Today is the 8th anniversary since the tragedies of 9-11 and before I go forward, I want to extend my heartfelt sympathies to the families of the people who were killed that day, but to also recognize that everyone in this country has suffered whether they know it or not.
On that sunny and bright morning, 8 years ago, I awoke from my sleep to learn that the first plane had hit the first tower. As the events of the day unfolded, I got a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that this event would somehow lead to the death of my oldest child Casey, who was in the Army stationed at Ft. Hood, Tx. I went into a tailspin of depression that didn’t break until I fell on the floor screaming after I found out he was killed in Iraq on 04/04/04. I wasn’t depressed anymore I was in a pain-soaked, white-hot rage.
9-11 was, of course, the defining moment of this generation. Of course, whether it was an inside job: evil Dick Cheney planning it between heart attacks in his bunker; to the “official story” (yeah, right!); the attacks were exploited to lead to, among other things: get our country militarily mired into three countries by now; torture; Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and rendition (began under the Clinton admin); USA PATRIOT ACT; military commissions act; lack of personnel and equipment to help the victims of Katrina in her aftermath; crumbling infrastructure here in America; collapsing economy; the FISA Modernization Act, etc, etc.
Remember after that awful day, our fearful leader, George, came on the TV box and told us to “go shopping and travel” and everything would be okay? Well everything is not okay.
Yesterday, I spoke at a very expensive, private college in Louisville, Ky: Bellarmine. After my talk, a student came up to me and said: “Ms. Sheehan, you said that we are in Iraq for the oil. Doesn’t our country run on oil? Don’t we need oil?” That question made me want to cry for so many reasons.
First of all, as I told the young man, the day before we were attacked on 9-11, the national average for a gallon of gas was 1.54. Today, it is 2.58/gallon, but in my state, California, the price is over 3.00/gallon. We have seen the price rise to over 4.50/gallon since the invasion of Iraq and that brings up a second aspect of that point to how tragically callous was this question.
The US oil companies and refineries could actually buy oil from Iraq. The oil that is under the territory that Iraq encompasses actually belongs to the people of Iraq, not Standard Oil or Exxon Mobil. So, in killing over one millions Iraqis for this oil, our nation and the evilly greedy oil companies (which actually drive our geo-political strategy), they have committed first-degree murder: murder that happens when armed robbery is being committed. Why do our corporations have to have all the money? Many oil rich countries need the technology and equipment of our oil companies? Why can’t they “profit share” instead of “profit steal?”
Unfortunately, the young man was correct: our economy and our nation runs on oil, but we are just as complicit as our government and the CEO’s of oil companies. We need to rapidly wean ourselves off the oil tit and use the money we save by occupying Iraq to develop the sustainable forms of energy that have already been invented.
I don’t own a car and I take public mass transportation whenever I can. The mass transportation systems in this country need to be expanded and the fares need to be reduced or eliminated all together in a dream world where green jobs will be created and the environment will improve. When gas got over 4.50/gallon and people started to drive less, the air quality actually improved and that’s a good thing.
This nation wastes 275 million dollars per day on these insane and inane occupations. If we pulled our troops out of the Middle East where they should have never been, we would have the money to actually take care of the first responders to 9-11 who are suffering from health challenges and many can’t access the care they need in this callous medical system we have. We could also provide care to our wounded troops (physically, mentally, and emotionally) that also often find accessing care is difficult, still.
At his inauguration, Barack Obama said: “We will not apologize for our lifestyle,” maybe he’s right, most likely he’s wrong, but we definitely need to change our lifestyle.
Wouldn’t it be nice if after 8 years, we had a leader that had the courage to take us in a direction of peace and sustainability?