Thursday, September 11, 2008


Here we are, seven years out from the 9/11 attacks. Almost 3,000 people were killed that day and our nation was shaken by the actions of a group of 15 Saudis, 1 Egyptian, 1 Lebanese and 2 men from the UAE, many of whom lived in the US. Our leaders responded by invading Afghanastan and Iraq. In the ensuing seven years, those decisions have lead to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and Afghanastan civilians and the injury of millions. Thousands of young Americans have died and tens of thousands been injured. We've spent over a trillion dollars causing those casualties, and it's looking more and more like that might be more than our economy can bear. now there is a Democratic nominee for President whom we're all very excited about, myself included, for how great a change he'll bring to Washington. Yet he wants more troops in Afghanastan, and while he calls for a reduction of forces in Iraq, it's a reduction on the order of two-thirds, not a withdrawl. At some point, we've got to stop thinking about moving our troops from one overseas post to another, and start thinking about how to change the paradigm.

Arundhati Roy is one of my favorite writers and activists. Six years ago today, she gave a brilliant speech about nations, power and what September 11 means to the world. That speach is here in video, and here in text.

"May we see the day when war and bloodshed cease
when a great peace will embrace the whole world

Then nation shall not threaten nation
and humankind will not again know war.

For all who live on earth shall realize
we have not come into being to hate or destroy

We have come into being
to praise, to labour and to love.

Compassionate God, bless all the leaders of all nations
with the power of compassion.

Fulfill the promise conveyed in Scripture:

"I will bring peace to the land,
and you shall lie down and no one shall terrify you.
I will rid the land of vicious beasts
and it shall not be ravaged by war."

Let love and justice flow like a mighty stream.

Let peace fill the earth as the waters fill the sea."


Andrew said...

thank you.
Obama has expresssed a plan for complete American force withdrawal from Iraq in 12-16 months from his inaugaration

Michael Levy said...

He has said no permanent bases, but he's not talking about complete force withdrawal. This is from his website: "Under the Obama plan, a residual force will remain in Iraq and in the region to conduct targeted counter-terrorism missions against al Qaeda in Iraq and to protect American diplomatic and civilian personnel."

He's also said that he would continue to use privately contracted security firms like Blackwater in Iraq, who account for an additional 180,000 American combat units in Iraq, on top of the 140,000 US soldiers and 7,330 other coalition soldiers.

Andrew said...

okay. deatils, details....I stand somewhat corrected. just don't dis the man now, he needs all the good karma he can get from us

Michael Levy said...

Hey, I'm with you. I still think he'll win by a landslide, and I'm glad for it. He will be much better for the US than Bush and Company, and much better than McCain/Palin. But still so far from where I think we ought to be. In 2000 I voted for Nader because I thought he was where we ought to be, and that there was more distance him and Gore than between Gore and Bush. Now it's easier to see the differences between the Bush Administration and what Gore might have done, but from the Democratic positions, there's still a ton of room for improvement, IMHO.