Sunday, August 22, 2004

Why We Fight - A Survivors Story

Last evening, while flipping through some other websites, I noticed an interesting side bar on Little Green Footballs said "Never Forget" and had some links underneath it about 9/11. I've seen some of them before, some are pictures and collages, some are movies, etc, depicting Sept 11, 2001. This particular link caught my attention Tilly's Story 9/11. Tilly was commenting on little green footballs last year around the anniversary. She was a survivor from Tower 2 and this connection tells her story.

Maybe I'm a sucker for punishment, masochistic, but every once in awhile I take a look at these different links. I want to remember. I need to remember. When I look at those pictures, everything comes back to me. Everything, my sadness, my anger....no, not anger, rage...I feel a rage inside of me like I've never felt before in my life. It's been 3 years now and I thought it would go away. But it doesn't.

There is a part of me that is rational. That reminds me that not everyone that practices Islam or lives somewhere in the middle east is a terrorist bent on killing me or my family. Nor were they all responsible for the death of 3000 of my fellow citizens. All of these people are not responsible for the pain and anger that I feel when I think of that day, when I see the pictures or hear the stories.

Something horrible comes over me. I can feel it like it is eating away my humanity. I want to yell, kick or hit something. I want to shout out, "Nuke them all and let God sort them out!" It is so intense sometimes, I can feel the tears well up.

As we get closer to the anniversary, three years later, it seems the time hasn't dulled my feelings much. I wasn't near there. I was over 1200 miles away watching my TV. Maybe it's because it involved planes and I fly so much? I don't know. I'm not afraid of flying, I do it all the time, so I don't think that is it.

Tonight I'm thinking that it's because I shut it off for awhile. First, I couldn't stop watching, reading, learning. Then, it got so intense, I couldn't watch TV anymore, couldn't read about it, I just shut it off. For two years at least. Maybe this year is the healing year, but I don't think so.

This year, I am paying attention like I did right after the terrible event. I realize that we are in a dangerous time. Not just dangerous because of potential terrorist attacks, but dangerous because we might forget. Might lose the memories of those fateful days. Decide that it wasn't that big of a deal. Certainly not so terrible a loss that needs to be avenged. Yes. I said avenged and I meant avenged. "Justice" is a nice word, but I don't want these bastards arrested and in front of the court. I want them dead, simple as that. I want them dead and anyone that wants to follow them, dead as well.

Did I tell you that I feel my humanity is sometimes troubled, slipping away? I am quite certain that I could shoot them cold without blinking an eye if I had the chance.

These days are dangerous because we are fooling ourselves into thinking that it's no big deal. Whenever the government announces a terrorist alert, the opposition pronounces it "hogwash". People protesting their own government for the war in Afghanistan was shocking. People protesting the war in Iraq was just as shocking.

I know some folks don't believe that Iraq had anything to do with Al Qaida or 9/11. That may be true or not. But, I can tell you that invading Iraq and setting up a democracy to potentially influence the neighbors was a good alternative to what I had in mind for the middle east. Now, I believe in this cause like nothing else. Believe it's importance. All those arguments about justification or WMD or "imminent threat" don't phase me. They don't even top my agenda of reasons to go into Iraq, though they make nice ensemble pieces.

Why do I support this limited war in Iraq? Yes, limited war. We are fighting a small scale war. If we wanted to, we could have taken the whole place to war, bombed the entire region into submission, drafted 1 mil occupiers and set to creating a whole new country. Sometimes I wonder if that wasn't a good idea after all? But, I support this limited war in Iraq and pray for it to be successful because I know the alternative. The alternative I carry inside of my heart. The one that says, "Kill them. Don't ask questions, don't try to sort...Just kill them."

Fortunately, I have met some people in the past year that have helped me sort out my feelings about "Muslims" and "Iraqis", etc. But it hasn't changed the core of me that tells me if Iraq fails, we will be stuck in a very hard position. Appeasing the enemy or committing to international high density warfare; total war.

Do you understand where I'm going? If this doesn't work, if Iraq cannot turn itself from theocratic government and give us hope that free people will behave like free people and not attack. The next battle will be on the grand scale of World War III if we don't win.

Some will think I'm an alarmist, but I know the enemy is waiting to strike us now. The next one will be even more devastating. When they do, this country that everyone thinks is so divided now, wait until we are attacked again. This country will be even more polarized. More people will chant for blood and some will withdraw, completely disengage and call down wrath on our heads for responding to the terrorist. By then, it will be too late.

So, Why is Iraq important enough to fight in and win? Because it is our last hope that people from this region can be trusted, can be free, can become our allies or at least friendly nations, if this attempt fails, the next battle, the next war will be even more horrible. It is either this small battle here and a possibility of spreading freedom through out the region or a major war with casualties we've not seen in our lifetime.

Some might claim that I am a quoting some fanatical idea of Armageddon. The reality is, if we withdraw from this area, those that are waiting in the wings with their fanatical, religious political ideals will take over and begin their own indoctrination. And we have already seen what they can do with 19 men. I'm not willing to take that chance.

So...Some like to tell you that Saddam, Iraq and 9/11 have nothing to do with each other. They do. They do because we should know that this is our only chance to get this right. If it fails, we will see something even more terrible. Don't believe me? Sit back and watch. Try not to close your eyes when the scary parts happen. You'll want to remember.

1 comment:

tim mccolgan said...

Like you, I've tried to have an open mind and not let knee-jerk reaction to 9/11 color my basic beliefs in the good of people. I've met a couple of Muslim faith guys, through my shop. One in particular, the older brother of the two, was a likable guy right off the bat. As I lettered the guys tow truck, we talked for a couple of hours. If I had (pre) judged him and lumped him in with all the POS extremists, I never would have done any business with him, or even made a friend/business acquaintance. Granted ,he wasn't wearing laundry on his head , either (Not that is a litmus test for anything, anyway). But, when I was searching the net months ago, shortly after Nick Bergs' Beheading, I came across a site that had pictures of the people jumping out of the world trade towers, prior to the collapse(s), I felt enraged again. They also had pictures of the Americans who were killed by the Iraqis by dragging them around town, and setting their bodies ablaze. just simply brutality. Fucking Animals. When seeing that, it's hard to get choked up about some pictures of a pile of naked prisoners. Later, as reason invades my thoughts, I realize that is the difference between us and them (the extremists/terrorists). These people seem to have more in death to look forward to than in their lives. It's almost like the Bubba in prison analogy....he isn't raping you because he particularly likes it...It's just to see the look on your face afterwards.
These sick people just want to see the look on the collective faces of America, afterwards. So, yeah...we CAN'T get complacent, or forget. I feel the same...they are going to strike us (or our interests) as soon as we drop our guard. Sorry for the bad mental image in the prison analogy. Can't help but think if we appear weak, or our actions indicate such...we're screwed. Tag on the toe....DEAD.
So, the best offense is a strong defense. Never Forget, may at times seem a little trite, but it's true.
Lets just hope the mission to root out the scumbags is successful, so we all can just get back to being human beings. For my childrens' children (hopefully many, many years off ) world that they'll inherit. I really do worry for them. Hell, my life's probably half over at best. My kids are just starting their lives. I hope the future for them is not destroyed by fanatics. Now, Next September 11th, or Ever.