Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Taking Responsibility

I took a rather interesting little poll this morning and was rather amazed to see that my opinion was the majority one.

I was reading about remarks made by the actress Maggie Gyllenhaal. Ms. Gyllenhaal is appearing in a new movie entitled "The Great New Wonderful" which is a collage, if you will, of five stories focusing on living with the aftermath of 9/11 and the Twin Towers attack. Ms. Gyllenhaal made an appearance, Friday, on NY1, the all news cable channel, to discuss the movie's theme which depicts the complexities of dealing with life after 9/11.

During this appearance she said, as a way of describing the film and how it dealt with the subject matter, "Because I think America has done some reprehensible things and is responsible in some way and so I think the delicacy wth which it's dealt allows that to sort of creep in."

I know there are those who will have the knee jerk reaction of...'Yeah right! Another blame America first commie, liberal idiot!' However, it is amazing since that date in 2002, how many people I have heard bandy about this same feeling.

I am sure that everyone's initial reaction was...we need to get these suckers, no matter what it cost and no matter how long it takes. An when we listened to President Bush speaking through that bullhorn atop the rubble that had been the WTC in Manhattan, our hearts swelled with pride that he really was, after all, a rather take charge kinda guy and we all rallied 'round. But, as things have a way of doing, some truths started to emerge about what actually had taken place. Who knew what and when and how long had they known it?

It all started out in the right place. We all had a quick lesson in geography and Arabic words. We learned about a man named Bin Laden (the miscreant son of a wealthy Saudi), more than we wanted to know about Afghanistan (where Bin Laden held the populace captive under his own brand of fundamentalist Islam) about burkhas (some called them beekeeper outfits) and the Q'ran (Islam's Holy Book).

So, we deployed troops, set about to capture this Bin Laden person "dead or alive" and went gung ho, is as our wont, after the "terrorists". We managed to kick some Taliban butt, free the residents of Afghanistan and we tried to get a fix on Bin Laden. Some say he was in our sites, but, along came bigger fish to fry! Suddenly, this person who had slaughtered thousands of our countrymen, and was, according to our President, going to pay the ultimate price for that adventure, with his life, rather faded into the woodwork. We would let the tribal chieftains in the mountains of Afghanistan handle Bin Laden, after all they were more familiar with the territory, and besides, we had BIG things brewing across the way in...IRAQ!

To listen to our government we should consider ourselves lucky that Bin Laden had attacked us with our own planes when we could just as easily have been annihilated with all sorts of chemical and biological weapons...even nuked into oblivion! this man Saddam Hussein. Never had such an evil and maniacal leader existed and we were going to get him before he had a chance to get us! After all, we could not let another 9/11 happen! The one thing that was assiduously avoided in all the rhetoric was what, if any, part we had played in bringing this down on our own heads. And, I would hazard a guess, that most Americans would not have known the following.

* We had armed and taught Bin Ladin and his group called the Taliban when Russia was still our enemy and the Afghanistans were fighting against the take over of their country by Russia. We sent in CIA operatives to teach them how to fight a guerilla war and we gave them all sorts of wonderful weapons.

* We had supported Saddam Hussein in his fight against Iran. After all, Iran was now a Theocracy and had deposed our favorite dictator The Shah.

* We had intelligence which clearly stated that we would be attacked by this gang of terrorists, their method and the idea that it could happen in the not too distant future...if anyone cared to track the information down. Which would not have been hard as we had one of the conspirators in custody and apparently he was louder than a canary in a mine shaft.

*No one paid attention

* We were being lied to.

Apparently Ms. Gyllenhaal has taken quite a bit of heat from all quarters about her remark. She has refused to apologize. And why should she? Do we not still recognize freedom of speech in this country? It may not be my feeling, or yours, but it is hers and she has a fundamental right, under the Constitution, to voice her feelings. And apparently here are quite a few who do agree with her. Which brings me to that amazing little poll in which I took part.

The poll appeared as a sidebar on the page in the paper with the article explaining Ms. Gyllenhaal's remarks. The questions listed were:
1. I disagree and she should apologize
2. I agree with her position
3. I disagree but it is her right to express her opinion
4. I do not have an opinion one way or another
5. This has been blown way out of proportion.

Out of 11,412 responses we see:
1. 22.8%; 2. 41.8%; 3. 12.6%; 4. 3.1%; 5. 19.8%

It is that 41.8% which has restored my faith in the numbers of thinking individuals left in our country. Oh! And if I could have voted twice I would have gone with #5 as well.