The Sword
     Untitled
The Cabiri Chronicles
     Life of a History
     Under the Hood
     Hunger

     Balancing Act

     I was just acting!
     Lucifer as a Player
     Player Types Defined
     Railroading
     LARP Boredom
     LARP Survival

     Economics in D&D 3.5

     Sept 11, 2002
     Columbia Disaster

     A Letter of Vocation
     Evidence of Evil
     In Defense of a Reflection

     A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
     Hello
 

September 11, 2002

          So it's September 11, 2002. Everyone's saying stuff about how they felt, where they were, etc., etc. I usually listen to classical music while at work. Today, I'm listening to people talkinga bout Sept 11, Pearl Harbor, peace, war, hatred, heroism...it's tempting to be cynical about the whole thing, to suggest that the emotions our politicians, business men, tv anchors and everyone else are expressing through the media are somehow fake. To believe that we deserved it, somehow. That we brought it on ourselves.
          I can't feel that way. Which, I guess, is why I'm writing this. There's a part of me that wants to be cynical about it...it's a lot safer to live behind that wall of cynicism. If everything is corrupt, you don't have to believe...you don't have to risk your heart on something that may not live up to your expectations.
          Now, that's not to say I don't think no one's used Sept 11th for political gain...last year this time, I found myself suddenly a supporter of Bush. I think we all were, at least for a couple of days. My support waned as he began to ignore civil liberties in his hunt for terrorists...no, it was his hunt for safety. It was all our hunts for safety. We had to strike out at who hurt us, because we needed to feel the safety again that we felt when we went to bed September 10, 2001. But some people used it to further political agendas, as well. And that sucks.
          That doesn't mean that the emotions of our leaders are any less viable. I can't imagine flying around the nation in a big jet, worried that my friends, staff and co-workers back at Washington were in danger. Wondering if anyone I'd known in the Pentagon was missing or killed. To have to suffer through the worst tragedy in American history...to have the onerous burden of _leading_ a nation who'd just suffered through that. And to be flying from state to state...keeping myself safe to lead the country while the rest of America was huddled in front of their TV's and radios.
          But things could have been worse. We could have restarted the concentration camps we had for the Japanese-Americans back in the 40's. We could have ignored hate crimes against muslims. We could have declared war on the muslim world. We didn't. Bush was one of the first to call upon Americans to remember that we are a tolerant nation. Bush. Of all the fucking people who run Washington, Bush was reminding us that we do not hate others because of their beliefs, because of their race. That's a pretty tremendous thing to me.
          Recently, Bush has been shaking his sword at Iraq. It worries me, but I'm conflicted. On one hand, he hasn't given us one shred of a reason to think that Iraq is up to its old tricks...that it has nuclear weapons or is supporting Al-Quaeda or whatever. On the other hand, Saddam is a crazed dictator who's proven himself to be aggressive against other nations for no reason. The Arab nations, who used to hate him as much as we did, now flock to him, creating a political shield. Even our supposed allies, such as France and Russia, are rushing to protect Iraq. We must work for peace, but we cannot let people like him rule countries. It is our responsibility, the responsibility of the Western World, to be the shepherds of those who do not know the freedoms that we do. To provide that freedom, when possible. How many chances to we give Iraq? How many times to they get to dictate who enforces U.N. resolutions within their borders? How many chances will we give to a man unwilling to commit to peace? Are we so frightened of war that we now must suffer any evil, no matter how great?
          What should we do? I don't really know. I don't think we should commit troops to Iraq without U.N. support...that would be the basest of arrogance. But what do you do when the whole world is shielding evil? We didn't go after Afghanistan years ago, even though we knew they supported terrorists like Bin Laden, all behind the comfortable shield of Muslim tradition. Where did that get us?
          So, anyways, back to the situation at hand. It's September 11...the first anniversary. It's interesting to watch how people handle the tragedy. Yahoo! has gone all black and white today. Most other webpages have a red, white and blue ribbon on them. Except for a few, Sept 11 has inspired increased national pride, both in the country we live in and in our fellow Americans. For some on both sides of the political spectrum, it is a chance to further their agenda. I heard this report this morning on "Democracy Now" about the environment affects of Sept 11. I started to get pissed, then I realized that they were mostly talking about the illnesses that resulted from two buildings disintegrating in the middle of a city. But even so, past and present reports on "Democracy Now" are so rife with leftist propaganda I don't really know who to believe...and everything they have to say about Sept 11 suggests that we deserved it.
          I'm not sure what this schitzophrenic thing is...Americans tend to root for the underdog. Now that we're the world power, we don't know what to do with ourselves. With great power comes great responsibility (thanks Stan Lee). We don't always succeed but, dammit, we're a damn fine country. The rest of the world thinks we're bullies or imperialistic or whatever. Fuck them. Pure and simple. We screw up, but we're under the magnifying glass. If France had the power that we did, they'd be making the same mistakes (mostly by sitting on their hands and not doing anything at all). Maybe the U.S. wouldn't be so willing to go it on their own if their allies weren't so willing to turn their backs on them at a moment's notice...France and Russia practically relish whenever the U.S. takes a stance so that they can show how important they are by disagreeing. That's what the cynics are doing as well. A skeptical eye is always good, but, like any good thing, can be taken too far. Many cynics are trying to use September 11th to support their own egos...so that they can tell people that everyone is stupid except them. That's a safe place to be, so I understand it, but it's also the height of egotism. Some times, you have to put aside your political agenda, your ego-supportive cynicism and just put your damn hand over your heart and be glad you live in a country where you can still have a political agenda and cynicism.
          And a lot of people are forgetting _why_ bin Laden did this. It wasn't because of our relationship with Israel or opposition to the Palestinians. It wasn't because of our failures in Somalia. It wasn't because of our political back-room dealings of the Cold War. It wasn't because we bombed Hirosima and Nagasaki. It was because we dared to set foot on holy soil during the Gulf War. Soil. Fucking dirt. He used religion to mask his own need for blood, tricked some young men into believing his was the only view of the Divine, and got them to crash planes into the heart of the U.S. All because we dared step foot on his holy fucking soil. When we were _invited_ to do so by Saudi Arabia. Why are people forgetting that? Because its a lot harder to understand, for one. Its easy to hate ourselves for the things we've done wrong. Easy to understand bin Laden if we think of him in the context of our sins. But when we are faced with the truth that we were attacked for no other reason than some craven serial-killer wanted an excuse, we can't deal with it. "bin Laden can't be crazy...he hates American almost as much as I do," they think...idiots. To think the U.S. somehow deserved this...that the people who died in NY and DC somehow deserved this...is the rankest of ignorance.
          Now, I think those who want to be cynical about all this have a right to be. They live in a free world. I'd just like to see some thanks from time to time from these people for the freedoms they so easily criticize...that they so easily brush away. No, we're not living in a perfect state. But dammit, it's a helluvalot better than most of the rest of the world. It's sure as hell better than Afghanistan during the Taliban rule, when women were stoned for sleeping around, buddhas were blown up because they represented ideas contrary to the beliefs of the leadership and people like bin Laden were shielded and hidden away. People fucking celebrated in the streets in many areas of Afghanistan. That isn't something you can easily fake. That has to say something.
          Okay...enough for now. Thanks Rush, for a forum to do this in. I mourn for those who lost their lives on Sept 11. They didn't deserve it and neither did we...no one deserves that kind of brazen and concentrated disregard for human life. I'm thankful for the media, who aren't shying away from this when so many want to just tuck their heads under the sand and pretend everything is the same as it always was. It's not the same. At least, I sure as hell hope its not...