Light and Darkness: America’s Reaction to 9/11

On September 11th, 4:30 am, the commemoration of America’s loss was just hours away in Manhattan as I stared at the lot where the twin towers had once been. Dozens of camera vans waited roadside for the morning coverage. Just to the right I saw the “tribute in light,” two blue shafts beaming stories high into the sky–”the representative of the strength and magnificence of the twin towers. As I imagined the old skyline of my city, I realized something. America hasn’t learned a thing in the last fours years.

How have we commemorated those fallen heroes of four years ago? We have used their names and awful tragedy to unleash a war on the world and ourselves. Our president told us we were going to fight for the greater good, but what good has come out of the fight we embarked on?

Today 138,000 US troops illegally occupy Iraq. 1896 Americans have died in vain, for a war against a dictator we once supported, in a fight to destroy weapons of mass destruction he never had. No Al Qaeda connection was found, and while it has infuriated the Middle East and ruined our standing in the eyes of the world, we continue to “stay the course.” Tens of thousands of Iraqi men, women, and children have died due to the blindness and the brutality of our “war on terror.” According to the Red Cross, an estimated 6,000 Iraqis were killed and 16,000 were injured during a three week US led onslaught on Fallujah. Estimates claim over 200,000 residents were displaced due to the siege, while 70 percent of the buildings were destroyed, and the remaining 30 percent were at least damaged. The city was obliterated–”or democratized. This type of destruction doesn’t exemplify our compassion, humanity, and value for life above all.

I look back into the sky and think of the squandered opportunities after 9/11. It was a chance for a new start, to unify the world, to fundamentally change our foreign policy, our treatment of the Middle East and the Muslim community. It was our chance to realize that “interests” can’t overtake human life; the safety of our children and their future depended on it.

On 9/11, a tape supposedly released by a half Jewish, half catholic Adam Gadahn referenced intended attacks on Los Angles and Melbourne Australia. Gadahn was a white American citizen believed to be recruited by Al Qaeda in California. Al Qaeda uses the atrocities of the “war on terror” as a reason to fight. If the war in Iraq, the occupation of Afghanistan, Palestine, and the support of corrupt regimes throughout the Middle East weren’t taking place, recruitment for new blood in Al Qaeda wouldn’t be so easy. Al Qaeda is using the injustices caused by America as a recruitment tool.

In response to “defeat” terrorism, America is causing more injustice. The war on terror cannot be won by the destruction of land, it will only incense the violence and further isolate of the 1.2 billion Muslims in the world–”it’s a lesson we should have learned after 9/11. Those two beams of light that shine so high in the sky don’t represent the fallen towers; they illuminate our incompetent leadership.