Friday, August 30, 2002

Why We Fight

One author comes out against showing the images of September 11 on the one-year anniversary of the attacks. He wants us to move on and heal ourselves:

[D]rifting away might be the psychological distancing that is a natural and essential part of the painful process of grieving and healing. Mr. Brokaw said viewers could be warned that the coverage might be upsetting. That's not all the networks and cable news stations could do; they should make the editorial decision not to use this footage, which is still profoundly disturbing. Replaying those scenes does not serve a news purpose. There is no reason to think that anyone has forgotten what happened in New York and Washington and Pennsylvania a year ago.

The author goes on to say that the constant replaying of the impact “brutalized” viewers in the days after September 11 and served no journalistic purpose.

Perhaps journalistically, he has a point. But if he thinks there is no purpose at all, I disagree strongly. Should the networks display some restraint? Sure, there is probably no reason to show it over and over, all day. There is obviously some dividing line between appropriate and awful. But I’ll personally cut them some slack if they make a mistake as to where that line is. I won’t be watching the news channels that day lest my young son see all this. But refuse to use the footage? No, the networks should use it. Remind Americans why we are fighting and why it is outrageous to complain about the well being the al Qaeda and Taliban prisoners held in Cuba by our Armed Forces. We treat them nicely and far more compassionately than they deserve.

Remind Americans why we must continue to seek out and attack our enemies until they are dead or imprisoned. Or until they give up in the knowledge that it is hopeless to fight our power. Remind Americans and our allies overseas of what horrible carnage terrorists could inflict using nothing but box cutters and limitless hate for us. What weapon would they not use if they could get their hands on it; and is it really over-reacting to prevent them from getting such weapons?

The author says that one day it may be appropriate to look at the images again, after we have healed. But I think the time to view those images is now. The time to move on and heal is after we have won. After we can take our children to a public place or large event and not worry that we might be attacked, then we can move on. After our airports are places where we eagerly anticipate our vacation or feel at home returning from a trip, rather than places of apprehension, then we can move on.

We can move on when our enemies are dead and defeated.

One day, it will be appropriate to distance ourselves from the memories of that horrible day and grieve and heal. We are far from that day.