As I was watching Jane Siberry videos, YouTube recommended one named Galloway tries to justify 9/11 and gets destroyed by Hitchens. I don’t off hand know who Galloway is, but I get the picture. Did he “justify” 9/11? Who knows? He may have just tried to explain why it happened. To the neocon crowd, there is no distinction between the two. And I’m sure that Christopher Hitchens’ argument would be the same either way. Hitchens was a brilliant man, but to say that he had a huge blind spot when it came to these issues, is a great understatement. What’s more, it was clear in the last decade of his life that he was a racist. The fact that many humanist to this day hold him in high esteem is mind boggling.
But very briefly, I want to take on the case. No reasonable person would ever justify 9/11. And I have no clear memory of ever hearing anyone justify it. But too many people in the United States want to claim that 9/11 is simply the work of fanatics and it had nothing to do with our policies. And these very same people support our blanket killing program. We kill people in Afghanistan based upon suspicious behavior that has never been explained to the American people. And I’m sure that in 50 years when the documents that explain what constitutes such suspicious behavior are released, we will learn that it is a lot of generic stuff that doubtless killed far more innocents than anyone else.
My point is that of course 9/11 is an indefensible attack on innocent people. But our nation has also been in the business of killing innocent people all over the world for my entire lifetime. That too is indefensible. And 9/11 does not give us just cause to kill innocent people. There is never just cause for killing innocent people. And regardless, we were killing innocent people long before 9/11.
The funny thing is that pre-9/11 Christopher Hitchens understood this. And he never repudiated his old opinions. So he could kind of get away with claiming that our bombing campaigns were based upon the “war” started on 9/11. But most people have the same opinions both before and after 9/11. So the question is where do these people stand? Either it was okay for the terrorist to attack us on 9/11 or our many acts of modern warfare on civilian populations were wrong. For me, it is very clear: they are both wrong. But sadly, for most Americans and almost all conservatives, any act of aggression is right as long as we are the aggressors.
So I just watched the beginning of the video and it does appear that Galloway is not saying that the 9/11 attacks were justified. He’s only saying they didn’t come about in a vacuum. But I can’t watch any more because after saying that, the audience started going crazy. An individual has no problem understanding that a pedestrian crossing against the light does not justify a motorist running him down; but it does at least partly explain it. Put a hundred people together and they can’t understand the distinction. Apparently, they think the only way we can have moral authority is if our hands are completely clean. When people think like this, they never mature. The same is true for societies.