23 March 2007

how we should have responded to the events of 9/11/2001

"violence is the last refuge of the incompetent."
~issac asimov

as per my post yesterday in response to the comments over here. thank you, krissy (if you ever see this), for stretching my brain... this is how i see it.

as i mentioned before, i was solidly against invading afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks. i remember talking with a close friend that day who i find myself on the same page as politically, who was ranting and raving that we must begin "bombing the fuck" out of "them" as soon as possible. i was completely taken aback. in retrospect, i imagine that she was reacting out of fear, as most were at that time. i won't lie - i was also afraid. but i couldn't get my brain around how the use of more violence, a violence that we had just so horribly suffered, would ever bring about change or peace.

many found themselves in shock that day. i don't think that i ever was. in the realm of blowback, i was more surprised that something of that scope hadn't happened before after reading chalmers johnson's book. america has a solid history of doing whatever she wants wherever she wants without so much a please or thank you. she has been a party to some awful attrocities in the name of "freedom" and "democracy." these actions have angered many, and rightfully so. they anger me, i can't imagine being on the receiving end.

but it is NEVER OK TO UNLEASH SUCH SICKNESS on others. and that goes both ways.

we stood around asking how anyone could ever do such a thing as drive planes into buildings. we asked how anyone could ever target innocent lives - yet, what was the response? kill them! you can't reason with them! they would kill you if they had the chance! and what do you think the men that boarded those planes that day were thinking? the. same. thing.

in our quest to respond to the terrorists with war, we became the terrorists. and used that to further an agenda on more innocent people in another country that had absolutely nothing to do with any of it. yay us.

but i digress. instead of asking "why," they asked, "how do we make someone, anyone pay? RIGHT NOW!!!" to me, that isn't justice, that is revenge. and it doesn't begin to get to the root of the problem. it's a knee jerk reaction, one that keeps us in a perpetual state of war and fear and only stands to create more anger and hostility.

the men that carried out their mission on those planes died that day, along with all of their victims. i can see trying to apprehend the so called ring leader.

according to this report, the taliban agreed to extradite bin laden for trial. but that apparently wasn't good enough for the u.s.

and then there was one sided "war." never mind that most of those responsible weren't from afghanistan. never mind that the u.s. propped up such an awful regime in aiding the taliban. never mind that the c.i.a. trained, armed and funded bin laden in the 80's. but i'm sure this isn't new news to anyone reading this.

so what should the response have been?

no war.

it has to begin somewhere, somehow. in all of the pain and ugliness that surfaced that day, there was an opportunity for change. i thought i saw an awareness emerging, but i was wrong. it was quickly replaced by flag waving bravado after bush got on the t.v. and asked that we all do our part in our time of great sadness - to go shopping to get the economy going.

a statement should have been issued to the effect that we, as a country, would not respond with the same tactics used by those who fatally and psychologically wounded us. we will secure our borders and improve intelligence about possible attacks. that we would move past the use of violence as a means to settle international disputes once and for all. that as the mightiest, wealthiest nation in the world, we would take the first steps towards world peace and ensure that this wouldn't ever happen again. that we would take some time and consider the history that brought us to this point and our own roles in it. that we would leave no stone unturned in this introspective quest. we would admit our mistakes and own our responsibility. we would also become more involved in the world - educate ourselves, ask the difficult questions, demand excellence from our elected representatives. we would evolve as humans sharing the same space and time. we would "lead by example." we would listen when people like bin laden clearly outline their grievances. we would stop with the "do as i say, not as i do" hypocrisy of telling countries they can't haves nukes as we continue to make more.

we would no longer prop up terrorist regimes. we would feed those in the world that are hungry instead. we would stop exploiting others in far away lands that make all of those plastic baubles and trinkets we think we can't live without. we would also stop defining ourselves with pricey clothing labels that also rely on the suffering of others to get to our greedy little paws. we would begin to realize that we are all connected. thomas paine said, "the world is my country; to do good is my religion." we would make friends, not more enemies. i realize that this may sound a little touchy-feely for a few of you, but... how do we know, if we never bother to try?

think about it. it would be awfully difficult to convince someone that they need to strap on a bomb and blow up americans if they had a decent quality of life and the americans were ensuring that they were fed. i'm just saying. i'm sure the anti-america recruitment process isn't so difficult these days.

we wouldn't be in iraq now.

at the very least, the violence would be contained. and all of that money squandered to line the pockets of those closest to bush could be far better spent.

but no. america wanted a team to cheer for and blood to spill instead - and some asses running the show have other things on their mind. let's just say it isn't democracy, freedom, al qaeda or justice. if that were the case, we wouldn't be in iraq now. we wouldn't still be in afghanistan playing "where's bin laden?" we wouldn't be in more danger from potential attacks today than we were on 9/11.

not to mention, i'm sure that bush wanted to detract from his failure to keep us safe. put it this way - if i were working at the bar and a guest i'd been serving killed someone in a drunk driving accident, several things could happen.
1. i would most likely lose my job. (or i would never be able to bring myself to return.)
2. the guest could sue me.
3. the family of the murdered victim could sue me.

yet, bush still has his job, along with all of the others that failed us that day. how does that make any sense?

bottom line? it wasn't about anything that they told us it was, and desperate people do desperate things.

as it stands, we are playing into the hands of those deemed terrorist. and they have something on us we don't have. patience and all the time in the world. they will wait until we're broke. they will wait until we've spent every cent and thousands more are dead. when we're at our weakest, they very well may strike again. this isn't the world i want for my bebe.

THE WORLD was out in force that day (and in the days following), mourning right along with us - offering aid, help, thoughts and prayers. now, that majority views us as the terrorists. pretty fucked up, huh? and so very sadly, what is done is done. but we can always change. so long as we live and breathe, we can always change. and peace is still a possibility.

like lennon said, war is over. if you want it.

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