Thoughts on 9/12

An observation by the numbers

We grieve for all those who died five years ago yesterday.

We also grieve, honor, and respect our fallen fighting men and women, wherever they may be stationed, for making the ultimate sacrifice to defend a nation they believe in.

Perhaps I read the wrong press, because I have not heard it phrased the following way in our remembrance yesterday, so I will take the knocks and spell it out, albeit with a heavy heart and reluctance for the comparison.

Just short of 3,000 people were killed as a direct result of the 911 attacks; the best numbers I can find put the death toll from that heinous act of terror at 2973.

According to the latest sources, the American military death toll in Iraq now stands at 2666. (This does not take into account the over 40,000 reported Iraqui deaths since the U.S replaced Saddam Hussein's regime.)

As an American, I believe the attacks on 911 were unprovoked and unfathomable, though we should take the trouble to try and understand why we would be attacked like we were.

No matter what you may think of the Iraqui war, there are few people with good conscience who can deny it was an invasion of choice; we chose to go into that country.

As we honored and remembered the fallen on 911, and the Americans who have died in Iraq, maybe it is time for us to stop and consider our own choices and our own priorities as a nation. One death does not avenge another. A mounting toll does not add meaning to those who have perished before.

Where will it end? Are we so naive and ignorant of history that we believe our blustering military presence will bring peace between Kurds, Sunnis, and Shiites? Do we think our ammunition will make Muslims sympathetic to Christians and Jews? (We cannot even get our own "civilized" politicians to stop assassinating each other's characters.) Bullets and minefields do not win hearts. We cannot eliminate nor dominate everyone who does not agree with our ideals. We must teach them--and ourselves--respect for diversity and how to get along. We need to figure out how to do that. War is primitive. We need to move forward in a more civilized way, and lead the world through enlightenment. That should be our role and our goal as the remaining superpower.

This is said, of course, with respect to the families who have lost loved ones in action. How many more families must suffer such losses?

Posted: Tue - September 12, 2006 at 03:47 PM