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remembering 9/11

I wrote this essay a few days after the 9/11/2001 attacks. I stand behind those feelings and beliefs, and still believe that what I called for would have been the correct response: Treat it as a police mission, not a call to war.

I grieve not only for those lost on that day, but for what this country has lost in the interim because of how our government failed to respond, how they responded in the worst way possible, and how they have polluted humankind's image of the United States of America.

I am also angry: Furious with the current administration, of course, but also with those who allowed the NeoCons to ruin our nation over the course of the last seven years. How can they live with themselves? Do they really believe people like John "Bomb-Bomb-Iran" McCain and Sarah "Sack O' Lies" Palin will do anything to restore American honor? Or has their guilt for keeping the Bushies in office long enough to nearly destroy our nation driven them deep into a pit of self-hatred that they cannot face, so instead they push for more evil to be wrought upon the world in the name of... I don't even know what they believe it's all for.

"The War on Terror" is the biggest load of crap. Ask any terrorism expert who hasn't allowed support-Bush guilt to delude him or herself, and you'll hear that you cannot fight terror with war. Let me amend that:

You can fight terror with war, but you will lose. You cannot beat terror with war.

Terrorism is a crime. Nations cannot wage effective war against terrorism by waging war; that only incites more acts of terror and grows the support base for terrorist activity. How do you fight crime? With police activity. You arrest the bad guys, break up the bad-guy rings. Meanwhile, you try to fix the society that breeds bad guys. For most people, it's as simple as ensuring that everyone has the basic rights that we in the US declared a couple hundred years ago to be self-evident.

The motives of psychotics will always be beyond our ability to comprehend, their behavior beyond correction. But we can help ensure that they don't get widespread support by helping remove the hopelessness inherent in many societies - especially in the Middle East. The absolute worst thing we can do for the forces of good - and the best thing we can do to assist psychotics to enlist the hopeless - is wage endless war. This creates fear, anger, sadness, loss... it breeds more hopelessness and it breeds hate.

If the goal of our administration's "War on Terror" is to build resentment against the United States of America, it's been overwhelmingly effective. If its goal is to ensure a endless supply of America-hating terrorists, they've succeeded.

In the essay I wrote right after 9/11, I suggested that the only way to stop this from happening again was, "Nations all across the world must join forces to capture every single terrorist and every single accomplice to terror."

We did not do that. Can we do that now, effectively? Yes, but it's a bigger job now, what with so many more people having been harmed by "The War on Terror" and so many fewer supportive of the US. But we can still do it.

It also makes a lovely "what if?" alternate-history scenario. What if we had mobilized the world's crime-fighting forces to arrest the bad guys instead of bomb the nations where they lived (except Saudi Arabia, of course)? What if we had spent the money we've spent on "The War on Terror" instead on reducing the hopelessness of those who succumb to the call to join terrorist organizations?

What if?

Chris

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
sdemory
Sep. 11th, 2008 09:24 pm (UTC)
What if we had mobilized the world's crime-fighting forces to arrest the bad guys instead of bomb the nations where they lived (except Saudi Arabia, of course)? What if we had spent the money we've spent on "The War on Terror" instead on reducing the hopelessness of those who succumb to the call to join terrorist organizations?

What if, indeed?

I was actually putting together, and then desperately scrambling to rebuild, a Wednesday newspaper on September 11. I recall distinctly saying "I hope that white Americans did this, because it won't be treated like a crime if it's brown people from anywhere else."

Gotta wonder how Gore would've dealt with it.
mckitterick
Sep. 17th, 2008 04:43 pm (UTC)
Gosh, if it had been another Timothy McVeigh-type thing... wow, imagine how differently things would have turned out.

One can be almost certain that Gore would have dealt with it differently.
pointoforigin
Sep. 12th, 2008 02:03 am (UTC)
One of the saddest lessons of history, and one that apparently has to be relearned again and again because we just don't seem to get it, is that, in the end, the means are the ends. It always seems as if violence can be a short cut to what we most desire, but it always turns out that you can't get there from here. I have been feeling very sad today. I love the hope and determination in your post, my friend. Don't ever let your voice be silenced.
mckitterick
Sep. 17th, 2008 04:43 pm (UTC)
I hear you, and thank you for your kind words.
siro_gravity
Sep. 15th, 2008 06:56 pm (UTC)
hi chris.
i just got around to reading this, and the essay, too.
i agree with every single thing you wrote here.
hope all is well with you.
s
mckitterick
Sep. 17th, 2008 04:45 pm (UTC)
Hi S -

That's nice to hear.

Can't say that all is well with me, but life in general is good: Great job, super town, nice house and other stuff, good friends. You know how it goes. I hope all is well with you, too.

Chris
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )