Thomas Jefferson got it right when he said, “Those who are ready to give up some of their freedom in return for some security deserve neither security nor freedom”.
It has become fashionable to look at everything as pre-9/11 and post-9/11. But the truth is not as simple as that. 9/11 was not the end of the world as we know it nor was it the beginning of a new world order. This myth of 9/11 has been created by the Americans because they have a constant need to feel important. This is in fact a very sad state of affairs, because in reality America did not need 9/11 or for that matter Pearl Harbor to reassert or remind itself of its importance. America is important, per se.
There are countries that have lived with terrorism for years now. You don’t see these countries jumping onto their horses and riding out to defeat the enemy. Although this picture of John Wayne or Clint Eastwood riding out to meet the nemesis and the final gunfight that ensues sounds glamorous, that is not life.
If America were to look inwards for just a moment it would see that none of this was unexpected. 9/11 had to happen, if not on that fateful day in 2001 it would happen on some other day in some other year.
One cannot hope to meddle in somebody else’s affairs and hope to walk away when the going gets tough. Like it or not that is life. It holds true for individuals and it holds true for nations. Size and strength have nothing to do with this.
Vietnam, Cuba, Guatemala, Argentina, Korea, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq. Each of these countries is associated with an American president. Not surprisingly every one of these have come back to haunt the Americans.
A recent program on Discovery had a former CIA officer going to great lengths to describe how it was the efforts of the CIA and their proxy wars with the erstwhile USSR in the places mentioned above, that helped prevent the cold war from becoming a hot one.
The CIA and the KGB were nothing more that a bunch of college grads who didn’t want to leave the college lifestyle of groups and fraternities. The Cuban missile crisis showed very clearly that no leader would make the ultimate mistake of pushing the dreaded button.
Yes, the fear of mutual destruction saved the world on that day. But that was a decision, a personal decision by Khrushchev and not an achievement of the CIA.
Let us also not forget that the only leader to ever give that order was an American one. Although American has over the years created many a mythical monster for the world to fear, Gaddafi, Saddam, et la, not one of them, not a single one has ever done what Harry Truman, the American President did.
Today we have the Patriot Act. Which intends to take away the one thing that Americans have prided themselves in, their space. Ironically, their space is being invaded by none other than the ones who hold the responsibility to ensure that the American people and democracy are upheld.
The American Congress has voted to entrust the keys of their security in the hands of the very people who jeopardized it in the first place.
Is America powerful? Yes
Is America important? Yes
Those questions and their answers are not revelations, they are facts of life.
The question that needs to be answered is….
Is America still a democracy?