Thursday, September 11, 2003

The War: Going Full Roman

I contemplated writing a poetic tome to 9/11 so as to mark the day, but frankly, I just didn’t feel it in that way today. That hasn’t stopped others from trying.

The snip below is from a post by James Lileks, (whom I do not know) at his website that is getting a lot of mention in the blogosphere. Lileks writes about how he was once fooled into thinking that the world was coming to an end as a youth, and how he is "resigned, in advance, to the loss of an American city by a nuclear weapon."

Then he writes this:

I’ve no doubt that if Seattle or Boston or Manhattan goes up in a bright white flash there will be those who blame it all on Bush. We squandered the world’s good will. We threw away the opportunity to atone, and lashed out. Really? You want to see lashing out? Imagine Kabul and Mecca and Baghdad and Tehran on 9/14 crowned with mushroom clouds: that’s lashing out. Imagine the President in the National Cathedral castigating Islam instead of sitting next to an Imam who's giving a homily. Mosques burned, oil fields occupied, smart bombs slamming into Syrian palaces. We could have gone full Roman on anyone we wanted, but we didn’t. And we won’t.

Which is why this war will be long.

[. . .]

Two years in; the rest of our lives to go.
And what kind of lives will we lead?

Forget the poetry. I want to know why would it have been wrong for the president to stand at before the world and say that the militant calls for Islam, that is--submission--would not be headed by a rational, free, proud,and just people? Why would have it have been wrong to go "full Roman" against those who have dedicated themselves against us and brought battle to our people on our own shore? Better yet, for us to go full American.

And why, if Seattle or Boston or Manhattan stand threatened, don’t we hunt down those who threaten them? My days of personal deep reflections are spent wondering why I am not in the Marine Corps like I once was so I can personally bring battle to my enemies. Be in a place where I can use my mind and body to fight for and protect my home and my values. I read things like Lileks’ essay and it makes me fear for America. Not from what some enemy might do, but from the resignation of my own countrymen.

It has been said that America will go down not in a bang but a whimper. I wonder sometimes if we are hearing the first sniffs.

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