For those of us who have been wondering just exactly why the World Trade Centers were destroyed, and thousands of Americans killed, we now need wonder no longer. Former President Bill Clinton has clarified the issue for us. Speaking on 7 November to a crowd of nearly 1000 students at Georgetown University, Mr Clinton made it clear that it was our own fault.
That's right. We are to blame. Not the terrorists.
Mr Clinton stated that the United States is now "paying a price" today for its past sins of slavery and for treating American Indians badly.
To quote Mr Clinton: "Here in the United States we were founded as a nation that practiced slavery, and slaves quite frequently were killed even though they were innocent. This country once looked the other way when a significant number of native Americans were dispossessed and killed to get their land or their mineral rights or because they were thought of as less than fully human. And we are still paying a price today."
Is Mr Clinton actually putting forth the argument that the United States has experienced divine retribution for our past sins against Americans of African and aboriginal descent, in the form of this wantonly criminal act? I seem to remember Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell being roundly criticized for having the temerity to posit a similar premise just several weeks ago. Of course, in their case it had to do with the politically incorrect ideas that such retribution was due to sins of today, for such things as abortion, immorality, acceptance of homosexual behavior, and other like activities, not the politically correct dogma of outrages committed by white European males now safely dead.
It isn't likely however that Mr Clinton would be ringing in a religious argument. And in any event, he would seem an unlikely mouthpiece for the Lord to use in a call to repentance concerning issues of morality.
Mr Clinton claims that we were founded as a nation that practiced slavery. I have read the Declaration of Independence many times, and nowhere within do I find a single clause that claims such. We were instead founded, from what I can ascertain, as a nation where the freedom and rights of individuals were to be respected. Where all men were considered equal. A nation of laws, where people were free to practice those "unalienable Rights" of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness that they were endowed with by their Creator. A nation where the Government existed to serve the people, not the other way around.
It is true that our founding was not perfect. A clause in the Declaration which would have abolished slavery (penned by Thomas Jefferson, himself a slave owner) was subsequently removed when it became clear that the document would be voted down if it remained. John Adams, a vociferous opponent of slavery, remarked that God would judge this country harshly over that decision. Perhaps Mr Clinton has forgotten, but we have already paid an enormous price, and God did judge us harshly. The War between the States cost us hundreds of thousands of lives, billions in property damages, and scars that show scabs on our society even today. We have paid for slavery Mr Clinton; to try to make those who flew fully loaded airliners into the World Trade Center look like some kind of avenger for the evils of slavery is repugnant to me and degrading to my brothers and sisters of African descent. Dr Martin Luthor King Jr understood the Declaration, and the founding of our country. According to him it was a "promissory note", written for future use, applicable to all times, peoples, and places. I'm sure Mr Jefferson would have been in complete agreement.
And if it is your belief that the terrorists were upset because American Indians were deprived of life and land, then you must be totally ignorant of history, both recent and ancient. The history of the world is a history of conquest of one people by another. I doubt the Taliban shed any tears for those they displaced (they were not democratically elected, if I recall). Or weren't the numbers involved "significant" enough.
Perhaps Mr Clinton is ignorant of the slavery still being practiced in Africa today, much of it by Muslims. It didn't happen just in the last 10 months; it happened during the entire eight years of his watch. Where was he then? And how is it that the practitioners of slavery in Africa don't have to "pay a price"?
Speaking of his watch, Mr Clinton also took the opportunity to criticize the Government stating that it is "woefully lacking" in several terrorism-prevention areas. Well, where the heck was he for the past 8 years? Or is he trying to claim that this "woeful lack" occurred in the past 10 months? Less actually, as fewer than 7 months had elapsed between the time he left office on 20 Jan of this year, and the events of September 11th. During the eight years of his tenure he managed to eviscerate the military, gut the intelligence community, and pretty much destroy the criminal justice system. His attempts to fight terrorism included destroying an aspirin factory in Africa, and shredding some tents in Afghanistan, resulting in the depletion of our cruise missile stocks with no discernable impact to the terrorists (though it did get Monica off the front page). And he has the gall to criticize Mr Bush for the mess he left behind?
Mr Clinton's solution to the problem: "Strengthening our capacity to chase the money and get it, and we need some legislation on that". All well and good. And timely, considering he made the statement on the same day that President Bush announced that the United States had moved to block the assets of 62 persons and groups associated with two financial networks linked to bin Laden. Of course, I'm sure Mr Clinton had the idea first.
Mr Clinton concluded his speech by stating that the entire issue revolves around "the nature of truth". This from the man whose testimony under oath concerning a sexual relationship revolved esoterically around the exact meaning of the word "is" as used in specific contextual situations. "This battle fundamentally is about what you think about the nature of truth", he stated, noting that God has imposed on us the inability to ever know "the whole truth". How convenient. I suppose it depends on what you define as the meaning of the phrase "the whole truth".
No Mr Clinton. This battle is about America being attacked on her own soil. About the blood of thousands of innocent civilians, who did nothing more to the scum flying those planes than show up for work. Its about a group of people determined to have things their own way by force. They aren't interested in "getting along"; they desire to destroy our way of life. And despite all the things that America may have done wrong in the past (including during your administration), I would much rather live under our system than theirs. I see no moral equivalency between their system and ours, nor would I even attempt to define such.
I guess when all is said and done, Mr Clinton has reverted to his 1960's war protest roots. Perhaps he will do us all a favor and go back to Oxford to complete the degree he never finished back then.