Sunday, September 11, 2011

OBL killed 2,740 Americans

On Sept 11, the terrorists directed by Osama Bin Laden killed 2,976 people, of which 2,740 were Americans. Source, Google Answers.

The lies which led America into the Iraq War, such as the claims that Saddam was a threat to Americans because he had WMDs, have killed at least 4,474 Americans. Source,

Who's the bigger criminal?

Meanwhile, we have seen a major investigation about charges of lying to Congress .... against a baseball player about the vital national topic of who takes steroids to play ball games. The lying to Congress that led to the launch of the Iraq War has never been investigated and no one has ever faced charges.

Its estimate that in developed countries, on any single day
  • 7300 people died of AIDS/HIV
  • 7200 people died of lower respiratory infections
  • 6800 people died of Ischaemic heart disease
  • 4900 people died of Diarrhea
  • 3700 people died of Cerebrovascular disease
  • 3300 people died of childhood diseases
  • 3000 people died of Malaria
  • 2700 people died of Tuberculosis

Don't get me wrong, 9-11 was a tragedy. Many people died that day before their time. They died tragic deaths, faced with horrible choices like burning alive in the fires or jumping to their deaths. Don't get me wrong, 9-11 was a horrible act. But it does help to put things in perspective.

Of course, on 9-12, 0 people died from OBL's terror attacks on that day, while another 3000 or so people in developed countries alone died of Malaria. In our market driven society, there are bigger profits in making Viagra than anti-malarial drugs, so guess where the research dollars go? We went to war to avenge the 2700 deaths on one day, and we've spent hundreds of billions of dollars in that war and killed another 4400 Americans or more fighting those wars. But we won't declare war on Malaria, which killed another 3000 people on 9-12, and another 3000 people on 9-13, and another 3000 people on 9-14 ... In our market-driven society, that tells us there are greater profits in killing people in a war than in saving people from a killer disease.

And we wonder why Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was crying out for us to change our society from the pulpit of Riverside Church.

It is with such activity in mind that the words of the late John F. Kennedy come back to haunt us. Five years ago he said, "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken, the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investments.

I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin...we must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand, we are called to play the Good Samaritan on life's roadside, but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho Road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life's highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.

A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa, and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say, "This is not just." It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of South America and say, "This is not just." The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just.

A true revolution of values will lay hand on the world order and say of war, "This way of settling differences is not just." This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation's homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice, and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, can well lead the way in this revolution of values. There is nothing except a tragic death wish to prevent us from reordering our priorities so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war. There is nothing to keep us from molding a recalcitrant status quo with bruised hands until we have fashioned it into a brotherhood.

I didn't start this day thinking I'd search for MLK quotes. But, it does seem a fitting response to the bloodthirsty calls for war that still are the centerpiece of our 9-11 rememberences. It does seem a fitting response to a day that seems to want to celebrate an American assassination of OBL. I'm not saying OBL wasn't a killer. Maybe even he deserved to die, although I always shudder when the state claims the right to kill anyone.

But, is that the America we wanted? Did we want the America of endless wars around the world? Did we want the America that sends black-clad assassins out into the night? Did we want the America where everything that Dr. King found awful and evil is still true? Or, did we want a different and better America?

We put up statues to Dr. King, while creating an America that favors all that the good doctor found evil, and that ignores everything that the good doctor was trying to lead us towards in order to be a better place and a better country in a better world where people can lead better and more peaceful lives. My guess is that Dr. King wouldn't have been happy with just a statue. Not when the Jericho road is still at least as dangerous as it ever was.

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