Thursday, August 10, 2006

Popcorn and a Terrorist Attack...

So I will not be going to see the new movie, World Trade Center. Why, you ask?

1. I don't like Nicolas Cage. I'm sorry, I don't think he's that great of an actor. And can someone please fix those dark circles under his eyes? I mean, hell, I know I have them, but he makes butt-loads more money than I do. Are you telling me that they can't make him look not sleepy? And try not mumbling for once! It's called enunciation. Try it some time. Hooked on Phonics can work for you!

2. Today the so-called "terror-alert level" was upped to red and orange. Are we really kidding anyone with this crap? "Oh dear god! It's red! It's red! Break out the binoculars! Keep alert!" Come on, they should just call it the "National Airport Delay Alert System," or NADAS. NADAS is the silliest thing since pet rocks! NADAS means NADA! Nothing! It simply means that elections are coming up, nothing more. When was the last time the alert system was even talked about? Hmm, let's think... I do believe it was right before the last time Republicans were running for office. Yep, it was. Can someone please tell me how NADAS has made them feel more protected from the evil-doers? And what is that? "Evil-doers." Could we come up with a phrase that sounds more kindergarten-ish? "Evil-doers"? Why don't we just call them the Meanies? Or the Stupid-heads? What does this have to do with the movie?

We are still feeling and dealing with the continuing loss of life from this tragedy in our history. Here are some facts you need to know, in case you didn't already:
  1. Saddam Hussein has no links, and never had any links, to al Qaeda. (See here, here, here, and here.)
  2. Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with the September 11th attacks. (See here, here, and here.) Nothing AT ALL.
  3. Iraq wasn't a haven for terrorists before we invaded. (See here, here, and here.) Saddam wanted nothing to do with Islam, and hence kept the Muslim teachers and leaders from having a strong influence in his country. (See here.)
  4. If Osama was such a great priority for this administration to find and hunt down, why, when we believed we had Osama cornered in the mountains of Afghanistan, did we let the local warlords take over his capture (which they failed to do) and not do it ourselves? Where is the logic there? (See here, here, and here.)
But now, here we are in two countries, "nation building" (something W. himself said we wouldn't be doing when he ran for president [and didn't win] in 2000), failing miserably, unable to stop the "insurgents" (another brilliant term) from killing their own people. We continue to lose soldiers, we continue to see bombings and civilians of these countries killed in mass amounts (And who, by the way, said Israel over-reacted? We invaded two countries for what amounted to just over three hours worth of terrorist attacks; Israel's been dealing with Hezbollah for decades, and we think they over-reacted by invading Lebanon???). Not only are we still dealing with those three hours on September 11th and it's infinite ramifications throughout the world, we have barely begun to build the Freedom Tower, a true tribute and act of defiance against the terrorists. We can't even find the mastermind himself (and Bush is quoted as saying he didn't care where Osama was), but we celebrate the hell out of killing one little leader like al Zarqawi or capturing Saddam, both of whom had nothing to do with the three thousand deaths on that fateful day. And we're going to romanticize the event only five short years after the fact, when we can't even begin to bring to a conclusion all of our actions since that awful day? Not only is it to soon, and shouldn't even be played by a well-known actor like Cage who can't possibly make me believe he's just a New York Cop, but it is almost like trying to place a Band-Aid on the stump of an amputee. It's still bleeding, it's still raw and open and sore and still trying to fight off any infection that might set in. Now is not the time to fit a prosthesis, now is not the time to remember when you used to be able to write with that hand. Now is the time we are supposed to fight the infection and find a way to make it so this never happens to anyone again.

3. I can't stand Nicolas Cage.

Am I making sense? I think so. I'm sure there are people who are ready to see this movie, ready to sense closure by having a feel-good time munching on popcorn and drinking their 128 ounce Coke with free refills. But not me.

I still remember where I was when I heard about the attack on the World Trade Center. I remember trying to call Rich's brother and sis-in-law who lived just minutes from the Pentagon, trying to call friends in New York City, wondering if everyone was okay, not knowing if it really was an attack or a bunch of freak accidents, wondering if the discharge letter I had received from the army the week before would be renigged and I would be sent over there to fight the "evil-doers."

This so-called "War on Terror" can't be won, in my honest opinion, much like the so-called "War on Drugs." Both were ill-conceived, ill-planned, and a fight against something which cannot be fought. To win these wars, you need to win the ideological war, and trading in one ideology for another is never easy, never quick, and almost never won. It takes time, patience, and dialogue, none of which are strong points with our current government; not guns, generals, tanks, and torture in the name of freedom and security. It does take commitment to ideas, not a commitment of troops. It takes us upholding the very values we say we stand for, like personal freedom, accountability, innocent until proven guilty, just cause, and a whole host of other rights and freedoms; not illegal wire-tapping, not illegal torture, not a twisting and word-game of what is and isn't torture, what is and isn't a detainee, not what is and isn't an abuse of power, not what is and isn't a "military tribunal," and certainly not a call to "kill the killers."

Because "killing the killers" is never what America has stood for. Fighting for life, liberty, and democracy is what we stand for; and yes, sometimes killing is needed to defend rights and freedoms. But when we fail to give the countries we "freed" these basic rights, obligations, and freedoms we "stand for," we have failed to be the country we claim to be, and failed what our founding fathers dreamt we should be.

So I will not go to see the World Trade Center. I will not hope for the happy ending that most Hollywood films usually give us with much delight and care. What I do hope is that this country will once again stand up for individuals. Stand up and say no to the torture. No to the holding of "detainees" without trial or charges. No to the lies spoon-fed by our government.

I know our soldiers are doing the best they can with a government that half the time can't even get them the supplies they need, that can't even take responsibility for orders they have given the soldiers. Our soldiers deserve better. America deserves better. The world has come to expect better from us, and right now, and at this time in our history, we have failed.

And I'll be damned if I'm going to pay $10.50 for a reality that we still can't put in our past.


Rodolfo said...

Thanks for this insight. I absolutely agree. After seeing a month's worth of the Lebanon Crisis on TV I actually felt a changing tide in some people's feelings on the institution of war. But now with the new terror alert levels we're back to square one. We're back to people being scared again.

Darkmind said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Alan said...

Great post. It's good to be reminded that our country seems to be run for the benefit of the GOP, not for what is best for us as a nation.

And, yes, Nick Cage sucks. Except in "Leaving Las Vegas". Dark circles and a lack of enunciation actually worked in that role.

Ergo said...

Jason, I didn't know you were sick! I hope you feel better soon....
I had wondered why you hadn't posted anything new, as you know I'm a great fan of your writing... but, take your rest... and ofcourse, when you do write.. I will be here to read! ;)

Alan said...

Great post. It's good to be reminded that our country seems to be run for the benefit of the GOP, not for what is best for us as a nation.

And, yes, Nick Cage sucks. Except in "Leaving Las Vegas". Dark circles and a lack of enunciation actually worked in that role.