World Trade Center Attack: A
September 11, 2001
Writing tonight about anything
other than the attacks on New York City and the Pentagon would seem
superfluous. Yet given the mountains of ink and hours of airtime
already devoted to the subject, there is not, perhaps, much that has not
already been said. So here's summaries of the types of comments I've
seen posted today on discussion boards of progressive sites (particularly at
Common Dreams), and then a
few thoughts of my own:
The U.S. has killed
hundreds if not thousands of times more civilians in terrorist attacks on
other countries than the U.S. suffered killed today. Undoubtedly
true, since our military killed 2-3 million civilians during the Vietnam War
The U.S. is only having
done to it what it has done to others. Again true. See directly
above. To give yet another of many possible examples, terrorists we
have financed and even sometimes directed have deliberately killed tens of
thousands of civilians just in Central America -- Nicaragua, El Salvador,
Americans, living in a
democracy, are responsible for the actions of their government. Again
true. However, one might argue that while we bear a collective
responsibility to the world community, we have an individual accountability
only to our Maker, and that individual New Yorkers should not be subject to
a death penalty imposed by self-appointed judges (the hijackers).
If we commit terrorist
acts against others, that's wrong; likewise, if they commit terrorist acts
against us in retaliation, that's also wrong. In other words, two
wrongs don't make a right. A credible argument can be made for this
Our military response to
these attacks will undoubtedly wind up killing additional civilians wherever
we strike. This has certainly been the pattern in the past when we
We should be vigilant that
the U.S. government doesn't use these attacks as an excuse to curtail civil
liberties and freedom in our country. A legitimate cause for
Having suffered real death
and destruction on our own soil, maybe the U.S. will be a little more
reluctant to resort to military interventions against other nations in the
future. Probably not, unless the American people demand such
restraint, the likelihood of which is nil, in my opinion.
Here are some thoughts of my
own, which I've not seen expressed elsewhere:
The enemy of my enemy
isn't necessarily my friend. Just because the Taliban and bin
Laden are enemies of Bush, doesn't mean the Taliban and bin Laden are my
friends. Quite the contrary. As I've explicitly written elsewhere, the
Taliban are an abomination, their treatment of women tantamount to
slavery. I would certainly never want their form of dictatorship to
spread. Same for bin Laden.
If we knew bin Laden was
training pilots for suicide missions on 757's and 767's, the planes used
today, why didn't we take preemptive action?! Frankly, if we had
sent in the 82nd Airborne and gotten rid of bin Laden and the Taliban in one
fell swoop, I wouldn't have objected.
Unfortunately, I believe we
never tried to stop the terrorists' planning for an attack like today's
because of our military's seeming doctrine that no American soldier can be
put at risk. If it can't be done with cruise missiles, don't do it.
Cruise missiles, as we've
seen, can't permanently take out terrorist camps in the mountains. To
destroy a camp training terrorist 757/767 pilots, you'd need to go in with
ground troops and suffer significant casualties to get the job done.
And at least until now, we don't seem to have been willing to do that.
In any event, all deaths
are to be mourned, and this writer certainly feels for the families of all
those killed today. Amen.