Wednesday, April 27, 2005

A sticky wicket

From the AP wire:
  Maggie Gyllenhaal has waded into sensitive political waters by raising questions about September 11 and American foreign policy.
  The 27-year-old actress, who stars in a new film about the 2001 terror attacks on the World Trade Center, said in an interview last week that the United States "is responsible in some way" for the attacks.
  A fan Web site devoted to Gyllenhaal was overwhelmed with criticism, forcing the site's editor to remove the ability to post messages "because it's gotten too outta hand."

Ms. Gyllenhaal raises a good point. I'm a New Yorker and I lost a friend on 9/11, so her comments should probably make me angry, but I have to agree with her. I think the American government's approach to foreign policy had a good deal to do with us being targeted. Certainly the fact that America is wealthy, liberal and immoral (at least in the eyes of extremists) also contributed to the attack, but I think there is a widespread perception of this country as a juggernaut poised to roll over the sovereign rights of countries in the name of global democracy.

The causes of 9/11 are infinitely complex. The basic insanity of bin Laden, al-Zarqawi, and their ilk is undeniable, but simply attributing the attack to religious fanaticism is myopic. The United States of America is the most powerful nation in the world. They say that with great power comes great responsibility, but Kipling said it better: "Power without responsibility... the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages" and fact is, we pursue our ideals across the world often without considering the consequences.

The present situation in Iraq illustrates this perfectly. We came in with guns blazing, with no plan on how to extricate ourselves and no concept of what the results of our invasion would be. Some would say our mission was accomplished with the removal of Saddam Hussein, but we've simply replaced a dictatorship with political instability (you'd think we would have learned from Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge). The body count continues to climb, both civilian and military. By some estimates, the total count is close to 30,000 and even after democratic elections, there is still no Iraqi government.

This entire topic has more layers than an onion and there is no clear cut answer to any of it, but I agree with Ms. Gyllenhall and believe things would be safer for us if we used the velvet glove more often than the iron fist.

Because I live in America, I am free to listen to the following:

PM Dawn - The Bliss Album…?
(beautiful hippy hiphop)

Tino - Tino’s Breaks Volume 5, Dub
("I come from space, through a hole in the sky."; thanks, Jack)

Cranes - Wings Of Joy
(Alison Shaw is the little engine that crushes)

Underworld - A Hundred Days Off
(Darren is gone, but Rick and Karl soldier on; not their best, but Underworld is like pizza)

Various - Misc DB 1&2
(I burn my 12 inches to CD, son, 'cause not all venues got turntables no more)


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