Friday, May 13, 2011

Three short essays I wrote just after 9/11/2001 (April 27, 2007)

I wish I'd known about MySpace back in late 2001. These short pieces were all written in one sitting, long-hand, on a long commute home one day on a bus, no later than 9/24/2001. W's "with us" quote occurred on 9/20.


Essay 1.

President Bush has placed me, a patriotic, tax-paying, law-abiding, registered voter, in the uncomfortable position of being either "with us or with them". I wonder if maybe there's a third option.

Now that we're going on two weeks into this mess, the flag waving and sabre rattling and ultimatums are making me more than a little uneasy. Doesn't anyone else understand what we're getting into?

If we do attack Afghanistan, who can blame them if they have someone retaliate from within our own borders? We go "bang bang you're dead" there, they go b.b.y.d here. All those terrorists were already here. How many more are awaiting their turn to act?

We learned in kindergarten that when a bully punches you, you don't punch back or you'll get punched back back even harder, or worse yet, yanked off to the principal's office just as culpable as the one who threw the first punch. So why are we gearing for war? That's exactly the wrong thing to do. Has nobody tried to get to the bottom of their reasons for acting?

Instead we should be determining why it seemed necessary for them to attack us, and resolve it at that level. What I am saying is simple: We should not retaliate.

No war. No violence. Peace.

Essay 2.

Maybe I didn't say it clearly enough in my first missive, so I'll say it again. Mr Bush, you cannot be against abortion on the grounds that it is murder, and then plan to go overseas and wage war. That's murder, too. There can be no distinction, given the rules you yourself laid down, that taking a human life is taking a human life, no matter what you call it, or under what circumstances.

So, Mr. Bush, if you are still bound and determined to go to war, does that then mean you are adopting your predecessor's abortion policies? If your abortion policies remain intact, then call back the armed forces. You cannot have it both ways.

Essay 3.

Let's say an official government force enters into a neighborhood, sets fire to an occupied building on official orders, and kills dozens of people inside. What does that make that government force, or the government behind it? Corrupt? Warlike? Criminal?

This is pretty much what happened on May 13, 1985, in Philadelphia, when several occupied townhouses were bombed and left to burn by city police and firefighters. This was done, it was said, for political purposes; the occupants had a political agenda which ticked off city authorities. An entire city block was destroyed, and while the city did pay the property owners, no police or fire authorities were found culpable for their handling of the destruction.

Similarly, consider what happened to the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas in 1993. They too were an organized group with a political agenda that ticked off the authorities. The B.A.T.F. gave them an ultimatum, which they refused. In the ensuing battle, hundreds died, including children. Nothing, essentially, was done to the federal officials who brought this to bear, whoever set the fire, or how.

It was this inaction, this perceived injustice, which caused one terrorist, Timothy McVeigh, to blow up the Oklahoma City federal building, the B.A.T.F.'s headquarters, two years to the day after Waco. Perception is everything. Whether there was an injustice or not, someone thought enough that there was that he decided a large-scale terrorist act was called for.

What we are planning for Osama bin Laden and his ilk is nothing more than another M.O.V.E., another Waco, but on a larger scale.

OK, they attacked us first. Or did they? Yes, they hit us first. But to stand in the shoes of some over there, we struck first. What did we do? We exist, that's what. We're evil in their eyes. Granted, the extremists did the act, but we have a couple of extremists ourselves, incluing the current occupants of the White House.

It is wrong to strike back. That will show that we're evil, in case anyone over there doubted it.


Back to 2007. I find it difficult to believe that my words weren't prophetic here.

1 comment:

bus15237 said...

Back in April 2007, I posted these three short essays I wrote (longhand, probably on the bus going back & forth to work) between Sept. 20 and Sept. 24, 2001. Almost 10 years after 9/11/2001, it's worth re-reading them again.