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Friday January 10, 2003

'War' responses, as expected

As expected, the last post got a couple of e-mails that more or less went like this: Yeah it sucks having to kill innocent people, but that's war. We can't let them get away with what they did.

I've heard it said (most often from the pseudo-cowboy in the White House) that the 9-11 terrorists hated freedom, and that is why they attacked America. My question is this: why then did terrorists not attack Canada or Sweden? The Swedes don't have a superpower nation, but they have freedom. Probably more than we do. And what about all the other free countries out there? Germany, France, Spain? Why don't terrorists ever bitch about them? The only countries on the target list are the United States, Great Britain, and Israel, but those are not the only free countries in the world. Why were no planes driven into Canadian buildings when Canada is free? Was 9-11 really about freedom?

I don't think so.

To be honest, I'm not omniscient (I bet you're shocked, really), so I can't say exactly what was going on in the minds of the plane hijackers, what Bin Laden really hates about us, or why there is a busload of people blown apart every week in Israel. But I really have no reason to believe any of that crap has to do with the fact that America has "freedom" (whatever the hell that is). Everyone has an opinion. Some believe it was religious fundamentalism; some believe it was resentment of American greed; terrorist sympathizers believe it was America's international bullying. But even if it were true that America is a bully, was it justifiable to hijack a plane and drive it into buildings full of innocent people?

How evil must one be to believe that?

And how evil do we have to be to believe that it is justifiable to rain down bombs not only on those who do evil things to Americans, but also on those who just happen to be living in the same country or following the same religion? Last night I was up late painting (bad, I know) and watching Craig Kilborn. A punchline to one of his jokes went something like this: Hey, we're the only ones who are allowed to nuke Japan! People actually laughed at that. I wonder how many of those same people would laugh if someone made a joke about bringing down the World Trade Centers. And how many times greater than the WTC disaster were the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings? How many innocent people died those days?

Why is it so damn funny?

I also watched another program last night while painting. It was a story on CNN (yeah I admit I'm still watching that crap) about families of 9-11 victims who are now in Iraq, meeting with Iraqis who have lost loved ones during past American air strikes. The white New York widows and children were there, hugging and kissing women in Muslim headdresses and men who look like your average Arab terrorist. They all cried. All of them knew what it felt like to have someone they loved taken away by international violence. And then I thought about all those families in Iraq who right now are only nervous about American bombs, but in a few days will experience this same feeling of violent shock and loss.

Is this something I'm supposed to be excited about?

I can honestly say I understand the urge for vengeance in the US. But what I can not understand is how anyone can say that America is good and godly in spite of the widows and orphans it is about to create. How can we be the "good guys" when we 're happy that someone else is feeling our misery? There is a huge need to protect those who live here --citizens of the United States. I know that. But does that need wipe away the responsibility to respect the lives of people who aren't citizens of the Unites States? And if we want to call ourselves good, can we still be so bloodthirsty?

A very wise man once spoke about this:

You have heard that it was said, �An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.� But I say to you, do not resist an evil person. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you. You have heard that it was said, �Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.� But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who hurt you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the sinners do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be merciful, therefore, as your heavenly Father is merciful. Matthew 5:38-48

Is love and mercy obsolete in 2003?

Dear God I hope not.