19 October 2009

For the Cause!

It always strikes me as curious that there's never a serious debate after some traumatic event (like 9-11) about WHY. Sometimes in the wake of something like Columbine or Virginia Tech, the answer isn't very useful and there are other questions like "how" that matter. But on something planned and executed over a long time frame, with various levels of state sponsorship or other means of public support, there might be some useful fruit to be plucked by asking a simple question and demanding an answer.

Instead we seem perfectly content to be placated with "they hate us for our freedoms". Which turns out to be rather absurd in the case of many who would oppose us with action and rhetoric. The problem is in the hostility and indifference our country has acted toward people of other cultures in advancing its foreign policy agenda over the past several decades. Not in the manner in which people might exercise their basic liberties. To be sure there are Islamists out there who are diametrically opposed to our own Christianists, fighting over which brand of god to franchise into law. But this is not by and large the story of Afghanistan (or Palestine). The problem there is the occupation and the subsequent impressment of our values rather than the accumulation and acculturation of them. Yes there are Afghanis, in the form of the Taliban, who impose and impress their own system on others and have done so by force. But they tend to gather easy fruit in asking their countrymen why the Americans hate them so to send a force halfway around the world to play empire, to bomb and imprison the people of their land. We gather no such easy fruit ourselves by asking the same questions because the answer and the proof is less obvious and apparent. Appealing to the memories and ghosts of 9-11 does not recruit soldiers in a great army of liberation because there was no invasion and occupation of American soil and there are fewer and fewer legitimate stories of the pain and suffering of Americans at the hands of Islamist radicals to counteract the pains and sufferings we imposed both on others and ourselves.

There was only a senseless attack conducted with the aid of some religiously deranged folk inspired by our own tactics and inhumanity in a region halfway around the world. One wonders why the view of our enemies as it applies to us should be any different than that and why it should not impact their determination to resist and to fight. But perhaps asking why was too complicated for people to do over the past 8 years.
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