Seven years after two jetliners hit the Twin Towers, people are still dying from it.
In one go, almost 3,000 people died there in the towers and the planes that hit them, incinerated, blown apart, crushed, choked or leaping to their deaths to avoid the flames. Forty died in a downed plane in Pennsylvania. At the Pentagon, 189 on the ground and in the hijacked plane died. The total doesn't include the many rescue workers who are dying now of respiratory illnesses incurred after they were assured by their own government that the air was safe to breathe. Who knows how many more of them, and the local residents, will develop future illnesses attributable to those lies?
And how was this act answered? Not with diplomacy, with self-examination, with the thoughtful remedies of civilization. No, it was answered with more violence springing out of lies and deceit connecting a regime our government didn't like with this atrocity to provide an excuse to invade another country which had shown us no aggression and which was, essentially, unarmed.
The events of 9/11 and what they led to have now killed approximately 100,000 people, including 87-94,000 Iraqi civilians at last count (although some sources place it as high as 151,000), 4,155 US casualties in Iraq, 584 US military personnel in Afghanistan, and a total of 690 non-US coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. This doesn't even take into account the thousands wounded in the conflict on both sides. (If you'd like a visual representation of just the US numbers, click here.)
The US has been directly responsible for more than three times the number of deaths Osama bin Laden caused. It's also responsible for the violation of its own founding principles, for slashing the civil rights of its own citizens, of starting us down the slippery slope toward a police state and for the rape and pillage of another country. Our so-called leaders, whether you believe they were rightfully elected or not, have sanctioned the war crimes of torture and indefinite incarceration and led us into a war that will take us years to get out of, and which has stirred up more ill-will toward the US than almost anything we've done. There is more blood on US hands from 9/11 than on the people who planned the terrorist attacks.
How is that ever going to fix anything? Have any of these actions really made us better? Or safer? And aren't we bigger than mere power hunger? Than opportunism? Than petty vengeance?
Gandhi said, "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind." I'm not sure we still have even one good eye left.