Have We Learned Nothing?

black_dove_sleeve_iconNormally, I don’t talk about 9-11 on 9-11, and that’s if I say anything at all (I mean online, in person I won’t shut up). Today, I’m breaking that tradition with the question, have we, as a nation, as citizens of the world, as human beings learned nothing since that awful day in 2001? I ask because, on the 12th anniversary of the most deadly terrorist attack in our history, we are once again contemplating military action in the Middle East. Yes, let’s do that. I mean, it’s worked out so well for us in the past.

Sure, I know there’s the possibility of a peaceful settlement on the horizon, but our leaders keep beating the drums of war. And, I know it’s possible they’re doing so to keep the pressure on Syria and Russia to follow through with their end of this deal. I also realize that this could’ve been the plan all along, that President Obama never intended to attack; that those threats were merely a tool to get the recalcitrant parties to the table. On a side note, this whole thing makes me wonder if the Obama administration is the greatest political and diplomatic organization this country has ever seen or if they’re the luckiest idiots on the face of the planet. Given that they’re Democrats, I lean toward the latter.

So, why am I upset at the prospect of war with Syria on the anniversary of one of the darkest days in American history? Am I some peacenik walking around with flowers in my hair, holding a sign that says “Make love, not war”. No, I’m a student of history who understands that our previous adventures in that region have a lot to do with what happened to us on that dark day. I’m also an admirer of Mahatma Gandhi, who said “I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.” And, most importantly, I a follower of Christ, who told his disciples to love their enemies and that anyone who uses a sword will die with a sword. That’s not to say I don’t believe that there aren’t instances where a certain amount of violence applied in just the right place at just the right time might be useful. But, this isn’t one of those instances.

It saddens me that, 12 years later, the detention center at Guantanamo Bay (with all it’s attendant disgustingness) is still operating, that our government sees no problem with routinely violating the privacy of its citizens, that our military still occupies two countries that pose no actual threat to us. But, more than all this, I am sad that it is somehow acceptable to be perpetrating violence on yet another country that poses us no threat; especially on a day that should dedicated to peace. It appears the answer to the question “Have we learned nothing?” is “No, we haven’t”.