The Terror Dream
9/11 was a double hijacking. First the actual event, and then the political hijacking engineered by an assortment of neocons, theocons, chicken hawks and born-again imperialists. Within weeks Afghanistan was attacked and occupied and plans were underway to invade Iraq, even though that country had nothing to do with 9/11. America, muscular and robust, fights wars and threatens others with military action. And something was happening on the home front as well. There was a revival of so-called traditional values and gender roles. Men defend and protect and women stay home and raise kids. It was like old times. Masculinity was back. And feminism was put in its place: on its back and in the kitchen. Political theater kicked in with pseudo-macho presidents swaggering on aircraft carrier flight decks to fables about Jessica Lynch. Fairy tales replaced reality.
Susan Faludi is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. Her articles appear in The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The Nation. She is the author of Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women and The Terror Dream: Fear & Fantasy in Post-9/11 America.