At the risk of sounding anti-patriotic

I question the ongoing “remembrances” we hold each year on 9/11. As far as I can tell we didn’t start “remembrance ceremonies” at Pearl Harbor until after we defeated the enemy (although there was an awards presentation ceremony on DEC 7, 1942 for Dorris Miller (mess attendant) to award the Navy Cross.

I bring this up because I have a questioning mind, and I wonder if we might not actually be adding fuel to the terrorist’s fire every time we read the names, show the faces and relive their “victory”.

This is unsettling for me because I do believe we should remember, but we shouldn’t be so quick to celebrate our national failure (and it was just that) in such spectacular and public display until we have exacted our revenge, as it were.

We didn’t celebrate the loss at the Alamo until well after we defeated the Mexican Army in San Jacinto.

Imagine how things might have been different if the Mexican soldiers had up to date information broadcast non-stop about the moral defeat the loss of the Alamo had created among the Texas troops. Sure – “Remember the Alamo” was a rallying cry – but the times were different. News took weeks or months to travel, and by the time it had, the Texas Revolution was already over.

Just like the daily broadcasting of the “body count” in Vietnam both strengthened the enemy and deteriorated support back home, I think the “remembrances” serve the terrorists in the same fashion.

Just like Vietnam, we are trying to fight a “proxy war” in Iraq – and nobody ever wins a proxy war. We ask too few for too much and too little of too many. There is no “call to arms” or even “call to sacrifice” for Americans. Instead we are asked to “not let the terrorists win” by “leading a normal life”. The book AWOL by Kathy Roth-Douquet and Frank Shaeffer makes this point clearly.

Instead of sacrificing we are demoted to “remembering” and this causes, in my opinion, a sense of hopelessness or a sense of inability to make a difference that actually distances the majority of the population from either the sacrifices of the conflict, or the feeling of actually being part of it.

I am NOT talking specifically on Iraq – I agree there is room for discussion on if that was a good move or not – but I am talking about the war on terror, which I do believe is one that must be fought, and must be won. I believe that if we do nothing we are opening ourselves to more attacks on our soil. It is better to kill the rats’ nest than try to kill each rat once it makes it’s way into your kitchen.

So I wonder what all of these terrorists think when they watch us during our “remembrances”. Are they re-celebrating their victory? Does it energize them? Does it make them even more determined to give us another reason to “remember”?

Should we hold off our remembrances until we “win”? Can we win? Can we win if only a small fraction of our citizens really even care enough to learn the issues? Can we win without a cross-sectional sacrifice? Or do we continue to do little, while so many do so much – and maintain the “status quo” of losing slowly (or winning slowly, depending on what you read)?

Do you believe there is even a need for a war on terror? Do most Americans? I don’t know. Were you scared shitless on 9/11 when the building were burning and the President was being shuttled from place to place and you had lost all sense of security and normalcy in your life? If so, do you really believe we can do nothing, and that what we have done is too much, or have we done too little?

A lot of questions, I know. But I don’t think enough average Americans are asking them, and I don’t think our government is asking enough of us – not all of us anyway.



  1. I was just asked in an Instant Message why I used the tern “anti-patriotic” instead of “un-patriotic”. I think “un-patriotic sounds kind of benign – like you don’t really care either way. “Anti-Patriotic” is exactly what it sounds like, so I used it because I thought it more accurately reflected how I thought some non-thinkers might feel about my post if they didn’t really read what I was saying.