Dear Madam or Sir,
In a recent movie review, Jonathan Rosenbaum suggested that the events that have come to be known as "9/11" might be regarded as something other than an attack on America [September 5]. In a subsequent letter [September 12], David Kuner contradicts Rosenbaum, saying that it is self-evident that those events were a blow against America. Kuner is wrong.
Let's get the obvious out of the way first. "America," the sum of the countries that occupy the Western Hemisphere, is not really at issue at all. What both writers meant to say was the "United States of America," the country upon whose soil the events of 9/11 took place, whose citizens' deaths are sought by those who orchestrated those events, whose government and social institutions are hated by those same persons, and whose destruction those persons seek.
Kuner argues that the facts just stated establish that 9/11 was an attack against the United States of America. Except for the fact that the events of that day took place on the soil of the United States of America, all of his arguments are about the state of mind of those who planned and carried out the attacks. I agree, at least for purposes of argument, that those persons see what they did as an attack against the United States of America, and that they want the citizens of the U. S. of A. to agree with them. The question remains, should we adopt their perspective?
I propose a hypothetical. Let's assume that I am a United States of American citizen who hates this country and wants to see it destroyed, and that I go on a rampage on United States of American soil and kill some of my fellow citizens in pursuit of my vision. Have I committed an attack on the United States of America? I don't think so. I have attacked those individuals, but I am nothing more than a murderer. Would the situation be any different were I not a citizen of the U. S. of A.? I think not. There is a difference between a crime spree and an attack upon a country.
The perpetrators of 9/11 are, essentially, a gang. They have no more status to attack the United States of America than do any of Chicago's street gangs. Nations attack other nations. Gangs do not, however bloated their self-importance may be. The goal of the gang is to get out from under authority/power. The goal of the attacker is conquest.
9/11 was not an attack on this country. It was an act of mass murder and destructive vandalism that "succeeded" far beyond the dreams of its perpetrators. Our nation's foolish response to these events, a response based on our adopting the perspective of those murderers and vandals, has put us in the position of village idiot to the world, as we stomp our enormous feet angrily and arbitrarily in the name of a "war against terrorism," while eroding the very values within our society that those murderers/vandals despise. Since August of 2001, Afghanistan has been attacked. So has Iraq. This country has not.
"Self-evident," my derriere.
S. Shore Drive