What I wrote this time last year, and my take on it today...
"The world has gotten uglier... and I don't expect it to get better anytime soon.
Don't get me wrong... I'm angry. I'm not angry at anything or anyone in particular, though."...."No, what makes me mad is the inevitability of it all... how the violence has escalated on all sides. How the might of the U.S. government will now be turned against not terrorists, but nations, and probably on a fundamental basis against the entire Arab world. How we will, through a need for security, probably have to give up that much more freedom in the process."...."What makes me mad is how peace and justice will be trampled in a largely futile attempt to strike back against an invisible enemy that cannot be vanquished. We will target the effect without addressing the cause..."
It's hard to believe that I wrote that a year ago. Not that a lot of time hasn't passed since then, though. Just the opposite. Some things have changed, but fundamentally little has happened.
I know people who have lost friends and lovers in the WTC disaster, and I can't imagine what they've gone through this year, but it's time as a nation that we move on. We do the dead no honor by rubbernecking like witnesses to a bad car accident... it's time for people to put it into perspective, suck it up, and move on.
Ultimately, 9/11 (and our government's response to it) is an act of theft -- a theft of time and of opportunity on the colossal scale. We're now on the brink of another war that many economists think might have a crippling effect on our economy. While some look to war as a way of increasing spending and possibly jumpstarting the economy, others have pointed out that such spending will be a far smaller percentage increase in spending than occurred during World War II, or even during Vietnam, a war that forced LBJ to shelve numerous Kennedy era programs for improving education and combating poverty.
Ultimately, life is transitory. Everything falls apart and everything must pass, but do we learn from the past? Even Saddam is transitory... a 65 year old dictator in questionable health who, in sha' Allah
, will die soon enough, regardless of what the US does. The destruction of the World Trade Center killed a few thousand people, but by hyperfixating on this attack, we have cost our economy countless billions of dollars, with no end in sight.
War against Iraq could perhaps be easily winnable... or it could be a war fought by urban guerrillas, where US troops must fight through the streets of every major Iraqi city, reminiscent of the battle of Stalingrad
or the battle of Berlin
, followed by a lengthy, dangerous, expensive occupation and rebuilding process. I have little doubt that the US can win a war against Iraq, but even if we ignore the cost in human lives (which we should never do), who can ignore the cost to our economy? Even Alan Greenspan is publically warning against the deficit spending of the current administration
A healthy economy is a key part of democracy... at its best, it can lift the average man above the level of a serf or a wage slave. A healthy economy gives immigrants, minorities, and the poor the chance to get ahead. It helps to address disparities between the rich and poor, between those with power and those who don't have a voice. Risking the economy for the sake of war has its own risks, since the political upheaval caused by poverty is the perfect breeding ground for dictators and tyrants. Now more than ever, it is time to put people first... to put life first. While it may feel good to exact revenge against the world's criminals after the World Trade Center attack, we must be sure to exact revenge against the right
criminals. We cannot and should not try to take on the world or be its policemen. The one thing that we do which threatens tyrants the most is to live our lives in peace, freedom, and prosperity. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Let that be our primary goal and our fervent wish for all the people of the world.