Next Tuesday will be the 14th anniversary of the piece I wrote below. It used to appear on my web site, but I’ve since redesigned the site and removed the section. Still, the piece should be available somewhere, so I am reproducing it here.
Back then, I predicted there would be terrible consequences to our actions if we didn’t choose wisely, and I was right. We are, whether we admit it or not, in a state of continual panic and fear, thanks to the actions of our own government.
We send our bombs and people to other shores in the hopes that somehow, these actions will make the world a safer place. We fight against ISIL, we turn away refugees, we track our own actions in libraries, on the Internet, over the phone, as we drive. Cameras are everywhere.
We are constantly reminded to be vigilant, wary, concerned when people who don’t look like us interact with us. And we are armed to the teeth, in the fear that something will happen on our own turf, that will be as bad as we’ve made it for people elsewhere.
We asked for this.
It is our fault.
We elected officials who put the Patriot Act in place, and proclaim that our flag is better than any other flag, and yet we can’t feed our people. We drive on roads that are damaged by years of neglect, and celebrate those who take lives because our country has pointed fingers and said we must do unto others BEFORE they do unto us.
It is right and proper to remember the lives lost when the towers fell. It is right to remember those who served and helped the survivors. And it is proper to mourn those changes in our society.
But to me, the phrase “Never Forget” means so much more than four airplanes and their hijackers, and those in the buildings and surrounding areas who went to work or got on the planes with the expectation that they would return home again at the end of the day or the end of the trip.
“Never Forget” also means we should remember that our country was and should still be a refuge for people who had no other place to go, who sought peace from prosecution. It should be a home for all, a haven for anyone seeking a better life. And it should be a place where we all have the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of our labors, in peace and prosperity.
Citizens United, the Patriot Act, No Child Left Behind, Right to Work: These are all symbols of oppression, put in place by the Grand Old Party. These Republican oppressors, waving the flag and carrying the Christian Bible, many of whom cater to neo-Fascist organizations disguised as conservative think tanks, want us to maintain a constant state of war because THEY profit from it. And as long as we remain too distracted by fear, they can get away with murder.
Somalia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Syria, Iraq…it doesn’t matter where they were born. They all want the same things our parents and grandparents want: Somewhere safe to raise a family and to make a place in this world for themselves. We do every immigrant, every refugee a disservice every time we return these people to the hell from which they came.
The very definition of Refugee comes from an organization built on the ashes of World War II:
“owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.”
And these same so-called Patriots would love nothing better than to see the US pull out of the United Nations because they disagree with the policies and protections set forth there. They want us to go to war with Iran. These hypocrites could have stopped North Korea before the acquisition of nuclear weapons, but they didn’t care enough, because there isn’t enough profit in dismantling North Korea’s arsenal.
With Iran, it’s different. They are protecting their oil interests and are throwing our country away for the sake of their own greed. They have hoodwinked hard-working Americans into thinking they give a rat’s ass about their base. Even with proof of the contempt these billionaires hold for their base, they STILL manage to hold onto their positions in Congress and will do whatever they can to win the Presidency in 2016.
You have a choice. You can choose to remember this day, fourteen years ago, as a rallying cry against people who want to destroy our country and look across the ocean to other continents as the source, or you can remember who put these people in business in the first place and hold THEM accountable in the coming election. 2016 is everything.
Iran-Contra Affair: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran-Contra_affair
The Shah of Iran: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohammad_Reza_Pahlavi
Iran-Iraq War: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran-Iraq_War
Saddam Hussein: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saddam_Hussein
The Syrian Civil War: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syrian_Civil_War
September 11, 2001
Saturday, September 15, 2001
On a day that started with excitement about my own little world, the world was witness to an unbelievable tragedy.
It started so simply for me: A phone call from a mother to tell a father about his daughter’s new teeth, and to have a morning chat with him about trivialities.
How it will end is anyone’s guess. There are so many variables, so many possibilities, so vast a sense of loss, anger and shock about the events of the 11th of September, that it is impossible to predict how the landscape of the world will look even a month from now.
On September 10th, this was not the case.
On September 11th, at 8am EDT, this was not the case.
Right up to the point where the first commercial airplane impacted the first World Trade Center building, this was not the case.
We Americans have been comfortable in our ability to simply flit from place to place. There have been vague feelings of concern for the increasingly deadly military actions of other countries, but at such an incomprehensible distance that they were simply not of personal concern to most of us. We have been able to focus on things that now seem trivial and small in comparison.
Seeing the World Trade Center district in the aftermath of this most amazingly evil of atrocities, it’s hard not to think of Beirut, of Bosnia, or even of London 50 years ago.
But not Manhattan.
Not New York.
We are now faced with a task which I am not sure is possible to accomplish, at a cost I don’t know if we are prepared to pay.
Until now, the realities of the last World War belonged to the old folks. Those who preceded the “Baby Boomer” generation who are fading fast from age or disease. There are not many people left who can remember what this world was like during the last World War. Not so many who remember Korea, for that matter.
The newer wars, Vietnam and Desert Storm, were different. With all the odds against us, we could never have won in Vietnam. Desert Storm taught us that the next World War must be different. In the wake of the responses to this ongoing tragedy, by all accounts, this war could be different from anything we have ever seen, and could ever imagine, even in the most cynical eye of Science Fiction authors. And yet, it could resemble these actions in so many awful ways. It could even resemble the Crusades, if we are not careful.
There are those who do not understand why we have not already leveled Kabul. There are those who believe that to be a Muslim means that you are automatically a terrorist. There are those who feel that this act is justified because our country condones and backs the actions of the Israelis, and that to be Jewish means that you automatically support Israel’s actions against the Palestinians.
These people are all guilty of oversimplification.
To be sure, those responsible have it coming. I don’t dispute that one bit.
But we have bombed Iraq almost continually since Desert Storm began, and yet Saddam Hussein remains in power.
We bombed Afghanistan after the last action linked directly to Osama bin Laden, and yet he continues to be the source of great pain and suffering.
The President of the United States said, “This conflict was begun on the timing and terms of others. It will end in a way and at an hour of our choosing.” I fear that he may be wrong.
If we move without first being absolutely sure of our targets, we will disrupt the alliances we seem to have forged against the perpetrators of this horrible act. It does us no good to anger the people who have united with us, simply to slake the thirst of those who want blood now. Striking out blindly at targets that are not accurate, and doing no harm to the ones who deserve it most, makes us look foolish and incompetent. This we cannot afford to do.
And while I say that I do not want to explain to my daughter why her father did not come home, I do not want the deeds of September 11th to go unpunished. I cannot in good conscience tell my husband that he must stay here. If he is called, as I am certain he will be, I must support him in any way I can.
But I say now, I will only feel good about making that sacrifice if the result is certain, appropriate and final.
So, I ask the President, the Congress, and the world to be sure that their actions are the right ones. Be careful about what you are doing, because what you could unleash may be much worse than what has already been done, as incomprehensible as that might be right now.
And, when you have decided, move swiftly, so that we can be sure that we do not miss the targets, and so our loved ones can come home.
1. It’s the 4th. Anyone want to come over and watch 1776 with me? Like maybe tonight??? I need some serious patriotism infusions (like the right kind, not what we’re hearing from Capitol Hill). [ETA: I want to watch the movie – really, I do – but I have to go fetch roller skates from Laurel. If you want to see the movie with me, head to my place around 9pm tonight!]
2. It’s time for a reminder that this whole big mess we’re in revolves around oil.
Sent: Mon 6/09/08 10:32 PM
Articles of Impeachment Being Introduced in Congress Right Now
Right now, Monday night, Rep. Dennis Kucinich is on the floor of the House of Representatives introducing articles of impeachment against George W. Bush. He is presenting a 35 count indictment which is being broadcast on C-Span. We will provide a more detailed update, but wanted to be sure to let everyone know right away.
The intense work of the ImpeachBush.org/VoteToImpeach membership is forcing impeachment on the table. During ImpeachBush.org’s National Call In Day for Impeachment held just one week ago, the offices of Rep. John Conyers were flooded with calls demanding impeachment. We have received reports that there were more calls than could even be answered.
Your work and perseverance is making the difference!”
Too disgusted by most of the news today, I leave you instead with link sausage. I’ll get back to writing again sometime this weekend, before I lose any more details on CC26. I already managed to forget which day I bought the shawl…
Take the Tums first. Trust me…
Mr. President, the war isn’t about you — or golf
(the above gacked from D – the other two surfaced all on their own today and yesterday)
Passport cards called security vulnerability
Bin Laden: Palestinian cause fuels terror war
Note that I have no particular love for the state of Israel and I’m not presently looking for a debate on the relative merits of the “homeland” today. If people would just let go of the “holy war” and remember that everything is holy, whether we like it or not, we’d have a lot less of everything requiring Tums.
On a separate note, is it too early to start putting out Obama/Edwards posters?
I heard on WTOP that Edwards does not want the VP position – but would consider another on staff.
According to NPR (via Reuters) this morning:
U.S. toll in Iraq hits 4,000 as four soldiers killed
and at 7:05am:
And the only thing worse than this is knowing that we still have another 10 months before the new administration takes over. Will the toll have reached 5,000 by then?
I pray we won’t have President McCain in office. You should, too.
[eta: The worst thing? Last night, as I was getting ready for bed, I thought about the toll that day and I realized just one roadside bomb could push us to 4k. I hate it when I’m right.]
SEPTEMBER 15 Mass March in Washington DC!
11am – ish…Arrive either by foot or bus down at McPherson Square and camp out until I see the other folks from my UU congregation. I may also see NW and his crowd, and if they want to join us and swell our ranks, they’re certainly welcome! We’re a “Welcoming Congregation” after all… 😎
Ok, so someone please tell me: Does “executive privilege” extend to former employees as well? Please say “No.” Please?
By the way, in case you haven’t heard, September 15 is the next march on Washington.
Mass March in Washington DC!
Come to Washington DC on September 15 for a large antiwar protest timed to coincide with the report by General Petraeus on the “Surge” in Iraq.
(If you want to do this, you’re welcome to crash here.)
It’s theoretically possible that a group from my congregation will go. I still have the signs I made last time, waiting downstairs.
Just thought I’d share. Happy Monday!
Comment from Joan:
Sorry, but despite what you think executive privilege is not about protecting Rove or any other employee or former employee. By it’s very nature, executive privilege is about protecting the EXECUTIVE and since Bush is still in office he can still use it to block anyone talking about something he said or ordered or had anything to do with at all.
Further bummer – I imagine he’s just freeing his time up to hand pick and polish our NEXT executive. He’s evil, pure and simple from the 8th dimension.
Another piece of my childhood just left the planet for good.
Charles Nelson Reilly dead at 76
LOS ANGELES, California (AP) — Charles Nelson Reilly, the Tony Award winner who later became known for his ribald appearances on the “Tonight Show” and various game shows, has died. He was 76.
Reilly died Sunday in Los Angeles of complications from pneumonia, his partner, Patrick Hughes, told the New York Times.
And then, there’s this:
Anti-war mom Cindy Sheehan gives up her protest
Cindy Sheehan, the mother who became an anti-war leader after her soldier son was killed in Iraq, says she is walking away from the peace movement. Sheehan says her son died “for nothing.” And she says her activism has cost her health, her husband and her savings.
Call your congressional representatives and tell them not to back this asinine plan of our fearless leader.
It’s more than time to start the impeachment process. We’ve passed 3,000 American lives lost, who knows how many Iraqis, and NOW he’s going after Iran! When’s it going to stop?
I’m not forwarding a plea from MoveOn.org, ImpeachBush.org, ActForChange or any of the other organizations screaming for my attention right now. I’m asking as a citizen of this country.
He’s sending kids over there. They’re the ones who are coming home in body bags. They’re 19. And we’re going to send 20,000 more of them to this place.
The Washington Post has stories every single day of the soldiers being asked to go to Iraq, the effect their exits have on the families they leave behind, and what happens when they return home, in pieces mentally or physically.
According to the ticker on my home web site, we’re well past $357 BILLION invested in this travesty. Election Day 2008 isn’t for another 665 days.
It’s time to stop him. Now.