July 8th, 2005


(no subject)

The US and UK's government reaction to 9/11 has demonstrably not made us any safer. The people who do the terrorist attacks are really outside civil society; they don't care about innocent lives, and in some cases, don't care about their own lives. They don't wear uniforms or hold territory; consequently military action is a completely futile response. The only rational, effective response to them is to find out who they are, find out what they're planning, and thwart them, and over and over again it's been demonstrated that human intelligence has not been valued or determinedly pursued by our government.

I opposed and continue to oppose both the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq. Whatever the pretext or goals, neither war has made us any safer. What they have done is gobbled up money and innocent lives, and further solidified the low esteem in which the world holds the US and UK.

If there was any rationality left in the halls of government (let alone the citizenry) the reaction to terrorism should be like the reaction to natural disasters: comfort the afflicted, and work out how to prevent or minimize loss of life and property. Contrast that with the reaction of President Bush: lash out brutally and indiscriminately against countries that arguably were less a threat before our invasions than they are now after the invasions. I'd thought that after the brutality and horror of the 20th Century, we'd learned to act on what we know instead of what we believe. We're reaping the whirlwind now -- the willful ignorance and bloody-mindedness of our political leaders threatens to drag us all down into endless, bloody conflict.

I just found out that a friend of ours was injured in the London bombings -- his wife knew he was on the Circle Line, and had to wait all day to find out that he was alive and in hospital. I've no idea how badly he was hurt, just that he survived. This guy is a professor at the University of Iowa, and one of the most articulate, cogent proponents of pacifism you'll find. Knowing him, I _know_ that this experience will only make his commitment to pacifism firmer.

Our governments have demonstrated amply that they have no compunction about taking the lives of thousands of innocent people, why should we expect better of the terrorists?