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Ten Things We Didn't Learn From 9/11

January 1, 2002

  1. To demand that government officials be held accountable for their incompetence.  Is there any doubt, given the revelations concerning what the government knew about the 20th hijacker, Zacarias Moussaoui, in August, that the heads of the FBI, CIA and Justice Department should have resigned in disgrace for their failure to properly investigate Moussaoui and thus prevent the 9/11 tragedy?  Instead, most Americans seem happy to give these same officials even more power.

  2. To not blindly trust the government, but demand information about exactly what its plans and policies are.  We trusted the government to protect us against terrorist acts, and it abysmally failed.  So why do people then trust it with vague, dangerous plans for military tribunals, without knowing the details?  While there was no broad public outcry about the tribunals, at least there was a pundit outcry, and the detailed regulations implementing the tribunals seem far better than the procedures the initial presidential order would have allowed.

  3. To spend what's necessary to protect ourselves.  As the continually-being-scaled-back plans for new airport security show, the almighty dollar still seems more important than preventing planes from being blown out of the sky.

  4. To be more generous towards our fellow Americans with the vast richness of this nation.  While contributions to 9/11 charities topped $1.5 billion, it was a case of robbing Peter to pay Paul: contributions to non-9/11 charities were drastically down immediately, and have stayed so, creating the inability to help many in need.

  5. To go beyond clichés in answering the oft-asked question of why many people in the world hate us. We can't even entertain the possibility that some of the grievances of those who express hatred of us have some validity.  Instead, most Americans seem content to attribute that hatred to irrationality and/or jealousy.  I imagine that many in this country actually agree with Ann Coulter's statement that we should "invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity."

  6. To stop supporting dictatorships when it suits our geopolitical purposes.  Our newest alliances are with brutal dictators in the "stans" which abut northern Afghanistan.  Are the people in those nations going to be the next ones to develop an intense hatred of us?

  7. To realize we're only as safe as the worst neighborhood on earth, and we need to share the earth's resources more equitably with the 95% of humans who aren't American.  It's often said that we are 5% of the world's population, but use 25% of the world's resources.  I don't now if that's accurate or not, but clearly we use far more than our proportionate share.  If everyone on earth had an American lifestyle, many of the earth's non-renewable resources would vanish in decades.  We can never be safe denying a large segment of humanity the use of the planet's riches.

  8. To demand that the mass media provide us with all information, the bad as well as the good, about the conduct of our wars. There has been no public insistence to be told about civilian casualties, so the media have happily acquiesced to the government's wishes and barely reports at all on the thousands of civilians who have been killed by U.S. bombing in Afghanistan.  Not knowing what is being done in our name will, if not in this instance, in others, most certainly come back to haunt us.

  9. To truly understand the horror of modern warfare when it's directed AGAINST us, not BY us, and therefore be loathe to inflict it upon innocent citizens of other nations.  Many Americans, based on comments to this site, talk show audience interviews and internet bulletin boards, seem to have had the opposite response: our civilians died, so let's kill their civilians -- which is precisely the terrorist mentality, that it's okay to kill civilians for military/political ends.

  10. To finally understand what so much of the foregoing boils down to, the necessity of following the Golden Rule: Do Unto Others As We Would Have Them Do Unto Us.

This was a selection from The Daily Diatribe

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