Reflect on America's direction and reconsider foreign policy
No doubt, this Sept. 11 will see a campus clad in red, white and blue. Flags will hang out of windows, and people will strut on the quads in their latest trendy America-themed T-shirts. As highly educated students of one of the finest institutions for higher learning in this country, please do not succumb to the jingoistic and ethnocentric fervor that will likely sweep the nation one year after the tragedy that occurred in New York.
Use Sept. 11 as a day for quiet reflection or intelligent discussion about the direction of this great nation.
Yes, Sept. 11 was a horrific tragedy, the likes of which have never been visited upon American soil. Yes, many Americans died tragically and heroically in the events that transpired on Sept. 11. In no way do I intend to detract from the sorrow and misfortune surrounding the most heinous crimes in American history. As an educated society, we need to use Sept. 11 not just as a day for mourning our dead and celebrating the greatness of our nation, but as a day to continually reevaluate all aspects of American society.
While thousands of Americans died in New York one year ago, we seem to forget that many Afghani civilians have perished as a result of our wide-scale bombing campaign in Afghanistan after Sept. 11. Countless other civilians were driven from their homeland into refugee camps along the Pakistani border, where food, water and medical care were in short supply. Our actions in Afghanistan have punished an entire country for the actions of a terrorist group supported by a government that had no mandate from the population.
Let us use this anniversary to reconsider American foreign policy throughout the world. As our actions in Afghanistan during the Soviet-era helped sow the seeds of discontent and hatred for Americans that now manifests itself in the 21st century, we seem to be approaching another breaking point as we creep closer to war with Iraq. Saddam Hussein retains his death grip on Iraqi politics because of the U.S.-led embargo on Iraq. As Saddam's people starve, he vilifies the United States for causing the famine with our embargo. Without the embargo and a popular enemy, Saddam would have little choice but to feed his people or face wide-scale revolt, as his hold on power would be dramatically eroded.
On Sept. 11, wave your American flags, wear your America T-shirts, but please use the day as a day to reflect on the direction of America. The events that occurred on Sept. 11, rather than merely muster our patriotism, should instead act as an impetus for improvement of our grand nation.
All Viewpoint Stories for Tuesday, September 10, 2002