Well, smart assed cynicism worked pretty well up till now. Pretty much my whole life I have been a cynic. Not too much has gotten through the hard candy coating. Then 6000 people died for no good reason and suddenly it wasn't funny anymore. Oh, how I long for the days when I could laugh off the trials and tribulations of the world as bad acting by morons. But I can't do that with this act in the play. Not after a week of carnage. Not after a week of heroism. Not after a week of bursting into tears whenever I turn on the TV or try to talk to someone about what happened. No, the humor is gone from it. It's all just too insane to be funny.
I've been following the news reports and the punditry pretty closely on this one. Normally I would get bored with the overwhelming coverage pretty quickly, but this is different in that respect as well. I am amazed at some of the questions that are even being asked. Should we retaliate? Won't hitting back cause more attacks on the US? Can't we just arrest the evildoers without a war? It goes on and on, the desperate search for other options. The overwhelming desire to believe that we are somehow in control of this situation.
Maybe I missed the memo, but I don't recall the folks that blew up the WTC and the Pentagon announcing that they were finished. I don't remember reading anywhere that they had declared victory and were satisfied with over 6000 dead. This is the opening gambit and there are other moves already being planned. It is really just logic, if this attack took over a year to plan and execute, we must assume that the next one is already in process. Anyone that has ever worked in project management knows that you don't have one objective, finish it and then start the next one. No, you always have multiple irons in the fire.
It seems to me that arguing about whether we ought to go to war or not is a rather moot point. We are at war. If nothing else in this column gets through to you, let that. We are at war. We in this country need to realize that declaring war or not is no longer our decision. An outside aggressor has attacked us. True, we don't know with whom yet, but we are at war and we have already taken our first casualties. We can move to stop them now or do nothing and embolden them further. Either way, they are going to hit us again.
It is the same for arguing about who caused it and who is to blame. Leave that for the historians to sort out. This all may be the result of American arrogance or dirty tricks or backing the wrong horse in geopolitics, but does that really matter now that people are dying? Causes and reasons are best left for when the killing has stopped. The only thing that matters when people are dying is how to stop the killing. The rest of it is just intellectual window dressing. Like it or not, we have to fight.
I hear a lot about killing begets more killing and war breeds more war. There is validity to that and I think you will find that Americans generally abhor killing and war. But that is also really a discussion for another time. Because if we don't fight now, there will be more attacks. Does anyone out there honestly believe that if we let this pass the carnage will end? No friends, regardless of how we react the killing will continue. Never in the history of man has a nation stopped attacks on itself by ignoring them. Sorry, but that just isn't how the world works. If someone is hitting you in the face and you can't run away, there are only a few courses of action available. You can either hit back or hope he gets bored. From what I have seen, terrorists don't strike me as people that get bored easily.
Our only hope of ever ending it is to fight now when we have world at our side. That is the only way terrorism will be stopped. The world needs to band together and stop it with force. I hate to use analogies from history, since every situation is unique unto itself, but this really is Munich all over again in many ways. Then too they were trying to stop aggression without fighting. It didn't work then and it won't work now. We may clamor for peace all we want, but unless the terrorists agree to go along with it, we will have war.
This isn't about bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age, or kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out. This is just the sad reality that we are faced with in the aftermath of the attack. I'd also like to point out to all of you hawks out there, be careful what you wish for, you just may get it. Blood will be shed when all is said and done and I have no respect for anyone that is happy about that. I am lucky enough to have served my military time in between conflicts, but I know enough of war to not relish fighting one. We have grim task at hand, one that we all wished we would never have. Good luck to all of us in the months and years ahead.