“Against our traditions, we are now entering upon an unjust and trivial war. This republic’s life is not in peril. The nation has sold its honor for a phrase. It … is drifting, its helm is in pirate hands. … Each of you…must speak. … Each must for himself alone decide what is right and what is wrong, and which course is patriotic and which isn’t.” – Glances at History – by Mark Twain
To remember and memorialize those thousands of souls murdered in one shocking and horrific crime last September;
To honor those heroes who, to render aid and rescue, courageously entered the maelstrom from which all others were understandably fleeing;
To express deep gratitude for those who fought to prevent the airline in which they flew from being used to kill many more on the ground;
To extend deep sympathy and help to those family and friends who have been left to mourn and wonder why and struggle with grief and rage and their lives so brutally shattered;
To do this with justice, with reverence for all life, with love suffusing our hearts and to do this while defeating terrorism should be our goal.
It helps to recognize that we in the United States are not the first or the only victims of terrorism. There were countless victims of political terror under Stalin in the U.S.S.R, under Hitler in Europe, under Emperor Hirohito in Asia. Terrorism does not only or even primarily come from a peasant with a homemade bomb. The nightly bombing of London during WWII, the methodical execution by Nazis of a percentage of the inhabitants of a French village when an act of Resistance was performed – this was terrorism. The word “decimate” was coined to name the practice employed by Roman Legions to terrorize invaded nations and quell insurrection by simply killing every tenth person. Terror by decimation in the modern era is accomplished by the use of artillery and aerial bombardment. Terrorism accompanies genocide from within, as in Nazi Europe, Rwanda, Cambodia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia. Terrorism is defined as violence directed against non-combatants to accomplish political ends. Nation-states have always been the most egregious employers of terrorism.
It is essential that we ourselves recognize that citizens of the United States have not only been victims of terrorism, the United States has also been among those nations that has harbored terrorists, knowingly trained and supplied terrorists, and has itself employed terrorism. We participated in the intentionally planned firestorm that immolated Dresden. Our government helped Nazi war criminals escape justice. CIA Operation Phoenix executed twenty thousand South Vietnamese civilians without a trial. Our government supplied Saddam Hussein lethal poison gas with the expectation he would use it against Iran. We dropped more bomb tonnage on Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia than was used by all sides during the Second World War. We have trained, supplied and funded regimes and paramilitary death squads throughout the Southern Hemisphere that have murdered human rights advocates, labor activists, environmentalists, spiritual leaders, and entire villages of indigenous peoples, and continue to do so.
Enslavement of people and uprooting them forcibly from their homeland is only possible when accompanied by the most unbelievably brutal and murderous forms of terrorism. And our nation, and Europe’s wealth was built on the colonization and enslavement and genocide of indigenous peoples throughout the entire world.
Only if we recognize our own degree of culpability in the sordid history of terrorism can we participate in an effective war against terrorism, rather than unilaterally unleash a war of terror that is fueled by blind revenge, signified by a retraction of our own values and the Bill of Rights, and directed by a drive for more and more power…as the world stands aghast at the dreadful spectacle of a bully beginning to go bananas.
Targeting Iraq when no evidence exists, and none of the hijackers were Iraqi;
Asserting that the most dangerous domestic terrorists in America are so-called eco-terrorists, when no deaths are attributable to any actions of any environmental groups;
Ignoring the bloody long history of America’s Nazis and the KKK and numerous other white supremacist hate groups including those that motivated the Oklahoma City federal building bombing;
These misdirections indicate that we are off course and heading for the rocks.
In the months to come, do not forget how a reluctant Congress was persuaded in 1964 by a lie about an incident in the Gulf of Tonkin that never happened, fabricated by the Secretary of Defense and the CIA, to pass a resolution authorizing the use of combat forces in Vietnam.
We must not dishonor the victims of terror by compounding it.