Three years, more than 1,000 lives and hundreds of billions of dollars since Sept. 11, 2001, I ask, “Have we made a dent in fighting world terrorism or have we unleashed a bigger monster?”
Have we become part of the problem or the solution?
Saturday marks the third anniversary of that horrid day our towers were attacked. The events that struck hard in our hearts instilled an unsettling fear that united hands and brought knees down in prayer. It was a personal attack on each one of us. The world offered its sympathy and support.
Fast forward to the present. Today there are more questions than answers. World sympathy has turned into outrage. We’ve lost our innocence moving from victim to instigators, begetting violence with violence.
We’re playing both judge and jury in Iraq, and in the process, we’ve hijacked the personal rights of others and beheaded our own Lady Liberty.
No weapons of mass destruction. No Osama bin Laden. No just cause for war. Instead, we have an exploitative Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal which, although repeatedly pushed in the shadows, dampens any arguments about us liberating people from this very kind of suffering.
Instead of justice, we had lies. Instead of convictions, this past week a U.S. District Judge, Gerald Rosen, released two terror cell suspects in Detroit because of alleged misconduct. A U.S. attorney didn’t like the non-incriminating analysis of a CIA witness. Key evidence was withheld in the rush for convictions, not justice, in a quest for scapegoats, not truth.
President Bush says the world is a better place without Saddam. Maybe. That’s for God to decide. But is the world a better place since we invaded Iraq on March 30, 2003?
On CNN Wednesday, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld tried to justify the loss of a thousand-plus American lives in Iraq, saying more than 3,000 lives were lost on Sept. 11, 2001. Of course Rumsfeld didn’t take into account the 10,000-plus civilian deaths in Iraq.
Was Sept. 11, 2001, just the beginning of a global reign of terror by extremists or was it our own bombing of Iraq that sparked this campaign of terror around the world?
I don’t know.
One thing I do know is you cannot reason with terrorists whom I do not sympathize with for a second, no matter how hard anyone tries to take these words out of context. I don’t play politics when it comes to my beliefs. I write from my heart. But just like you cannot reason with terrorists, you cannot start a war without reason.
Besides the lives lost In Iraq, we’ve lost so much more. Besides the billions of dollars that could have gone to education and our nation’s own poor and suffering, we’ve lost our honor, respect, sense of responsibility, fairness and compassion, pillars of character we try to instill in our children. Of course terrorists think nothing of these virtues, but if they are so evil, why are we sinking to their level and adding more fuel to the fire?
Throughout history, countless wars have been waged, countless lives needlessly lost because of the pride and personal vendettas of a few. Like spoiled children wanting to have their way, they refuse to be humbled and admit they were wrong.
Our leaders want to make us independent from the rest of the world. We don’t want to rely on others for oil. We don’t want to rely on The United Nations and others for support. We don’t even want to open our doors to others, to immigrants, unless they can serve our needs by doing jobs no one else wants.
I don’t think that is the way our Creator made this world. Just like a child cannot survive alone, Earth is not in the shape of the United States. So when President Bush talks about this “axis of evil” in the world, I wonder, “Are we too a part of this axis of evil?”
The words of Pope John Paul II on Wednesday from the Vatican City say it all: “War must always be considered a defeat. A defeat of reason and of humanity…”
Helena Rodriguez is a columnist for Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico. She can be reached at: