I am in no way discounting the brave soldiers and emergency workers who died in the pursuit of their duties. As a former military person, the hundreds of thousands of soldiers who have suffered, who have continued to suffer, who died in the field and took their own lives once they returned home, those who were unable to handle what they have seen and experienced are always my brothers and sisters in arms.
They are among the millions who have died and are always sacrificed on the altar of our government’s pursuit for dominance. This is real talk from former military personnel. It’s not about freedom. It’s not about peace. It’s about power and control. It has always been this way. Until we demand it be about something else and make it stick.
Once more we will face September 11.
Once more we will justify war. Justify violence. Justify it in the name of patriotism. Justify it in the name of policy. Justify it in the name of religion.
All the justification will not change the effects it has had on our lives. For those of us lucky enough to still have them. Millions were far less fortunate. Becauseof the events on this day, no matter their origin, no matter their intent, no matter what may have led to the unnecessary events which transpired on this day, no good has come of it.
The world is not a safer place.
The world is not more stable.
It is not more just.
It is not more verdant.
It is not more peaceful.
If anything it is more violent than ever.
Men justify their acts of violence based around this day. They justify the murder of women and children who had no place on this battlefield as a reasonable cost of doing business. Their business of waging war.
The collateral damage necessary to prove a point. Whatever that point was supposed to be, I see nothing changing because of it.
Was it to make people afraid to fly? Didn’t happen. People are annoyed of flying. People are harassed to fly. People hate getting on airplanes, not because they are inherently dangerous or made more so by the threat of terrorism but because of the loss of ease, by which such movement once gave everyone.
It did not stop flight between cities. Or nations. Or viewpoints. Or religions.
It did not change anyone’s view of their personal religion. No one decided after this event had transpired to give up their belief in their higher power. No Christian became Muslim. No Muslim became Christian.
Harming someone, damaging their livelihood, destroying their way of life, killing their families, bombing their nation does not make them change their viewpoint. You cannot force a man to forsake his God, whatever its name might be.
You cannot terrorize a man into giving you freedom. You can only kill him. A man who has nothing but his life to lose, has nothing at all. He is a living weapon poised to go off with the slightest provocation.
Give him a mission. Give him a purpose and he will die. Spectacularly.
But he will regret it. Everyone who knew him will regret it. And hate you for making him choose that way of life as his only choice. By denying him any other way out of the maze set before him.
Is this the best we can do? A planet full of resources, a planet with some of the smartest minds, most clever intellects, the most adaptive intelligence this planet has ever seen and the best we can do is to drive men into corners so they will self destruct, again and again, until they are thinking they have won, or their world, their lives, their children, their religion, their beliefs, their history, their language has been erased from the Earth?
We don’t seem very intelligent at all, if the best we can offer each other is the pointed end of a very long stick. A stick that can span the length of the globe, capable of destroying entire tribes with a single thrust, but a stick nonetheless.
Is death the only gift we can deliver with alacrity? Have we become the pizza delivery of doom? No matter where you live on Earth we can end your existence in thirty minutes or less?
Is this the accomplishment we want to be known for? Or is there something else? Can we grow? Can we accept we may have been wrong? Does jingoism offer an alternative to murder or self destruction? Must it always end in the death of our enemies or the death of ourselves?
Can we turn such limited thinking toward something new? Can we forgive each other, negate our bluster, put aside our differences and see we are more alike than different? Can we see our religions share more than they differ?
They all espouse the ideals of life, freedom, peace, and where they differ, we could agree to disagree as long as no one was harmed in their implementation. No oppressions, no subjugations, the reasonable expectation we all deserve the best life has to offer.
Personally, I am sick of 9/11. I shall no longer observe it, if the only thing it can do is re-energize the cycle of death and destruction anew. Not just in the moment but it appears in perpetuity. Whenever we might weary of it warfare, its bloodshed, its drone-bombing, its callous disregard of life and say enough, its anniversary returns, news media breaks out its film, pundits begin their hateful screeds and the renewal of the seeds of destruction begin again.
I’m done with this. I believe we can do better. We should do better. We can embrace each other without the need to use weapons of mass destruction to prove a point, whatever that point might be.
Are we so insecure we believe any one nation could wage war on any other and not experience ramifications equally devastating upon themselves? Even if no nation took up arms and just closed their borders, how long before the people of said nation rose up against a leadership to stupid to recognize our mutual need of each other.
Before our mutual economies, our mutual resource management, our mutual interactions that take place invisibly every day would alter the lives of that offending nation forever.
I know America likes to think it doesn’t need anyone. But that’s because no one here admits to shopping at Walmart, Target or any of their affiliates. If people in the US understood how dependent we are upon foreign nations for our continued existence we might wonder why we are always at war…
And why so much of our nations wealth is spent on a thing whose time has clearly come and gone.
Seek peace. Seek forgiveness. Seek understanding if you can’t do anything else. There is no future in war. Literally, none.
A nation built upon the altar of war, must one day, be sacrificed upon it by those others demanding peace.
Thaddeus Howze is an award-winning essayist, author and journalist for various online publications, anthologies and websites which fancy themselves having discriminating tastes in speculative fiction, non-fiction journalism and critical thinking.
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