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Remembering

I don’t have much to say about the anniversary of 9/11, except it’s one of those moments you remember exactly what you were doing. Ten years ago I had just started a job at an exciting new biotech start-up the past June. I was driving to work on a Tuesday morning, which I remember was a really pleasant morning. I tuned in the local news station for the traffic. About as I approached the on-ramp for Route 30 in Downingtown, which is where I lived at the time, the first plane hit the North Tower. No one knew, at the time, it was a terrorist attack. I remember from history that a small plane once struck the Empire State building in foul weather. But how did this happen? It’s a completely clear day. Not a cloud in the sky.

As the news story wears on during my commute, news reports a second plane has hit the South Tower. Well, if the first place was an accident, there’s no way two planes can accidentally run into an individual tower. This has to be deliberate. This is really worrisome. I know people who work in that tower. I know it can hold the population of a small city, and that it’s nearly impossible to fight fires in building that high.

I was at work by the time the plane struck the Pentagon. By now it was obvious to everyone what had happened, and it was pretty apparent who was responsible. Nobody really thought about the possibility of both towers collapsing. A few of us were huddled around a radio in our cafeteria when the first tower collapsed. We immediately went out to tell anyone who wasn’t listening to the radio. We could easily lose more people today than were lost at Antietam today. No one really knew how many people were in the towers. By this time there was talk of a plane crashed in Western Pennsylvania. We were told we could go home. On my way home is when the other tower collapsed.

Once I got home and got the cable news on, is when I saw the replay footage of people throwing themselves out of the burning building before the towers collapsed. No one knew how many people had died. It could be tens of thousands. I spent most of the night watching cable news wondering why we weren’t carpet bombing the shit out of Afghanistan by now. By this time they had grounded all aircraft. I remember my friend Jason was in Arizona on his honeymoon. They had to drive back. Several days with no contrails in the sky was eery. I seem to recall it wasn’t for several days that we had an idea of roughly how many people were killed in the tower. I did not know anyone directly. A relative who worked there hadn’t yet entered the building, and made a quick exit from the WTC subway station.

I spent the next several weeks eager for some paybacks. Call me a primitive Neanderthal, but you don’t come into my country, kill 3000 people, destroy two pieces of precious real-estate, destroy four planes, and disrupt the lives of millions of Americans and not expect our military to come into where you live and kill those responsible, and try to offer to the rest of the people living there a more civilized means for governing themselves. I supported the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq. I still think both were the right thing to do. As a nation we have become weary of nation building, and I have too. If the radical Islamists attempt to up the ante post-911, I’m going to be considerably more in the camp of rubble don’t make trouble. We tried to do it the nice way the first time around, and that part of the world can take those lessons or leave them. It’s their choice. But we don’t have the patience, or quite frankly the money, to do it the nice way again.

46 Responses to “Remembering”

  1. Old NFO says:

    Concur… No more PC games… smoking holes work much better…

  2. Bitter says:

    I was in my dorm room catching up on my reading before my class off campus, so I didn’t have my tv on. I went upstairs to the kitchen to grab some breakfast when I saw a couple of American students at the dorm tv, but I didn’t think much of people turning on the news at that hour. I came back out to see the images from the Pentagon. I had to run to my room to get my stuff for the next class. I learned while in my room that our campus cancelled classes for the day, but no word came out of the other school.

    When I got to campus with my commuting group of 2 other girls – both from the Northeast and who knew enough people in NY to be concerned for their safety – our group had 2 out of 3 classes cancelled. My professor came in the room in a near panic attack and somehow managed to get the a/v people up to connect the overhead to a tv so the classroom could be an area to watch while we waited on others in the building or for those students who didn’t have tvs in their room.

    Since our driver’s class was the only one in session (the professor knew what was happening, but didn’t consider it big enough to warrant an interruption to her anthropology class), I spent time watching the replays of the planes hitting and then going down to the computer lab. I’m pretty sure that was the day I discovered Instapundit. That part of the day kind of ran together for me.

    The first building fell just before we left the other campus. The second fell just as we were pulling back onto our campus. By that time, I just went back to my room and turned on the tv with friends coming down if they didn’t have tvs in their room. Never had the dorm dining room been that quiet during dinner.

    Sometime during the afternoon, I got in touch with my pen pal in LA who was supposed to fly out the next day. Clearly, his trip to visit me was cancelled. We were planning to drive to Niagara Falls that weekend and stay on the Canadian side. I waited until the next day to call the bed & breakfast to cancel our reservations. I’m happy they did it without question for a refund since the borders were closed.

    My campus has one of the highest percentages of international students of any school in the country. One of the top majors year after year is international studies. Needless to say, those of us on the more conservative side of things all banded together very closely during the following weeks.

    I also remember I was in a bar in Boston with my mom having an early dinner in Quincy Market when we started airstrikes in Afghanistan. That made her travel home so much more fun.

  3. mike says:

    “I supported the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq. I still think both were the right thing to do.”

    Iraq? Oh, right, they had WMDs and all that, and it was basically a leaderless society spreading havoc across the region.

  4. Sebastian says:

    No one really knew what they had. But I was willing to do it just because Saddam had to go, and the middle east needed a chance to try something other than despotic rule.

  5. mike says:

    Actually, lots of folks were very vocal about what they had (or didn’t have). Scott Ritter in particular had lots to say, but so did others. At the time it was clearly a war of choice, and not necessity. There was no proof of any weapons – just suspicion (and huge potential profits by war profiteers). Unlike you, I do not believe that suspicions alone justify war.

    This is just precious:
    “and the middle east needed a chance to try something other than despotic rule”

    Yeah, they got chaos instead. Democracy doesn’t work over there. The worst thing that can happen for anyone is democracy in the Middle East. The majority want a theocracy, with all the oppression and Sharia Law that come with it. Saddam was able to keep the warring parties under control. Democracy can’t do that – they need someone with a strong fist to keep order.

    But worst of all is that many of the children who watched their families literally torn apart during Shock and Awe and the following war are now reaching maturity, will be a new generation of terrorists we need to worry about. Iraq was a huge mistake – which we will keep paying for in both dollar and human terms for many years to come.

    But at least Saddam never used his drones or WMDs.

  6. thefirtstndsecond says:

    Nicely put and I agree. Very nice.

  7. Sebastian says:

    Democracy was worth a try. The values of that world are not compatible with modernity, and I don’t think it’s going to end well once they acquire nuclear weapons.

    Lots more women, children and innocent civilians are going to die if Islam goes nuclear, and doesn’t grow up.

  8. Right Wing Wacko says:

    I was riding to work in my carpool when I heard about the first plane. On the way to work, we heard about the second plane.

    When the towers fell, an anouncement was made over the loud speaker at work. Beleive it or not, there was a CHEER from some of the workers on the production floor. The Manager in charge of that department immedialty wanted to fire all of those that cheered the event but was stopped by HR. (Many were Semoli refugees).

    I lost a little faith on my fellow man that day.

  9. Druid says:

    I found the most remarkable change in US policy after 9-11 was the subdued publicity of the State Dept’s “Known State Sponsor’s of Terrorism” list.

    What this has to do with 9-11, a supposed rag-tag band of self-trained religious fanatics, and the mass-murder of thousands; I don’t know…
    But it is interesting that so much whine has been served discussing of the (unfair) fact that in the 9-11 fallout a known State Sponsor of Terrorism (Iraq) was toppled.

  10. Postal811 says:

    I was at work, sorting mail, when a co-worker with a walkman radio let us all know about it. I knew right then that my wife & I were not going to be flying to Orlando for our honeymoon the next day. I called her up and asked her to turn on the tv and give me an update. She asked what channel. I said it wouldn’t matter. She turned it on and I heard the phone hit the floor. All I wanted to do was go home and be with her but I had a duty to my customers to be as normal as possible. (Yeah, I know, a ?Normal? postal worker)

    I have never been to NYC nor did I know anyone killed that day but on that day I told myself that the terrorists will never win. I may not be doing something as important as putting on the uniform of our military but by delivering the mail, allbeit to a small route in the middle of nowhere, life will continue; maybe a little more complex but life continues.

    God bless

  11. Pete says:

    I tried explaining this to my brother back in 2002. People were willing to go along with doing things the humane way, but their patience had limits. If the US had been hit again in a serious way, the mean streak inherent in a nation of annoyed Germans, Swedes, Irishmen, and every other nationality under the sun would come to the fore and it would have been rubble bouncing time.

    I’m not one who subscribes to nuking civilians to punish their political leaders, but making a glass Tiffany bowl out of Tora Bora after we had OBL cornered there would have been A-Okay with me.

  12. mike says:

    “I’m not one who subscribes to nuking civilians to punish their political leaders, but making a glass Tiffany bowl out of Tora Bora after we had OBL cornered there would have been A-Okay with me.”

    Take a look in the mirror sometime. That’s the same logic that guys with box cutters used when they flew planes into buildings a few years back.

  13. Pyrotek85 says:

    “Actually, lots of folks were very vocal about what they had (or didn’t have).”

    Yeah, I wish they hadn’t put so much emphasis on finding weapons. It was suspicious that they never let inspectors in until they were good and ready, but I don’t know what other evidence they had (if any).

  14. emdfl says:

    Umm, no, mike, that’s NOT the same thing at all. But then either you know that or you’re too stupid to understand the difference.
    Let me tell you how the Middle East works. In a nut shell it is a tribal-orientated “civilization”. What that means is that if you hurt one of my tribe, I hurt as many of your tribe as I can get to. Power is all they have understood since the founding of their political system known as Islim; power is all they still understand.
    Standing around singing Kumbya doesn’t do any except give them a good laugh.

  15. Sage Thrasher says:

    “Islam” has gone nuclear–Pakistan has them, Iran will soon and Saudi Arabia has vowed to follow suit if they do. Pakistan has got to be the biggest threat to world security right now–Kim Jong Il probably loses sleep worried about what nutty, self-destructive thing they’ll do next.

    No state is going to nuke the US or Israel, not even Pakistan, since the retaliation would destroy whoever did it. But the glassy-eyed nutters the ISI & other agencies insist on propping up to use as pawns in their paranoid schemes against India or whomever have a limited capacity for rational thought. Personally, I don’t feel anymore secure today than ten years ago; and though I support your “sea of glass” approach to another attack, it’s difficult to use nukes effectively against a dispersed enemy. There are certainly no easy answers.

  16. Sebastian says:

    Pakistan at least has a secular military, which controls their bombs. Iran, to some degree, also has a secular military too, but it’s unclear who would control nuclear weapons. The only real hope of deterring islamic nuclear powers from slipping a bomb to terrorists is a policy of a retaliatory nuclear strike against any terrorist supporting state in response to any nuclear attack on an American city.

  17. Harold says:

    While I’m not fond of “nation building” I think our very serious attempt in Iraq was necessary if for no other reason than to give us the moral standing in the future if worst comes to worst (say, after the 3rd US city dies in nuclear hellfire) to implement our own nuclear “Final Solution to the Muslim Problem”. I sincerely fear this is going to come to pass in my lifetime, and that’s one reason I moved out of the D.C. area.

  18. Sebastian says:

    But then either you know that or you’re too stupid to understand the difference.

    Let’s not let this descend into personal attacks and insults.

  19. Sage Thrasher says:

    I hope “a retaliatory nuclear strike against any terrorist supporting state in response to any nuclear attack on an American city” is our policy. That said, I wouldn’t put it past folks in the mountains of Pakistan to WANT that country’s major cities, i.e. secular centers, to actually be nuked & work toward that end as well, perhaps even using us to get it done.

  20. mike says:

    @emdfl:
    “Standing around singing Kumbya doesn’t do any except give them a good laugh.”

    I don’t think anyone was suggesting that. Saddam was doing a much better job keeping everyone in line than we are, and from what you wrote, it seems that you’d agree that an iron fist is needed to keep order. America can’t be that iron fist because our military is accountable to the evening news and soccer moms. We really needed to let Saddam be. It was obvious back then to all but the jingoists, the war profiteers, and the misguided revenge seekers.

  21. alcade says:

    “Take a look in the mirror sometime. That’s the same logic that guys with box cutters used when they flew planes into buildings a few years back.”

    Yes, and the Nazis and the Japs each thought they were doing the right thing as well. The mistake you are making is the belief that all cultures are relative to one another. Maybe so, but if we fail to stand with conviction that our way of life is not only superior to that which we are fighting, then we cannot take the stand that it is worth defending. I, for one, have no problem saying that American culture and values are superior to fundmentalist Islam, even at the risk of being an imperialist, or racist, or what have you. I’m fine with what I see in the mirror.

  22. Sebastian says:

    Yeah. I’ll stand with alcade on that count.

  23. mike says:

    I think you guys missed the point. It wasn’t about our cultural superiority or whatever – it’s that we can’t condemn folks for killing a bunch of civilians because they didn’t like our country’s politics and then in the next breath justify killing a bunch of civilians because we don’t like folks in their proximity. Well, not without being hypocrites anyway.

    If we can justify killing non-combatants willy-nilly, then how can we, with a straight face, condemn our enemies for doing the same. If we really believe that our way of life is better, then perhaps we should act like it.

  24. Sebastian says:

    The difference is we don’t want to kill civilians. That it happens as a consequence of war is unavoidable, but should be avoided to the greatest degree possible.

    But if it comes down to us or them, I’ll vote us every time, even if it means having to turn some of the terrorist supporting nuclear powers into craters. I don’t want to do it, but I don’t know how else you deter nuclear terrorism from happening other than making the threat, and following through if they decide they think you’re bluffing, or just don’t care.

  25. Sebastian says:

    I should note that I don’t think it’s possible to preserve freedom over the long term with clean hands. War is messy, and war will sometimes be necessary. But it’s worth the cost. It’s unfortunate, but freedom and peace is not a natural state of being for mankind.

  26. mike says:

    Maybe I’m not good at communicating, because I’m apparently inviting tangential counterarguments made to things I wasn’t saying. I don’t believe war is clean, and I know civilians will unfortunately die on both sides. But the comment that started this string was because one of the commenters thought it would be just dandy to nuke Tora Bora because one (!) bad person might be there. That is savage, and I don’t know how much was just keyboard commando-ing (I imagine most of it), but if that’s what you, Sebastian, are agreeing with then that isn’t the same as not being able to fight a war with clean hands.

    Now, if the trend is to continue, someone will pick some little tidbit of what I wrote and misinterpret it and then call me a hippy or something. Flower power ftw!

  27. Pete says:

    I suggested nuking Tora Bora. Mostly because it was a rocky remote fortress occupied by OBL, Zawahiri, and the AQ diehards. Also it had the virtue of possessing VFC: Very Few Civilians.

  28. mike says:

    Yes, and I realize it was most likely keyboard commando hyperbole, because it’s easy to say things on the internet But in the real world, nuclear weapons have fallout that blows across the planet, are expensive (whereas bullets are super cheap), and we’d be the only country to use nukes against another country two times over.

    Now it’s my turn to play keyboard commando: I think we should have sent in land sharks with frickin’ lasers to hunt down OBL, and then tied him to a rocket that we launch into the sun. And maybe blast some rock and/or roll for the whole journey. Slightly less ridiculous than nukes..

  29. Harold says:

    But in the real world, nuclear weapons have fallout that blows across the planet, are expensive (whereas bullets are super cheap), and we’d be the only country to use nukes against another country two times over.

    Nuclear weapons fallout falls (so to speak) into two relevant categories, distant and stratospheric. The former could well be an issue if we were to nuke Pakistan since nuclear armed India is no doubt downwind. The latter is a (Soviet, among others) propaganda bugaboo since by the time it comes down to the ground it has long decayed into nothing worth worrying much about.

    IF you are willing to use them nuclear weapons are frightfully cheap (those bullets don’t fire themselves) and that was the basis of our post-WWII defense strategy until the lessons of Korean and Vietnam wars sunk in. There’s a tremendous amount of history here, I don’t have to defend this point at all.

    I, at least, am not postulating or proposing another first use of nuclear weapons by the US in this context.

    Let me also insert this fact: examining the isotopes left over from a nuclear weapon explosion tells you who made it, so we’d know who either used it directly or by proxy or was careless enough to lose control of it.

  30. A Critic says:

    “The difference is we don’t want to kill civilians.”

    Really? Then why has our government killed many millions of civilians since the end of WWII? Why has our government killed more civilians than any other nation on earth in that time frame? Why has our government killed more civilians than all of the Islamic nations combined???

    “That it happens as a consequence of war is unavoidable, but should be avoided to the greatest degree possible.”

    If you don’t want to murder people – don’t go on a murdering spree! How hard is that?

    “But if it comes down to us or them, I’ll vote us every time, even if it means having to turn some of the terrorist supporting nuclear powers into craters. I don’t want to do it, but I don’t know how else you deter nuclear terrorism from happening other than making the threat, and following through if they decide they think you’re bluffing, or just don’t care.”

    So in order to “deter nuclear terrorism” we must engage in the very thing we are trying to deter? Can we also deter rape by raping someone? Perhaps we can deter armed robberies by using our Glock to rob the corner store?

  31. Sebastian says:

    I don’t consider it much different than deterring rape with a gun. Shooting someone isn’t exactly nice, but when there’s no police, you have to deter force with equal or greater force. And a deterrent isn’t worth much if you’re not willing to follow up on your threats.

    What you’re advocating is, essentially, not defending our country.

  32. A Critic says:

    “Call me a primitive Neanderthal,”

    Primitive people and Neanderthals would be unable to comprehend the scale and scope of the death and destruction you are willing to embrace. You are a sophisticated barbarian, one who is able to comprehend and use weapons as advanced as nukes, but who is no more able to grasp the meaning of justice and right and wrong any more than Ghengis Khan or Vlad the Impaler.

    ” but you don’t come into my country, kill 3000 people, destroy two pieces of precious real-estate, destroy four planes, and disrupt the lives of millions of Americans and not expect our military to come into where you live and kill those responsible, and try to offer to the rest of the people living there a more civilized means for governing themselves. ”

    Yes they did expect exactly that. And they were right. Have you noticed how many bombing campaigns we’ve launched against Saudi Arabia? How many troops we’ve put across the Saudi border? How many Saudi governments we’ve overthrown?

    I’d love to hear you explain some more about how a barbarian force invading another nation to set up a puppet government will offer the natives a “a more civilized means for governing themselves”. Your cognitive dissonance would be most amusing were the consequences not millions killed and billions enslaved.

  33. A Critic says:

    “Umm, no, mike, that’s NOT the same thing at all.”

    HAHAHA.

    “Let me tell you how the Middle East works. In a nut shell it is a tribal-orientated “civilization”. What that means is that if you hurt one of my tribe, I hurt as many of your tribe as I can get to. Power is all they have understood since the founding of their political system known as Islim; power is all they still understand.”

    Gee, and that’s so different from the masses of Americans who say the exact same thing, and who are unable to grasp the notion of the rule of law and instead worship the use of power (that is, the use of violence to subdue their brethren who happen to belong to an opposing tribe/nation). Oh wait, that’s exactly the same thing!

  34. Sebastian says:

    I’m not a moral relativist. We wouldn’t have been in Saudi Arabia if Iraq had never invaded Kuwait. We wouldn’t be in Europe if Hitler never started World War II. Wouldn’t be in east Asia if Japan had never attacked Pearl Harbor.

    We could certainly sit back and enjoy Pax Britannia, and let the Royal Navy keep the lanes of commerce and shipping open if it hadn’t been for World War I, safe in the knowledge that we needn’t insert ourselves in European affairs.

    Actually, we’ve overthrown exactly 0 Saudi Governments. They’ve been a monarchy since just after World War I when the Ottoman Turks were kicked out of the Arabian Peninsula.

    And I’m sorry you think our way of government is barbaric. I doubt most people would agree with you. I would certainly say it’s not going out on a limb to suggest what we were trying to establish is Iraq is more just and legitimate a form of government than what existed under Saddam Hussein. I would hope most people are not so blind as to not see that.

  35. A Critic says:

    “I don’t consider it much different than deterring rape with a gun. ”

    One doesn’t deter a rapist by shooting the family, neighbors, and the town or city where the rapist is.

    Based on your statements you would be more than willing to kill millions if you thought you might get one or two dozen actual violent actors. That is barbaric. The pain and suffering that is already real that you support goes far beyond anything ever done by any singular madman in history, Ted Bundy and Jeffry Dahmer have nothing on what you endorse. What you are willing to support goes far beyond that which has already happened. That is barbarism on a supremely epic scale.

    “What you’re advocating is, essentially, not defending our country.”

    No, what I am advocating is not engaging in mass-crimes on behalf of our government.

    “I’m not a moral relativist. ”

    No, you are a moral hypocrite. “Thou shall not kill any of my countrymen for any reason, but I may kill as many of your countrymen for any reason as I wish.”

    “We wouldn’t have been in Saudi Arabia if Iraq had never invaded Kuwait. ”

    Iraq invading Kuwait did not constitute an order to our troops.

    “We wouldn’t be in Europe if Hitler never started World War II. ”

    Really? Hitler ordered our troops to go over there? I don’t think so.

    “Wouldn’t be in east Asia if Japan had never attacked Pearl Harbor.”

    And Japan forced our troops/forces to go over to Korea and Vietnam and East Timor and Cambodia? I don’t think so. I know that’s not how it happened.

    There are two main reasons why our country got involved in these wars. The first is that small groups of politicians and war profiteers stood to gain huge sums of power and profit from doing so. The second is that large groups of fools and tools believed the propaganda the first group fed to them. This is how it is now, this is how it is around the world, and this is the way it always has been. A few people gain enormous riches and unchecked power, everyone else rallies behind them and trades their life, liberty, and property to feed their masters.

    “We could certainly sit back and enjoy Pax Britannia, and let the Royal Navy keep the lanes of commerce and shipping open if it hadn’t been for World War I, safe in the knowledge that we needn’t insert ourselves in European affairs.”

    There never was any good reason to take part in that senseless slaughter. It cost a great deal of liberty, and property, and more than a few lives.

    “And I’m sorry you think our way of government is barbaric. I doubt most people would agree with you.”

    Most people are barbarians, ignorant violent small minded short sighted greedy lazy savages who are more than happy to consume the lives, liberty, and property of others. Except for sociopaths barbarism is contrary to the true nature of humankind, so the masses must be deluded into denying the nature of their actions.

    “I would certainly say it’s not going out on a limb to suggest what we were trying to establish is Iraq is more just and legitimate a form of government than what existed under Saddam Hussein.”

    Saddam was going to die or lose power sooner or later. His government was inherently doomed. Had he died of natural causes his children surely would have lost power. Whereas what you are trying to establish is a permament one world government in which the elite rules the masses forever and ever. As Orwell said of the future: imagine a boot stomping on a human face FOREVER. That’s what you are trying to establish. It’s much like Saddam’s government, except it will affect a far larger number of people, and it will go well beyond the mere physical brutality and rule of physical violence and it will subvert and destroy the individual minds and souls of all those it enslaves.

    “I would hope most people are not so blind as to not see that.”

    Many of them share the same hallucination. Most of those who find your hallucination abhorrent have their own hallucination created by the same set of masters, and thus are also unwitting tools for the same global leviathan.

  36. Harold says:

    There are so many objectively obvious falsehoods let me just comment on the first:

    One doesn’t deter a rapist by shooting the family, neighbors, and the town or city where the rapist is.

    As a matter of policy this might be unwise and/or immoral, but that’s not how the real world has been shown to work. Even if the would be rapist is a sociopath, collective punishment works wonders as a decentralized method for keeping such people under control (one of the uglier lessons of the Shougunate period of Japanese history, which is critical in understanding Japan afterwards).

    If we make it crystal clear to the e.g. the Pakistani ruling class(es), the leaderships of the various parts of that stitched together country, that a single use of a Pakistani nuke on a US city will result in the death by nuclear hellfire (or fallout, but the former is where the drama is) of them and everyone they love and care about, we’re significantly less like to lose a city to one of their nukes in the first place.

    Brutal? Yes. Immoral? Very possibly. Effective? Most likely.

  37. A Critic says:

    “As a matter of policy this might be unwise and/or immoral, but that’s not how the real world has been shown to work. ”

    There’s more than one way to skin a cat, and there’s more than one way to live a life.

    Those who engage in collective punishment must by necessity forfeit their own liberty to do so. You can enslave others only by enslaving yourself to the same infernal system.

    “Brutal? Yes. Immoral? Very possibly. Effective? Most likely.”

    In the current world with the proliferation of nuclear arms and with the many different nations and groups possessing and acquiring such arms and in light of the multiple opposing factions within each of those nations and groups and in consideration of the religious fanaticism of many of those factions – that seems like a bold bet. Should such a sequence of events happen to occur I should doubt very much that the target of our attacks would be in any way responsible for attacking us.

    Even if such tactics work to keep our cities safe from a nuclear attack – they ensure that our cities will be enslaved to the leviathan. I’d rather be a freeman with a theoretical chance of being attacked than live as a slave with the “protection” of a government that ravages my life, liberty, and property. It seems most people prefer to live the life of a slave in exchange for the promises of protection from the big scary world.

    Y’all probably should turn in your guns, just give them to the cops and let them set up death squads to protect you. It’s going to happen sooner or later anyway, why not be proactive about it? What’s good for foreign policy must be good for domestic policy, right?

  38. Harold says:

    [ If we get nuked ] I should doubt very much that the target of our [ retaliatory ] attacks would be in any way responsible for attacking us.

    Again demonstrably wrong. Nuclear weapons leave behind unique radioisotope ratio “fingerprints” due to fissionable sourcing, design and construction. I.e. if we can sniff the aftermath we will know who made it. “With great power comes great responsibility” and if you build a nuke you are responsible for maintaining custody of it. If you screw that up in a way that results in massive death and destruction you deserve what you get in return (it is of course open to debate if everyone you know and love deserves it as well, but that’s a different issue).

  39. Sebastian says:

    We are enslaved to the same system. The only reason we exist today as a free country is because those who came before us had to deal in it. The only reason we remain a sovereign nation is because we spend more money on our military than the rest of the world combined, and ultimately have our territorial integrity backed up by a large nuclear arsenal. There isn’t anyone who lives outside of this system.

    Based on recent comments, it would seem Critic is an anarchist, which is reason enough not to take him seriously.

  40. A Critic says:

    “Again demonstrably wrong. Nuclear weapons leave behind unique radioisotope ratio “fingerprints” due to fissionable sourcing, design and construction. I.e. if we can sniff the aftermath we will know who made it. ”

    It is a political problem, not a technological one. Since we are close allies with our worst enemies we would not pursue them. We didn”t invade Saudi Arabia or overthrow it’s government – and we haven’t done so for Pakistan – I don’t think a nuclear attack, which would generate much greater gains in power and profit for our government, would change that. You don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

    “If you screw that up in a way that results in massive death and destruction you deserve what you get in return (it is of course open to debate if everyone you know and love deserves it as well, but that’s a different issue).”

    So if one of the nukes our government has lost is used in a terror attack elsewhere in the world you and your family deserve to die because of the actions of people you don’t know, never met, and have nothing to do with? And it is the same issue since you are talking about massacring thousands or even millions of people.

  41. A Critic says:

    “The only reason we exist today as a free country is because those who came before us had to deal in it. ”

    America has the largest prison population of any country in the world and of any country in history. Per a recent news story we have something like 180,000,000 words of laws to keep us from being free. We need permission slips for guns, cars, ourselves, our houses, minor changes to our houses, and just about everything else in our lives. The government prohibits, regulates, taxes, and otherwise controls our food, our water, our land, our houses, our transportation, our religion, and again just about everything in our lives. How is that a free country?

    “The only reason we remain a sovereign nation”

    The influence of Israel, Saudia Arabia, and China is well known – how are we a soveriegn country when our government routinely puts the interests of other nations ahead of our own?

    “is because we spend more money on our military than the rest of the world combined, and ultimately have our territorial integrity backed up by a large nuclear arsenal. ”

    So our handing of hundreds of billions of dollars to a relatively small number of war profiteers who build an ever more elaborate machine of mass death is what keeps other countries from messing with us (other than Israel, Saudi Arabia, and China)?

    “Based on recent comments, it would seem Critic is an anarchist, which is reason enough not to take him seriously.”

    In order for you to maintain your staunch belief in your jingoist fascist tyrannical state it is most prudent for you not to take me seriously. It is best if you ignore me, mock me, or accuse me of mental illness. Do anything but consider the tens of millions who have died as a result of the machine that you worship and do anything but reflect on the future consequences on your own life, liberty, and property from building a global empire of death and destruction and slavery and servitude. Yes, it is indeed best that you do not take me seriously lest you begin to awake to the horror that permeates and defines your entire life – or else you might suffer mental anguish of a most unpleasant variety.

    After all, surely the empire will not collapse in your lifetime, most surely it will not crush you or your family, right? It will always be someone else? Do you think you have the luck of your parents and grandparents?

  42. Sebastian says:

    How is that a free country?

    Unfortunately, it beats the alternatives. I do think we could do better. A lot better.

    In order for you to maintain your staunch belief in your jingoist fascist tyrannical state it is most prudent for you not to take me seriously. It is best if you ignore me, mock me, or accuse me of mental illness.

    I would not accuse you of mental illness, mock you, or say you’re stupid. You’re clearly an intelligent person. But a lot of very intelligent people get wrapped up in the fantasy that without government, or with almost no government, people would just get along. I’d certainly like less government in everyone’s life, but a world with no or almost no government means we go back to hunter gatherers, and even then, you’re still going to have to put up with your family/clan/tribe’s bullshit.

    I will admit to dismissing you. I’ve argued with enough anarchists or minarchists over the years to know it’s a futile act.

  43. A Critic says:

    “Unfortunately, it beats the alternatives. I do think we could do better. A lot better.”

    You must be familiar with that Army veteran, decorated I do believe, who I believe is still in prison because his Olympia Arms AR-15 slamfired at a range? One of the alternatives to imprisoning war heroes for weapons malfunctions would be to not imprison them. How does imprisoning people for such things beat not imprisoning them?

    “But a lot of very intelligent people get wrapped up in the fantasy that without government, or with almost no government, people would just get along.”

    People don’t get along with government. You are a supporter of not getting along with other people, using arms even nuclear arms to avoid getting along with them. Most other people likewise agree, we must not get along, instead we must have government as a means of organizing this not getting along.

    “I’d certainly like less government in everyone’s life, but a world with no or almost no government means we go back to hunter gatherers, and even then, you’re still going to have to put up with your family/clan/tribe’s bullshit.”

    There is a novel theory, known as libertarianism or anarcho-capitalism, in which there would be governments however the human beings who comprise such organizations would not be allowed to commit murder, theft, or any other crime. In other words, the law enforcers would themselves be required to obey the very same laws and underlying principles of law that they are supposed to enforce. Now, since this is only a theory, it might be in reality that such a system would denigrate to tribalism, however we do not know that as it is only a theory that has yet to be tried in the real world.

    “I’d certainly like less government in everyone’s life, ”

    You say that. You may feel that. You may think that. But you surely do not act as if it were true. So is it really true what you say, feel, and think if you never act to make it a reality?

    “I will admit to dismissing you. I’ve argued with enough anarchists or minarchists over the years to know it’s a futile act.”

    I likewise have reached the same conclusion about statists. Both those who are slaves to the state and those who refuse to bow down to their would be masters are not to be swayed by arguments. Very few if any liberty minded people ever surrender to the state and those statists who rebel do so by following their own path of discovery and enlightenment.

    Consider it from my point of view: all I have to do is pay and obey, I give up as much of my life, liberty, and property as the state demands, and in return all of my problems will be solved. Of course, if my problems aren’t solved I can not do anything about it and I can not demand a refund. So I must give up everything for the promise of everything but if I get nothing then there is nothing I can do – and you really think I should follow you and all the others for this devil’s bargain? I should rather forward my life savings to a Nigerian in hopes that they deposit a portion of their large inheritance in my bank account – at least then I will still have my life and liberty and the remainder of my property.

    However, minarchists can be converted to anarchists once they realize the futility of supporting a small cancerous tumor while opposing a large cancerous tumor and it’s inevitable consequences.

  44. A Critic says:

    And I most certainly am aware of your perspective – as a member of the state you have tremendous powers, far beyond the reach of any individual man: you can smite your enemies with a greater force than anything found in nature, you can obtain a means of food and medicine and shelter and education and retirement all without work and without saving or spending your own money, you can build mighty monuments without lifting a finger, you can send men to the moon or perhaps even Mars, you can get whatever you want (except that which is properly yours, that you still must get by virtue of your own labors unless of course it is prohibited or seized from you). Why would you ever dream of trading all of that certainty of power and wealth for the uncertainty of liberty? Why trade a mighty machine that will take care of you from cradle to grave for whatever you might hope to achieve on your own or in cooperative relationships with your fellow mankind?

    There are only two reasons, knowledge of history and an understanding of human nature, but these two reasons are no more popular now than they ever have been and perhaps even less so.

  45. Sebastian says:

    I think we do have precedent for society without government. We didn’t really have government, in the modern sense, before we had agriculture. But I don’t think I’d be willing to give up my life in this time for a life in that time. Life back then was brutal and short.

  46. A Critic says:

    “I think we do have precedent for society without government. We didn’t really have government, in the modern sense, before we had agriculture. But I don’t think I’d be willing to give up my life in this time for a life in that time. Life back then was brutal and short.”

    There is no precedent that I am aware of for a stateless society that possesses the tools of the agricultural, industrial, and information ages.

    The only precedent we have is the pyramidal organizational structure. This hierarchy was a crude first attempt at organizing humanity. It has it’s benefits, it beats the chaos and utter lack of organization beyond the tribal level that existed before it’s creation. However, due to it’s considerable downsides (death and destruction) perhaps after so many thousands of years maybe just maybe it’s time to try something new?

    It really doesn’t work in the long run. Every single such hierarchy always falls apart. There have been no exceptions. Our own is falling apart as we engage in this dialogue. Each time the hierarchy makes life short and brutal for the members of other hierarchies, and it ends up making life brutal and short for it’s own members (if not by directly torturing and killing and abusing them, then by collapsing and leaving a chaotic mess and absence of organization in it’s wake).

    I know that I am nearly alone here, but it really does seem to me that there has got to be a better way than a system that is doomed to fail with such terrible results.

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