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Trauma Queens

Finally, we can start paying attention to what's happened after 9/11

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Where were you on Sept. 11? No, not Sept. 11, 2001. Sept. 11, 2007. I was at the Brillobox, a bar which doubles as performance space in Lawrenceville. I was doing some Sept. 11-themed material. Because really, what's funnier than the events of 9/11?

Don't get your back up: Nobody's happy about religious fanatics from other parts of the world killing Americans. I'm not even happy about religious fanatics from this part of the world who are responsible for killing thousands of Iraqis.

But the fact that people -- at least some people -- are finally willing to stop wallowing in 9/11 overkill by showing up at a comedy show and laughing at 9/11 jokes is a good thing. Because if we don't finally move on from the endless candle-lighting ceremonies, video reviews and teary-eyed remembrances of that fateful day, then clearly the terrorists have won.

The terrorists win if what they did to us is so devastating we can never, ever get over it. We have suffered a grave injustice at the hands of those who can't stop weeping.

I don't mean anyone who actually had relatives or close friends in the towers, in the Pentagon, or in the Somerset County crash. I mean the rest of us who were hypnotized by the national shock of 9/11. President Dubya's mass-hypnosis campaign allowed him to get away with invading a sovereign nation without justification, and creating a mess that will haunt this country, and the world, for decades to come.

The Iraq war will have a much more devastating long-term impact than the events of 9/11. For one thing, there are some estimates that as many as half a million civilians have died in Iraq. Not to be picky, but three thousand Americans versus tens of thousands of Iraqis ... who's really the devastated party here? But to endlessly ethnocentric Americans, our corpses are the only ones that matter.

For a while at PNC Park, when they sang "God Bless America" before Sunday games, the announcer informed us that the singing of the song was to honor the 9/11 dead. I was always offended by that, as if everyone who had died since didn't matter. They've since added soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. It's good to know there are some other corpses somewhere that actually matter, too.

Am I the only one who feels sorry for the terrorists? Not really, but kinda. I think they're the victims of the oldest scam in the book, the old bait-and-switch. They're told there will be 72 virgins waiting for them, but I believe there is no poontang in heaven. You can't have sex with a spirit. It's got no physicality to it.

Now that the events of 9/11 itself can be put into perspective, we can focus on other important things that followed from the attack. Like the recent news story about an Afghani physician forced to treat Taliban fighters during the invasion of Afghanistan who was able to verify something. He said he saw Osama bin Laden in the Afghani region of Tora Bora when American troops attacked. That settles the argument.

Back in the 2004 presidential campaign, Democratic candidate John Kerry had said that bin Laden was there, and that we blew it by allowing Afghan surrogates to surround Tora Bora, surrogates who let bin Laden escape. Gen. Tommy Franks wrote an op-ed piece questioning whether bin Laden was there. He was. We missed him. Franks is full of beans.

Why would we outsource the capturing of the most-hated international terrorist? People complain about American casualties in Iraq. No one would have complained if some people died but we caught bin Laden.

The clearing of the 9/11 cobwebs allows us, once and for all, to focus on the unimaginable incompetence of the Bush administration. It's no longer a partisan rant. It's a simple fact.

Remember when everyone said we'll never be the same? We're exactly the same. But hopefully we can start to be a little smarter. So when Dubya says it's time to invade Iran, we can use our post-9/11-haze mindset to tell him no.

Say, hear any good 9/11 jokes lately?

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