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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Musings about September 11th

Some musing about September 11th, 2001, posted on September 11, 2007.

1) The attacks were a disaster for the US, certainly. However, although I can't find statistics on this, I'm pretty sure that more people die each year because they don't have health insurance than the total of those who died in the attacks, plus the US military who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan.

* * * * *
Added September 12th: A commenter says that this is comparing apples to oranges. I guess so. My point was not that being attacked by terrorists is the moral equivalent of not having universal health care, but that we responded massively to a few thousand deaths from a terrorist attack, but aren't responding much to an equivalent number of deaths because we don't have a good health care system. We also don't seem to respond much to other things that kill thousands of people, such as gang violence and drunken drivers. We just accept these deaths as normal. I wish we would do something about these three killers, too, or instead of, our "war on terror."

2) Osama Bin Laden is still at large. Why?

3) Except for those in the military, and their families, there has been little sacrifice in the so-called "War on Terror." The President, with the complicity of Congress, has not called upon US taxpayers to pay for our activity in the Middle East, at least not directly. The expenses for the war, as I understand it, have just been added to the national debt. We haven't had to ration things we need, and, although gas prices have risen, this doesn't seem to be mostly due to the war. I saw a TV new program, where they interviewed the wife of a soldier, and she said that most of us weren't sacrificing. We are at the mall, or Starbuck's, she said.

4) Quoting from an article in Slate: The surge will be over in April 2008, when the U.S. Army and Marines run out of deployable troops, and therefore at least a quarter of the 20 brigades now in Iraq will inevitably be withdrawn and not replaced. This is by now common knowledge. At the same time, nearly all politicians, including most Democrats, have come out against a total withdrawal and have recognized that we will have some military presence in Iraq for a long time to come.
If that's the case, what's the political furor all about? Posturing and trying to get votes, I guess.

5) "Support our Troops" is, unfortunately, partly a sound bite, a cruel joke. A recent USA Today report, which I read, but cannot locate, indicated that several members of Congress, from both parties, had felt it necessary to take some extreme steps, such as contacting defense contractors to encourage them to hurry, in order that our military have up-to-date equipment, because the Pentagon wasn't doing enough. It is well known that the troops were not sent to Iraq with adequate armor. Health-care in the military, especially for those with various kinds of mental illness, is in trouble.

6) For many Christians, the "War on Terror" is problematic. (Some Christians are against all wars.) See this post on the subject. I attended a large group discussion, shortly after September 11, 2001, which was supposed to consider a Christian response. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised that what most of those present wanted to do was to state their plans for pursuing attacks against the terrorists. In other words, they wanted revenge. That didn't strike me as a Christian response. Besides, the direct perpetrators had all died in the attacks.

7) I wonder, but don't know, if Iraq and Afghanistan are more open to the gospel than they were six years ago? I hope so.

8) Although President Bush has been criticized for a lot of things related to the war in Iraq, and, no doubt, some, maybe a lot of this, is deserved, he would probably have been impeached if he hadn't done something pretty drastic in response to the September 11 attacks.

9) The moral standing of the United States has suffered because of our actions in the Middle East.

Thanks for reading.


Rob Rumfelt said...

Sorry, Martin, but I can't see how you can compare the deaths that resulted from 9/11 to deaths from lack of insurance coverage.

That's not apples to oranges. That's not even apples to drive shafts.

The human beings who died on 9/11 died as the result of an intentionally planned, evil action. Those who die from insurance related issues may be the victims of a lousy system, but I doubt the intention of insurance companies is to kill people.

The deaths from 9/11 are not morally equivalent to deaths from a terrible healthcare system and quantities aren't necessarily part of moral equations.

You weren't even in the ballpark on this one.

Martin LaBar said...

I suppose you are right about that.

My point, which wasn't well made, was about our reaction. We got up in arms over the terrorist attacks, but we don't seem to care very much about equivalent numbers of people who die from other causes, when, if we had reacted with as much money and attention, we could do something about them, too. Deaths from drunken driving, or from gang violence, also come to mind as disasters that we just let go on without paying attention to.

Thanks for reading.

Rob Rumfelt said...

"We" can be such a vague word. When you say "we", do you mean you and I, you and your wife, the state you live in, our country?

There are plenty of people who care quite deeply about drunk driving and gang violence. I'm sure you've heard of MADD.

All the money and the attention in the world will never do away with human stupidity and violence. There is such a thing as evil in this world. The Bible tells us that.

We do what we can, but we also pray.

Martin LaBar said...

Sorry 2.

By "we," I meant the US government. My point was that said government has mounted an enormous enterprise on a mission of revenge and protection of the citizens (which enterprise has, at least partly, misfired, as evidenced by the fact that Bin Laden is still at large) but done little, comparatively, about some other problems that also are killing some of our people, or letting them die.

Rob Rumfelt said...

RE: "Sorry2"

No need to say sorry. We just disagree. I guess, as the Emergent people would say, we're haveing a conversation!

Have a great evening!