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Pollard on the Protests
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This essay by Brit Stephen Pollard (via Andrew Sullivan)sums up many of my own personal feelings, especially to many in the SF/F community.

I am shocked that so many of my friends would rather a brutal dictator remained in power — for that would be the direct consequence if their views won out — than support military action by the United States. I am ashamed that they would rather believe the words of President Saddam Hussein than those of their own Prime Minister. I am nauseated that they would rather give succour to evil than think through the implications of their gut feelings.

Although I think "implications of their gut feelings" is a bit weak, since I believe it's not only a moral decision, but a wholly rational one.

He talks about those who assume the moral high ground by lauding peace:

I have tried to point out that saying you are in favour of “peace” is meaningless. Which sane person is not? The question is: peace on whose, and what, terms? If it is peace on the terms of brutal dictators, secured by allowing them to build up whatever weapons arsenals they wish, then that is not peace. It is suicide.

Pollard says it more strongly than I would have, but overall I agree with his appraisal.

9/11 was in many ways a moral litmus test. I think every American initially reacted with a mixture of emotions...fear, anger, sadness. But there came a time in the weeks following, where those emotions that remained formed the core of a new demeanor.

We were, for the most part, happy and oblivious throughout the 90's. 9/11 shattered our national psyche. There are still many facets of ideology in America, but in many ways they have been calcified by the events of 9/11. Most notably, there are those that felt that we deserved what we got. Their primary emotion taken from 9/11 was one of guilt and self-loathing. "Look at what we brought upon ourselves," is their prevailing sentiment, perhaps wanting our proper response to be, not military action in Afghanistan, to bring those responsible to justice and attempt to keep them from doing something like it, one might suppose that because we were responsible, we should withdraw from the world, supplicate ourselves, and apologize profusely for really even existing.

Personally, I still feel a deep sense of loss and sadness from 9/11, but there's also a crystalline kernel of anger in my mind. The people who perpetrated 9/11 did not debate how to spare civilian casualties, but rather how to maximize the number of civilians killed. With pure, blind hatred, they plunged a knife into our eye.

Now, a victim can, in varying degrees, choose to blame themselves or the party that committed the act. Over a year and half after we were attacked, which emotion do you feel most strongly?

Guilt, or anger?

Should our posture toward dictators like Saddam, transformed after 9/11, be one of supplication and withdrawal? Or should we face such thugs with renewed determination?

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