Saddam Hussein would have called it the Mother of All Anniversaries. Then again, look where his talent for hyperbole got him.
It all reminds me of some sinister motion picture from the fifties, when black and white film was either overexposed or starless, just shades and shapes in shifting ashes, and everything cued by racing violins. Clouds boiling in the half darkness -- monstrous static-filled cumulonimbus, flickering with the shredded hearts of crumbled lightning, spitting leaden tears and electric venom in the shape of sharpened crosses.
America is always compelling, fascinating, the big man in the room. Only now we have the brooding colossus, still movie-star handsome and commanding, but slumped by the window of his crumbling fortress, seemingly under siege, staring out over a devastated landscape. Is it real or imagined? He sees the menacing smoke on the distant horizon but none of the fires in his own fields. There are masked men and peasants, bombs and scraps. Why do his thoughts seem so incoherent? He mumbles. He threatens the twilight, and then the rain. The rest of the world wonders -- is this a giant traumatized, a golem in the grips of a terrible dream, or has the light gone forever, and a certain madness descended? Is this anniversary about memory or a haunting?
Ten years, two wars, thousands murdered, tens of thousands killed, millions ruined, billions spent, a hapless cowboy, a hollow professor, bag men and crooks, hate-filled fanatics, lie machines and fear factories, the city on the hill surrounded by guard dogs, barking at the night. But everyone's still hoping for a happy ending, because as America goes, so does the weather, and all the lights that follow.