Call for desperate measures

Our progress has been too slow and too costly and the rationale and goal behind the war and lives lost are far from lucid.

On the five-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, I cannot help but reflect on that day and how America and our world have changed as a result. What happened on Sept. 11, 2001, is still indescribable to me; I cannot think of one word, or even a phrase, that could even begin to broach the complexity of the events and emotions of that day. However, I would assert that it was a vulnerable and desperate time for our country and for the world. And, as we all know, desperate times call for desperate measures.

Our decision on how to respond to the attacks was one that was made within the context of a democratic government based on the information that was presented. Our decision, our response, was a desperate measure: war.

The word complexity comes to mind, as well as the concept of evaluation, when I reflect on America and the world in the past five years. Questions about the accuracy of information that we based our decision for war upon have been rightfully raised; connections between al-Qaida and Saddam Hussein have become unclear, new terrorist attacks and organizations have emerged, America has become deeply divided and tensions are running high between citizens. On the other hand, America has incapacitated several infamous world figures, such as Saddam Hussein, as well as other individuals who have terrorized many.

As in any decision-making process, there comes a point where one needs to examine what has happened and determine whether adequate progress has been made toward one’s goals. Given the above considerations, are we on track to meeting our goals? Do our goals remain clear and attainable after the events of the past five years? In my opinion, our progress has been too slow and too costly, and the rationale and goal behind the war and lives lost are far from lucid. In my opinion, we need to try a new desperate measure.

What might that measure be? I am no politician, and I do not claim to have comprehensive knowledge of history and international issues; however, I do have suggestions for new desperate measures.

Diplomacy. Not the diplomacy in which one threatens, coerces, and stipulates ultimatums for other groups, but the diplomacy in which one puts aside his or her differences, clears the table, and genuinely seeks to understand other viewpoints in the hopes of developing an effective solution.

Information sharing. Not name calling and emotional rhetoric geared toward swaying opinions. Rather, information sharing where facts are presented, all parties are accountable for those facts, and we, the cogs of democracy, can employ our intellect and develop our own opinions and solutions.

Finally, remembering humanity. Remembering that at the core, we, as humans, are more alike than we are different and are accountable to our fellow humans. Regardless of where we live, what we believe and where we place our values, we are all responsible for respecting human life and dignity and being accountable for what we are doing to others.

I realize these are radical ideas – ideas that we have yet to try in the war on terrorism. In other words, these are desperate measures. But, as we are all well aware, these are desperate times.

Kathryn A. Black is a University student. Please send comments to [email protected]