Thursday, April 27, 2006

Nine Eleven: Nothing Learned

David Beamer suffered a staggering loss ("September 11 still too painful to relive it on the big screen," April 22, 2006). As a fellow parent, I can barely bring myself to contemplate it. To find fault with his assessment of terrorists' aims and objectives might well strike most decent people as uncharitable in the extreme. But the time has come to consign the "they want to take away our freedoms" bromide to the dustbin of history.

The United States long ago ceased being the brave little republic founded by Thomas Jefferson and the boys. Maybe it never was that pristine place of lore. Certainly, the U.S. now bestrides the world like a colossus. With military bases encircling the globe and troops in 130 different countries, we spend more on the military than Russia, China, Japan, Great Britain, Saudi Arabia, France, Germany, Brazil, India, Italy, South Korea, Iran, Israel, Taiwan, Canada, Spain, Australia, the Netherlands, Turkey and Singapore put together. We've invaded a dozen countries--including such malevolent hegemons as Grenada, Panama and Serbia--over the last 25 years. We've left death, destruction and despair--a magnitude of evil our children rarely witness--in our wake. Does anybody in his right mind call this a defense policy?!

Time may well "dull memories" and "dilute lessons learned," as you write. But our problem lies in not having forged the right memories or learned the proper lessons in the first place. No earthly power is morally authorized to act as globocop. A globocop is at least as likely to ignore (e.g., the 14.5 million Ukrainians terror-starved by Lenin and FDR's beloved Uncle Joe Stalin) and perpetrate (e.g., the 2.5 million Vietnamese terror-bombed by LBJ and Nixon) holocausts as to end them. The only sane foreign policy is the one recommended by America-haters like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson: to pursue free trade and friendly relations with all nations, entangling alliances with none.

Unlike you, I don't need to be reminded of September 11. What I need is to see the odds of another September 11 diminished. Taking sides in distant conflicts and bombing and occupying Muslim nations aren't going to get us there.


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