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World Trade Center Attack: A Progressive Analysis

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 alone.

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, Guatemala.

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 proposition.

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 have retaliated.

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 concern.

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.

This was a selection from The Daily Diatribe

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