Saturday, September 12, 2015

#NeverForget 9/12: "This is war"

"The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity."
 - W. B. Yeats, "The Second Coming."
Like John Hockenberry, I'm "done with the 9/11 ritual." And I would echo Lauren Nelson's appeal to remember the ongoing causalities of our "war on terror." Frankly, from a safe distance (near Charlotte, NC) I've always felt as traumatized (or more) by our response to 9/11 as by the terrorist attack itself. The fear and uncertainty about more planes on that day quickly became fear and uncertainty about a belligerent and reckless response on our part (and an endless cycle of violence). On the very next day a prominent conservative announced the "turning point" toward a disproportionate and counterproductive reaction. Our response to the worst terror attack in our history would be more terror...
"You bring criminals to justice; you rain destruction on combatants...the enemy has many branches. Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Israel, the Osama bin Laden organization headquartered in Afghanistan, and various Arab 'liberation fronts' based in Damascus. And then there are the governments: Iran, Iraq, Syria and Libya..."
 - Charles Krauthammer. "This is not crime. this is war." September 12, 2001
The seething anger and overwhelming support for belligerence - even among some of my liberal, non-militaristic friends - was quickly palpable. Over time I watched in shock as Christopher Hitchens, whose opinion I had eagerly and approvingly listened to since the early 1980s, became increasingly militaristic and uncritical.

For therapy, I reached out early to one of my college philosophy professors and took a graduate class (independent study) at UNC Charlotte. I read everything I could get my hands on and created a bibliography of philosophical responses to terrorism which was eventually published in the Concerned Philosophers for Peace Newsletter in 2002.

In some sense, this blog is a continuation of that therapy - I started it on January 1, 2007 with a poem I wrote about the execution (earlier that morning) of Saddam Hussein: "Happy New Year: Saddam is Dead."

Next up? Iran or Syria?

sCredit: Wikipedia



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