09/12/2011 06:53 pm ET Updated Nov 12, 2011

The Terrible Shame of the 9/11 Decade

No question about it that 9/11 was an atrocious horror and the first responders were heroes.

But what happened after 9/11 was perhaps a greater horror. 9/11 was hijacked by a right-wing cabal, worried about an Israel-Arab conflict.

I thought I was alone in resisting the hyper-patriotic hoopla celebrating our so-called 9/11 heros.

I have been afraid to question this jingoism. But now I am glad that Paul Krugman agrees with me. Krugman wrote in his blog "The atrocity should have been a unifying event, but instead it became a wedge issue. Fake heroes like Bernie Kerik, Rudy Giuliani, and, yes, George W. Bush raced to cash in on the horror. And then the attack was used to justify an unrelated war the neocons wanted to fight, for all the wrong reasons."

These fake heroes poisoned and sullied the true heroes of 9/11. Their actions led to hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraq and Afghanistan deaths and to more than 4,000 needless war deaths of American young men and women.

The monetary costs -- 4 trillion dollars -- that resulted from 9/11 and the resulting wars, have undermined our economy and our politics.

There is a mania of pessimism that pervades our citizenry. Consumer confidence is near an all time low. We are in a negative feedback loop that is turning into a self-fulfilling prophecy. People do not feel that America's best days are ahead.

And this is too bad because America, and its values, have always been the world's shining city on the hill. Our values, our culture, our politics, our free speech -- supported by our economic might -- have for a long time represented the last best hope for mankind and now all this is in danger of slipping away over the stupid, mean, irresponsible exploitation, and reaction to, 9/11.

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This post has been modified since its original publication.