Thoughts inspired by a
Headline: Another missile defense failure
Armed with box-cutters, 19 men hijack four airliners guiding two of them into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon, one, due the heroism (too pale a word) of its passengers crashes into a Pennsylvania field, killing the passengers, but sparing, the White House? The Capitol building? We may never know.
September 11, 2001. 9/11. 911.
In just a few minutes, the greatest economic and military power, and strangely, the world's beacon of freedom, was laid low.
Not so you say? Perhaps not, but look at the evidence, look at what has transpired since.
-In panic the leaders of the nation pass the Orwellianly named Patriot Act and establish the equally frighteningly named Department of Homeland Security, blindly allowing curbs on the very civil liberties Americans have, for two centuries, fought to defend and grow.
-The government sweeps up thousands of people, the vast majority of which have committed no crime beyond birth on foreign soil. These people are held for months and years without council, without trial, without contact with family of friends.
-Using false pretenses, and goaded on by a credulous press, the U.S. invades a country which, by the government's own admission, had no connection to the attack on America.
-And simultaneously the government borrows trillions from foreign creditors to finance its invasion, endangering the financial welfare of its most vulnerable citizens.
-Not satisfied by an already intimidated and gullible press, the government secretly finances media moles to promote its propaganda.
-It withdraws from the world, shunning advise from longtime friends, shutting out the immigrant population which has ever been a key source of its strength, innovation, vitality.
-Behind the barbed wire of Guantanamo, the stone walls of Abu Ghraib, in untold camps, with untold names, American soldiers, with the tacit approval, if not outright encouragement of their superiors in Washington torture and degrade thousands, most of which have sinned only by place of birth.
This is the result of 19 men. Box-cutters.
Today marks the latest failure of the United State's missile defense program, a program whose unblemished string of failures stands as testament to the blind faith, and desperation of its proponents. At the same time, the United States government refuses to even speak with a regime that might conceivably have the capability of launching a nuclear missile able to reach the American homeland.
Are we then defenseless and doomed? If we continue our current policies of isolation, ignorance and belligerence almost certainly so.
An intervention is required.
Americans must be awakened to a terrible fact: no amount of military might can protect us in a world which universally loathes us. No amount of military spending will make us safe. Our military budget is over 40 times that of Iran, 65 times that of North Korea or Syria. Does that make you feel safer? It shouldn't.
Until the U.S. government learns how to listen to its friends and engage its enemies, no amount of armor will keep us safe. Until the U.S. can relearn and demonstrate its respect for the dignity of all human life, no amount of warships or fighters will keep us safe. Because while we stand as the world's symbol of belligerent aggression and blind self-interest, disregarding how are behavior is perceived by the rest of our global partners, nothing can keep us safe.
Not from 19 men, with box-cutters.