Today is the sixth anniversary of 9/11, a day that has become less a day of infamy in men’s minds and more of a fading memory, not only among politicians – most of whom, Republican and Democrat, are too concerned with how to best straddle themselves on the fence yet still look appealing to voters – but among most Americans. Most Americans are living now in the enfeebling purgatory of disillusion, mistrust, and moral exhaustion.
The U.S. won a war against two established war machines in World War Two. Six years after being attacked by our enemies, have we won the war against states that sponsor terrorism?
What war? No declaration of war was ever made against them. As a result, the West-hating regimes of those states still remain intact and in power. In fact, President Bush’s vacillation on whether to serve mankind by being a “democracy builder” or to honor his oath of office to protect this country and never mind what the rest of mankind thinks about it, has added two more states to the Islamic club of evil: Iraq and Afghanistan. (Pakistan has from the beginning been only a pseudo-ally, dominated by a military that is either on the Taliban take or sympathetic with the Taliban.)
Iraq’s government is determined to milk the U.S. for all the billions its bureaucrats can siphon into their pockets before the country succumbs completely to Iranian hegemony. Afghanistan has signaled its true allegiance by hosting a visit by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and by looking the other way while the Taliban raises cash from sales of poppy crops grown within the country’s borders.
Add a new, non-Islamic enemy: Vladimir Putin’s fascist Russia, which is flexing its muscles by claiming sovereignty over the North Pole and sending squadrons of Soviet era bombers close to British air space in exercises of “chicken.” Putin is emboldened by what he correctly sees as American (and European) uncertainty and weakness.
The U.S. has merely protested in its best diplomatic whine Iranian military responsibility for killing American troops in Iraq (technically, another reason to declare war on Iran). Congenitally unable to recognize and deal with the real world and so unable to take the proper actions in self-defense, our policymakers can only stare like frozen deer into the headlights of the oncoming juggernaut of an Iranian nuclear bomb. Their solution is to “end the war,” to “draw down” our presence in Iraq by stealthy degrees, but somehow leave Iraq and Afghanistan “stabilized.” This will somehow un-provoke Ahmadinejad from using his bomb and discourage further terrorist attacks.
Ever since 9/11, President Bush has adhered to a policy that is scarily reminiscent of the premise of the 1989 baseball fantasy, Field of Dreams. Presumably the voice of God has told him that if he builds fields of democracy, all those putative freedom-yearning Muslims will come, that they will stop hating the U.S. and emerge like magic from the cornfield to express their gratitude and “play ball.” God, true to form, has apparently insisted that this fantasy be accomplished only by well-meaning altruism and self-sacrifice.
What else could we expect from a man whose favorite “philosopher” is Jesus?
This observation is more than an analogy. It identifies the root premise that results can be wished into existence without any reference to the nature of existence or of things in existence. As famous but long dead baseball giants somehow inhabiting a Kantian noumenal realm can be called back to the phenomenal world if one “believes” and builds a baseball field, so an “ideal” state of non-judgmental amity with Islam and our other dedicated enemies can be called into the real world by wishing very hard – religionists call it praying – and it will become true.
There is no fundamental difference between the premise behind Field of Dreams and the premise that has governed Bush’s war and diplomatic policies since 9/11.
One real-world problem with his fantasy is that it costs him and his fellow wishers nothing to pursue it. However, it is costing American lives and American wealth, which the wishers believe are inexhaustible, but which are being sacrificed on the altar of altruism and pragmatism. Because individual rights and productivity are not quite “real” to them, the wishers consequently are ready and willing to expend countless lives and incalculable billions to attain their own “field of dreams.”
How great, perilous, and shameful is the gap between the fantasy world of the altruists in office and in power and the real world of the likes of Todd Beamer and his fellow passengers, who struggled to overcome their captor/killers on the flight that ultimately crashed in a Pennsylvania field near Shanksville on 9/11. They gave the last full measure of their devotion to actual values, to living in the real world, to taking the proper actions.