>5 years ago today, my father, who normally would be at work, had the day off. He woke me up by telling me that we were under attack. He told me that planes had crashed into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. I jumped out of bed to watch it on television.
Shortly after I turned on the television, the south tower collapsed. Of course, I don’t have to go into detail. Everybody’s seen the destruction and chaos from that day. Many compared it to something we had only seen in movies, because there was no precedent for it, especially in our country, the land of the free, home of the brave.
As much as I couldn’t turn away from the footage that day, I still had classes to attend. I questioned whether or not to attend my Elvis class. Obviously, this was more important than Elvis. Who knew if we had more to fear that day? I did go to my Elvis class, and we watched “King Creole”, but you could tell that we were all somewhere else. During our couple of breaks, the students wandered in a common area, watching the non-stop coverage on screens spread throughout the building.
I had another class on Political Philosophy that night. How fitting. We discussed whether or not we should be there. It was decided that we would go over the current class material, then discuss the events, and leave after an abbreviated class. When I left, I went right back to the TV. In fact I had snagged my mom’s pocket TV as I ran out the door to school. I stood outside, waiting for a ride, and watched the coverage, flipping from network to network. I watched the planes disappearing into the buildings again and again. At one point on FOX, they had showed some of the jumpers, which was criticized, but it was real and happening.
That period of time put me in a daze. It had only been a little over a year since my brother had passed away. We didn’t lose him to a disaster like this, but I kept thinking of the loss of anyone associated with the folks on those planes and in those buildings.
It made sense to go after the bad guys in Afghanistan, but how much progress has been made. A recent AP report states: “Despite about 20,000 U.S. forces fighting al-Qaida and Taliban fighters in Afghanistan, and about the same number of NATO troops, and billions in aid, a resurgent Taliban resistance has shaken the country, while corruption has stymied development.” While we brought “freedom and democracy” to those people, which I dispute, we certainly have not brought stability.
And why Iraq? Bush and Cheney have been saying in recent interviews that it is central to the war on terror, but it was completely preemptive, especially considering all intelligence stating Iraq had WMDs was proven false. Apparently since Saddam had tried before, that was enough to go after him next, even though not much evidence of WMD production exists after the first Gulf War. We instead now have spent hundreds of billions (Congress has approved $432 billion to date for Iraq) and lost over 2,600 men of our own, not to mention hundreds of dead contractors, hundreds of foreign soldiers, and thousands of dead civilians. That’s the price you pay for freedom, I guess, even when you’re fighting people with no connection to those that instigated war in the first place.
Even though the other two in the “Axis of Evil”, Iran and North Korea, pose more of a real threat to us now, we have no man power to do anything about it. Suddenly sanctions and diplomacy sound a bit better, but that D-word won’t be had with nations that harbor terrorists. It’s been said before, but a terrorist to one nation is a freedom fighter to another. Our leaders even portray ourselves as “fighting for freedom”, a very dumbed down catchy slogan that doesn’t really give much detail. It’s good enough for those that have to work over 40 hours a week (with sometimes low wages) to feed their families, eat fast food because it’s fast and convenient (but a killer), and vote (when we feel like it) based on 30-second TV spots that a lot of the time are paid for by interest groups and have little factual basis. If it’s fast and simple, it’s more convenient, and we’ll take it. No one questions reasoning much anymore.
I’m not one to agree with or quote Andy Rooney much; old men with bushy eyebrows and hair growing in tufts from their ears have that effect on me. This past Sunday on 60 Minutes though, he said something that everyone and their mother should barrage each other with forwarded emails over (kidding, maybe).
“The disaster on September 11th…was manmade. Death by design. Some people who hated Americans set out to kill a lot of us and they succeeded.
Americans are puzzled over why so many people in the world hate us.
We seem so nice to ourselves. They do hate us though. We know that and we’re trying to protect ourselves with more weapons. We have to do it I suppose but it might be better if we figured out how to behave as a nation in a way that wouldn’t make so many people in the world want to kill us.”
I doubt that will happen anytime soon, but it’s a great idea, and really simple if you think about it. It’s just outside the box for a lot of people that think bombing the shit out of people will make them greet us as liberators and bring peace to the world.
John and Yoko put it well…