September 12th, 2001


Nuclear Wars Are Not Good Things

"The scale of the attacks and the loss of life — mostly in New York City’s World Trade Center, but also near Pittsburgh and Washington — ensured that 'no option has been taken off the table,' a senior U.S. official told Asked if that included nuclear weapons, one senior official said: 'I said no option is out of the question. That's precisely what I mean.'" (from MSNBC)

I told them already yesterday to stop saying that. They just keep getting worse. How many Iraqui civilians did the United States kill during and after the Gulf War? The United States "deliberately destroyed the water treatment systems of the country, and then spent ten years carefully rationing the chlorine needed to treat the water and the medicines that could be used to fight an explosion of water-borne disease, while over 1 million Iraqi civilians died" (from "The War Comes Home" by Rahul Mahajan). Is it any wonder that other people want to kill American civilians when the American government keeps killing theirs?

Maybe Saddam Hussein is responsible, instead of bin Laden. Why not? He's got reason to bear a grudge. Lots of countries do. and until our country stops killing civilians in other countries, the other countries are going to go right on wanting to kill civilians in ours. How many people died in the United States yesterday - tens of thousands? We've still got a long way to go before we catch up to the one million civilians who our government killed in Iraq. And dropping a nuclear bomb will just further up the stakes of perpetual revenge - and up them further than we can even begin to imagine yet.

Mimi recommends the editorials here:

and Frank Episale recommends this.

I'm also seeing large numbers of people on LiveJournal snapping at each other for "not grieving correctly" or accusing people of terrorist-like cruelty anytime they say an awkward phrase or two. To me that almost feels as sick as anything else about this - that not only are a few people sick enough to murder thousands, but millions of people are sick enough to respond to the murders by starting to accuse everybody in sight of sympathizing with murderers anytime they have a minor difference of opinion or react a little differently to grief than one another. We need to be clear about this: exceedingly few people in this world and especially this country are anything other than overwhelmingly horror-stricken by this mass murder. But people do react to grief differently and it takes some people a lot longer to process what happened than it takes others, and some people who haven't yet processed what's happened may say awkward things or even try to make jokes or say things that are genuinely upsetting. It's understandable to find these people's reactions upsetting, but that does not justify accusing people of supporting murder, or terrifying teenage girls who respond offensively by telling them that you've turned in their offensive journal entries to the CIA and they're now being investigated - as I saw done to one LiveJournal user. Let's be sane about this: we don't know for sure who orchestrated the terrorist attacks, but we do know it wasn't any lone disturbed teenage girl on LiveJournal who thoughtlessly puts all her words down in public. So quit being paranoid, and if you see someone responding to tragedy offensively, understand that they themself may be just as horrified as you by their words in a few days - after their mind gets a chance to process the events. Many people's minds are still reeling. Talk to them, try to make them see the reality of events, but don't mistake them for terrorists - understand that the grief process itself often involves denial, and they need to be helped through that stage instead of being attacked.

Grief should not be turned into a performance in which we're all prescribed a script and graded on how closely we match our emotional progression to the script deemed acceptable. Grief has to be for ourselves, and undertaken only at the pace at which our own minds can process the events.
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