Once again, the memory of that fateful Black Tuesday is upon us. For those who lost a loved one on Sept. 11, 2001, the memory is painful. For the rest of us who escaped that day's horror, it is beginning to look - year after year - like yet another day. The compassion that brought us together as it never had before has all but evaporated. The bonds formed in the aftermath of it have vanished long since.
Before anyone could grasp, reasoning was replaced by revenge and the foresight by blinding fear. God knows how many cave-buster bombs have been dropped in the ravines of Afghanistan since then, but the perpetrator is still alive and happily engaged in his periodic soliloquies.
Then there is this wretched engagement in Iraq, which even after 4 1/2 years, continues to rage. Nearly 4,000 U.S. servicemen are dead, Iraqis in the millions have expatriated, and millions more are self-interned in domestic refugee camps (a condition unheard of even during the long, dark, and tyrannical reign of Saddam Hussein). It is divine that only one person on this planet can taste victory and boast about it.
Sadly, the true lessons of 9/11 have been lost. We lost our innate humanity, compassion, and empathy. Its backdrop has been exploited in shedding more blood, causing greater destruction, and spreading more misery - both in Iraq and Afghanistan. The myopia also led to an ever-increasing barrage of anti-Islam rhetoric and anti-Muslim slogans.
For me as a Muslim, this anniversary has painful ramifications. Only one benchmark has been successfully achieved: instilling acute fear of Islam, Muslims, and now the Arabic language, in the hearts and psyches of Americans who have been morphed into a herd of depressed and fearful weaklings. Nothing could be more fatal than this fear.
A thought-provoking Sept. 3 letter to the Readers' Forum implores us to ask some hard questions about America's complicity in fueling the growth of terrorism.
The writer asks why Osama bin Ladin traded wealth and luxury for a difficult and tenuous existence and why three educated doctors also choose terrorism. He concludes that because America failed to both understand and respond appropriately to the underlying grievances, terrorism will continue until we change our behavior. Unfortunately, his analysis is flawed because his underlying assumptions are wrong.
Based on past history, portraying terrorists (al-Qaeda, Hamas, and similarly aggrieved groups) as players willing to make "reasonable" compromises is not simply incorrect, it is delusional.
For people like this letter writer, murderers are never held responsible for their behavior. The focus is always on our actions and omissions, regardless of the context of our actions. From this distorted perspective, our misadventures in Iraq are more reprehensible than the horrible things the suicide bombers are doing in Iraq.
My point is that the letter writer has gotten the entire "root cause" of terrorism argument totally backwards. Ironically, as the terrorist apologists continue to rationalize and provide intellectual cover for the perpetration of atrocities like suicide bombings, the dysfunctional societies that create suicide bombers will brainwash yet another generation of children so the carnage can continue.
Labor Day, a day honoring America's working men and women. What a convenient time for President Bush to make a surprise visit to Iraq. He would rather visit a war zone than face the reality that so many workers have lost their jobs because of his trade policies.
Just another way he shows how little respect and concern he has for the middle-class American worker.
I would recommend the movie No End In Sight to every American, especially those of you who vote. The movie highlights the real events that led to the insurgency in Iraq today.
As a mother of a son in the U.S. active-duty military scheduled to deploy to Iraq, I ask you to become better informed in the debate on our military involvement in the world. Turn the channel and watch more than one perspective. Get away from the mainstream media and read from sources that are not always owned by our few media conglomerates. My son's life and many others hang in the balance.
Should our brave soldiers have to lose their lives in more senseless actions based on the irresponsible actions of our elected government officials?
What about the hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis, especially children - don't they have a "right to life" (where are the anti-abortionists at the peace rallies - is the right to life in the womb limited to Americans)?
We have a duty to know the issues - why did the United States invade Iraq? There are still voters who will go to the polls in 2008 who really believed Iraq was behind the attacks on 9/11 or that Saddam Hussein did indeed have WMDs. It is proven our government leaders will use propaganda to sway an apathetic U.S. public. It is up to us, the people, to get informed. My son's life depends on it.
When Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota suffered a brain hemorrhage late last year a Readers' Forum contributor wrote that God wanted Republicans in charge and that the life-threatening condition of the senator proved it. What does the writer think now that the senator just announced, "I am back"? Did God change his mind, or was the writer wrong all along?
Doesn't take much to figure this one out.
I wish to emphasize the respect and gratitude we at the University of Toledo have for all the community-based physician mentors who commit countless hours and actively share knowledge in an effort to ensure the ability of our students and residents to give the highest quality and most compassionate care to the patients they will ultimately serve. These young people's futures are truly in their hands.
The combination of education in the classroom and at the bedside is critical to the future of health-care delivery. As physician-educators, these professionals must challenge our students and provide information in a manner that can be clearly understood and flawlessly applied. As physicians they need to do everything in their power to provide these learners with the knowledge and guidance to allow them to offer the highest-quality care to their patients as specified in the Hippocratic oath taken by all physicians.
In recent weeks, it has been suggested there is a lack of appreciation for the time and commitment these physicians and educators are giving. On the contrary, we truly believe our students are being taught in a world-class learning environment by the best physicians in the area. Without their assistance, we put the well-being of these future physicians, the health of patients, and our community at risk. We are only able to provide this high caliber of teaching with their continued commitment to our classroom and bedside education.
I invite all the members of our community to join me in thanking these physician-educators for their continued dedication ensuring the excellence of our next generation of physicians.
Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D.
Provost and Executive Vice President for Health Affairs
Dean of the College of Medicine
University of Toledo
President Bush has revealed in a new book that he cries a lot. He should. I doubt, however, that his tears compare to those of the families and friends of the more than 3,700 soldiers who have been killed in this totally uncalled for and senseless war a war that he originated on false pretenses, I might add.