Wednesday, September 17, 2008

JMO - We're stuck on 9/11

I'm reading Thomas Friedman's book, "Hot, Flat, and Crowded. It's worth the price, and I was struck by one of his comments, which rings true. And that is we're stuck on 9/11 world. and haven't woken up to live in 9/12 world.

We haven't grown up to realize that while 9/11 was a tragic act of terrorism, and over 3,000 people from 95 nations died in the World Trade Center and Pentagon and one of the most horrific acts of terrorism, it was not the start or end of terrorism. Terrorism is as old as man and there are an average of 1,000 terrorists attacks every year, totalling far more dead, disabled and injurired than 9/11.

We have lost our edge of being a leader of hope and good. We haven't figured out how to life with terrorism and show terrorists we're not afraid of being who we are. Instead of challenging terrorists with our way of life and showing the world we're strong and resilent, we're showing them fear and anger. Our politicians have sold us fear and angers, and we have stepped up with our checkbooks (taxes), and have had our own government implement enormously invasive and unnecessary measures to "protect" us.

And that's always been my point. I have advocated going back to 9/10 and making the law enforcement agencies do the job they were supposed to do with the laws they had. They could have intervened if not stopped the attack on 9/11 but they failed the American people. Not by incompetence but by the simple lack of communication and thinking. They had all the information and tools to stop 9/11 and didn't.

But now, reading Mr. Friedman's book, I believe it's time to move on to 9/12. We need a new paradigm about ourselves, our place in the world, our work against terrorists, and our future. Else, we're descending into a miltary-corporate autocracy where we've lost our civil rights and liberties in the name of fear and anger.

And we know that's not us and certainly not America or American.

It's about balance, but it's also about preservation. We must preserve our Constitutional rights and not sacrifice them in the name of something we don't know and can't find. Or we risk becoming a second rate nation like the former Soviet Union and the new Russia where people are subjected to unreasonable invasions of their privacy and life because the government thinks every citizen is not just a threat but a potential enemy or terrorist.

We have and will become our own enemy in the eyes of the government.

We need to do what Americans do best, go through it to redefine ourselves as we have so often. Like the end of WW II we need to define a post-9/11 America where freedoms are the norm and the power still rests with the people. And where our government uses the tools to fight the real fight, with terrorists, not its own citizens.

We know it's doable and it only takes the will, but until we decide to step into the light and challenge terrorists by living as we have and can, we won't win. And until we challenge our government to trust its own citizens and work efficiently and effectively, we won't feel free again. And until we ask our leaders, especially our President, to be a leader in the name of freedom instead of fear and anger, we won't see any more than we've already heard and have now.

It's time America wake up and live in the 9/12 world. Nothing short will save this country, our nation and the people.

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