Tuesday, September 11, 2012
9/11: What Does It All Mean?
I would have preferred it to be the fall of the Soviet Union, but if you think about it, 9/11 was sort of a product of that moment in history. Yes, there were a lot of ingredients that went into that batch of terrorist soup, but lets focus on that one for just a moment.
I think it was Bill Clinton who said something to the effect that during the Cold War, America had one enemy: the Soviet Union. It was a polarized world where everyone else sort of just stood still on bated breath wondering whether it would be the US or the USSR that ushered in nuclear holocaust. America was a different place with the Red Menace always on the horizon. But when they called it quits, America's enemies multiplied.
No one cared anymore about the glory of the Soviet Union, and some people in the Middle East thought it was high time that they get their piece of the pie. Sure, they terrorize the world under the guise of Islam and making the world safe for Allah and Arab culture, but we all know what they really want. They see the all the wealth and comfort the "decadent" west has amassed, and they're tired of living in the Middle Ages.
To be sure, the terrorists don't intend to share their piece of the pie with the People. When push comes to shove, they will live comfortable lives and maybe just hope that it some how trickles down to the People. And if it doesn't, well then that's just Allah's wish, isn't it?
The 90's were relatively calm, save for turning Bosnia into a sheet of glass and boming aspirin factories in Iraq, but things weren't too crazy. We didn't have a perpetual enemy for which we needed to remain vigilant. I think for a while there, America was getting bored. And then, some assholes in a couple of planes decided to go and blow shit up.
We found our next perpetual enemy.
The way I see it is that we have so much wealth and military might that we have to use it, or at least we feel like we have to use it. Ever find yourself sitting at home and feeling on edge? You wonder why you're so anxious, but then you realize it's because you're bored and have nothing to do. So you set out to find something to do. But then you find a task that takes you ten minutes to complete, and you find yourself with nothing to do again. So what's the next logical step? Find a long-term project.
Yes, they picked a fight with us, so we are somewhat justified in our "War on Terror." But it's a war that will never end, because there will always be terrorists. Whether it's some Arab Muslim strapping a bomb to himself and blowing up an embassy, or some homegrown American anarchist screaming about setting the People free, there will always be terrorism.
And maybe that's a good thing.
That might sound asinine, but I liken America to a kid who needs to be occupied with something or else he'll be up to no good. So my generation will forever be influenced by the next perpetual enemy. My children won't know what life was like before Al Qaeda, and soon I'm sure we will forget what it was like when the FBI needed a warrant to bug you.
The society we have inherited is one that is perhaps more secure in its safety, but I fear less secure in its liberties. I think this is what the terrorists wanted. Their goal is not to scare us into submission--they know we'll never acquiesce and say "you win." Their goal is to force us to take our freedoms away from ourselves, because it's our liberty that is in direct opposition to their goals.
The change they are trying to effect is not necessarily monetary or physical, but philosophical. They're trying to frighten us into abandoning our principles. If you cannot destroy the body, then you strike at the heart, the will to fight. And since "ideas" are thought of only as silly things that "pointy-headed intellectuals" talk about amongst themselves in their ivory towers, my guess is that it won't be long before we give in and lose the will to fight.