E-mail to a Friend

I was thinking about what you said today as you were heading for the escalators - that the Democrats favor the terrorists over Americans. I've been thinking about that off and on while I research this Data Center project late into the night, and I just get angrier and angrier that people hold that position. I felt 9/11 like the death of 3000 brothers and sisters, and the pain has not diminished in the intervening years. For me, it was and is very real, and changed entirely the way I think. To say that the Democrats are on the side of the terrorists is to start a fight. A literal, nose-bloodying fight, my friend, for you are impugning my love for my fellow American - my brothers and sisters; my fathers and mothers.

So, in the interest of restoring my ability to be civil to you, I'd like the opportunity to try to make you understand my personal commitment to the war on terror, which should, for a smart man like you, serve to convince you that neither I, nor therefore the Democrats are interested in "coddling" or "protecting" the terrorists. I wrote the following last May, in response to exactly the mindset you apparently have. Try to read it with an open mind - it is the best mirror of the contents of my soul that I could manage. I know you will be able to understand.
...What pushed me to think of myself as a Democrat was the way we executed the War on Terror. The unfinished job in Afghanistan hurt me. I felt like I was physically mourning the life we allowed Bin Laden to continue living. I wanted the big gets. I wanted Mullah Omar. I wanted Al-Zawahiri . I wanted them killed, or even better, brought to the dock in American courts, so the world could see the sagacious exercise of Justice. Instead, no such news arrived. Even then, it was clear that we held back for some reason. 15,000 troops in Afghanistan? To capture the most hated villains in American history? Fewer boots on the ground than police in New York City? For the love of god, why would we pursue with such daintiness?

The fog surrounding the answer started clearing soon after the Afghanistan conflict cooled - we needed those troops for Iraq. As we started banging the war drums about Iraq, I read everything I could get my hands on, and unlike Afghanistan, there was some dissent about pursuing "the terrorists" to Iraq. There were no Al Qaeda operating in the Saddam controlled portions of Iraq, I learned. To me, it was automatically apparent that no American would be on the side of Al Qaeda - outside the normal collection of the literally insane. No American could have watched the murder of our brothers and sisters and not felt the same rage and sorrow that I did. So when dissent began, I listened, considered, and came to the conclusion that Iraq was no threat to us and was in no way responsible for 9/11. I didn't conclude that the anti-war types must have been objectively on the side of Al Qaeda. Luckily for me, I opposed the Iraq War from the start. Thank god.

There was a second reason I opposed the Iraq War. I hesitate to even state it, since it is so painfully obvious. If the goal of the War on Terror is to decrease the amount of terrorism directed against Americans, then it's unforgivably immoral and strategically myopic to pursue that goal by bombing the living hell out of people that have nothing to do with terrorism directed against Americans. To paraphrase one of the greats: It's like ordering a pizza and getting a free walrus. Even if the walrus were excellent, I mean truly exemplary, I'm really not in the market for it and it's not why I ordered the pizza. Similarly, no matter what rationale the administration stated or how "fun" and well executed the war would be, ultimately, wars of choice work against the main goal of the war on terror - protecting me and mine. Imagine how you would you react if your father was scattered around the block because of no fault of his own. I know how I would react: exactly the same way I did on the morning of September 11th. I felt Hatred, Rage, and a desire for Revenge so deep it took on a color. And that was for the murder of people I had never even met! Increasing the number of people who feel that way towards America only makes my family less safe.

The response on the Republican side, as I referenced earlier, was to question whether the opponents of the war in Iraq loved the terrorists more than the United States of America. Whether we were labeled Pro-Al-Qaeda, Pro-Saddam, traitors, cowards, or just "on the wrong side," the rhetoric didn't match the reality I was living since we all want to see the terrorists dead. I wondered how the Republicans could possibly believe the things they said about us, and that lead down a road of thinking similar to the one Glenn Greenwald has outlined repeatedly. Combined with their attitudes towards science, it was clear that the modern Republican party wasn't interested in rational thinking, or real debate. It seemed that they had been out of power so long that now that they had their chance, no liberally-biased facts would get in their way of ensuring a successful presidency. To them, that meant brooking no dissent, never wavering in their religious support, and being seen as Commander-in-Chief via the Iraq War. The government that enabled was one of desires fulfilled over empiricism applied. They wanted war, so they got one, and forever alienated me.
At this point, please watch this take on 9/11.

And this take on Bush's recent attacks on Democrats.

So don't say that Democrats favor the side of Terrorists again. Do not pretend that the Republicans, who have INCREASED the terrorist threat to America (according to 16 US intelligence agencies), gotten 2700 U.S. servicemen killed, and incurred 21,000 serious military casualties in the process, are somehow the more "serious" party for defending America. How dare you? We are not the enemy.

The bipartisanship after 9/11 faded and this poison atmosphere began when the President and the Republicans took the votes on the DHS (the Democrat's idea) and the Iraq War and used them to paint Democrats as traitors. What would the nation be like now, if the President had chosen a different course? Chosen to build on that unique unity and accomplish things, rather than using our shared pain as a political sledgehammer against the Democrats, who have always wanted to find and kill the terrorists even when President Bush said he didn't think they were "that important..." The Democrats, who have steadfastly supported the troops through this ineptly executed war even as Condi Rice blamed the Administration's failures on the Military's "thousands of tactical errors in Iraq". If President Bush had taken that different course, how cold would Osama's body be?

To support the desecration of the Constitution, of our cherished laws, is to accomplish what the terrorists have no power to do - destroy the very thing that has made America great. If anyone is unpatriotic, it is the President, and it is you, for lying to the American people about whose side the loyal opposition is on.


P.S. You know why my conversations with Boortz are more civil than those with you? Because Neal will not countenance the view that the Democrats are on the terrorist's side - that they are traitors. He is a civil man, so we can disagree civilly.


Anonymous said...

I am a person of few words...right on...

Anonymous said...

I look in on you now and again and I am always interested in your flow.

Thanks for this time and your views.!