A 9/11 message for President Bush

September 11, 2006 | By | 2 Replies More

Dear Mr. President:

Five years ago, you told us you would “bring to justice” the perpetrators of 9/11.  Yet today, five years later, the man who is undisputed to have caused the 9/11 attack — Osama bin Laden — remains at large.  Instead of making it your mission — and that of the U.S. military — to capture or kill bin Laden, you have wasted America’s resources — and your own — on a wild goose chase in Iraq.  In the process, you have needlessly killed or maimed (both physically and emotionally) hundreds of thousands of innocent Muslims.  We must assume that some of these people — or their spouses, parents, children, friends, etc. — will harbor extreme hatred toward America for this loss. 

Indeed, we should not think otherwise given our own extreme reaction to the 9/11 attack.  We must also assume that some of these angry people will, in some way, at some point in their lives, support violence against America.  Whether it is by strapping a bomb to their chest and blowing up a street market, or merely providing a safe house to someone who does, we cannot tell.  But we do know, for certain, that violence begets violence, especially when the violence is perceived as unjust — which is exactly how your invasion of Iraq and many other misguided policies are perceived. 

The Bible tells us to love our enemies.  This probably does not mean bombing their families and neighbors, perhaps because doing so merely creates new enemies where none existed before.  It is the latter point that everyone in your Administration seems to ignore.  Your single-minded obsession with Saddam Hussein and your fraud-based invasion of Iraq have apparently created more new enemies of America than existed before.  We can only assume, therefore, that we are less safe than we were before.  It is here where your “war on terrorism” is failing even more than it is failing in the streets of Baghdad and Kabul:  for all your military actions, for all your secret prisons, for all your torture, wiretaps, military tribunals, and for all your bloviating, the fact is that more people around the world hate America now than did before, and this hatred is the ultimate stock from which terrorism is brewed.  

The inescapable conclusion we must all draw is that while you have scoured the globe searching for terrorist camps, and blowing up everything you see along the way, you have overlooked the most obvious of all terrorist recruiting aids:  you, your Administration, your lies, and your propaganda-driven destruction.In your zeal to give the stick to everyone you imagine to be a terrorist, you have ignored the power that the carrot might have given you.  Indeed, just look at the support that entities such as Hezbollah and Iran now enjoy throughout the Middle East, and the lesson is obvious:  improving local infrastructure (houses, hospitals, schools, etc.) does a lot more to create political support than does threatening to destroy the meager infractructure that already exists.

Unfortunately for our nation — indeed our planet — by exporting (to a world full of poor people and non-Christians) the same self-serving, misguided policies that you use to crush poor people and undermine non-Christians here at home, you are creating a future in which America will almost certainly be the main target of poor and non-Christian terrorists.  I fear, as a direct result of your incompetent leadership, that we have seen only the beginning of the carnage that is to come.  Fighting terrorism isn’t just about threatening to kill people who are already willing to die for their cause (such threats obviously have little impact); it’s also about taking away the causes that people are willing to die for, whether it is unmitigated poverty, religious intolerance or something else. 

Your policy of “pre-emption” might…or might not…help stop people who have already committed their lives to terrorism, but, in the process, it appears to be creating many more people who are likely to follow in those footsteps.  A better policy might be one that stops this circle of violence from starting — stops people from wanting to kill, by mitigating the sources of their frustration and hatred.  Perhaps we need only to look at the successful community projects of Hezbollah and Iran to see how to win the hearts and minds of those who would otherwise hate us.  Indeed, it’s unlikely to be any less effective than the obviously failed policies you have been using.

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Category: Current Events, Iraq, Politics, Religion, The Middle East, War

About the Author ()

Grumpypilgrim is a writer and management consultant living in Madison, WI. He has several scientific degrees, including a recent master’s degree from MIT. He has also held several professional career positions, none of which has been in a field in which he ever took a university course. Grumps is an avid cyclist and, for many years now, has traveled more annual miles by bicycle than by car…and he wishes more people (for the health of both themselves and our planet) would do the same. Grumps is an enthusiastic advocate of life-long learning, healthy living and political awareness. He is single, and provides a loving home for abused and abandoned bicycles. Grumpy’s email: grumpypilgrim(AT)@gmail(DOT).com [Erich’s note: Grumpy asked that his email be encrypted this way to deter spam. If you want to write to him, drop out the parentheticals in the above address].

Comments (2)

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  1. Erich Vieth says:

    While in the car today, I listened to a radio station that chastised "liberals" for "appeasing" the enemy. Those who were against the Iraq occupation were compared to Chamberlain. They were called naive. These same sorts of people would be the kind who would expect Hitler and Stalin to change their ways in the face of kindness and generosity.

    This made me think . . . since when has any "liberal" ever suggested that we should invite violent people to knock down more of our buildings or to kill more of our people? The people I know who oppose the Iraq occupation simply want to make sure that the violence emanating from the barrels of U.S. guns affects only those who have attacked us. Not innocent children.  Not civilians who haven't threatened us. Not people in countries that haven't attacked us. The "liberals" I know are people who believe that we should vigorously defend our country, but to make sure that our efforts are actually helping to defend our country.  When you attack people who haven't attacked you, you make new enemies.  As Grumpy writes, let's not make new enemies unnecessarily.

    The problem is not that we DID something after 9/11. It's that, in attacking Iraq, we did something that harmed our cause by making new enemies. Creating new allies for our sworn enemies is the real way to "appease" our enemies.  The Bush administration, by attacking Iraq, has appeased our enemies. 

  2. grumpypilgrim says:

    Speaking as one "liberal" who has opposed Bush's invasion of Iraq since the day of Colin Powell's ridiculous presentation to the UN, I supported the invasion of Afganistan for exactly the reason Erich mentions: because that's where the 9/11 terrorists are hiding. None of them are, or ever have been, hiding in Iraq. To the contrary, invading Iraq was Bush's personal obsession (driven by his family's vendetta) with one man: Saddam Hussein. It has nothing to do with the war against the 9/11 terrorists, nor anything significant to do with the war on global terrorism. It is, at best, a distraction from that war and, at worst, a gigantic waste of human, material and financial resources that is actually hindering our war against genuine terrorists. Furthermore, the people in Iraq who are killing Americans are not al-Qaeda; they are Iraqi insurgents — and if they come from the ranks of Saddam's disbanded military, there could be hundreds of thousands of them in Iraq.

    In any case, by every quantitative measure I can think of, Bush's invasion of Iraq has made America less safe than we were beforehand. There are, today, more people worldwide who despise Americans, and more countries, such as Iran and North Korea, that are more radical and defiant than ever. Iran, in particular, is much bolder, because we have not only eliminated the one enemy (Saddam) that was keeping them in check, but we have proven ourselves to be an impotent replacement for that enemy. Iran no longer fears either Iraqi or American aggression, which can hardly bode well for global peace. Meanwhile, violence and crime in Iraq, and even in Afganistan, continue to grow worse (see this article for just one example: http://dangerousintersection.org/?p=518). It appears the only Americans who support the Iraq invasion are those who still believe the delusion that Saddam had something to do with 9/11 or had significant ties with bin Laden, both of which were lies deliberately spread by the Bush Administration for their own political gain and both of which have been conclusively discredited.

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