Sept. 11: Reaping the whirlwind

By Sarah E. Reynolds | Sep 20, 2019

As flags flew at half-staff and various military and first-responder organizations held memorial ceremonies last week, I thought about what Sept. 11 means to me. If you are of the "America, love it or leave it" persuasion, you might want to stop reading now.

What happened on Sept. 11, 2001, was an atrocity that caused the tragic loss of many innocent lives. There was also much heroism on the part of police and firefighters, and ordinary people as well. All deserve to be remembered with gratitude; all deserve to be honored.

But I can't help feeling that with the world, if anything, even more dangerous and with terrorism even more rampant than before the 9-11 attacks, we have not learned much as a nation in the last 18 years. We certainly have not learned the lessons of humility and compassion Sept. 11 should have taught us.

We have not taken a hard look at how our foreign policy over the decades created the poverty and hopelessness, the sense of utter alienation, that led to the terrorist movements now active in the Middle East and elsewhere, and fueled their rise. We have not worked hard to foster an attitude of openness and welcome toward Muslim citizens in our own country, never mind those around the globe. We still fail to see that our own fate is tied to that of people living amid poverty and violence around the world and here at home.

I'm no foreign policy expert, and I know that international issues almost never yield to simple solutions, but I'm sure that trying to move beyond simply seeing as enemies those who may wish us harm is an important first step. If the United States could rebuild Germany and Japan after World War II, maybe it could do something for the struggling peoples of the Middle East. I'm not talking about military aid, or any other kind of quick fix, but long-term humanitarian help that begins with listening to their assessment of the problems, as well as their hopes. I know it's not clear-cut, that the problems are complex and getting help to those most in need can be very difficult. But I also know we could -- and should -- be trying harder.

At the least, we can work at changing our own attitudes towards people with different religious practices and values from ours. Because we still have more in common with them than we have differences. We all want enough food, adequate shelter, a safe place to sleep, to care for our families, a sense of hope for our lives and those of our children.

Among my first thoughts on the first 9-11, once I knew my own beloved was safe, was what a terrible indictment of the United States it was that anyone would feel so much anger and resentment toward our country as to attack us in that way. It was not an indictment of the innocents who were killed aboard the planes, or in the buildings that were destroyed, nor of the many who put themselves in harm's way to rescue others.

But it was the product of a deep, long-festering rage at a rich, often arrogant country that for too many decades refused to consider the lives of people outside its own borders as important as strategic advantage and corporate profits.

We have since reaped the whirlwind. I hope we can find the wisdom to stop it.

Comments (5)
Posted by: Ronald Horvath | Sep 24, 2019 07:35

Well done, Eric.  Always the Fox Noose parrot. And pretending to know what a "cogent argument" is.  What a scream.  You're almost as funny as trump.

What you've forgotten to add is that Saddam was "gassing and slaughtering his people" even while we were financing him.  Just ask the Kurds.  Reagan and Bush 1 didn't mind that until he attacked "our" oil wells.  Only then did he become a villain of the first order in conservative minds.  Once again, money over people.

And I love when you keep repeating those lies about Iran.  Obama simply gave them the rights to their own money.  That's what comes of comprehensive aggreements.  Don't be surprised when trump comes to the same deal and loudly brags that he just made the "greatest deal."  Iran, after all, is backed by Putin.  We both know that trump won't cross his boss.

And why would Iran feel threatened by us, you don't ask?  Maybe it's those thirty-four or five bases surround their borders.  How many bases do they have on our borders, Eric?  And let's not forget having nuclear powers on both sides.  

Well, don't hold your breath.  trump has no stomach for war.  It makes his bone spurs act up.  He is after all the true manifestation of my favorite definition of a conservative, "a man too fat to run and too cowardly to fight."  Fits him well, don't you think.

Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Sep 23, 2019 12:15

Much we do not hear about:

Posted by: Ronald Horvath | Sep 23, 2019 07:20

Eric the Hysteric rages again, proving merely that the voices of ignorance are always the loudest.


"Free half the middle east from tyrants?"  I guess you never knew that the Shah of Iran was our creature and we destroyed a democratically elected government in Iran by "civilized locals" in order to put that monster in power(and get our hands on their oil.)  And what did trump say when meeting the current leader of Egypt?  "Where's my favorite dictator?"  Even Saddam was our boy, backed up with our money and weapons, until he dared to attack those oil fields that we considered already ours.  Let's not forget that the majority of the 9/11 plotters were Saudis, a country that still beheads it's own citizens for daring to protest it's barbaric "customs" and now expects us to back them up in a potential war against Iran and maybe even fight it for them.  Certainly Israel does.


The truth is that the US never met a dictator that it didn't like so long as they lowered themselves to take our money and crush any troubling "democratic" tendencies in it's people.  That's our history in Central America as well and all those people seeking asylum at our border are a direct result of our backing of murderous right wing governments at the behest of United Fruit and others.


Or as it was said after we engaged in a spree of destruction and murder in Chile after they dared to elect a "leftist:"


"I don't see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its people."
Henry Kissinger

Posted by: Ronald Horvath | Sep 20, 2019 16:42

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” ~ Nelson Mandela

Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Sep 20, 2019 12:56

Thanks, Sarah, for having the courage to say what many of us have believed quietly.  Will we never learn?  "But it was the product of a deep, long-festering rage at a rich, often arrogant country that for too many decades refused to consider the lives of people outside its own borders as important as strategic advantage and corporate profits."

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