Five days after the assault, Americans have ingested a TV, radio and print diet of bombast, hyperbole and sheer nonsense. The messages from our elected leaders, so-called experts and actors posing as TV anchors have stressed retaliation and prevention after the perpetrators have accomplished their mission. The bloody deed has been done. The wheels spinners may feel better locking the proverbial barn door after the horses have escaped.
The war indeed began on September 11, but thus far few in power or the limelight have asked about the enemy's objectives — at least not publicly. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, the war had begun for the domination of the Pacific and the resources of southeast Asia. But what do the shadowy terrorists who struck our financial and military nerve centers really want?
High officials label them as cowards, but their behavior points rather toward heroic evil. They had a mission, took risks, plotted with cool and calculating accuracy and then proved themselves more than willing to die for their cause. But what exactly is their cause?
Shouldn't someone in power ask that question and have it debated before rushing madly around the world with troops, missiles and extreme belligerence?
The Senate, our supposedly deliberative body, didn't even discuss the crisis, but simply voted, as did the House, massive amounts of money for our confused president to use as he wishes. Congress will pour money into military and police operations, under the curious rubric of security — a far cry from a thumb and a blanket — while destroying the fiscal soundness of our concrete security: social security and Medicare.
Bin Laden and his fiendish cult have thus far successfully detoured us away from our agenda and into a world that the plotters know best. Threats abound about bombing these Taliban brutes who harbor Bin Laden in Afghanistan back into the Stone Age. How do you bomb people back into the stone age when they already live in the Stone Age? How do you successfully threaten with death those who welcome it?
How many of us are willing to admit that the September 11 events dramatize a real clash of civilizations? That the attacks on the real and symbolic nerve centers of world finance and militarism meant the real war against corporate globalization — a war that most of us anti-globalization types want no part of.
We saw in Iran in 1979 and in post communist Afghanistan some signs of what the purifiers of Islam want. It's not what I had in mind when I opposed corporate globalization. I don't want my daughters to grow up uneducated and trailing their husbands; nor do I want a theocracy dedicated to setting the world back five centuries.
I also don't want to go to war with innocent people in the name of responding to the September 11 stone cold killers. I think the time has come to study, think, debate — then, when the public has been informed and not confused by a driven media, we should act, in concert with the rest of the civilized world.