From: email@example.com (David Joseph Greenbaum)
Subject: Re: WTC Disaster
Organization: Cornell University
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Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2001 20:03:42 GMT
In a fit of divine composition, XXXXX@XXXXXXX inscribed in fleeting electrons:
Our President just did. He called it an act of war, which is in fact a military attack, right?
No. An "act of war" is, essentially, anything that a sovereign government decides is an act of war.
I so wish he had not done that. I so wish he had called it a criminal act. If he had called it a criminal act, it would have been tantamount to committing the country to taking legal steps and not military ones, and we might have come out of this with a stronger international commitment to law and peace. I suppose we still could, somehow.
I don't, and I vociferously disagree with you about calling this a "criminal matter" as opposed to a "military matter" being anything that can solidify and strengthen international commitment to law and peace.
I think you're engaging in wishful, magical thinking about how casting spells of nobility and love and lawful justice about oneself will inevitably lead to peace, love, and goodwill toward one's fellows.
I realize that it has to take a degree of pretending to say this is a purely criminal act and not a highly focussed political and military one, but I think it's a degree of pretending the world could benefit from right now.
I don't know how to phrase this carefully enough to avoid offense, but I think there's a large contingent of muddle-headed people who, before the fucking rubble has cooled off from the fires, loudly insist that America comport itself as the good guardian of Law and Justice, and thus refrain from anything that could possibly disturb the muddle-headed's righteous right to sleep at night. They are less disturbed by the savagery of the attack, by the powdered concrete and the pulverized blood-stained bones of the victims, than they are by the fear that they might be seen as less than holy themselves -- should they give voice to the darker, bloodier calls for vengeance and retribution.
I think, in the view that the people who plotted and carried out yesterday's mass murders didn't fucking care one fucking bit what we thought of them nor what we think of ourselves, that to imagine any kind of reciprocal regard for conscience is folly. I think it's muddle-headed, besides the point. I think, inasmuch as the planes, the passengers, and the targets were inanimate, soulless instrumentalities in the sight of the chaleria who hijacked their fates, the evil people who promote such calamity need to be addressed as dangerously contagious bacilli.
[....]Thousands of people are dead, XXXX. Thousands. International law-abiding justice did *nothing* for those people.
I feel the need for progressive political reform just as strongly as you do, but to these events, I think it irrelevant. The events at the World Trade Center have absolutely nothing to do with justice, and everything to do with war. My grandmother said that the World Trade Center attack felt exactly the same to her as Kristallnacht did, when her first husband was arrested and interned at Dachau.
Schöner, grüner mond von Alabama, leuchte uns!
Denn wir haben heute hier
Unterm Hemde Geldpapier
Fur ein grosses Lachen deines grossen, dummen Munds.
-- Bertolt Brecht