The Wall Street Journal offered an op-ed response to this question in their Friday, 9/9, issue. The responses were extremely varied. Some suggested that invading Iraq was a huge mistake. Some disagree. All thought a response to Afghanistan was called for militarily. You could predict the responses in advance if you knew their personal stance on international engagement and the use of military force. Paul Wolfowitz and Joe Lieberman were OK with the wide-scale use of force while Zbigniew Brzezinski and Robert McFarlane were not. One commentator, the author Mark Helprin, argued that we should have invaded the countries that held terrorists in them, brought down the dictators, and then left! He argues that “reforming” the Arab world will never work so why should we have begun a course that has led to failure. Hmmmm.

military-2.121184821 What is the right answer? I have no idea. And if you do then I think you will believe in your own view of the world regardless of the complications involved in holding to unshakable views of international policy and America's military response.

I lean toward the opinion that we should never have gone into Iraq. I have grave doubts about our current policies in Afghanistan. But having said that these views are nothing more than my personal opinions.

So did our nation overreact? My guess is that history will debate this point for the next 50 to 100 years. Private papers and information will eventually come to light and the actions of our decision makers will be subjected to historical scrutiny. Until then I guess we would all do better to hold our opinions but to do so with a great deal of reservation about the hard facts, which none of us possesses at this point. Pundits will debate and make strong statements. The rest of us are simply left to our opinions.

Meanwhile, we should question all policy about how and when we use military force in places far removed from the U.S. It seems, increasingly, that our own generals have begun to express this view with clarity and urgency.

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  1. Bob VonMoss October 14, 2011 at 5:31 am

    “pull it, and they made that decision to pull and we watched the building collapse”

  2. Duncan October 14, 2011 at 9:54 am

    John, as usual, you have fed me and prompted me to turn to God’s word for guidance and comfort.
    There can be some really good reasons to re-evaluate 10 year old decisions, such as learning about one’s own decision-making capabilities, preparing for similar reactions, and evaluating the implications & impacts of one’s underlying philosophical views. In the case of 9/11, it might also be rewarding to compare and contrast how the lessons regarding decisions in the geo-political arena relate to the microcosm of an individual’s personal life.
    For example, if someone of a different faith system did something destructive to you, how should you respond? I am categorically NOT suggesting that the answer to this should correlate to what the United States should have done. Just that the insights might be, well, insightful.
    Jesus said stuff like “if your brother destroys your home, turn your other cheek towards him and give him your coat, also”. He did not say, “y’all be sure to seek the enemy out in caves and shoot him down”. He also said things like “vengeance is mine and I am coming back with a sword in my mouth to carry it out”. And even “you will be persecuted in my name’s sake, like when those meanies call you the great white satan”.
    Again, I am not suggesting that the US Dept of Defense approached this wrong. But, we should ask ourselves if we as individuals have approached it right. Have we prayed for our enemies? Have we demonstrated not just a resolve to be strong, but a resolve to be meek? A resolve to visibly show the enemy that this body can be destroyed, but through our Savior we live? That we actually TRUST in Him and Him alone? That this IS a nation of Christians — even if not a Christian nation?
    John wrote a piece this week about how Christianity must change. I didn’t like the title. It seemed to suggest that it is okay for Christianity to change over time. While I liked what he had to say, I don’t believe this implied theme. Here is what I do believe: That Christianity needs to BE [in the West] what Christianity should already have been — a religion of compassion, of humility, of weeping for the poor, of praying for the masses, of trusting in God, even when they blow up your buildings and burn your huts and your friends die of AIDS. Our INDIVIDUAL reactions to 9/11 speak volumes about where we are with our faith and our religion. And here John is absolutely correct: our Christianity needs to change. We need to learn what it is like when 9/11 happens every week in the Sudan, and Mexico, and Afghanistan — even though we only have it once a decade, if that.

  3. Jack October 14, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    Larry Silverstein admits to having demolished wtc building 7
    Bob which building(s)fell? Did Larry “pull it” on all three buildings?
    Will the truth ever be revealed?

  4. Nick Morgan October 21, 2011 at 11:26 pm

    I don’t know much about these supposed conspiracy theories about # 7 WTC being “pulled down”, but I am a firefighter and personally know firefighters from FDNY who were there when it happened, and we all are convinced that the building collapsed from almost 9 hours of unstopped progression of fire, which would topple any modern skyscraper.

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