The lesson of September 11, 2001 is an uncomfortable one. Facing the truth of that lesson may be avoided, but doing so only prolongs and expands the harm that is to come. Removing the bulb behind the “check engine” light does not fix the engine. The cold hard reality is that our government, whether through malice, indifference, or ineptitude, has and will continue to sacrifice the lives of innocent Americans on their quest toward peace via worldwide domination. It is a fool’s errand.
The lives lost on that fateful day were a direct consequence and culmination of over forty years of American (and allied) meddling in the affairs of the Middle East. This is not “blaming America” – but it is however blaming those in government who supported these incursions. It is blaming those individuals who formulated and enacted these policies. A patriotic reflex will compel most to reject such claims outright. The error in that reaction is in equating the concept of a nation with the actions of its governing body. “America” is not its leaders.
The Afghanistan withdrawal is the first glimmer of hope. However, that hope is tempered by the reality that 20 years of manufacturing enemies through countless bombings will only serve to ensure that more innocent American lives will be sacrificed in the coming blowback. It is not a question of “if”, but rather “when”. And on that day Bush, Cheney, Obama, Trump, Biden – all, will be as culpable as anyone pulling a trigger.
In order to achieve peace one must be open to empathy with their adversary. Empathy unlocks the path to understanding. Peace is achievable once you understand what motivates your adversary. If those in power had heeded the words of Ron Paul so many years ago, then we would be much closer to a lasting peace today:
“Imagine for a moment that somewhere in the middle of Texas there was a large foreign military base, say Chinese or Russian. Imagine that thousands of armed foreign troops were constantly patrolling American streets in military vehicles. Imagine they were here under the auspices of “keeping us safe” or “promoting democracy” or “protecting their strategic interests.”
Imagine that they operated outside of US law, and that the Constitution did not apply to them. Imagine that every now and then they made mistakes or acted on bad information and accidentally killed or terrorized innocent Americans, including women and children, most of the time with little to no repercussions or consequences. Imagine that they set up checkpoints on our soil and routinely searched and ransacked entire neighborhoods of homes. Imagine if Americans were fearful of these foreign troops, and overwhelmingly thought America would be better off without their presence.
Imagine if some Americans were so angry about them being in Texas that they actually joined together to fight them off, in defense of our soil and sovereignty, because leadership in government refused or were unable to do so. Imagine that those Americans were labeled terrorists or insurgents for their defensive actions, and routinely killed, or captured and tortured by the foreign troops on our land. Imagine that the occupiers’ attitude was that if they just killed enough Americans, the resistance would stop, but instead, for every American killed, ten more would take up arms against them, resulting in perpetual bloodshed.
The reality is that our military presence on foreign soil is as offensive to the people that live there as armed Chinese troops would be if they were stationed in Texas.
Shutting down military bases and ceasing to deal with other nations with threats and violence is not isolationism. It is the opposite. Opening ourselves up to friendship, honest trade and diplomacy is the foreign policy of peace and prosperity. It is the only foreign policy that will not bankrupt us in short order, as our current actions most definitely will. The sad thing is, our foreign policy WILL change eventually, as Rome’s did, when all budgetary and monetary tricks to fund it are exhausted.”Ron Paul, 2011
2012 Ad based on this speech