“Freedom was attacked today, and freedom will be defended.”
So said George W. Bush on September 11th, 2001. It struck me then, and still strikes me today, as fundamentally wrong.
“Freedom” was not attacked that day; symbols of American economic and military dominance were attacked. Power was attacked that day, not “freedom.”
Bush’s War on Terror was and is a huge mistake, and needs to be declared null and void. Responding to the attacks of September 11th as if they were an act of war, and not a criminal act, is giving Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden precisely what they want; legitimacy as “holy warriors” when they only deserve infamy as brutal criminals. They need to be opposed with skilled international policing, not a big, stupid, endless “war.”
More on all that in my next post.
But there is one other thing I want to say, regardless of the above. May I be blunt, here? The American right seriously needs to get a pair. Begging the government to torture people who frighten you doesn’t make you a tough, clear-eyed realist; it makes you a bed-wetting, sniveling coward who dishonors every brave American who fought to obliterate and bring to justice Hitler’s torture brigades and the rapists of Nanking.
Look — It used to be that Americans defined their enemies as Those Who Torture:
I mean, really: What is the big, unprecedented deal about Al Qaeda anyway? Yes, 9/11/01 sucked, and I’d definitely rather not go through that again. That said: the extremist criminals killed just under 3000 people that day, and destroyed or damaged under 20 buildings and 4 aircraft. That was bad, no argument there…but “an enemy unlike any other”??! Pull yourselves together.
Worse than World War II? (Somewhere between 45 and 60 million total killed, including up to 11 million gassed, hanged and machine-gunned by the Nazis and Japanese, and virtually every city in central Europe and East Asia reduced to lego-sized, smouldering fragments?)
Worse than The Cold War? I mean, think about this for a second: the United States spent 40-odd years under the constant threat of having the entire country vaporized by ruthless, amoral totalitarian atheists who had publicly and repeatedly vowed our destruction.
And now you’re begging the government to torture people whose most recent attack amounted to some pathetic, deluded criminal failing to detonate his underwear?
Your childish, pants-wetting cowardice would be funny in a pitiable sort of way, except for the fact that you’ve convinced so many of my fellow Americans that Torturing People Is The Only Way To Defeat The Magically Powerful Terrorists. No, that’s not funny at all: it fills me with shame, but also righteous rage. Osama is laughing in whatever cave he’s holed up in.
Oh – and the “Greatest Generation” you fetishize? You dishonor them with your pitiful cowardice. The ghosts of those who fell on a thousand battlefields (who, by the way, were really, actually Defending Freedom) have every reason to be ashamed of you.