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The Shameful Truth: The Face of Evil

What will the new "face of evil" look like?

Last week, while I was sleeping, Osama bin Laden was, apparently, killed.

Wow.

Okay.

SO that is that.

That is what?

The end of an era?

Let me ask you, what will the new "face of evil" look like? 

Is it the Taliban?

Al Qaeda?

Or is it retaliation that will never see its own Justice?

The chants for "U.S.A." brought to mind a dangerous, dangerous time. A time when we, a nation, retaliated on people mercilessly. People who had nothing to do with Sept 11. For ten years we have been fighting wars because of this tragic attack on U.S. soil.

But now I ask, ten years later, after lies that have taken us to war with two countries that had nothing to do with the attacks; with the number of reported war related violent civilian deaths since the invasion in Iraq began in 2003 being 100,598 – 109,895; with the number of war-related violent civilian deaths in Afghanistan reported (meaning there are many more – unreported) in the last four years being almost 9,000, 2010 being the highest number at 2,777; with the deteriorating diplomacy and relations with Pakistan (a country with nuclear weapons - given to them by us); with the number of new terrorists we have created – yes we have created – because of our unjust and careless wars...

Which matters more: that we have taken no time to reflect on the damage we have done to the world, on the numbers of innocent people we have slaughtered, or on the absolute perceived superiority and righteousness with which we kill? Or that ten  years after, we have disgraced our country and taken all the goodwill that had been laid upon us after Sept 11 and turned it into a complete army of new Taliban and Al Qaeda who hate the U.S, but Osama bin Laden has been killed?

So, now we are celebrating. Flag waving. Cheering in the streets.  Meanwhile, 

The U.S. has lost 1,566 servicemen in the Afghan war and 4,452 servicemen in Iraq.

As of June 2010, the rate of suicide for soldiers was one a day. By the end of 2009, more soldiers had committed suicide than died in combat in these wars. And more soldiers are evacuated from Afghanistan and Iraq for mental health issues than for combat wounds.

The mastermind behind Sept. 11th has finally been put down, and of course I am glad that Osama bin Laden was caught and that people who lost someone on Sept 11th can have closure. But while the youth of the U.S. celebrates in the streets, and bars put out sandwich boards with chalk-written pride, "Got Him," I cannot help but feel embarrassed for us all.

It's a similar feeling I had when I heard "we" were building the new tallest building in the U.S. at Ground Zero. Again. Another symbol of arrogance. I thought, what is someone thinking? Are we saying, "you can't hold us back?" and just inviting another attack? Where does pride get in the way of common sense and security...or, maybe, humility?

I ponder the missed opportunity for reflection and insight into what has happened to the world in the last ten years. It appears we have learned nothing. We respond as we did in 2001, with ignorance, arrogance, and self-righteousness. Not to mention entitlement.  

My father dares to mention due process. I answer to him – sarcastically - that those words are no longer anyone's right who is a suspected terrorist. Yes, the bill of rights excuses Habeas Corpus in times of war (specifically invasion and rebellion). But, I am a rebel, and I have associated with nations considered "enemies of  the state," so I, too, might be mistaken for someone who does not deserve Habeas Corpus.  Where, I wonder, will the breach of lawful decency end?

What happened on September 11th was a tragedy. It was a despicable act by some very sick and misguided people. I in no way want to temper that truth.

That said,  we have never asked "why" a group might harbor such anger for us. This is also quite, abominably, American.

Other than Little Bush's ludicrous belief that "they are jealous of our liberty," there is the detail that many have heard, that we (the CIA) funded and trained (even in car bombs!) Osama bin Laden and his mujahedeen in the late seventies and eighties. However, there is something that many probably have not heard, a promise made to the mujahedeen and Osama bin Laden about Afghanistan by our National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, under Carter in 1979:

"We know of their deep belief in God, and we are confident their struggle will succeed. That land over there is yours, you'll go back to it one day because your fight will prevail, and you'll have your homes and your mosques back again. Because your cause is right and God is on your side." 

That we never asked why is, perhaps, forgivable since there was so much pain and confusion at the time. Even, imagine, we had the world's sympathy.  

It might finally be time to take a solemn moment of reflection as to how we responded to the tragedy, and the impact that our despicable and immeasurable response has had on the demise of our national safety, the creation of a plethora of new enemies, the loss of freedoms and human rights in this country (including that we have been blatantly torturing prisoners), and the hundreds of thousands of deaths of innocent CIVILIANS in other countries.

In the words of a great leader, a true great leader who practiced what he preached, who made the world a better place through his actions:

"The ultimate measure of a man is not how he behaves in moments of comfort and convenience but how he stands at times of controversy and challenges." - Martin Luther King Jr.

I had planned to write this month's column about one of democracy's biggest foes: the secrecy of campaign finance - a danger to our nation's arteries, something that will eventually change the voting system in our country so that the people do not actually know who or what they are really voting for. A politician's causes will only be a mask to corporate interests...and this is very, very dangerous.  

Then the reaction to the killing of bin Laden made me fear that my country's common sense and empathy has already been lost. If we do not have compassion and care about our footprints, then we are already a dreadful society that has been brainwashed to such an extent that we have forgotten what is important.

I am just curious, what are we celebrating?  

Will the celebration ever end?  

I fear it will continue right until the next attack when we will say, "but why us? What have we done?" And we will once again put on our boots and raise our flags and chant in the streets. With the arrogance and ignorance of college students who were not even around when this REALLY all began. And we will never teach the beginning in the history books. 

That's the shameful truth.

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