This month finds people looking back on the events leading up to America's twin military adventures. Not surprising, many of them are as myopic in their reflections on what happened then as they were as the attacks were readied ten years ago.
Gosh, they fooled us all, many pundits say. George Bush was so reluctant to go to war. Our intelligence turned out to be so incorrect.
Bullshit, I reply.
Many of us were not surprised that we turned out to be wrong. We knew the CIA assessment on Iraq. We heard Colin Powell and Donald Rumsfeld at the beginning of the Bush administration telling us that Sadam wasn't a threat because the sanctions were working and he was contained. We knew most of his weapons came from the United States in the first place. We knew about OBL and how the CIA had trained him and his forces to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan, and we knew about the corruption soiling the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
We marched down Market Street in San Francisco and funded Code Pink trips to Washington DC. We stood vigil on street corners in the rain with signs, "Not In Our Name". We wrote letters, created petitions and videos. We called the White House, Senators and Representatives.
Oh, those crazy lefties, so many said, mocking our efforts. They're so naive.
Yeah, look who it turns out was really naive.
What's probably most appalling about this ten years after are the current polls. About 58% of Americans polled say the wars were not worth it.
That's horrible. It's horrible because almost half of those polled think it was worth it.
Almost half polled believe those wars and the deaths of innocent civilians as well as military members were worth it. They think the emotional and physical toll on the people on the battle fields were worth it and the blood soaking the earth was worth it. They believe that the instability the wars created and the huge deficits generated were worth it.
I have to ask, Why?
The wars took us down paths of torture that required we torture our ideals and laws to justify our behavior. Thanks to those wars we have the blight known as Gitmo and black torture sites all over the world. We have the photo souvenirs from Abu Graib.
Those wars gave us the rise of the drones and 'signature strikes'. If people are engaged in certain activities, even if we don't know who they are or what they're actually doing, a drone strike to kill them is justified.
It's just like those damn stand your ground laws. Afraid another might hurt you? Kill them first. It's bad as personal behavior, worst as a civilization's paradigm and appalling as national security policy.
The short-sightedness of it all is absolutely insane. Beyond the waste of lives and talents, goods, creativity and the use of our minds and intellects as the world reels with issues that threaten our lives and welfare, our behavior undermines our rhetoric and creates new enemies. We're relegating peace, freedom and democracy to marketing words.
What do you think of marketing words like new and improved?
I said it ten years ago and it still holds true: I was against those wars. I am against those wars.
Do not attack, kill and torture others for me.
Not in my name.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com