SC Eagle (a US soldier stationed in Germany who lived in NYC on 9-11-2001) has posted a home video to his blog of a video he and his wife took looking outside their NYC apartment building that fateful day. Close up footage, with the quiet voices of regular citizens responding to the most horrific terrorist attack in the history of the United States. No music, no fancy effects, just real video footage and real reflections from 9-11.

What a terrible day that was. Let us hope and pray that as a nation we will work toward reconciliation and peace– and not a state of perpetual war, in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world. There are some who say we (the United States) are at war with Islam and with Muslims. I hope that is not the case. We need to stand together with people around the world against intolerance and violent terrorism– but we do NOT need to conceive of ourselves and our nation as engaged in a holy war against a religion and the people who practice it.

All Muslims are NOT terrorists and all of them did not support or approve of the 9-11 attacks. We must not stereotype an entire group of people based on the actions, however disastrous and deadly, of a limited few. Yes, the United States IS at war in Iraq, but our nation’s leaders chose to invade and occupy Iraq based on very flimsy evidence that Iraq had ties to the 9-11 attackers and WMD. I stand behind our soldiers and our military– I “support our troops” and their families, but I am convinced that President Bush made the decision to go to war after 9-11 irrespective of the facts that were present, and has doomed our nation and the men and women who serve it in uniform to an extremely protracted and costly conflict that was not justified on a prima facia basis given the facts at the time.

After speaking at length several years ago with US military members activated following 9-11, it become clear to me that an immediate US military build-up in the Gulf area started right away following these attacks. The political declaration of war was just a formality that came later. (Unfortunately, this is not the way the US Constitution mandates that our nation go to war.)

I was scared on 9-11. I was confused and bewildered. We had been attacked, and of course I was angry that someone would do this on US soil. The majority of the attackers on 9-11 were from Saudi Arabia, from what I understand, and they were primarily upset that the US continued to station troops in Saudi Arabia. One of their objectives was to get US forces out of Saudi. In that goal they succeeded. From what I know, the US military is out of Saudi. Now we are in Iraq, and all signs point to an extremely prolonged stay. There is no such a thing as “a short land war in Asia.” If we are to stay the course in Iraq, as I think we should do now that we have committed so many lives and resources to this cause– it is going to take significant political will as well as money and blood.

I support our nation, I support our troops, but I am angry at our President for misleading our nation in taking us to war in the Middle East. The Iraqi people, and even the Iraqi government, was not responsible for or behind the 9-11 attacks. They were not behind Al-Queda. And all Muslims are not enemies. I read Global Voices fairly often and I have known several Muslims from the Middle East in my short life, and I know all Muslims are not terrorists. I am a Christian, and I am not engaged in a holy war with Islam. Videos like this one of 9-11 ARE emotionally powerful and cause us to remember– but they should also give us pause to THINK and consider what course of action is both prudent and justified given historical facts as well as current commitments.

I do pray for our soldiers serving and fighting in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and for their families left behind here in the United States and in other parts of the globe. I pray for the Iraqi and Afghani people. I pray for the causes of human rights and self-determination in these nations– because these are not just “American ideas.” These are universal ideas, rights and values. Saddam Hussein WAS and IS a bad guy. I’m glad he’s no longer running Iraq. But I don’t think the 9-11 attacks provided just cause for us to invade his country and unseat him from power.

If I had been the US President on 9-11 and afterwards, I am sure I would have also struggled to know how to respond and how to lead. I do not think I would have pursued a course of military action that was not supported by the intelligence and best analysis of our military servicemen and women and other government officials, however. I could probably write more on this subject, but I will stop there. These images and what we know now about 9-11 and the aftermath give much food for thought, and subjects for prayer.

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2 Responses to Images of and Reflections on 9-11

  1. ahf says:

    Bit of a correction — the video was not made by SC Eagle & his wife, but linked from his website.

  2. […] I love my country, I support our soldiers, but I regret many of the decisions of our Commander in Chief. It was good to hear the perspectives of Secretary Albright on these and many other issues of vital importance, especially since she has so much experience and insight into these complex topics. What a tremendous role model Secretary Albright is for the young women of our nation, as well as the young men! I do not think the foreign policy record of the Clinton administration was spotless either, and I was not a big fan of President Clinton when he was in office, but I do agree that government officials should admit wrongdoing when it has taken place. To date I don’t think US officials have done that adequately in the case of Abu Ghraib, and certainly not in the ongoing situations at Guantanamo and in Iraq. […]

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