The greatest calamity to befall America in the 21st Century was not 9/11 but the collapse of the world economy in 2008, a collapse instigated by outright criminality, blatant fraud, on the part of Wall Street financial institutions. This calamity ruined the lives and brought misery to millions of people around the world. In terms of scale, the depredations of al-Qaeda pale by comparison.


The perpetrators of this calamity not only acted with impunity but received remarkable rewards for their infamy. They made money from their crimes, some of it at the expense of American taxpayers, the victims of their outrages. It was one of the greatest scams in human history, almost beyond imagination.


Obama’s unwillingness to bring the Wall Street criminals to justice, or even to enact measures to prevent similar crimes in the future, represents the second greatest failure in American Presidential history — the greatest being James Buchanan’s failure to deal in a meaningful way with the issues that led to the Civil War.


Both Obama and Buchanan can be described as decent, weak, cowardly men whose dearest wish was to kick the can of disaster on to the next resident of the White House. We’ll be lucky if another Lincoln arises to fill the moral vacuum Obama, like Buchanan before him, created.

2 thoughts on “CALAMITY

  1. The glancing, unexplained comparison to 9/11 and al-Qaeda strikes me as pure rhetorical nonsense. On what grounds can can one compare mass murder to economic disaster? Rating and comparing disasters so different in all ways–except that both are bad–in terms of scale is pretty thin. The trope gets the reader’s attention, but risks alienating him from the cause you are rightfully extolling. Thanks for the piece anyway.

    • I think a little rhetorical excess is a fair reaction to the rhetorical excess surrounding the crimes of 9/11 and the rhetorical minimizing of the Wall Street’s crimes leading up to 2008. I’m not trying to compare the crimes as moral acts, only to highlight the contradictions in our responses to them. Perhaps my rhetoric is in bad taste, and counterproductive, as you suggest, but I think the point I’m making ought to be made passionately. I wish there were lots of other voices out there making it more artfully and effectively than I have, but there just aren’t.

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