling nukes as I do about them ‘losing’ nukes. But, of course, I worry the same thing about Russia, and aside from spy thrillers, we haven’t had any real trouble with that.Report

            • North in reply to Oscar Gordon
              Ignored
              says:

              Yeah I feel like, for those countries that’re in the nuclear club, securing their nuclear weapons is a big element of the prestige of owning them. Like, ok, you have cronies and corrupt douchebags riddling your government like lice on a dead cat but A: you put people who’re at least generally competent and reliable in charge of securing your nukes; B: those people have no illusions about how readily they’ll be shot if their charges go missing and C: everyone knows that there is no such thing as an anonymous nuclear weapon. Soon as the sucker is found or exploded the scientists will trace that baby home without fail.

              So if you’re guarding a given nations nukes you’re a person who’s pretty rational and trusted by the regime, you know if you lose a nuke it’ll end up traced back to you and you know that you and likely your entire family is going to end up buried head down in a grave if that happens.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                The elements that could really kick that line of reasoning are, 1: The country falling apart. 2: A group of people who expect to be rewarded after they die.

                For example when the USSR fell multiple nations ended up with nukes. Russia kept it’s and the Ukraine traded them for a peace deal. Those are both fine options. If Pakistan falls, who gets the nukes?Report

              • North in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                Clearly whatever the Pakistani successor state ends up being which would, in this scenario, presumably some theocratic regime? Seems far fetched to me though, Islamism’s popularity in the masses has been waning for decades now and Pakistan is a wildly corrupt shambolic democracy, not a shoe string dictatorship.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                As far as I can tell the Taliban aren’t popular either, much less ISIS.

                Further, assume instead of a “Pakistani successor state” we get a multitude of warlords and/or a vast failed state.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                They don’t have to be “popular”.

                They just have to be more popular than the Americans were.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                Which illustrates the problem.

                How does America safeguard our security in the face of events such as a hypothetical collapse of nations like Pakistan? Or Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, or for that matter, Canada?

                The argument put forward by the proponents of the occupation would compel us to invade and occupy indefinitely.

                What they never were able to articulate was either an outer boundary to their logic, or some alternative strategy to safeguard our interests.

                It was always a hammer in search of new nails.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                If you are claiming other people’s logic suggests we need to invade Canada, then you’re probably presenting a stawman.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter
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                says:

                But only Canada?
                The logic holds true for all the rest?Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                It would be trivial to make a list of nuclear powers.
                It would also be trivial to make a list of countries that are in danger of failed states, or rather see how likely that seems.

                It would be remarkably stupid to not prepare for a failed nuclear state (NK and Pak are the most likely).

                What “prepare” means is going to depend on which state. I HOPE we have contingencies for making sure nukes don’t fall into terrorist hands in that situation which don’t amount to prayer.

                We have decided that we’re going to trust the Taliban and go back to our pre-911 policy of looking the other way to what they do.

                So, what do you suggest we do if they go back to supporting ISIS? What do you suggest we do if they also start researching WMDs? What do you suggest we do if they do both of those things?

                Going back will be more expensive than just staying there. If our choices are between re-invading or living with a nuclear ISIS, then I expect we’ll go back.

                Real life is messy so I doubt the choice will be that clear cut.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                You mean, what if Pakistan goes back to selling nuclear secrets and supporting radical Islamic terrorists?

                Good question.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                Let’s talk for a minute about what kinds of nukes are concerning?

                Dirty bombs? Always a concern, because you can slap those together in a cave.

                Suitcase nukes? TTBOMK, very few, if any, exist, and the yield would be very low. Still wouldn’t want one going off in my neighborhood, but seeing as how we’ve yet to have one go off in anyone’s neighborhood, they remain fodder for spy thrillers.

                Nuclear warheads? The kind you find on missiles. Be it a cruise missile or an ICBM, or a bomb. The thing about such warheads is that you can not simply remove the warhead, pack it into the back of a truck, and detonate it. Warheads don’t work like that. At best, you turned a warhead into a dirty bomb, if you are lucky. No country wants their warheads going off prematurely, so they are engineered not to. And bypassing that engineering is not something a grad student is going to manage in a cave.

                Honestly, I’d worry less about nukes, and more about chem or bio weapons, since those can be cooked up in a cave.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                Personally, the “dirty bomb” fear got played out for me with Jose Padilla.Report

              • North in reply to Dark Matter
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                says:

                It would be a mess if such a thing happened. It also seems extremely unlikely. Pakistan has a formidable external enemy: India that they have been culturally and politically at odds with since the nations inception. It is culturally unlikely the country would just dissolve into a grab bag of fighting warlords. Pakistans culture and the interests of the US and India and China all push against such an outcome. Nobody anywhere inside or out of Pakistan would want a nuclear armed anarchy where Pakistan is now.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                Nobody anywhere inside or out of Pakistan would want a nuclear armed anarchy where Pakistan is now.

                North Korea being a nuclear lunatic is hardly in anyone’s best interest right now. Maybe with the exception of Gaza, I’m not sure any of our failed states are in someone’s interest.Report

              • North in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                North Korea, though, doesn’t meet your definitions of chaotic fractured failed states though. It’s an insular tyrannical nightmare kingdom but it’s proven stable so far. It’s also, frankly, somewhat of a historical accident and a hold over from the cold war.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                When I check lists of potential failed states, i.e. states liking to fall apart, NK has a lot more of the hallmarks than Pakistan.

                Now I don’t understand the yardsticks they’re using so I don’t know how much of this is reasonable.

                They are not currently a failed state. Whether they’re one famine or insanity away from becoming one is outside of my skill set.Report

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