Thursday, July 07, 2005

London Terror Attack

Work, vacation and traveling has made regular posting a bit challenging for me recently, but I couldn't let today go by without talking about the horrible bombings in London today.

As an American citizen, we feel we have a special relationship with Great Britain because of the shared heritage between the British and many of our founders. We share a similar language a similar culture. When Princess Diana died, we Americans felt that we had lost one of our own. And after September 11, 2001, the American national anthem was played at parliament. They are our closest allies.

Now today we share one other thing in common with our friends across the pond...terror. Its truly a shame and my heart, thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of this attack. I was up at 5:00 this morning and watching the TV reports of this attack. It was like waking up on September 11 all over again. I also fully expected Washington, DC (where I live) or New York City to be hit as well. Thankfully, they were not, but that gives me little comfort while I grieve for the British people.

Throughout the day, I have been reading blogs and news reports trying to get my head around this event, and I have been truly disheartened. This tragic event has already been politicized and polarized on ideological lines. People are blogging and saying the craziest things. Basically, using this tragic event to push their own current political view. People have been calling liberals chicken and that we blame America first. And people stating that we should give the citizens of Mecca 24hours to evacutate. Before we do, what, exactly? Nuke em'? To what end? Will that make the terrorists less likely to strike us or add fuel to their fire?

There is no doubt that I consider myself a liberal, a progressive and a democrat. And I am sure that everything that I write about goes through the spectrum of my personal point of view. I don't know anyone who can write without their own personal filter. But I try to think about all issues critically.

An attack during war, (and both the US and Great Britain are embroiled in war although we rarely have to see it right in front of us on our home soil), is ugly. And I do not endorse or condone what happened today. Not in any way. I just wish that there was some way we could take a real critical look at the war on terror and how we can reduce violence and death on both sides.

Our first reaction when something like this happens is to want to strike back. It is perfectly natural to feel that way. I felt that way on September 11 as many Americans did. But do we really want to react blindly and cause as much death, destruction and damage to our enemies and anyone else who may get in the way? That is the knee-jerk gut reaction, yes, but will that really stop the violence? End the war? Is that what Jesus would do?

Which person shows more courage, the one who drops a bomb from a plane or guns down a group of enemies with an ak-47 or cowardly hides a bomb to wreak as much havoc on civilian populations? Or the person who stands up after an attack, puts down their weapon and extends their hand in peace and reconciliation? Which act takes more courage?

Now I'm not advocating blindly conceding either, but there is nothing cowardly about trying to look at a difficult situation in a new way. Self introspection is not cowardly as those who shout 'you blame America first' from the highest mountain want you to think. It is more cowardly to refuse to look within yourself for the answers. I cannot change my enemy, but I can change myself and how I react. So, we can find out who perpetrated this disaster and carpet bomb their country for months on end and then occupy their land indefinitely, or we can find a way to punish the guilty and restore the dignity to all of the innocents who will be affected by continuing protracted and unending wars. Which takes the greater person? Which would honor the memories of those we have already lost?

May God be with the families who lost loved ones in Britain today and with the whole of Great Britain.

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