The former head of the U.S. Special Forces recently admitted that the Islamic State likely would not exist if Bush hadn’t invaded Iraq.
Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn told the German newspaper Der Spiegel that Americans allowed their anger of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to lead them into disastrous military policies that failed to address the root causes of terrorism—and actually helped create new and more brutal terrorists.
This is what happens when a government and its leaders react on emotions.
“When 9/11 occurred, all the emotions took over, and our response was, ‘Where did those bastards come from? Let’s go kill them. Let’s go get them.’ Instead of asking why they attacked us, we asked where they came from. Then we strategically marched in the wrong direction.” ~ Spiegel Online
I knew Bush was lying to us about the reasons we should invade Iraq. I also knew we wanted to be lied to.
We (US citizens) were terrified.
“There was no voice, no one person “making calm decisions amid diverse opinions.” No one involved in “conversations of calm deliberation.” No one showing the self-discipline and the capacity to listen to other points of view and to balance valid but competing ideas and interests.” ~ New York Times
There was only fear. Fear and anger as Gen. Flynn told Der Spiegel:
“Americans allowed their anger of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to lead them into disastrous military policies that failed to address the root causes of terrorism—and actually helped create new and more brutal terrorists.”
What if someone had stood up after the horror of 9/11 and told the truth?
What if someone had said that only compassion and mercy could overcome the enemy and that only compassion and mercy could have led us back to the peace we so dearly hoped for.
There was no one saying amidst those “diverse points of view and competing ideas” that we should not be dropping bombs, but that we should be dropping food—airplanes filled with compassion and mercy—in the form of food and medicine.
What would the world have said to that?
How would our enemy have responded?
Would they have even still been our enemy?
“In his masterwork, Politics as a Vocation, Max Weber argues that the pre-eminent qualities for a politician are passion, a feeling of responsibility and a sense of proportion. A politician needs warm passion to impel action but a cool sense of responsibility and proportion to make careful decisions in a complex landscape. If a politician lacks the quality of detachment—the ability to let the difficult facts of reality work their way into the mind—then the politician ends up striving for the “boastful but entirely empty gesture.” His work “leads nowhere and is senseless.” ~ New York Times
We now learn General Flynn’s opinion that our war against Iraq was one that amounted to nothing more than a “boastful but entirely empty gesture that led nowhere and was senseless.”
One of the things about compassion and mercy is that it is never an empty gesture that leads nowhere or is senseless. Another thing about it is that, unlike a violence, which destroys opportunity, compassion and mercy always comes back with another one.
We are faced with another opportunity today.
Today we can make amends for having allowed our terror and our fear and our small minds to have ruled when we were as Flynn has said, “too dumb to understand,” and when we said:
“Where did those bastards come from? Let’s go kill them. Let’s go get them.’ Instead of asking why they attacked us, we asked where they came from. Then we strategically marched in the wrong direction.” (Raw Story)
Today we don’t have to march blindly in the wrong direction.
Today we can open our arms and welcome those who so desperately want to arrive on our shores; those who look to us for succor and for nourishment. Today, we can feed these teaming masses and we can shelter them and we can offer them the very thing we had hoped that our bombing their country in the first place would bring us.
We can offer them home, right here on our very own shores. We can make it right. We can stop the bombing and the killing and do something different—we can respond to people in need from the truth.
And the truth will set us free.
When asked if he regretted his role in the Iraq War Flynn said, “Yes, absolutely. It was a huge error. History will not be and should not be kind with that decision.” (Raw Story)
We have now have the chance, through compassion and mercy, to re-write that history.
Author: Carmelene Siani
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: Wiki Commons / Public Domain