One of the problems of challenging conservative dogma is that, as a preface, you're forced to repeat the obvious, just to inoculate yourself from undeserved ad hominem attacks. So here goes.
9/11 was a terrible tragedy for our nation, for the victims and their families and friends, and generally for the cause of freedom and peace around the world. The perpetrators deserve our condemnation and our punishment. Nothing excuses their murderous actions.
But, like it or not, several things explain why there actions are possible. And, even in America, even with a conservative government, sometimes we are part of the explanation. Whether we like it or not.
Here is someone named Paul Sperry, doing the one thing with 9/11 that dishonors the victims the most; turning their tragedy into political ammunition for the right, especially as part of their ongoing attacks on higher education. All because some professors on some college campuses are daring to suggest that we, the people of this country, and some of our leaders, may have inadvertently contributed to the first terrible world tragedy of the 21st century.
Once again, conservatism dies on contact with the truth.
Because, whether Mr. Sperry wants to acknowledge it or not, the fact is that our actions did in fact contribute to the events on that terrible day.
We hired Osama bin Laden and his followers as our official proxies in fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan. We abandoned both him and his followers once they were no longer useful to us. And then allowed his hatred of all things American to fester, to metastasize into a desire to manipulate the nation that abandoned him through murder of the innocents.
And he knew that he could do it. Because, like it or not, he understands Americans better than many Americans understand themselves. He know that conservative Americans, and their leaders, are nothing more than hammers that see every problem as a nail. And he knew that he could manipulate that tendency to accomplish his ultimate goal: to get America to turn on itself and, potentially, self-destruct.
And we have, indeed, turned on ourselves.
We have transformed ourselves into a police state, with little dissent and even unbridled enthusiasm, We fought a war based on false pretenses, one that cost trillions of dollars and, far worse, thousands of brave and noble young lives. And, on top of that, we still do business with the Saudis, the people who breed the brand of Islam that rises up to kill us. All because our "leaders" can't wean themselves off of the oil money that pays for their careers, and costs us our nation and its ideals.
Osama may be dead, but he may have already won, unless we can somehow learn that our propensity for trying to manipulate world events comes back to bite us almost every time. To say nothing of our propensity for being manipulated. Trust me: there are Muslims who have learned that lesson of 9/11 very well, and who even now are planning to destroy us with what they have learned.
We can only turn all of this around by staring it in face in the first place. Even if that results in a national rebuke (say, next November) of American conservatism, which is what the Paul Sperrys of the world are really afraid of. We might as well begin on college campuses. That's where the next generation of Americans is beginning its adulthood. Maybe the lessons they learn will help to re-make America in the image of its founders, and not in the image of Mr. Sperry, who represents the worst sort of 9/11 deniers.