I apologize for this long, rambling post. I wrote it in my downtime at work. I may repeat myself a few times here and there and it's really freaking long.
Methinks you've opened up a small can of worms here. Everybody has opinions and they'll always speak them loudly when there's one different from theirs. Almost every literate person on the planet has an opinion on President Bush, so this has understandably turned into a soap box for a few of us. I'm no exception.
I'm going to try not to address the politics of this because I have a very hard time keeping my personal bias out of this as too many of my brothers and sisters have died fighting for whatever we're fighting for in Iraq.
What I will address is a misconception.
Firstly, the way you refer to the attacks as bombings.
There were no bombs involved. The terrorists attacked using passenger jets. While yes, there were explosions, there were no bombs on board. Therefore it shouldn't be called a bombing.
Also, just as an editorial note you seem to be defending only Bush's actions in regard to the events of September 11th. Most people, no matter how much they dislike the man will agree that his decision to attack Afghanistan was correct. And I'll agree with them.
The war against the Taliban in Afghanistan was and is a needed thing. They attacked us on our own soil so we brought the fight to them with all the fury and rage an injured nation could muster. You do NOT want mess with the 10th mountain division when they've been called up in anger. We beat the snot out of them, busted up their caves, killed a bunch of their leaders, and sent Osama running for his life. A justified and effective campaign. We came to take care of business and we did. We did it right and nobody could fault us. But we didn't follow through. And then things took a turn for the ugly.
What happened after September 11th and the war in Afghanistan is where most of the Bush hate comes from. While we were in the middle of a fairly major war in Afghanistan, we suddenly decide that we need to start a war in Iraq to depose Saddam, and we're going to do it without UN backing. The thing was though, we weren't starting a new war, we were just expanding
the existing war on terror, because supposedly there was a connection between Saddam and the Taliban.
So instead of staying the course and finishing what we've started in Afghanistan, we split our forces and now fight a war on two fronts, which cuts down considerably on the resources we have to combat the Taliban, which is the whole reason we went to war in the first place. As to why we're actually in Iraq, I won't address, because it's a matter of debate and I'll probably get myself angry of the pointless loss of life on both sides. Regardless, as it stands now, we are losing the war in Afghanistan because we simply do not have the manpower or the resources in country to fight the war we need to fight. Osama is still at large. We think we know where he is, but we can't get to him because we need more troops, vehicles, weapons, good intel, and the cold hard cash that provides these precious commodities.
So now, we have a war on two fronts going on. In the meantime, shortly after the attacks and our declaration of hostilities toward the Taliban, a bill was passed into law. Something called the PATRIOT ACT, which allows the government to suspend any citizen's civil rights indefinitely because there might be a sliver of suspicion that they could be a terrorist.
The Government can tap your phone without a warrant. They can see what books you've been reading in the library. They can search your home without just cause. They can arrest you in the middle of the night and take you to a military prison outside US territory where you will be tried by military tribunal without the benefit of all the protections we as US citizens have come to take for granted because it's written into the Constitution and Bill of Rights. While my brothers and sisters in uniform are off dying to defend our freedom from fanatics who hate us so much that they'll fly into a building and kill themselves along with thousands of other people, our freedom is being taken away with a bill that is supposed to help protect us.
There was an immediate outcry, but it was poopooed by a very vocal majority, led by George Bush, because if we didn't pass this bill, then the terrorists have already won. In a nutshell, if we don't allow the administration to take away our freedom one little bit at a time, then we might as well give up. We have to stay the course or some such crap. Staying the course, does not mean that we split our forces so we can fight a second war over some trumped up charges and spurious claims of weapons of mass destruction.
We won the war in Iraq. We did it pretty quickly too, just like in Gulf War 1. We deposed Saddam and chased him out of Baghdad. Unfortunately, winning the war meant that we got to fight in another one almost immediately afterward. A civil war. One that we should have no part in, aside from the fact that, you know, we caused it. Despite the fact that multiple experts told the Administration that once Saddam was out of power, we'd face incredible sectarian violence, and probably an all out civil war, we went in and took him out anyway, with absolutely zero preparation for the inevitable civil war. Mission Accomplished Indeed, Mr. President. Now we're stuck, in a war that we don't belong in, and our troops are defending themselves from the very people we came to liberate.
But don't make the mistake of talking bad about this war. If you do that, you're not a patriot. You don't care about the troops who put their lives on the line every day so that you can live your life free of the terrorist threat. Don't talk about how this war is a mistake because if you do, then the terrorists have won because they've made you hate your country. Why don't you support the troops? Are you a terrorist? Now we're going to have to investigate you and find any possible thing that could link you to terrorists. Better hope you don't look Arabic.
And speaking of Arabs, you'd better HOPE you're an American Citizen, because if you're not and you're a suspect, then nobody will even know what happened to you. You'll find yourself nabbed off the street and locked away without any right to representation and held against your will for an undetermined amount of time while it's decided if you're a threat or not. Pray to whatever god you believe in that 20/20 or Dateline gets wind of this and starts an investigation. But of course, they can't be allowed to air it. If they do, they'll get treated like the NY Times did for publishing Government 'secrets'. FREEDOM OF THE PRESS WHAT?
If the war weren't enough to cause people to hate Bush, there's his other actions (or lack thereof) as president.
Other people have already addressed the Bush administration's abysmal response to destruction caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita so I won't really touch on this other than to mention that if so many of our National Guard had not been overseas fighting for their lives in Iraq, they'd have been available to assist with disaster relief efforts on the Gulf Coast.
Others have also touched on the downward economical spiral the US has experienced over the last 6 years of the Bush presidency, so I won't bore with a repeat of that, as I have nothing new to add other than the fact that I concur.
I could go on, but I said I was going to try not to get into the politics and it looks like I've let myself get a little carried away.
To sum up, Most people don't think that there's anything wrong with the initial reaction to 9/11. We got attacked, we went to war. That's well and good. What's not well and good is how those attacks are now used as a basis to justify a second war, which has already cost us the lives of over 3000 US troops. The attacks were used as justification to take away or limit our civil liberties on the assumption that terrorists are everywhere, especially at public libraries. Lastly, on top of not responding in any useful way to the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, we have the serious lack of National Guard troops available to respond for disaster recover operations, because they were all off spilling their blood for the freedom of people who don't want our help.
I'm sorry if any of this came off as harsh. Obviously you have your opinion on this issue and you have every right to express it. That's one of the things that makes this country so great.
As far as your persuasive paper goes, it doesn't do much to persuade anybody who hates Bush, or anybody who's still on the fence. You made the entire thrust of the paper about emotion. How did the attacks make us feel? How do we feel when we watch that footage today?
I can tell you how I felt on September 11th.
Back then, I had a second job, working part time in the deli of a local grocery chain. I was on my way to a sister store to pick up some pizza shells because we'd run out. I rarely listened to the radio when I drove because I like to listen to music that's not often aired, so I had yet to hear anything about the attacks.
I walked through the main door of the store and everybody was in tears. People were sobbing. The manager was hugging his wife and daughter and I assumed something terrible had happened at the store. I approached one of the cashiers, a guy named Mitch who floated between my store and this one and asked what was going on. He told me that somebody had bombed New York City. I remember the way he stood there, just kind of spacey. Asleep and awake at the same time, I guess. Somebody bombed us. The first thought that came to mind was that I would be getting called up from the inactive list. I'd only been out of the reserves for about 5 months at that point, so it made perfect sense. My second thought was that I needed to do what I came to do and get back on the road.
Having secured the pizza shells in the back of my truck, I put the radio on and listened as the news came in. A plane had flown into one of the twin towers. Oh gods! My dad used to work in the towers. People we know are dead. The commentator didn't wait for me to think though, because he kept right on talking about how a second plane had hit the south tower not even five minutes before. Holy gods it was intentional. A cold knot formed in my gut as I pulled into the parking lot of my store.
People were reacting just like they had at our sister store. Some people just shut down and asked to go home. Many people were crying. Nobody was shopping. I called my mom at work to make sure she was OK. She was crying but alright. She was worried for our friends in New York City. We'd lived there for four years. We had a lot of friends who were as close as family.
I put my pizza shells in the freezer and grabbed an apron. I don't know why... we didn't sell anything after about 10 am. The store was pretty much dead quiet. We had a radio set up on our counter and we all just stood and listened to the news while speculation ran rampant. It was obvious that it was terrorists. If a nation wanted to start a war with us, they'd have attacked with bombs and guns, or nukes, if they could make them. And then the reports came in that the Pentagon got hit. War was coming. Without a doubt. And I was angry. I was furious. How dare these terrorists do this?!
The day wore on. We had a TV set up in the break room. I sat there and chained cigarettes while I watched replays of the second plane hitting and then the towers coming down. I watched as panicked people ran from the debris cloud. And I got angrier. If I hadn't already been a soldier, I'd have walked out at the end of my shift and signed up that day. I know a lot of folks who did. Three of them are dead now.
In the weeks that followed, my anger cooled and was replaced with cold fury. I was glad that we'd found out that Al Quaida and Bin Ladin were responsible. I was glad we were punishing the Taliban for harboring them. Now that action was being taken, I was also thinking a little more rationally. I'd had a little time to think things over and I'd talked to my old Sgt Major. He told me to sit tight and wait for orders if they came but not to do anything stupid like go to a recruiter and ask to go back active. Some of the best advise I've ever gotten. My unit got activated a few months into the war in Afghanistan. We didn't lose anybody in the 18 months they were over there.
When I think about the September 11th attacks, I think about how we're supposed to be an enlightened people. I think about how my faith teaches peace among all people and reverence for life above all things. And then I think about how an awful, inhuman event brought out the very worst in me. I wanted to kill people. I wanted to find those responsible and kill them with my bare hands. I wanted to fight them from a fox hole and run out of ammo, forcing me to use my bayonet to rip bad guys to shreds. It didn't occur to me right then, but for a while... for a good long while I was just as bad as those people who attacked us. It just shows that no matter how enlightened we think we are, our violent tendencies are just below the surface and ready to be provoked. Fortunately, I didn't do anything stupid while I was busy being full of rage.
I still think that our reaction to the attacks was warranted. I feel that we engaged the enemy with the correct amount of force and did our best to keep civilian casualties to a minimum. We fought as soldiers are supposed to fight. THAT was in defense of our nation. Unfortunately, members of the Bush Administration know how to play on our emotions. We were all enraged after the attacks. Most everybody I know responded like I did on one level or another. We all wanted reciprocity. Playing off that, we ended up in another war. There were other reasons for the war in Iraq, and while they may be valid reasons for going to war, the UN was against it and we moved in without their approval or assistance. Now, we are reaping the rewards.
Anyway, I started trying to sum up like six paragraphs ago. This is already so much longer than I meant it to be be, and far too political.
Mahala, In the very basics, your statement is true. Without war, there can be no peace. At this point in human evolution, we are simply not capable of achieving a lasting peace because we're inherently aggressive creatures and somebody somewhere will always want something that somebody else has badly enough to kill for it. The attacks on September 11th were terrible. We went to war to punish those who planned the attacks. It should have ended there. What happened after that was a blatant abuse of power and manipulation of raw emotions of the American people. We were just dumb enough to elect him twice.
I'm done. Once again, I'm sorry if any of this came out as harsh.