Friday, September 11, 2009

My Thoughts on 9-11

Today is 9-11. It is natural that we recall the lives of those taken on that tragic day. But I believe that is not sufficient, certainly not for me. So many lives prior to this tragedy caused by the machines of war, including our own. As we have played kingmakers on the global stage, as we focused on power rather than compassion, and the others did likewise for there are no innocents, ordinary men and women have continued to perish.

How natural it seemed that day to want vengeance for our loved ones. So fierce the need for retribution that we declared war not just on Afghanistan but also Iraq. Iran who had influence in Afghanistan offered to deliver the terrorists. Instead we declared them part of the axis of evil, causing them to withdraw the offer as well as back off on nuclear talks. We made the lives of American Muslims difficult because we could not separate the acts of a few terrorists from an entire religion. Soon the rest of the world began to engage in the labeling game, and a state of war ensued. A war that not only compromised so many lives, but also served as a justification for rolling back many of the American freedoms we hold so dear.

Indeed I do remember the tragedy of the lives lost at that horrible day on 9-11. But in fairness I cannot stop there. From 9-11 forward, here are the grim statistics.

9-11 2572
Direct and indirect deaths in
Afghanistan civilians
minimum estimate 11,760 (estimates range up to 30,000)
Coalition troop casualties
in both theaters: 5157
Contractor deaths 1360
civilian deaths Iraq 93042

That would be 113,891 deaths using the most conservative estimates. In reality the majority of civilian deaths were never reported. The killing continues even today. In my heart I hold all those people, each with their own dreams and aspirations cut short in the insanity we call war. These are but numbers on a page, but each one represents a network of family, friends, loved ones permanently marked with the senseless tragedy and travesty called war.

On this planet, we have many who are experts in the art of war. May we grow the number of peacemakers and may it be soon. This is my prayer on this day of remembrance. It is on this day that I recommit to the dream where we will study war no more.

"Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God." Matthew 5:9

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