So I will. Reluctantly.
But there won't be any inspirational graphics of eagles, firefighters or the Statue of Liberty. If you want my thoughts you'll have to read them. If you don't want my thoughts you should navigate away right now.
11 years ago we were attacked by a small band of criminals in a brutal act of terrorism. A lot of people of many different nationalities and faiths died together as the targets of those attacks. Maybe you heard about it. It was in all the papers.
In the immediate wake of the attacks, the entire world rallied to our side to support and console us. For the first time since Apollo 11 landed on the moon, the entire world was with us, not against us. It was a unique moment. We could have turned it into a positive, world changing opportunity.
But we didn't. We pissed it away like it was nothing.
We declared "War" on "terrorism".
Declaring war on terrorism makes as much sense as declaring war on poverty, or drugs. It is immediately, by definition, a non-winnable war.
When could we declare Victory and an end to the War on Terrorism?
Scenario One: We hunt down and kill the last remaining terrorist thereby eliminating the threat because there would be no one left in the world who hates us and wants to kill us.
Scenario Two: We capture the King of the Terrorists who signs a Treaty of Surrender aboard the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan thereby legally binding all Terrorists everywhere to lay down their IEDs, Stingers and AK-47s and insuring our safety forever.
Neither of those scenarios will ever, ever happen. We committed ourselves to an open-ended, never-ending "war" against an opponent who cannot be defeated by military means.
But we weren't content with guaranteed failure. We had to kick it up a notch. We declared to the world, that "you are either with us, or against us". That left no room for discussion. Either you agreed with our ridiculous and doomed approach and everything we planned to do, or you were a terrorist too. That tended to erode a lot of that good will that people felt for us in the immediate aftermath of the attack.
But wait! There's more!
We then used this excuse to start stomping all over the world, invading countries, killing civilians with airborne robots, eroding our own citizen's rights and freedoms while requiring our diminishing number of allies to do the same to their citizens, engaging in kidnapping and torture, rounding up foreigners and imprisoning them indefinitely in the most brutal possible conditions without any semblance of due process, and basically defecating all over our own Constitution and self-professed values for all the world to see.
The people who seek to destroy us don't "hate us because of our freedom". They hate us because we're assholes. Rather than spending billions of dollars a day for 11 years trying to kill people who think we're assholes, maybe it might be more cost effective to just stop being assholes.
Yes, the loss of life on 9/11 was horrible. But far worse, in my humble opinion, was what we did to ourselves as a result.
In the 11 years since 9/11 we have DEMANDED that our politicians, our military, our courts, our intelligence agencies, our law enforcement agencies and even our own employers and neighbors finish the job that the terrorists started.
We have destroyed ourselves by surrendering actual freedom for the illusion of safety and in the transaction we exchanged good will and respect for hatred and contempt. The terrorists have won. But they never could have succeeded without our help.
Monday, September 10, 2012
So I will. Reluctantly.