9-11 at eleven: a boring report from New York City (thank goodness)
In vivid contrast even to last year and especially the year before that, the 9-11 anniversary in New York City was extremely subdued. Neither the Islamophobes nor the "Truthies" nor the sectarian left seem to have exploited the commemoration. By the time this blogger arrived at Ground Zero by bicycle in the late afternoon, the only organized presence on the street was various small clusters of evangelical Christians. (The Jehovah's Witnesses were the most shameless, with a big banner showing the twisted wreckage of a destroyed city under the word "DOOMSDAY.") Mercifully, for the first time this year, there was no speechifying by politicians at the official ceremony in the morning. "Last year it was horrible," one survivor told Newsday. "We don't need them [politicians] here." Significant progress has now actually been made on the new tower, which rises in arrogant ugliness over the site. But maybe, at long last, New York and the United States are catching up with the rest of the planet in moving on from 9-11. Except, of course, that 11 years later, we remain at war in Afghanistan...
The anniversary was occasioned by a victory for first responders and clean-up workers who risked their lives and future health on the day of the attack and the in the weeks that followed. From CBS, Sept. 11:
On the eve of the 11th anniversary of the terrorist attacks, the National Institute for Occupational Safety (NIOSH) announced it would cover the cancer care for responders and other victims exposed to the toxic dust at ground zero who developed cancers including lung, breast colon, and leukemia and lymphoma. The program had previously only covered lung diseases, asthma and chronic cough along with mental health illnesses such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression.
But there are fears that there may not be enough money available for the government to follow through on this commitment:
Last year the World Trade Center health program was granted $1.5 billion over five years to treat and monitor about 40,000 people who worked in toxic conditions following the attacks. The CBS Evening News reported that it's not possible to know how much money is required to fund care for the additional conditions or how many out of the 40,000 ground zero workers will eventually develop diseases. An attorney representing the responders said that $1.5 billion is not nearly enough, and called for at least $3 to $5 billion in available funds.
"There simply isn't enough money," Michael Barasch, an attorney representing hundreds of rescue workers, told CBS New York. "There are so many rescue workers with debilitating diseases and they're simply not going to get a fair amount."
Contrast the funds still being spent on the paroxysm of ultra-imperialism unleashed by the attacks. From AP:
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A Brown University study that aims to put a price tag on the U.S. response to 9/11 has found that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and other counterterrorism efforts have cost more than 300,000 lives and $4 trillion.
The university calls its ‘"Costs of War"’ study the most comprehensive accounting of the financial and human costs of American counterterrorism efforts. It brings together the work of economists, political scientists, anthropologists and others.
The study says the conflicts have led to the deaths of more than 6,500 U.S. soldiers and an estimated 180,000 civilians. It says 7.4 million people have been displaced and many of the economic costs are buried in multiple budgets and have yet to be counted.
The findings are continually updated and are available at costsofwar.org.