Amid flags at half-mast and a capital city shrouded in clouds, the sixth anniversary of September 11, 2001 has arrived quietly in a nation still divided over the war it provoked.The war on Iraq was not provoked by 9/11. The Bush Administration planned on overthrowing Saddam's dictatorship before 9/11. - video - The attack on 9/11 was simply the new Pearl Harbor desired by Bush Administration figures which was used to galvanize support for Bush's war from an "isolationist" American electorate.
From Ground Zero to the broken ring of the Pentagon, we can't help but remember how many of the fallen were heroes that day. They were men and women on planes, in skyscrapers, charging up stairwells, and digging through rubble. As diverse as they were, the victims had one thing in common--they were all patriots.I'm sorry, but how do we know this is true? Did they become patriots simply by being in the wrong place at the wrong time? Their deaths were a horrible and unjustifiable tragedy, but they would not all have supported the war in Iraq.
Today, the spirit of 9-11--that of selfless determination--is still very much alive in our brave troops overseas. Despite months of bickering and distractions at home, our soldiers have carried out their mission valiantly, many of them making the ultimate sacrifice while their fellow citizens, speaking from the safety and comfort they provide, feel free to question what these soldiers are giving their lives for.No doubt some soldiers are patriotic and selfless. Others are in it for the money. Others love the thrill of military action. You and I might not want to go to Iraq and do what soldiers are doing there, but there are people who do.
While the news is trained on the war, few seem to remember why we're fighting it--not for Iraq but for the liberty Americans so quickly take for granted.It bothers me, disappoints me, when Christians think this way. This statement is completely mindless. We're not fighting for Iraq? Really? We're fighting for liberty? How has the war on Iraq increased my liberties? How have my liberties been made more secure by the hundreds of billions of dollars spent on destroying Iraqi infrastructure? The biggest threat to my liberties -- according to the Framers of the Constitution -- is the government. Our constitution was designed to "bind down" the government, whose powers were separated, checked, and balanced, then further hedged by a Bill of Rights. True patriotic Americans do not trust their government. How does expanding the power of the government protect my liberties?
Many in this country have forgotten that the best way to honor those who died on September 11--and since--is by upholding the commitment to do everything we can to keep it from happening again.The best way to prevent another 9/11 from happening is to understand how the first 9/11 happened. This is something the government does not want us to understand, otherwise the government would have conducted a real investigation, with witnessess under oath facing jail time if they lie in their answers to tough questions by prosecutors who want a conviction. We've never had such an investigation.
Abandoning the war would be to abandon America's identity.This may in fact be true. America was once the most admired nation on earth. America's new identity is one of imperialism, imposing our (i.e., the government's) will on subject nations, putting them under tribute. This is a new identity that needs to be abandoned. Doing so would likely lessen the powerfully persuasive grounds muslim recruiters have for securing new terrorists to fight in the jihad against America.
As Anne Applebaum writes today, "Perhaps it's time to take the main message [of Bin Laden] seriously: Al-Queda's long-term goal is to convert Americans and other Westerners to its extreme version of Islam."What kind of people would be attracted to a religion of jihad that destroys innocent people in the World Trade Center? Certainly not Christians. But then, fewer Americans are Christians these day. Would teenagers who play violent video games be good candidates for a religion of jihad? Would members of America's armed services be willing to enjoy the thrill of battle for good pay under an Islamic flag?
Although millions more people in Europe are Muslim than a few generations ago, Philip Jenkins has doubts about whether Europe is going jihadist. But Jenkins has also pointed out that most Christians are going to be non-white in 2050, and America will not be the center of world Christendom.
But is military occupation in Iraq -- once secular, but now, thanks to the Bush Administration, an explicitly Islamic theocracy -- the best way to keep American youth from catching jihadist fever and strapping themselves with explosives? Anne Applebaum has written brilliantly on the Soviet Gulag system, but I doubt her fears of mass coversion to Osama's religion.
This is the ultimate struggle between good and evil, the long-standing battle for our ideals of faith, family, and freedom. In the end, this war is not only a military conflict, but a spiritual one. And the entire Western world hangs in the balance.I certainly agree that this is a spiritual conflict. But why is it a military one? How will a military conflict in Iraq prevent Americans from being seduced into fundamentalistic Islam? The Family Reasearch Council should be the first to see the complete futility of dealing with an intensely spiritual conflict by incinerating Fallujah with white phosphorus.
Though, as Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, "I still have faith in America. ...I still have faith that we will hew out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope." Let's pray, six years later, that as the stone walls of the Pentagon have been rebuilt and construction is under way at the site of the World Trade Center, so too are we rebuilding our resolve that those who have died in our nation's service will be honored not just in memorial remembrances but in victory over tyranny.America's Founding Fathers would agree: Tyranny is winning. But tyranny is being imposed by Washington, D.C., not Baghdad or Mecca. The warmonger-wing of the Religious Right is a greater threat to our liberties than Osama bin Laden.