No, I’m not a conspiracy theorist. I don’t believe the government sponsored terrorism to enable a War secretly fought over oil. Though I am certain the government is hiding quite a lot of scandalous, atrocious things, I am not so bold as to presume what they are. I don’t agree with extremist Islamic sects either. I was in fourth grade when the towers were hit, but I lived in Oregon, so it wasn’t as close-to-home as all the East Coast felt. The thing that crossed my mind when I heard about it was not what was on most people’s minds. Most people were terrified, confused, angry, and worried. What immediately popped into my head was, “Yeah, America has enemies, why is that a surprise? Hasn’t anybody heard of Pearl Harbor?”

I wasn’t trying to be insensitive, but it was an incredibly level-headed reaction for someone my age. I felt like the only sane person around. People were freaking out, and I was like, “Don’t you watch the news? Bad stuff happens all the time.” Parents kept their kids at home for months in some cases, our airports became more like soviet Russia, and the streets became persecution grounds for anyone wearing a turban (which isn’t even a Muslim attire). I later found out that the Towers had bomb attempts prior to 9/11; watching movies like The Siege, makes me wonder, “why didn’t we see it coming?!?!”

I feel like the “disaster syndrome” is a volatile kind of patriotism which clouds the judgement of a nation for many decades. But likewise, complacency is a foolish assumption. When a war ensues, people flock together to defend the abstraction and symbolism of one’s nation, without understanding the enemy, themselves, or their governments. Patriotism is in many cases a false dilemma (such as, if you’re not for us, then you’re against us), and a blind default for insecure young adults. Testosterone levels rise, and the chivalrous desire of a budding man feels a need to join the army. Then something changes.

A young soldier develops an addiction to war. But the elderly veterans know the futility and horrors of war. Often times the most violent children become the greatest advocates of pacifism, as well as ex-soldiers who have gradually developed an understanding and appreciation for conscientious objectors. It seems to me that the notion of righteous war is a slippery slope that simplifies the complexity of our lives, and lets us overlook the ethical dilemmas of international and inter-religious dialogue.

When a war is fought in native soil, it becomes personal. So we ‘bring the fight to them’. Keep it off our land. Well, what do you think they’re thinking? GET THE FRICK OFF OUR LAND! This makes it extremely difficult for us self-centered Americans to understand why other countries hate us. We had FUNDED AND ARMED the extreme Islam groups to fight the soviet occupations, and then invaded when they were gone. How are we any better? Americans were completely ignorant of the atrocities we committed in the middle east, and didn’t want to know. All of this gives an extremely bad rap to democracy which is probably the only thing that could save middle eastern countries, but you can’t force it on them! We are trying to force feed them democracy when they aren’t even sure if they want it. See, to them democracy is just one political platform to choose from. It symbolizes all the oppression and empire that they blame for all their problems.

Another thing that must be duly noted is that radicalism exists in all religions and philosophies. There is nothing particularly violent about the Koran, just the interpretation and propaganda of Islamic radio and internet. We can’t justify the past atrocities of our Christian faith, but they’re still working out their theology and philosophy.

Now, I am well aware of the “Muslim” conspiracy and it is not entirely unfounded. There is a secular favoritism in our society toward non-Christian religions for the sake of political correctness.  The result is limiting Christian faith while providing extra privileges to others. But I do not think people who believe this conspiracy are going about it correctly at all. We should be promoting privileges for all faiths. After all we are supposed to have freedom of religion. We need to meet faith with love, and we  will prevail.

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