September 20, 2001
After 8 days of apparently being as numb as all other Americans, Mr Bush crawled out of his funk and delivered a resolution that fits. He is no orator, and the speech did not ring out as resoundingly as Churchill's or Kennedy's or FDR's or even Clinton's speeches. But he effectively got across America's resolve to end the brutal cycle that (hopefully) climaxed on 9/11. He effectively declared the strength of American will, its resiliency in the face of tragedy, its essential sense of being right in this cause. And he didn't flinch from his very first (and only significant) assessment on 9/11 that nations that harbor the perpretrators rode with them on the doomed flights and will equally come to justice with them. And he didn't flinch from telling the people that it will be a long, tough road.
There was a bit of "America is strong; we will root them out" hoopla. And speech writers and advisors no doubt did 90% of the work. And the emotional climate helped him tremendously. But every leader doea and has that going for him/her. In the end, he came through shining. He even had a surprise for us - a new Cabinet position dedicated to the problem.
As much as I've despised his policies (not to mention the fact that he was not even elected by the people), I have to say he came through, instilling confidence in Americans and presenting Americans' strength and resolve to other nations.
We have squandered our resources in the last 50 years on battles that were not ours. Israel, Vietname, Somalia, Grenada, Gulf War, Bosnia, Kosovo, and many others. We were never really defending other nations from aggression as we said. We had other, selfish, interests (can you spell O-I-L?). I never agreed with any of these battles.
Now we have been attacked ourselves. This was an attack of terrorism, yes, but much more than that. It's a mistake to keep harping on the word "terrorism" because it distracts from what really happened and what should be done about it. This was an assault on our country - an act of war perpretrated in the most disgusting manner imaginable, 100% against civilians. And we know this is not the end of it. We have to defend ourselves. That's what our military is for - to defend the nation against attack. It's been pissed away for too long doing other things.
There are many things we have to do now, to defend ourselves. Beef up our security measures, certainly. But also root out the attackers at their source. We didn;t just sit back on our 1940's front porches with shotguns in our hands. We went to Europe and Asia to root out the scourges at their source. This is not retaliation. This is not retribution or punishment. This is not civil justice. This is defense and follows the rules of war, because our essence is under attack and we must win this war or lose our essence.
There will be more civilian casualties, on both sides. There always are, in war. Place the blame for that on the heads of the ones who fired the first shot and show no inclination to stop firing shots at us. We can't sit back and let them shoot at us agin.
Pacifists (me included) must think again. This is different. There is a time for war, and the time is now.
- Lone Coyote Calls
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Way out in the wilderness
a Lone Coyote Calls.
Your eyes fix on the shotgun
that's a-hangin' on the wall.
- B Dylan