Putting things (gasp!) into perspective
BushCo tells us that we are in war that is "different" from anything we have ever fought before and places this war above all other priorites. The administration and its supporters use this apparently to-be-endless state of war to justify: circumventing important aspects our liberties, the president being above the law, the expenditure of what will be at least one trillion dollars and the killing of Americans and Iraqis in a war of choice that is un-related to the action of the 9/11 terrorists.
The events of 9/11 were tragic and deserve to have a profound effect on the world’s thinking. Undoubtedly there will be other terrorist acts in the future. But while this is fact of life in the 21st century there needs to be rational thought applied to our circumstances.
Historian Joseph J. Ellis wrties an op-ed piece in Saturday's New York Times.
... where does Sept. 11 rank in the grand sweep of American history as a threat to national security? By my calculations it does not make the top tier of the list, which requires the threat to pose a serious challenge to the survival of the American republic.
Here is my version of the top tier: the War for Independence, where defeat meant no United States of America; the War of 1812, when the national capital was burned to the ground; the Civil War, which threatened the survival of the Union; World War II, which represented a totalitarian threat to democracy and capitalism; the cold war, most specifically the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, which made nuclear annihilation a distinct possibility.
Sept. 11 does not rise to that level of threat because, while it places lives and lifestyles at risk, it does not threaten the survival of the American republic, even though the terrorists would like us to believe so.
What Patrick Henry once called "the lamp of experience" needs to be brought into the shadowy space in which we have all been living since Sept. 11. My tentative conclusion is that the light it sheds exposes the ghosts and goblins of our traumatized imaginations. It is completely understandable that those who lost loved ones on that date will carry emotional scars for the remainder of their lives. But it defies reason and experience to make Sept. 11 the defining influence on our foreign and domestic policy. History suggests that we have faced greater challenges and triumphed, and that overreaction is a greater danger than complacency.
Wise words. Wouldn’t it be great if instead of criticism of the administration being considered sacrilege and off-limits, a rational discussion could take place? “ You may say I’m a dreamer ...” - la la la.
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