The War on Terror vs. America the Beautiful

Date: September 11, 2011

Ten years ago Americans were forced to accept they were not as secure as they had previously thought.  Ever since then, the American mind set has been radically altered.  There is now a pervasive fear in our culture.  We have surrendered an ever increasing amount of freedoms to our government in exchange for security.  Today we live in a society where the government has a right to know everything; from where we travel, to what we pack; from what we own, to how our children are educated.  They have the right to watch our every activity, to listen to our every conversation, and to know everything we do.  In exchange, they supposedly protect us.  But is that protection even real?  The majority of terrorist threats are halted by the vigilance of civilians.  The threat of in-home criminal activity such as theft, arson, or physical harm against the inhabitants is much greater than any terrorist threat.  Yet the government can do little to prevent that.  Police units are spread too thin to deal with every in-home crime.  In fact, criminal laws do more to protect the criminal himself from the defensive action of the home- owner then the private property being threatened.  For example, if a potential thief is injured in any way on your property, he can press charges.  As Simon Black, of, has pointed out, if any one individual or organization were to take any of the actions that the government uses to maintain control of society, that individual or organization would be considered criminal.  Yet the government is legally able to take those same actions.

On September 11, 2001, 2977 American citizens were killed.  Since that day, as of June 5, according to the Washington Post, 6026 U.S. soldiers having killed.  What have they died for?  Did they die to protect Americans?  It was too late for 2977 them.  Did they die to avenge those lives lost? How can it be of any consolation when twice as many men have died as citizens they were seeking to avenge? Did they die to safeguard the rest of America? Perhaps. There have not been any other successful attempts. Yet was the risk enough to be worth 6000 more lives? Did they die to offer the same freedoms we think we have to oppressed citizens of foreign lands? For all intents and purposes, it seems that goal has not been achieved. What have our soldiers died for?

Rather than seek to understand why we were attacked and properly deal with the real issue at hand, we retaliated. Because of that decision, mothers have wept both here and over there. Because of that decision, countless minds will replay time and again horrors we can’t even imagine. Were we wrong to launch this war? Was this decision a poor decision? Can we even realistically answer that?

Today is not a day of celebration, but of mourning. For what do we mourn? The lives lost? Shouldn’t we mourn more that, in all appearances, those lives were lost in vain? Is our world better because of their deaths? Is our nation better because of their deaths? Are the lives of their loved ones better because of their deaths? Beyond mourning, today should be a day of questions. Are the rewards we have received worth the price we have paid? Have the deaths of our soldiers and civilians defended our freedoms, or opened the door for the government to do more to steal them than any radical terrorist ever could? Have their deaths mattered? You have to answer that for yourself.