Saturday, September 10, 2011

Ten Years later and HERE we are?!?!

This weekend will be filled to overflowing with September 11th remembrances.  Here’s mine.  Perhaps it’s a different take.  We all know where we were and what we were wearing even when we first heard of those horrific events.  I won’t bore anyone with that.  I remember feeling an emotion I had never felt before and haven’t felt since.
I don’t want to relive moments feeling frantic within but paralyzed on the outside – like the world was moving in slow motion.  I never want to again experience the airless hours when blasphemy became prayer.  By that I mean, “Oh my God!!!  Oh my God!!!”
Ten years ago when I was 25 (the same age I am now oddly enough) I thought I’d experienced the gamut of emotions.  I’d been in fear any number of times.  I’ve been in car wrecks, storms, tornados, in trouble with parents and others in authority.  I’ve done reckless and careless things to myself and my children.  I’ve even had someone try to enter my home by force (or I thought they were).  I’ve been scared – real scared!  But that day I experienced an all together different sort of fear.  In all the situations I mentioned, I knew how to alleviate the fear.  But on that day, there was no remedy to the fear.  I could be at my house or my mother’s house, in closet in the fetal position or in an underground bunker.  No location or situation could take the fear away that I felt that morning.  And I was in Denton, Texas.  I can only imagine the fear others had.  Actually, I don’t want to imagine. 
A decade later the fear has subsided.  So much is the same and so much is different.  Ten years ago if you’d have told me that I would have 2 children and live in Cleveland, Tennessee; my questions would be two-fold.  1.  What’s Cleveland, Tennessee?  And 2.  May I please have some of whatever you are smoking to give you this altered reality? 
Further, if ten years ago you’d told me that the United States of America would still be in the throes of the War on Terror, I would have referred you to “Question 2” above.  By now military historians, former generals and Doris Kerns Goodwin should be doing the talk show circuit debating if the road to victory was the swiftest.  So I’ve started thinking.
Why won’t my country win this war?
Sure there are greater and more qualified minds that mine who are paid to answer such questions.  But as a lay person who tries to stay somewhat informed, here are my conclusions.
Excuse my language but Afghanistan is a dip shit country.  Its borders are more determined by where the countries surrounding it stop, rather than where Afghanistan believes it begins.  It’s practically a lifeless moonscape where only terrorists and poppies seem to flourish.  Of course the United States was able to quickly rout the Taliban and send Al Qaeda scrambling into Pakistan.  We’re the United States military for crying out loud!
Why is there anything left of Afghanistan?  The United States should put the FULL FORCE of its military into defeating this enemy where ever it is.  By this I mean using whatever weapon, asset or tactic that would accomplish this end – Geneva Conventions and rules of war be damned.  The enemy has not been concerned about facing a tribunal in The Hague, maybe the U.S. shouldn’t either.  But again, I’m not totally apprised of the enormity of U.S. Foreign Policy.
A Judeo Christian Outlook
The United States operates under a Judeo Christian value system.  From this standpoint many Americans tend to believe that all life is valuable.  Americans have a sense of "moral worthiness" of people.  The Judeo Christian outlook calls for loving all people, even those who are different.  Life is a gift, and people deserve mercy and love.  Other faiths in the world don’t hold that degree of tolerance.  I believe that these values are part of what is preventing the U.S. from obliterating the enemy. 
Every single religion has its nut jobs, of course.  The key is for those moderates to notice the fanatics and call them out on it.  Perhaps Islam could do a better job of this.  There’s a fine line between religious zeal and fanaticism.  It’s time to be aware when the line is crossed. 
If someone kills a doctor who performs abortions in the name of Christianity, I call him a murderer.  He should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.  And that misguided bunch of wing nuts from Westboro Baptist Church, you remember them.  They’re the ones who protest at the funerals of soldiers because God doesn’t like gay people.  That doesn’t even make sense.  And my God doesn’t hate anyone.  As an aside, I like to see them try this here in the South.  I don’t think it would work – just sayin’.  The point is these people are fanatics and don’t represent Christianity.  There seems to be a great vein of fanaticism in Islam.  I would like to hear more from the moderates. 
The PC of it all
In airports today for sure, we are looking for weapons not terrorists.  While flying alone with my 6 year old and then 5 month old I had my hands swabbed for bomb residue.  REALLY???  Then I had my baby food and liquid baby formula tested for goodness know what, thus causing the formula to spoil before I landed at my destination.  Truly, they think I’m a terrorist???  Sure traveling with two children, my fellow passengers were probably wishing for ANY reason to have me removed from their flight.  But seriously???
Although everyone knows who we’re looking for, no one can verbalize it.  Children are on no fly lists.  The adult diapers of elderly are removed so they are properly searched. 
What to do?
All that said, I’m so proud to be an American!  America does a lot right in my opinion!  Today and tomorrow I will remember those beautiful lives who were lost ten years ago.  I’ll remember those who gave their lives trying to save others.  I’ll remember the nearly 4000 precious ones who died trying to rid the world of the greatest evil since the Nazis. 
Collectively, we’ve got a lot of work to do.  I think it’ll take everyone.  So to quote Todd Beamer who helped foil the terrorists bid to fly Flight 93 into the Capitol, “Are you guys ready?  Let’s roll!”

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