A child’s curiosity and natural desire to learn are like a tiny flame, easily extinguished unless it’s protected and given fuel. This book will help you as a parent both protect that flame of curiosity and supply it with the fuel necessary to make it burn bright throughout your child’s life. Let’s ignite our children’s natural love of learning!
September 11th, 2008
We Will Never Forget
photo credit: Linus Gelber
“We Will Never Forget”
Those are the words that were prominently displayed for all to see at a Pentagon 9/11 memorial this morning. This maxim is hardly new, though; it has been the cry of fearmongering Republicans for the past two administrations.
The act itself of remembering is completely appropriate. The continual cry of prophets, for example, has been to remember things that the Lord has done on behalf of His people. So keeping in memory the events of 9/11 is not necessarily a bad thing to do.
Confucius once said that “To be wronged is nothing unless you continue to remember it.” Following his logic, it should be obvious that there are different types of events to remember. For example, I would feel differently if remembering a childhood birthday party I enjoyed as opposed to remembering the bully who always beat me up. The act of remembering something plays a large part in our current attitude and future actions. We must be careful, then, what we remember and for what purpose we remember it.
9/11 was indeed a tragic event, and many lives were lost. We should remember the sacrifice of first responders who fought to save more lives, and remember the innocent civilians who had not done anything to merit their early death.
But for what purpose are we remembering?
If our memorials, songs, tributes, and political propaganda serve only to help us remember the lives of our loved ones who died that day, then we have acted appropriately. But I fear that the continual display of 9/11 fanfare is intended not specifically to honor the fallen, but instead to continually evoke feelings of revenge, hatred, frustration, and fear.
Skilled politicians both help to create and capitalize upon such a frame of mind in the citizenry, for if the populace is kept in a scared state and demanding revenge, the politician is given a rubber stamp for any and all policy that aims (whether explicitly or superficially) to eradicate the enemy.
It would help our own remembrance to open our eyes and see what others around the world will likewise never forget:
- An estimated 500,000 to 1 million innocent Iraqi civilians have died.
- 2,255,000 Iraqi civilians have been displaced within their own country.
- Iraqi homes have electricity for 1-2 hours per day, while before the war they had 16 to 24 hours per day.
- 70% of Iraqis do not have access to an adequate water supply.
- Over 4,000 U.S. soldiers have been killed.
- 3,500 innocent Afghanistan civilians have died.
The list could, of course, go on ad infinitum. Suffice it to say that there are others throughout the world who likewise feel that “[they] will never forget”. What, then, is the difference between them and us?
Again, it all comes down to action. We’ve remembered the events of 9/11 today; seven years have passed, and we still haven’t caught the man who is allegedly responsible for the atrocity. Several military operations have been carried out as a result of our supposed efforts to root out “terrorism” (while conducting some of our own), millions have died or are dying as a result of our efforts, and hatred against the United States has been fomented worldwide.
We must stop the bloodshed and not allow politicians to use our feelings and frustration to fuel their foreign policies. Our remembrance must not selfishly be for our own countrymen, but for all who have suffered as a result of military and civilian attacks. Should we fail to do so, each side of the battle will remember the attacks against them and use them to continually fight each other.
So, it boils down to this: will we prostitute our memories in support of perpetual warfare, or keep them sacred and fight to prevent any future events of death and destruction that would only become somebody else’s memory?
63 Responses to “We Will Never Forget”
September 11, 2008
[…] as a way to mark our modern “day of infamy.” It is unfortunate that the event has been used so effectively to manipulate our politics. Once upon a time, America represented more to the world than simply a big bully who […]
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Whenever I see the billboards with this reminder of not forgetting 9/11, I worry that people really do take that to mean “don’t forgive and make sure we get revenge”. It feels (to me) like propaganda for continued war (maybe never-ending war because terrorism may always exist?). Justice needs to be sought, but our attitude should not be revengeful or unforgiving in doing so.
It is all too easy for our rite of remembering to be turned into a thirst for vengeance (excused as righteous indignation). It reminds me of Amalakiah who “began to inspire the hearts of the Lamanites against the people of Nephi; yea, he did appoint men to speak unto the Lamanites from their towers, against the Nephites. ” (Alma 48:1)
This stands in stark contrast to Moroni who reacted to danger by promoting the title of liberty – “In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children.” (Alma 46:12)
Often forgotten is the fact that Captain Moroni raised the title of liberty against the “kingmen” who were a faction of people within their own Nephite government. The kingmen were seeking to abolish the laws that Mosiah had set up under the reign of the judges. So, Captain Moroni raised up his “bumper sticker” on a pole and waved it among his people as a political rallying cry.
How like our own day, we have “kingmen” who would abolish the Constitutional law in an effort to gain power. And we have the Captain Connors who proclaim allegiance to Constitutional principles.
I would raise my own title of liberty bumper sticker and proclaim that 9/11 was only another false-flag attempt by those “kingmen” within the echelons of the Secret Combinations of our day in order to bring about further corruption of law (Patriot Act ect.) and to bring empire upon the world by military might.
Thank you for helping me to make my point Kelly. Moroni raised the title of liberty against the real threats of his day while Amalikiah raised men to speak against the pretended threats that would help him to achieve his ends (and he also used secret combinations to achieve those ends). We need to look at the cries to “never forget” and recognize whether they are directed at the real threats to our liberty, or if they are directed in a way to turn our minds toward the personal ambitions of those in power.
I’m grateful for the fact that this is the last year the Bush administration will be able to milk 9/11 for all the propaganda value they can get from it.
I’ve come to the conclusion that the biggest difference between McCain and Obama supporters at this point is that the former group continue to live in fear that terrorists will kill them here in the United States someday for absolutely no good reason at all (or maybe the reason would be because the terrorists just enjoy killing people for the sheer fun of it), while the latter group understands that the US hasn’t been the best neighbor to Middle Eastern countries (among numerous other nations throughout the world) over the past several decades, and that if things are ever going to improve, our foreign relations policies need to change to show that we will no longer feel the compulsion to set up pro-US dictators in other countries’ governments simply because it’s good for the USA.
Given the financial state of the US these days, it looks like we may soon be entering the phase of history that the Nephites went through beginning in 4th Nephi. We can’t say we weren’t warned.
Connor’s post brings up an important point. The remembrance on the events of 9/11 might could inspire thoughts of PATRIOTISM or NATIONALISM in one’s mind. It is important we know the difference between these two.
Patriotism is love of country.
Nationalism is believing that one’s country ought to force its principles upon other countries and peoples because it is believed to be superior. (Of course this is rationalized on account of the other country’s lack of freedom, poverty, or pre-emption, or … you fill in the rest.)
I think the remembrance of the events of 9/11 instill in the minds of some Americans NATIONALISM, not patriotism.
Remember the Nationalists (Nazis) of Germany. Modern day Germans are careful to never cross the line from patriotism to nationalism.
We Americans ought to do the same.
Kelly is right on. Patriotism is the goal. Nationalism always has negative consequences.
To me, “Never Forget” means to remember that evil does actually exist.
You are right, but you don’t seem to know why you’re right. I apologize if I am wrong, but…
I have been reading the book “Assassin’s Gate”, by George Packer, and a few times I’ve been on the verge of tears thinking what we have done to the Iraqi people (and Afghani people for that matter).
So yes, a lot of evil does actually exist, but many of us don’t know just how close by it is. It’s known by the names “Provocation” and “Propaganda”.
Thanks, Connor, for an excellent article. I’ve written here about why it’s important, not only not to forget, but to know (many perhaps for the first time) why all of this has happened.
So yes, a lot of evil does actually exist, but many of us don’t know just how close by it is.
Indeed. I was disappointed that one of my submitted questions in this week’s Sutherland debate regarding domestic enemies was not asked. Too many American point the finger at a few cave-dwellers, completely ignoring the evil that is in our midst.
…it’s important, not only not to forget, but to know (many perhaps for the first time) why all of this has happened.
Otherwise, we end up repeating history…
Hmm… it appears the line “never forget” actually means “never forgive” to some, as I worried it would. Check here and here.
The author of this post actually says,
“We must never forgive them for their brutal attacks and the massive death and mayhem they have wrought”.
If everyone in the world took on this attitude towards nations, groups, or individuals who had wronged them, can you imagine what life would be like?
I appreciate the concern :-).
The phrase actually *leads me to* many other conclusions. And while I do recognize a multitude of sources of evil, I didn’t want to get into them, for the sake of brevity. From the looks of it, too, as much as I see in the world around me, I’d be the “babe in the woods” in this discussion. [Which doesn’t bother me as much as it could, since I don’t care for the paralysis of extreme conspiracy theories, moral relativism, or anything like them.]
Of course we have evil within and without. I get the sense that I may disagree with you (and especially with others) on the degrees of evil and urgency, depending on what we’re talking about, specifically; but it boils down to the fact that it exists, and we’re still responsible for doing as much good in our spheres of influence – individually and collectively – as we can. As it is, I’m focusing on personal & family preparedness.
I say we fight evil with everything we have – but I don’t think conspiracy theories (Kelly W.) and self-flagellation (Connor and Frank and the CIA-made-the-bad-guys-madder point) are the most productive ways to do it.
Kannie, your use of the word self-flagellation immediately made me think of Matthew 5: “And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee” and Alma 60 “Do ye suppose that God will look upon you as guiltless while ye sit still and behold these things? Behold I say unto you, Nay. Now I would that ye should remember that God has said that the inward vessel shall be cleansed first, and then shall the outer vessel be cleansed also”.
IF there is evil within, how could it NOT be productive to focus on and fight that first?
My priorities come about this way: All the self-improvement in the world won’t do much to protect our kids if other enemies (besides sin) kill us first.
(Yes, I still keep the “gain the world, lose the soul” precept in mind… but insofar as we can preserve our lives without losing our soul, I say we do it.)
So, while I think we need to… “improve” our elected officials; and we need to improve individual morality in this country (my blog spiel here) so that we don’t give them even *more* ammunition, we do need to stop them from killing us.
And that’s not going to happen by just leaving them alone now. Iran (well, their ruler) is just the most vocal part of the global sentiment and organization. And then there’s Russia, Venezuela, etc., who are supporting the terrorists but don’t realize they’re next unless they convert…
A good chunk of the world is trying to gang up to eliminate the US and Israel. I’d prefer that not happen, and I’m willing to take (certain) action to that effect… even if sometimes it feels like Moroni’s late prayer in his account.
All the self-improvement in the world won’t do much to protect our kids if other enemies (besides sin) kill us first.
Proper civic self-improvement would bring more security to people in this country, not less. Only by pursuing the wrong foreign/domestic policies do we expose ourselves to more external threats.
…we do need to stop them from killing us.
When we promote a botched foreign policy and imperialism abroad, the opportunities for killing us increase. We can’t have a proper national defense when our troops and resources are spread thin. So fixing our “inner vessel” (pursuing a military strategy that is in harmony with the Constitution and founding principles of this nation) would actually strengthen our security and defenses, thus preventing “them” from killing us.
How far do we go in doing this? Yes we should absolutely do what we can to defend ourselves here at home. I don’t think it is productive or wise, however, to go around the world offensively trying to stop threats before they materialize. I think this type of action will get us 3 steps backward for every 1 step forward in the form of new enemies who now see US as the threat.
I guess I am not as afraid of these terrorists as I am supposed to be, but the words of President Kimball keep coming to mind:
“We forget that if we are righteous the Lord will either not suffer our enemies to come upon us—and this is the special promise to the inhabitants of the land of the Americas (see 2 Ne. 1:7)—or he will fight our battles for us… What are we to fear when the Lord is with us? Can we not take the Lord at his word and exercise a particle of faith in him?”
Even if our nation as a whole is becoming less righteous, I can still work on my own life and trust the rest to Him. If the time comes that His judgments are to be poured out upon this nation, there will be nothing that can stop that.
I’d prefer that not happen, and I’m willing to take (certain) action to that effect… even if sometimes it feels like Moroni’s late prayer in his account.
This quote seems quite relevant:
Carissa and Connor:
I agree. But if I were to follow ONLY that line of thinking now, when I can still act to bless others, I’d be stockpiling water and ammunition in the mountains. Instead, we are commanded to be in the world. Benefiting others.
I’m just coming from my point of view, of course, and rather than debate in circles, I’ll just put these forth as the conclusions I’ve come to (so far):
* Our individual corruption really is at the root of our problems.
* Our political corruption is evidence of individual corruption.
* Just because people are sinning does not mean they should be left to die.
* The time to hunker down, live on our food storage, and count ourselves defenseless but for the Lord, is not yet.
* So long as I am able, I am accountable for doing all the good that I can – even worldwide.
* Two people can do the same thing, (e.g.: go to war), for two totally different motivations, and it is accounted to them differently.
* Sometimes bad guys need to be eliminated.
* No, we as a country are NOT doing all we can and should do to bless our brothers and sisters around the world; but that does not mean that freeing at least some of them is not a worthy goal.
Do those kind of make sense? Can you at least see where I’m coming from? I’m not saying we should steamroll the entire planet, but I also believe it’s wrong to allow oppression when we can help alleviate suffering, instead. Do the unfortunate “human foibles” of our history and foreign policy make it harder to do that? Of course. But should we just withdraw from the world until we’ve perfected our society? I don’t feel that we should.
But if I were to follow ONLY that line of thinking now, when I can still act to bless others, I’d be stockpiling water and ammunition in the mountains. Instead, we are commanded to be in the world. Benefiting others.
Living a moral life (both individually and collectively) puts you in a better position to help others. Any help offered through force our taxation creates harm. For more on this thought, see this post.
Instead, we are commanded to be in the world. Benefiting others.
So long as I am able, I am accountable for doing all the good that I can – even worldwide.
Goodness does not come at the point of a gun.
Two people can do the same thing, (e.g.: go to war), for two totally different motivations, and it is accounted to them differently.
Motivation is irrelevant – war is only justified under specific circumstances, regardless of the intentions and motivations of those fighting.
Sometimes bad guys need to be eliminated.
By whom, and with what authority?
No, we as a country are NOT doing all we can and should do to bless our brothers and sisters around the world; but that does not mean that freeing at least some of them is not a worthy goal.
Countries don’t bless people. People bless people.
But should we just withdraw from the world until we’ve perfected our society? I don’t feel that we should.
There is a principle to be had in the “gathering” mentality of the Saints. The world will fall apart on its own, and thus we’ve been commanded to come out of the world (touch not the unclean thing, etc). By showing to others what a model society looks like and how proper civic government is administered, that inspires them to act likewise.
It’s amazing to see how many other countries have constitutions closely modeled upon our own. This did not occur through force (militarily or economically), but by example. The founders sought to revise and improve our “inner vessel” that America might become a beacon of liberty in a world known for tyranny. Others saw the prosperity and freedom that ensued, and wanted the same for themselves.
We will not solve the world’s problems through force or invasion. Only be setting a good example and inspiring others to act likewise (within their own jurisdictions) will proper good truly be done.
I don’t advocate not acting to help others or withdrawing ourselves from the world. If you mean withdrawing troops from around the world- well, that doesn’t mean that we as individuals cannot help alleviate suffering. There is much MUCH good that can be done outside the political structure. Think of all the church accomplishes, for example. Think of what networks of families and friends and neighbors can do for people all throughout the world. We can all contribute and we certainly should. Connor is a great example of that.
I think you were hinting (correct me if I’m wrong) that taking out Saddam Hussein was a good thing for our government to do because:
a. he was a bad guy and sometimes bad guys need to be eliminated
b. it would be wrong to allow oppression
c. freeing people from tyranny is a worthy goal
Never mind the fact that we had no authority or justification (politically) for waging war with and taking out the leader of another country. He did not attack us, he was not involved in 9/11, but because of the above reasons it was acceptable?
Consider these 2 quotes:
“…Nor is war justified in an attempt to enforce a new order of government, or even to impel others to a particular form of worship, however better the government or eternally true the principles of the enforced religion may be” David O. McKay Conference Report, Apr. 1942
“Nothing in the Constitution nor in logic grants to the President of the United States or to Congress the power to influence the political life of other countries, to “uplift” their cultures, to bolster their economies, to feed their peoples or even to defend them against their enemies.” Ezra Taft Benson, United States Foreign Policy, June 1968
I just came across this and thought it was relevant to the post. If the call to “never forget” the events of 9/11 stirs up anger or vengeance in us, we would be wise to consider this situation from the Book of Mormon:
“It wasn’t only their wickedness that kept Mormon from leading the Nephites, for he wrote, “Notwithstanding their wickedness I had led them many times to battle, and had loved them … with all my heart.” (Morm. 3:12.) It was because “they had sworn by all that had been forbidden them by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, that they would go up unto their enemies to battle, and avenge themselves of the blood of their brethren.” (Morm. 3:14.)
Earlier, Mormon had exhorted his people to “stand boldly before the Lamanites and fight for their wives, and their children, and their houses, and their homes.” (Morm. 2:23.) But now the Nephites were not going to war to defend anything. They had not issued a proclamation of peace, nor had they tried to gain peace by other means. Instead, they were going to war out of vengeance.
From that point, the Nephite nation began to lose its battles and was eventually destroyed. The Nephites entered into a vicious cycle of vengeance begetting vengeance and wickedness begetting wickedness. “Because the armies of the Nephites went up unto the Lamanites … they began to be smitten; for were it not for that, the Lamanites could have had no power over them.” Dean Garrett, Peace Within, Ensign 1988
I thought this was a terrific post.
Thanks Carissa, I am glad you brought up the scriptures about avenging themselves against their brethren. What was true for the Nephites is still true today – – when we try to avenge ourselves, we will lose.
We will lose in Afghanistan and Iraq the same way the Nephite nation lost all their battles once they started offensive manoevers, not defensive ones. Pre-emption is not scripturally justified.
The Nephite nation was saved ONLY because of the righteous souls still living. (see Helaman 13: 12, 13) We are told in the Gospel Doctrine lesson book covering Helaman chapters 13 – 16 (page 158) tells us the conditions then will mirror our conditions we will face right before the 2nd Coming. The quote the lessonbook gives is from Pres. Benson: “The record of the Nephite history just prior to the Savior’s visit reveals many parallels to our own day as we anticipate the Savior’s second coming.”
Using Pres. Benson’s and the Gospel Doctrine Lesson book’s line of thinking, the conditions around us right now say that we already would have been swept off the face of the land were it not for the remaining righteous still living on the land.
The Lord has not justified our use of force in the Middle East. (see D&C 98: 33 – 38) So any arguments about a “noble cause to destroy a tyrant” are only rationalization of our current failed foreign policy.
Our current foreign policy of pre-emptive war (now commonly called the Bush Doctrine) is totally satanic.
Luckily for us, the blessing/curse of the Book of Mormon is being stalled off only because of the righteous, and because the prophecies state that the Gospel will not be taken from the earth until the 2nd Coming. But before the 2nd Coming, we are told the Constitution will hang by a thread.
We currently find ourselves at the very point that the prophets have warned us about. We have a satanic foreign policy enacted by leaders who are buying up armies and navies with gold and silver. We find the “judgment seats” are filled with people who are plotting the destruction of our Constitution (Patriot Act, etc.) And we currently find our Constitution hanging by a thread, if it is not currently broken already. But, just as in Helaman and Nephi’s time, the chief judges have “flattered” us into thinking all is well. This is why Samuel the Lamanite had such a hard time preaching to the Nephites.
I would suggest some serious study of the times and conditions of the B of M chapters that cover the time period before the coming of Christ in the flesh. Also recommended study would be Ether chapter 8.
Anyone who remembers back on 9/11 with any feelings of revenge or justification for war or for hegemony ought to look deep within their souls.
The attacks of 9/11 were undoubtedly history’s worst crime. Yet it has not been solved. The real perpetrators are still out there. We ought to investigate this crime of the century, but we have not found the perpetrators yet. It is not Osama bin Laden. (see the FBI’s official website. The FBI has no evidence to convict him.) Even Bush himself stated that he no longer worries about OBL. And Dana Perino states that Osama was not the one behind 9/11. And of course everyone knows that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11. Bush himself told us that. So, when we remember back on 9/11 seven years ago, let’s all remember what we have learned in those 7 years since. USA is more hated in the world community now than in 2001. This is not progress we have been making since the attacks of 9/11. We need to remember back so we can in hindsight see all we have done wrong since, and then work with renewed vigor to right those wrongs.
The information you provided is really helpful – I hadn’t seen that quote from Pres. McKay before, or Pres. Benson’s, either. (Although I’m familiar with some of his other opinions … )
Just to clarify, I’m absolutely against going to war for vengeance – not only is it wrong, but it’s stupid. (Case in point: Israel/Palestinian back-and-forth… oy.)
I’ve learned some things and now have some points to ponder… I’m still wondering how it all shakes out, (tying in with another recent thought topic, finding purpose in suffering, as well); so there’s definitely food for a lot more pondering…
Thanks again for clarifying – some statements in the post and comments were sounding like moral equivalence, rather than just trying to avoid sinning at all; and I think given the timing, I was also reacting to more than just exactly what this post said.
And I think I was about to make Connor’s head explode; sorry about that, Connor 🙂 .
I’m still trying to learn all I can too, so whatever you find out- pass it on! Nice chatting with you.
I appreciated this post so much it made me start writing on my blog again just to add a link to it. 🙂
But as always, I also appreciate the many conversations that go on here. Lots of good comments and thoughts. Thanks!
Anyone who remembers back on 9/11 with any feelings of revenge or justification for war or for hegemony ought to look deep within their souls.
Oh, I really did. I was firmly convinced that nuking Mecca was the way to go.
Fortunately, I got better. 🙂
…I got better.
Were you turned into a newt?
Apparently, I was turned into a liberal. Or something that was less than enamored of what the Bush administration had wrought.
Connor, thank you for this post! I don’t have any criticism, corrections or clarifications but to thank you for taking the approach you did with this post. I saw a similar “never forget” headline on the cover of BYU’s Daily Universe and had similar thoughts.
Leave it to you to trash the United States of America on a day that you should be thanking your lucky stars that you were born here. Connor you sound like a broken record. If you dont like it here please dont let the door hit you on the way out. You were born with a silver spoon in your mouth and now you curse the spoon. Please go find a better place to live. Brave Americans have given their lives so you may enjoy living in the most democratic society know to mankind. Still you spit on their graves and their efforts. I know people of you faith exempt themselves from serving their country but I still think you should be respectful of those who gave the full measure so you may take your freedom for granted even though the Constitution that protects you does not demand it.
Your odd comment is as absurd as it is untruthful. Feel free to come back and join the discussion when you have something to say that has at least a little basis in fact and accuracy.
To be fair, I don’t think Mark’s comment was real criticism but a primitive stimulus-response sort of answer to certain ideas in your post.
For example, he’s likely to read a plea for prudence or understanding that all people (even foreigners) are created equal as some sort of veiled slur against America. He’s unable to verbalize his thoughts precisely and this frustrates him even more, finally leading him to the stupid, self-righteous rambling you saw in his comment.
A’ight, that bullethead Mark finally got me to summarize my thoughts, which I’ve been working on every since seeing the chilling “We Will Never Forget” on the cover of the Daily Universe three days ago:
I started out with an attempt at humor, and as it got angrier and angrier I just let it grow. Grr. . . sigh.
Like I have said to you time and time again. “THE TRUTH HURTS.” Without a strong national defense our country and our economy would be almost worthless. Your freedoms would cease. We would be at the mercy of a dictatorship at best. Now that might sound really good by your liberal thinking. But it is certainly nothing that I want to experience. My generation has a long history of defending the Constitution and the freedoms we have earned. Socialism might seem rosey to you but I assure you, your generation is going to have to wait till my generation is in the ground before your wish comes true. Go ahead and believe that wishing your enemies will magically become your friends. Just more wishful thinking for you, the snow board generation. In the mean time we will still provide you with the national security that you have been enjoying ever since the silver spoon was first inserted into your mouth.
Without a strong national defense our country and our economy would be almost worthless.
Where have I championed against having a strong national defense? My argument is in fact very much in favor of a strong national defense. I have asserted repeatedly that by spreading ourselves thin and fighting offense wars, our defense crumbles.
Socialism might seem rosey to you…
Um, what? Have you read anything on this blog? Me, socialism? I mean… really? Be careful how you accuse people, Mark… your ignorance is slipping through the cracks.
Just more wishful thinking for you, the snow board generation.
Case in point.
I agree with you that ‘the truth hurts’ and quite frankly right now it is hurting our nation abominably. Connor isn’t arguing against a strong national defense, he is arguing *for* one. Spreading our forces thin across 130+ countries — and particularly concentrated in a nation that never attacked us, does not allow for a *strong* national defense.
Connor isn’t suggesting ‘magical thinking’ here. The only misguided and illogical thinking that has been applied to our foreign policy is this idea that going into sovereign nations on the ‘suspicion of future capability to become our enemy’ won’t exponentially increase our enemies abroad! Certainly there are motivated factions in this world that wish America harm, but we don’t need to go stirring up any new ones . . .
Please, at least consider these arguments. If most posters here are barking up the wrong tree, please explain why and then what we should do about it. Don’t just mis-label us.
We’re a pretty motivated bunch and would be happy to help if you’ve got a good direction to point out. Thanks!
“Amen” to your blogpost, Clumpy.
mark’s right, don’t you know? Conservative = pro-war capitalists, and Liberal = anti-war socialists. There is NO middle ground or third alternatives.
Mark called me a member of the snowboard generation, too (on my blog). If it becomes a term for “jaded, objective people who reject labels yet love freedom and free expression” then I’ll proudly identify with it. Never snowboarded though.
Jeff T, you have to pick one complete, packaged ideology or the other. Only biased wafflers try to evaluate individual issues.
Thanks, Mark N.
Well… odd perspective, from my point of view. Additionally, your facts are really skewed to present one picture… normal, really, I suppose. I do the same, and I’m sure everyone really does, likely as not that they simply see the data from their perspective rather than out of dishonesty.
I’ve seen the death toll too. i’ve read about it on other websites. I’ve seen it in our ever-so-unbiased news. Let’s have the other side of the story of the iraqi war.
I noted that you said “500,000 to 1 million INNOCENT Iraqis have died.”(Caps added). Interesting judgment call, that you know for a fact that all of those deaths were innocents. Regardless of that fact, you’re dealing with a much more complex situation in a very simple way. Is it not the case that we have Iraqi insurgents fighting Iraqi defense forces, as well as the Iraqi military? So if either side has a casualty, it pads your number and you get to declare that it was yet another innocent Iraqi life. Seems a little naive to me. Iraq has essentially a fight for survival going on. We’re facilitating a democracy to maintain its hold against terrorists and insurgents. There will be casualties on both sides, and the number will almost certainly go up if we pull out. So let’s take that and put it up against the genocidal actions of the former terrorism-supporting dictator…. is it worth it? I’m inclined to lean toward “yes”.
Ditto for displacement of Iraqi citizens.
And are you even aware of the power problems the country faces, beyond blaming your own country for the issues? In January of last year, a report about the power situation by a reporter noted that in the past year 15 out of 17 high-voltage power lines feeding Baghdad had been sabotaged by insurgents. The comment was made that by Mr. Shimari, a spokesman for the electricity ministry said “When we fix a line, the insurgents attack it the next day”.
“We will never forget” is an excellent maxim; you’ve misunderstood and mischaracterized it due to your own jaded perspective. It is simply this; we will never forget that we can be attacked, and will not be lured again into complacency. We will never forget those that died, not just in the attacks but those first responders who willingly gave up their lives to save others. We will never forget that we were united as a country when it really mattered.
So we can be clear on this point as well; we are not trying to catch “the man responsible”, because there isn’t just one. Suggesting that if we caught Bin Laden that the rest of the network that successfully attacked us would fall apart, or that only Bin Laden is responsible just makes no sense at all.
I’ll close by saying this. We need to fight against the haughty attitude that we are the only reason anything happens. We are not the only ones in Iraq. We are not the only ones fighting. They unfortunately are fighting each other, insurgents fighting against a fledgling democracy. I’d be extremely surprised if any of your numbers took that into account, yet you claim the innocence of all – and lay all Iraqi deaths at the hands of our “fearmonger” Republican administration.
I can appreciate the point of view, it keeps us in balance… but I hope the feeling is mutual.
One other point. I don’t consider this a “war for revenge” as you do; perhaps it is again the same perspective. I don’t want to be hit again. These guys have demonstrated not only intent but means or attempts at means to launch additional attacks. Unless you’d like to lock down the US, or if you choose to simply wait until we’re attacked again, the only other alternative is to stop them.
Toadicus- I agree with you in your point about Bin Laden, and also the other reasons for remembering 9-11. But if we don’t know exactly WHO is responsible for a crime, we cannot just go around the world killing anyone we might think could be responsible or may be in the future. This is not just. Even if you think it will keep you safe (and on this point- I think safety is temporary because it will breed more enemies).
Surely you recognize we had no hard evidence that Iraq had plans to attack us or had anything to do with 9-11. The president is very clear about this (now). So are others like Colin Powell. Iraq did not attack us. Our government wanted to advance the “freedom agenda” in the Middle East. This was a desire long before 9-11. Great goal, bad way (and unjust way) of doing it. Our government has no authority to be involved in regime change, even when it’s for the better. I don’t see how it can possibly be justified. Please enlighten me.
When children are killed, they are innocent. And no matter the numbers, whether one or half a million, our government has been directly to blame for some of the children’s deaths.
Pre-emptive war is not scriptural. The Bush Doctrine is satanic. You cannot say that we will take over the stewardship of a sovereign country just because we don’t like what their ruler is doing without taking some of the blame on yourself. You take over the country and occupy it, and you share in the blame of all those innocent deaths, whether that number be large or small.
You blame Saddam and the Iraqi insurgents for the deaths. But, the total situation in Iraq is now partly our own making, whether a US troop killed a child or not. Had we stayed out of Iraq, the total blame would have been on the Iraqis themselves.
The justification for the pre-emptive shock and awe bombing and subsequent occupation has been the attacks of 19 Saudi hijackers. But, all proof shows that the 9/11 attacks were an elaborate false-flag attack, having nothing to do with Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.
The simple fact that you are willing to read different points of view and leave thoughtful and polite comments speaks well of you.
I’m wondering about this assertion: “We need to fight against the haughty attitude that we are the only reason anything happens.”
Is it “haughty” to do self-assessment and ‘consider the beam in our own eye’ as pertaining to the conflicts in the middle east?
Or is it more “haughty” to assume that each soul in Iraq is worth less than each American soul — especially when the basic reasons we are even pitting them against each other at all is because we are valuing American commercial and energy interests above Iraqi sovereign interests. [in this I mean with regards to our continued occupation . . . all arguments about entry into the war aside, President Hinckley warned quite strongly about the evils of Empires like the British and yet ‘Empire’ is precisely the reason the ‘green zone’ is designed for centuries of occupation and not months — and the reason neither Obama or McCain is talking about complete withdrawal]
We have indisputably caused the civil wars and mortal strife in that nation. You may be currently convinced we were justified in doing so, but much evidence suggests that we were not. The Iraqis did not attack us.
You cite the problems of ‘insurgents’ sabotaging the restoration of power in the country but the grid needs rebuilding only because we aggressively destroyed key components in the first place. I have read many accounts of interviews with various “insurgents” who feel that they are as patriotic as our own soldiers as they fight against the “haughty Westerners” who have [indisputably] taken over their once sovereign nation. In other words, our mere presence in the nation creates many of these targets.
The USA is certainly not the *only* reason anything happens in the world, but neither are we without responsibility and influence. I feel we could exercise both with much more wisdom and Christianity than we are now doing.
Wow, I actually attempted to post a response to Carissa and my internet connection croaked… and I come back a few minutes later…. wow!
I don’t claim that individuals within Iraq’s government are responsible direcly or indirectly for the 9-11 attacks. I don’t think that assumption has ever really been made, but it’s been mischaracterized on the other side of the argument. The basic question is “Who did it”? And the answer is not “Bin Laden”, the answer is “Al Qaida”. Is there Al Qaida in Iraq? Yes, it’s been proven. Did Saddam Hussein have the capability to produce WMD’s (and I still believe he had them and either has shipped them off or hidden them well enough – and no, he wasn’t working alone… but that’s my opinion)? Yes, it’s been proven. Did he support terrorism? Yes, that’s been proven as well. Does the US have the authority to police other countries for its own purposes? No. Does the UN? If they’ve agreed to the UN charter and are members of its association, yes. Did the UN issue ultimatum after ultimatum without backing any of them up? Yes. Did Saddam thumb his nose at the UN’s mandates? Yes. Should the UN have done what it said it would do? Yes. Who is the military of the UN? Well, that’s disputable (ha) but in truth it’s the US.
My opinion, it’s about time we did something. Good heavens.
Joshua 6:17. Joshua 8:26. Just pointing out a couple of scriptures describing not only a pre-emptive war, but one ordered by God in which God commanded complete destruction of a people, men, women, and children. And their animals, and all the spoils of the city. The only point I’m making with this is to claim because there are children involved hence the war is satanic is to declare that God is satanic. Not valid.
Pre-emptive war actually is scriptural. Helaman 6:37 describes the Lamanites as hunting down the Gadianton Robbers – and the Lamanites were becoming more righteous than the Nephites at the time. Again, stating that the Bush Doctrine is satanic is a little presumptuous. And we didn’t take over the stewardship of the country, it was never the intent. We managed while they got themselves together, but it was always the Iraqi’s country.
Regarding the idea that if we’re in a country, we are responsible for “all those innocent deaths”, that is patently absurd. There are Iraqi’s here – also known as occupying territory – therefore any murders that happen here are their fault too? Come on. That’s the logic you’re suggesting, unless you can demonstrate otherwise.
And yes, the situation in Iraq is partly our making. Great! I’ll take that, considering that there is no longer a government in power that is mass murdering men, women and *ahem* children in an act of social cleansing. They have an established democratic government! Oh, the horror! The situation is at least such that the average Iraqi can actually go about his business without worrying if one of Saddam’s lustful children is going to drop by and pick up one of his daughters, or his wife, rape and then murder them. They don’t have to worry about being fed into a wood chipper. For the first time, they have the strength and the ability to fight back against the terrorists that routinely bomb, murder, kidnap, sabotage and otherwise wreak havoc in their country… and you call that a bad thing?
I think perhaps the failure of this government to fully establish the reasons for the Iraq war is exemplified in these postings. The Iraq war was justified for more than just the 9-11 attacks.
What I find haughty is the idea that we are somehow the entire cause of all strife in Iraq.
The only way I could accept that is a willing suspension of my observation of reality. There has been genocidal strife within Iraq. They’ve had wars and major issues between Sunnis and Sheites, not to mention the Kurds. So how is it that just because we’re there, somehow, we caused the strife?
I feel to remind you that these terrorists not only feel patriotic attacking us, but attacking these targets within their own country; and it has happened before the war, and it will continue. They hate us (imho) because they can’t control us like the other governments that they have effectively cowed by their terrorist activities. They are a ruthless bunch, not a great deal different from our mafia.
I don’t disagree that we need to be thoughtful in what we do, that we should indeed find the beam in our own eyes. I enjoy reading others viewpoints; it enlightens me and modifies my perspective. What bothers me having it suggested by my association that I believe in something “satanic” (thanks, Kelly), or that I am also a “fearmonger Republican” (thanks, Connor). I don’t believe that of myself. I understand the desire to make ones arguments appear more strong than they are, but it isn’t convincing.
Wow Toadicus, I guess you’re right. All is well in Zion.
We’re facilitating a democracy to maintain its hold against terrorists and insurgents.
On what Constitutional grounds? What gives us the authority to prop up foreign governments? And your proposed reason does nothing to explain why we went into Iraq in the first place. The terrorists and insurgents only became a problem in Iraq after we went into that country. So you’re promoting a self-fulfilling cycle of carnage.
There will be casualties on both sides, and the number will almost certainly go up if we pull out. So let’s take that and put it up against the genocidal actions of the former terrorism-supporting dictator…. is it worth it? I’m inclined to lean toward “yes”.
You sound like Madeleine Albright.
It is simply this; we will never forget that we can be attacked, and will not be lured again into complacency.
What a farce! That is not the meaning that 99% of individuals believe the slogan means. Pasted all over photos of the Twin Towers, it clearly means: we will not forget who did this, and we will not forget the lives that were lost. Spin it all you like, but that’s not the conventional interpretation.
We need to fight against the haughty attitude that we are the only reason anything happens.
Who claims this argument? It’s absurd.
We are not the only ones in Iraq.
Yeah, after we bullied and pressured a bunch of other countries into joining our “coalition” (which largely devolved into a one-man show, supported by a sprinkling of soldiers here and there).
We are not the only ones fighting. They unfortunately are fighting each other, insurgents fighting against a fledgling democracy.
Right, there’s been civil war and strife in that region for centuries. We’re now in the middle of it, and it will continue long after we leave (if that ever happens). We’ve just given them a new target to shoot at: us.
I’d be extremely surprised if any of your numbers took that into account, yet you claim the innocence of all – and lay all Iraqi deaths at the hands of our “fearmonger” Republican administration.
It’s asinine to blame this all on Republicans: the Democrats have their fair share of responsibility as well, though they like to wash their hands of it and point at the other party.
Unless you’d like to lock down the US, or if you choose to simply wait until we’re attacked again, the only other alternative is to stop them.
Proper defense does not mean “waiting until the last minute”, nor does it necessitate offensive war, either. Our defense has been neutered by spreading our armed forces across the world. Military interventionists and their supporters (of which you seem to be one) refuse to admit this simple fact: that our defense would be much more solid if we withdrew our troops from the 130+ countries we’re in.
Is there Al Qaida in Iraq? Yes, it’s been proven.
Agreed, yet you refuse to acknowledge that they didn’t enter the country until the “great Satan” invaded. They are there because we are there.
My opinion, it’s about time we did something. Good heavens.
And thus the interventionist shows his true colors. Death and destruction are indeed “something”. But it is the right thing? Absolutely not.
Pre-emptive war actually is scriptural.
Sorry, but citing one scripture out of its proper context will not justify your position. If you want to claim scriptural support, you have to reconcile your claim with the numerous scriptures that oppose preemptive warfare.
I feel we could exercise both with much more wisdom and Christianity than we are now doing.
Constitutional grounds? Are you serious? Give me constitutional grounds for your argument, Connor… I’d like to see that. Personally, I think that the constitution allows for a lot of leeway – it’s not intended to have every answer to every problem, it’s intended to give the guidelines for a free and moral people.
The terrorists became a problem in the country because before we went in they were being supported and encouraged by a tyrant who mass-murdered his own people! Why would they attack there? But to suggest they weren’t there, and were only there because we were…. wow. Say what you like, they were there before.
Wow, that was offensive. I noted your “taking things out of context” bit later on in the comment. Kudos on that. Madeline Albright was not describing the current situation, and they are not moral equivalents.
No, that’s not YOUR interpretation. I just don’t see it like you do, and I don’t think most of my friends that agree with me do either. I don’t see how you pull your 99% out, but just because you see it one way doesn’t make you the majority of Americans. That’s a straw man argument, and I suppose I should be offended by it.
It most certainly is not absurd, it is precisely what was going on with the last few posts in which the claim was made that we are responsible for all strife in Iraq, and we are responsible for all deaths. That is the root of the argument, imho.
Whoa, you misunderstood. I’m referring to the Iraqis. They’re there, the argument refers to them.
Not so. Terrorists chose us as a target long before the war.
Could not agree more. I’m a proponent of George Washington’s foreign policy. I’m also a realist, though, and nothing is going to happen quickly.
I don’t acknowledge it because I don’t believe it. Simply because it isn’t documented by the AP doesn’t give it legitimacy.
The interventionist? I haven’t resorted to name calling, have I? Again, straw man argument. It isn’t what I’m proposing. And death and destruction were there long before we got there, as you pointed out.
Excuse me? That was not out of context. In fact, I think the context is pretty darn accurate.
It was Doug that said this, not me. Though I agree with him on that point.
As you and others here have pointed out, there were violently opposed factions in Iraq and Afganistan before we intervened and thus my assertion that “We have indisputably caused the civil wars and mortal strife in that nation.” is demonstrably false and irresponsible — so I apologize.
I guess what I was trying to say is that previous to our intervention the violence was dialed down to less than .01% of what it is now. Yes, Saddam and his sons were truly evil; but in their place we have allowed 100 such ruthless territorial warlords to rise up. Our shifting alliances in-country cause us to fund them, arm them, and goad them to violence against each other when we believe it serves our endgames.
Yes Sunni and Shia (and Kurd and more) have millenia of differences between them but they were not fighting in the streets of Baghdad. There used to be hospitals and electricity and doctors and schools and commerce. Far more than half of the educated health personnel have fled — never to return.
Before we invaded, it was the case that if you stayed clear of the Husseins you had a modicum of peace and security in *most places* in Iraq. Now it is like that *no place* in Iraq — save maybe in the Occupiers’ Green Zone. There simply was not the chaos, violence, suicide bombers, al Qaida, hatred, and warfare that is the reality on the ground as a direct result of our intervention.
There are many unique sovereign governments and regional issues in the Middle East and yet our current administration wants to myopically conflate them and treat them all the same: “MidEastern extremist enemy hotbeds”. Much of Pakistan and Afghanistan were filled with violently warring factions before we entered, but Iraq (and Syria and Iran) are/were not in exactly the same situation.
We are certainly not the cause of *all strife* in the middle east — that is a pointless ‘straw man argument’. But far too often — when we do get involved — our actions do not have pure intent or peaceful consequences.
I would challenge you to read this recent article about Afghanistan — and the proposed surge that both Presidential candidates are suggesting — and let me know your take on the issues discussed therein.
Constitutional grounds? Are you serious? Give me constitutional grounds for your argument, Connor…
The fact that power is not granted to the federal government in the Constitution to prop up foreign governments means that it is denied that power.
The terrorists became a problem in the country because before we went in they were being supported and encouraged by a tyrant who mass-murdered his own people!
So you’re arguing that Saddam had connections with Al-Qaeda? I’d love to see your evidence. The Bush administration hasn’t even been able to prove that one…
Madeline Albright was not describing the current situation, and they are not moral equivalents.
I didn’t imply that she was commenting on the current military action in Iraq (though it is simply an extension of the one she was commenting on). I only meant to imply that you, like her, seem to feel that so much collateral damage (innocent lives) are “worth it” (it being an interventionist foreign policy).
…the claim was made that we are responsible for all strife in Iraq, and we are responsible for all deaths.
Nowhere have I or others claimed that all strife and death in Iraq or elsewhere is caused by Americans. But yes, we are the largest culprit, without a doubt.
Terrorists chose us as a target long before the war.
Depends on which war you’re referring to. Our intervention in the middle east long predates the current Iraq conflict.
I’m a proponent of George Washington’s foreign policy. I’m also a realist, though, and nothing is going to happen quickly.
This sounds to me like George Bush promoting the bailout last week: “I love free markets, but the bailout is necessary”. You can’t be for Washington’s foreign policy if you’re advocating supporting foreign democracies.
And death and destruction were there long before we got there, as you pointed out.
So that justifies our participation in the bloodshed? Simply because it’s been going on prior to our involvement?
That was not out of context. In fact, I think the context is pretty darn accurate.
I could challenge your contextual claims, but instead I’ll simply repeat the other part of my argument you chose to ignore: the fact that you are failing to reconcile your claim with the several other scriptures which explicitly advocate against preemption.
So then, since God commanded Nephi to kill Laban, murder can be justified as scriptural? Have you ever read Hugh Nibley on the subject? He points out that:
1. “[Moroni’s] military preparations are strictly defensive”
2. “He is careful to do nothing that will seem to threaten the Lamanites”
3. “All of his battles are fought on Nephite soil”
He says, “any thought of preemptive strike is out of the question” and “not only is a preemptive strike out of the question but Moroni’s people have to let the enemy attack at least twice before responding, to guarantee that their own action is purely defensive”.
How could the Lamanites hunting down the Gadianton Robbers be considered pre-emptive? Gadiantons were committing crimes of theft and murder and trying to gain power within the Lamanite and Nephite societies. They were perfectly justified in retaliating and stopping them.
Before we arrived you mean? Where is the actual evidence of an operational relationship? Because this is what I understand:
“While some contacts between agents of Saddam’s government and members of al-Qaeda have been alleged, the consensus of experts and analysts has held that those contacts never led to an “operational” relationship. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence concluded that there was only one actual meeting between representatives of the Baathist regime and representatives of al-Qaeda. This single meeting took place in the Sudan in 1995, and the Iraqi representative, who is in custody and has been cooperating with investigators, said that after the meeting he “received word from his IIS chain-of-command that he should not see bin Laden again.” The Panel found evidence of only two other instances in which there was any communication between Saddam’s regime and al-Qaeda members. On the other two occasions, the Committee concluded, Saddam Hussein rebuffed meeting requests from an al-Qaeda operative. The Intelligence Community has not found any other evidence of meetings between al-Qaeda and Iraq.” Wikipedia
“We could never verify that there was any Iraqi authority, direction and control, complicity with al-Qaeda for 9/11 or any operational act against America, period.” former Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet
President Benson explained it well. It is quoted in comment #22
And again, this is the law that I gave unto mine ancients, that they should not go out unto battle against any nation, kindred, tongue, or people, save I, the Lord, commanded them. And if any nation, tongue, or people should proclaim war against them, they should first lift a standard of peace unto that people, nation, or tongue; and if that people did not accept the offering of peace, neither the second nor the third time, they should bring these testimonies before the Lord; then I, the Lord, would give unto them a commandment, and justify them in going out to battle atgainst that nation, tongue, or people. And I, the Lord, would fight their battles, and their chidren’s battles, and their children’s children’s, until they had avenged themselves on all their enemies, to the third and fourth generation. Behold, this is an ensample unto all people, saith the Lord you God, for justification before me.
August 6, 1833
Here I sit after a day of intense introspection and thought regarding this topic. Doug can attest that it’s been a long-held view of mine (well, so can Carissa… 🙂 ).
That said, I appreciate the thoughtful and engaging comments. And I have to say that I am undergoing a serious change of heart… odd to say, but there it is… I think I am beginning to agree with you. I mentioned this to my wife yesterday and she was completely caught off guard, even using some of my arguments that I’ve used with her. She doesn’t understand it yet, but I have to finalize my own thoughts before I can establish this.
The problem with this whole argument is that the premises given in 99% of the arguments against the war are incorrect at best, and most are flat out misleading. Second problem with this argument is that you almost have to be LDS (or accept the Book of Mormon and other Church authors) in order to really grasp it. Truth be told, I think I’ve allowed myself to be somewhat misled.
And yes, Connor, I’m with Washington on foreign policy. I don’t know how we get there from here… we have a serious problem with education and the infiltration of socialist/communist agendas. As reactionary as that sounds… and I’m not even McCarthy.
So… for those that have read my posts as a rallying cry… I’d suggest some introspection as well. Though i don’t know how to proceed, I think Connor et. al. are largely correct in principle, even if the presentation doesn’t necessarily work. Kudos to Carissa for the link to the Nibley article. Really well done.
And Doug, wipe that smile off your face.
Ok, OK, I *am* smiling. But it’s not smug, just sincerely happy to see you taking a more careful consideration of this side of things.
Plus, I know I can’t take any personal credit for it lol. 🙂
Now, the real question, I suppose, is what on earth can we do about the state of American foreign policy . . . not to mention our domestic. (I don’t think you’re being reactionary when they’re nationalizing the banks today and the supposedly ‘conservative’ Presidential candidate is proposing a ‘state owned home on every lot’ as our modern equivalent of a ‘chicken in every pot’)
Toadicus- You are awesome. Not only intelligent but humble as well. That is inspiring. I’m very interested to hear your thoughts as they are evolving and finalizing. I still have so much to learn about everything. Maybe you should start a blog so we can all benefit?
Interesting idea, Carissa… 🙂 I guess I’ll need to retool the one I’ve got….
Oh my gosh, that’s HILARIOUS! Can’t wait to see your next post. I’ll stop by.