Rabid right-wingers have recently accused anti-war protesters of "forgetting about 9-11." We haven't forgotten. We've just learned a different set of lessons from it than those who use it to justify the immoral attack on Iraq.
There have been recent emails circulating, thanks to the usual right-wing suspects, and apparently there's some new country song or something to this effect, deriding anti-war protesters as "having forgotten 9-11." Perhaps the hostility in these missives ought to be directed at people like Bill O'Reilly, who verbally assaulted and physically threatened Jeremy Glick, an antiwar protester who lost his father on September 11th. I bet a lot of people circulating these emails are, ironically enough, O'Reilly fans.
Or perhaps the "have you forgotten" emails should be sent to Bush and members of Congress who have rushed us into a war that could quite possibly lead to many more September 11ths. There are many reasons why the self-righteous opportunistic use of September 11th as justification for why our soldiers and hundreds of Iraqi civilians are killing and dying right now in Iraq is not only misguided, but immoral.
If anyone has the right to wear the mantle of victimhood bestowed by the deadly attacks of 9-11, it is the families who lost their loved ones. And many of them have condemned this war, as this press release from Sept. 11th Families for a Peaceful Tomorrow attests.
September 11th is very fresh in the minds of antiwar protesters. We haven't forgotten. But we also know that violence only begets more violence. Just ask the Israelis and Palestinians.
We know that when a violent crime has been committed -- and Sept. 11th was just that, a horrific political terrorist crime -- it makes no sense to take revenge by perpetrating violence on people who had nothing whatosever to do with that crime.
We know that the so-called evidence Powell and Bush presented to the UN that Iraq poses an immediate threat consisted of lies and outdated, plagiarized information (such as the report about the aluminum tubes, which we now know to be fake). On the contrary, the CIA, former weapons inspectors, and other experts warned that Saddam was far more likely to threaten us if we threatened him. So as far as the justification that this war is preventing more 9-11s and making us safer goes, we don't buy it.
We know that despite the fact that Bush said diplomacy was exhausted and force was a "last resort", this is a lie. No other alternatives to war were ever considered, and Bush's definition of "diplomacy" was simply an exercise in coercing and bribing other countries to go along with a war that had been planned for years.
We know what this war is about when we see that our government's first priority was NOT to ensure that there was enough food, water and other supplies on the ground to pre-empt a humanitarian disaster in Iraq, but to secure the oil fields. And despite the assurances that the oil in Iraq will belong to the Iraqis, this administration, which is drenched in oil money, cannot be trusted in that regard.
We know that this government cannot be trusted to bring democracy to the Middle East because they're eroding democratic rights at home.
We know that if our government DID allow democracy in the Middle East, anti-American sentiment runs so high in that region, that they wouldn't like what a truly democratic goverment would look like. We know Bush would prefer to install a U.S. puppet regime instead.
We know that, while the Bush administration claims to be liberating Arabs and Muslims in Iraq, it is simultaneously jailing and deporting Arabs and Muslims at home.
We know that the "Shock and Awe" tactics used in Baghdad must have felt like a hundred Sept. 11ths to the 5 million residents of that city.
We know that an eye for an eye, as Gandhi said, just makes the whole world blind.
So don't ask us "have you forgotten?" We will turn that question against you. Right now, we ask "have you forgotten Vietnam, when our government lied to get us into a 12-year, bloody quagmire? Have you forgotten the first Gulf War, when 3000 or more Iraqis died, and we bombed their sewage systems and their water supplies and imposed sanctions on them that even the State Dept. admitted led to a million dead Iraqi children?"
Later, when you've long forgotten the Iraqi children who died or lost their parents...when you've forgotten the deaths of the young soldiers who were led to believe the Iraqis would welcome them with flowers and music and were then killed in ambushes...when you've forgotten the POWs on both sides, the Iraqis who might be held indefinitely at Camp X-Ray, and the American POWs whose fate is uncertain...when your attention is no longer on Iraq or what our occupying forces are doing there, just as you no longer pay attention to Afghanistan...when you've forgotten the death and destruction wrought in our name, forgotten the fact that war is a brutal, horrific exercise that solves nothing, and you've turned your attention to rallying around the flag for the next war, we will be there to remind you.