11 Sep 2012

On the state of affairs

Unfortunately the 140-byte limitation doesn’t quite cut it.

I don’t wish to undermine the terrible tragedy that was the loss of life on September 11, 2001. Quite the contrary; though insulated from the loss of loved ones myself, many close friends of mine, particularly those from the tri-state area, cannot say the same. My thoughts and prayers are with them, even 11 years later.

We must also not forget that the United States is not fully innocent. I do not buy into conspiracy theories, especially “9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB” and that kind of BS. I fully believe it was orchestrated by people who have frustrations with America. I also do not believe that these are complex, irrational, religiously rooted frustrations, but very simple, easy-to-understand, and quite tragic.

By chance, tonight while browsing the Web I happened upon this Time article. It reports the targeted killing of Abdulrahman al-Awlaki – a 16-year-old boy, an American citizen living in Yemen, who just happened to be the son of a prominent radical Muslim. There was no trial, no presentation of evidence, no due process. A 16 year old was ordered dead by our government merely because of his ancestry, and it was carried out.

The US has a long history of performing operations such as this, particularly against Middle Eastern countries, when it is to our tactical advantage. To phrase it differently, we are the man behind the curtain, and often times we have pulled strings which have resulted in the loss of innocent lives in order to protect our position of power, international status, and low gas prices. It is easy to see how people arrive at the conclusion that retaliatory action – “blowback” in CIA terms – is the only way to have their voice heard.

While I am against killing by either side, we did it first, America. And for those we have specifically targeted, there is no combination of words which can fully reconcile what we have done, but we sure could start by apologizing.

Meanwhile, things have worked out great for surveillance-society proponents. All in the name of stopping terrorism (that we ourselves are the root cause of), we have willingly given up more and more of our privacy and other liberties under the promise of security. Mind you, this game has been going for a long time, but I think Sept 11, 2001 was the point on the slippery slope where our feet came out from under us and we began uncontrollably trading our liberty for a cat-and-mouse game that is doing nothing to protect us.

You know how we stop terrorism? Get out of the Middle East’s pants. Phase out of reliance on their oil (meaning, aggressively adopt electric vehicles here) and allow oil prices to skyrocket as they are already itching to do. Issue a sincere, heartfelt apology, and then back it up by getting out of there completely. We fucked up, and the only right thing to do is to get out.

While we’re at it, we should stop supporting Israel, which is running an oppressive regime against anyone in the country that isn’t Jewish, at times even destroying Palestinian villages to build military bases. No wonder “death to Israel” is a thing over there… the government doesn’t even recognize their basic rights to have a peaceful home and clean water. I don’t care if they’re “God’s chosen people.” They sure aren’t acting like it. God’s love doesn’t come as a bulldozer.

September 11, 2001 was a tragedy and a wrong, but not the first wrong in this exchange between the US and the Middle East. Blocking people from bringing water bottles onto airplanes is a silly and ineffective way to combat it. The right way to do it is to mind our own damn business.

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2 Responses to “On the state of affairs” (post new)

28 Oct 2012

I almost feel that what you’re trying to point out is the abstraction that plagues people’s viewpoints, people’s political motives, and most importantly their critical thinking skills. What do I mean when I reference this “abstraction”? People’s obsession with attributing nobility to people who participate in the military and kill innocent people. In my life, I’ve seen more people see military personnel as these noble individuals, not murders, simply because they are/were a part of a larger organization that justifies the killing of these people. What’s the abstraction? Killing innocent people to re-draw the line on a piece of paper that shows us how divided we are.

But then you keep using the collective phrase “our”.
“ordered dead by our government”
“against Middle Eastern countries, when it is to our tactical advantage. To phrase it differently, we are the man behind the curtain”
“which can fully reconcile what we have done, but we sure could start by apologizing.”

I want to focus on this particular sentence: “All in the name of stopping terrorism (that we ourselves are the root cause of), we have willingly given up more and more of our privacy and other liberties under the promise of security.” That we ourselves are the root cause of? Really? /We/ wanted this surveillance and this security? The exchange was never privacy for security, the security was merely imposed and the privacy removed. Why do I say this? Simply because of the way government works. Somebody’s going to be forced to go along who doesn’t want to go along. When everyone’s convinced (who has contrasting views on the government’s actions) that they themselves are the sole outlier, are they going to act on it or say anything? Or will they simply stay quiet and allow the orchestration of new policies and laws that further hamper privacy, for fear of their opinions being wrong? Won’t they just think that they’re the only one thinking differently?

So yeah, what I really want to emphasize is that you seem to be overdoing the whole attribution thing a little bit. If you are so against some of the things that our government takes part in, why do you still consider yourself a part of it with collectivist phrases such as our and we? /You/ did not order the attacks against this 16-year old boy. /You/ were not involved in the decision making process. “We fucked up” … “we should stop supporting Israel”, I mean, you’re not involved, you’ve only been of voting age for a relatively short period of time. You’ve never supported Israel or been involved in their belief systems.

I definitely agree with you though and I mean, there are people who discount the events of September 11, sure. What I’m trying to say though is, any life lost is a tragedy. Thousands of people died on that day because of an organization who feels strongly against what the WTC represented/an internal government procedure to fulfill X goal/insert your own theory. Point being, they died for an abstract reason that was made by us humans.

Even by this alone we can conjure up some thoughts about human nature and how ineffective we (I will use this collectivist terminology in referring to the human race, not my country…) are at working together to reach a goal. This is evident in all of us on a personal level, society is just a scaled up representation. How are we ineffective? We don’t care about resource depletion or war or sustainability, we care about the quality of our lives and how much money (an abstract numerical value (becoming more and more abstract) which you can leverage to command other people to provide goods and services to you..) we have in our pockets.

There’s a balance to be had, and history will repeat itself, again and again.

October 28th, 2012 at 3:40 am
29 Oct 2012

The reason I used “we” is because it is a reflection of the viewpoint popularly held by American citizens at the time a given decision was made. At the time we invaded Iraq, I was in favor of it because I believed that Saddam Hussein was genuinely terrorizing the citizens of his country and that the US was the white knight in shining armor there to deliver the people from their misery. I was also much younger, and my political views have since evolved quite a bit, having settled on a non-interventionist approach which can be summarized as “mind your own damn business.”

Now, of course, I’m not so sure, but at the time I was. Hence, “we.” In general, the use of “we” seems to be a pet peeve of yours. I’m a U.S. citizen, and I do perceive a unity among my fellow countrymen, although popular opinion does indeed seem to run contrary to the federal government more and more.

October 29th, 2012 at 9:32 am

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