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Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Written by: Rick Staggenborg, MD on Dec 8, 2009 2:52 PM PST

This essay is dedicated to Franklin Roosevelt, who is rightly given thanks for "betraying his class" and helping a generation to recall that America is only as great as the magnanimity with which it treats the least among us. He risked being labeled a socialist in compelling our government to honor our social contract with each other, and led the effort to fend off the first fascist grasp for world domination.

I made my pilgrimage to Ground Zero on the anniversary of the greatest failure of the American defense structure prior to September 11, 2001. I was reminded of Pearl Harbor, the last time an attack on "American soil" (Hawaii was not yet a state). The senseless loss of life on Sunday, December 7, 1941 was due to the indefensible decision to park the entire Pacific fleet in a bottle at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii at a time when Japan’s imperialist ambitions were being stymied by Allied attempts to limit their access to the oil upon which their war machine ran. This failure gave rise to an undying belief of some that Roosevelt engineered the disaster for nefarious purposes that presumably did not involve an honest desire to stop worldwide fascism before America became ensnared in its iron grip. It is ironic that this idea is today perpetuated primarily by those on the Left who owe Roosevelt so much. Some of the more pointy- headed pseudo-intellectuals disparagingly say that Roosevelt “saved capitalism from itself.” Given the realistic alternatives, I believe that is something to be grateful for.

As I stood before the site of what I pray will be the worst intelligence disaster of all time, I pondered its significance in history. It is clear that Al Qaeda planned its target well, as the twin towers had indeed been a symbol of American arrogance and exceptionalism. While I do not share the extremist view that the innocents who lost their lives were “little Eichmanns,” I understand that the victims were almost to an individual oblivious to the symbolism of their workplace in the minds of the disenfranchised throughout the world. The fundamentalist Muslim “conservative” who lives in poverty and craves the good old days of the Middle Ages is particularly offended by the ostentatious show of wealth that was embodied by the World Trade Center, rebuilt frantically after the symbolic 1993 bombing failed to achieve its purpose. How many even remembered that the terrorist responsible for that bombing was successfully tried, convicted and safely put away in prison, without need for a series of wars in the name of fighting terrorism?

Today it is one week after President Obama ordered an escalation of troops in the hopeless cause that is bringing some semblance of order to Afghanistan. The cause of “democracy” has been forgotten in the wake of the fraudulent re-election of the widely hated Karzai. The glowing reports of progress in building an Afghan Army do not gibe with the facts available in the European and Arab mainstream media, as well as the alternative media more readily available to those of us who have shut off our TVs long ago.

There are few in Afghanistan willing to die for a farce. Many of those who join are motivated more by fear or want than a sense of “patriotic duty” to a state that has never existed except on maps drawn by Westerners who have never successfully conquered and unified the “nation” of Afghanistan. We thus find ourselves embroiled in yet another civil war, one that cannot be won by the “good guys,” since there is no organized democratic effort in this region of the world that has never tasted the sweet fruit of democracy. They fight only for clan and kin and will always do so, until we allow freedom to reign in the rest of the world. At that time, all those in the Islamic world will clamor to be let into the family of nations of free men and women that the world can become.

It is time to end terror by ending the unholy “war” on terrorism. We cannot defeat an ideology by dignifying it under the rubric of war. Wars by definition are fought between nations or within them. To declare a jihad on terrorism implies that we are fighting more than just a misguided, hateful group of individuals bent on hopelessly fighting for freedom through killing. The only way to save ourselves from the terror of eternal war is to make peace with ourselves, heal the divisions that keep us from uniting to act in the best interests of America and the world, and bring the troops home now. Let the people of Afghanistan determine their fates for themselves, and let God sort out the good from the evil.

In the words of Lloyd Stone:

This is my song, O God of all the nations,
A song of peace for lands afar and mine.
This is my home, the country where my heart is;
Here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine;
But other hearts in other lands are beating
With hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.

My country's skies are bluer than the ocean,
And sunlight beams on clover-leaf and pine.
But other lands have sunlight too and clover,
And skies are everywhere as blue as mine.

Oh, hear my song, O God of all the nations,
A song of peace for their land and for mine.
My country, 'tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing.

Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims' pride,
From every mountainside,
A song of peace.

Rick Staggenborg, MD

Soldiers For Peace International

From the epicenter of the world: New York, New York

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