But the principal victim of that war [on terrorism], regardless of how fictitious it was, is the US itself. The Tea Party of today, the fundamentalism of the political right, the radical opportunism of Fox News can't be explained without the ascent of that hateful narrative and the fear generated by the necessity of a war in which the enemy had to be invented.It's always worth seeing what others say about us, but this is, as I often find to be the case when Zepeda Patterson digs into American conservatism, not a particularly nuanced or astute analysis. There is no question that the reaction to 9-11 included some horrible mistakes (namely torture and the invasion of Iraq), but it's not clear that those will be long-term additions to the American way of life. They will remain horrible blemishes, but if we don't invade any more nations on the shakiest of premises, then the idea that 9-11 left scars that turned the US into an unrecognizable monster doesn't hold up nearly as well.
Ten years after the attack on the towers the US is a more divided country, with greater unemployment, growing social inequality, with a government in crisis, a worldwide leadership in full decline. Something was broken in the American soul in deeper and more violent way than those beloved and admired towers.
Furthermore, many of the symptoms he mentions aren't closely related to the war on terror. The Tea Party, for instance, is much more a product of the economic crisis, or more accurately, the response to it. Greater unemployment has virtually nothing to do with 9-11. And in general, the conservative mood today is much more animated by economic concerns than security threats, and the conservative mainstream has also been drifting rightward in fits and starts for half a century. In short, even on 9-11, not everything is about 9-11, though the NFL seemed to disagree.