The War of Terror

Monday, September 11, 2006
I think we all remember where we were and what we were doing the moment we learned of the 9/11 attacks. Most of us in the past 5 years have tried to go on with our lives since then, as is human nature. I remember how united the country seemed in those weeks following the 9/11 attacks. Many in the media were commenting on how much good came out of something so unspeakable. That good coming from an event that was so terrible that it caused each person to lay aside their political opinions, their religious differences, their intolerances, and racial barriers to help and support each other get through an event that no one in their lives should have to face or endure.

Now here we are--5 years later--and if you had told me 5 years ago where our nation would be today, I wouldn't have believed you.

It's overwhelming to me the state of the nation & the state of Iraq, and I probably mostly feel overwhelmed because I don't believe that I as a voter in this country can do much to change the situation. During the election season, mostly I feel like I'm voting for the better of two incompetent candidates, parties aside. In many ways, I feel like the voters do not have the power, especially with the voting process & the method of counting ballots having been proven to affect election results.

The other part that overwhelms me is that those responsible for 9/11 have not been brought to justice. Just eighteen months after the 9/11 attacks, we invaded Iraq, a country not connected to 9/11, and we have been there ever since. Our nation was distracted from the real threat to our country, and meanwhile, those that attacked us on 9/11 have only increased their hatred for us, and had years now to become stronger & plan a bigger & more impacting attack on our nation. We have more suicide bombings in our world than ever before. Just because they aren't happening on American soil doesn't make them any less terrifying or any less important.

I've heard the term for five years now--"War on Terror." From the perspective of an Iraqi civilian, the USA is as terrifying as the 9/11 attacks were to us five years ago--it's all about perspective. It's estimated that because of our military invention in Iraq, somewhere between 40,000-45,000 civilians have been killed. Some rationalize that in order to make this world a better place, others must give their lives, but how is it right that the deaths of 45,000 Iraqi civilians (they were not volunteering to die), the deaths of nearly three thousand American soldiers (one of which was a childhood friend of my brother-in-law & husband), and more than 20,000 wounded soldiers (wounded doesn't always mean your injuries are fixable--many of these guys don't have their eyesight or limbs anymore) become the means to achieve an end?

Sure, Sadaam was a terrible dictator, but he didn't have weapons of mass destruction as our government thought, and he didn't have ties to Al-queda. There are so many terrible dictators in this world. Are we going to systematically invade each country in the world until the world is full of democracies & free countries just like ours? Imperialism, anyone? ("The practice of one country extending its control over the territory, political system, or economic life of another country.")
Can you imagine how many human lives would have to be lost to achieve that? What's more, we're over in Iraq fighting a war that has no end in sight, and meanwhile, the perpetrators of 9/11 for the most part remain free.

So, here we are--five years later. I talked before about perspective. I'm an American mother to a 19-month old son. I don't have to fear that military forces might invade my neighborhood tonight or that a bomb may accidently hit my house while my family sleeps instead of its target. There are many Iraqi mothers, though, that fear these things on a daily basis. I'm thinking about them today, on 9/11. They are living in daily terror--because of our military--that makes the so-called war on terror a war OF terror. It might lessen terror in our country, but at the expense of heightened terror in another.

Karli

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