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First off, no, we weren't on a plane. Yes, we're alive. We were scheduled to leave today at 6:30 PM, but obviously that didn't happen. As soon as we can get a flight we're going. Many thanks to those who called or emailed.
There may have been others, but I only heard one dissenting voice to all the pundits calling this "This generation's Pearl Harbor."
This is NOT another Pearl Harbor.
First off, Pearl Harbor was a military installation. If you build a military installation you invite (and should expect) attack.
"One cannot simultaneously prepare for war and prepare for peace."
(While I've never been a fan of Einstein's philosophies, I find the quote perfect for my discussion.)
Secondly, the U.S., as well as much of the world, was at war. No, not with Japan at the time, but it wasn't a time of peace. We just happened to be looking the other way.
Once they come in, I'm sure the numbers won't compare either.
But most importantly to me, we knew who we were dealing with after Pearl Harbor and what their motivations were. We knew the enemy and were able to defeat them with the almighty power of the U.S. military, not to mention a couple of atom bombs (speaking of Einstein...)
Even if all evidence of Tuesday's attack points to Osama bin Laden, what do we do?
"Nuke them from orbit. It's the only way to be sure."
The issue is this organization cannot be found. There is no Hiroshima we can bomb. And if we did that would only create another mass of martyrs and another generation of those who hate the bully they believe the U.S. to be.
And herein lies the problem.
This is basically a culture clash expressed in terrorism, not a battle over land expressed through military action. The U.S. culture has staged a world takeover that the U.S. military could never hope to achieve. MTV rolls over every native form of music. GAP stores and Starbucks have taken over strategic intersections worldwide. American film and television have crowded out local cultural propaganda on all levels. And with dominance come acts of resistance. Arrogance inspires rebellion. (Anyone remember the American Revolution?) Hell, even the word "American" is arrogant since there's several countries in the Americas yet only one has the balls to use the word to define only their own piece of two continents.
But obviously I have a lot of misdirected, or undirected, anger this week, as do most humans.
It is unfortunate that our dominance has inspired such acts of desperation. George W. may say those people died so that the American way of life can live on. We are now all targets in this war, a war over belief systems instead of property.
Hardly a Pearl Harbor.
I will say this is the worst single act of violence in the U.S. in my lifetime. In fact, I'd guess it's the worst single act of violence in U.S. history (not counting what we've done to other countries, right?)
Pearl Harbor pales by comparison.
Unfortunately, this act will become a rallying cry for more death. Retribution is the word of the day. The only voice of dissent I've heard is from Jesse Jackson, and he couldn't get on any channel but BET with his message of peace, compassion and long-term cultural change. Instead of the call for Americans to wake up and let other cultures just BE, this will become a rallying cry for politicians who want to increase military might, increase our dominance, increase violence.
I am not saying this could have been prevented. There is a human drive to be dominant, which is the drive that inspired this act. Other cultures, organizations and individuals will always strive for dominance, and as long as we're the biggest target on the block we're going to take our share of hits.
And this hit is overwhelmingly horrifying. It makes an atheist like me wish the Christians were right so that when I die and go to hell I can at least see the look on these lunatics' faces as they realize their belief system was wrong and they don't get that party with Allah and the harem in the afterlife, or whatever bullshit ideal they clung to that allowed them to do this. From my slightly higher ring of hell, probably with a Starbucks on the corner, I'd spit on them and anyone else who believed they had a right to take the life of another man.
So heres my idea for a preventative solution, a short-term band-aid at best but that's what Americans are interested in. Why don't we have locked, bullet-proof cabin doors for all passenger jets? I dont understand why this isnt standard. So you take over a plane full of hostages? Too bad. The crew is locked away in and you can do whatever you like back there in the passenger compartment, the damn jet is going to the nearest airport, whereupon you will be shot, if the passengers havent already beat you to death in the cabin. Unless the terrorists blow the whole plane the loss of life would be extremely limited. And even if (and when) they do blow the whole plane the loss of life is comparatively tiny.
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