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  WINDY CITY TIMES

War Games
by Tracy Baim
2001-09-19

This article shared 1264 times since Wed Sep 19, 2001
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Windy City Times 16th anniversary

It does not seem like an appropriate time to celebrate ... but we want to make note of the founding, in September 1985, of Windy City Times. Thank you to all of our writers, photographers, supporters, advertisers, and readers for 16 wonderful years.

America has played a dangerous game of chess with the world for many decades. A super-power with super-rich power brokers urging their elected colleagues to defend corporate interests on every continent, we have walked loudly and carried a big stick.

It is truly amazing that the repercussions of our manipulations of the leadership and destinies of so many nations has not come back to haunt us more.

Now, we are truly haunted.

More than 5,000 victims will forever serve as a reminder that America is not an island...we are just as much a part of the world as those countries which must suffer violence and the threat of violence daily.

Of course, some people in America have felt targeted for their entire lives. There are "war zones" within the U.S. borders, just not so clearly marked off as when the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were so tragically attacked Sept. 11. Some urban areas are their own war zones...ask the surviving partner of a 29-year-old Latina lesbian mom of four, Yolanda Castillo. She was gunned down by gang members Sept. 7, while sitting on her porch comforting the wife of a man who had been shot and killed earlier that day. People who work in abortion clinics, or at branches of the Metropolitan Community Church, also live in fear of bombs. Gays, lesbians, bisexuals and the transgendered live in fear of being attacked or killed. African-Americans remember modern-day cross burnings and lynchings. Many women have a fear of violence throughout their life.

This is not to dismiss the very real threat we all now live under. America will never be the same. The entire country now understands what living in fear is. The entire country now knows about some of the hatred their fellow Americans suffer daily. And now, the entire country also knows deeply how much hatred is also directed at America as a nation.

The hatred directed at the U.S. has its roots in the same hatred voiced by Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and James Dobson. They vilify gays and lesbians, and dozens of other groups. They use religion as a weapon. And they tried to turn the fervor against us, instead of targeting our true enemies. Those in power in Afghanistan may use more violence, but their rhetoric is eerily similar to the voices of hate among right-wing Americans. Women in Afghanistan have been warning for years that the leadership in that nation was barbaric and dangerous both within and outside of the country's borders.

The media and elected officials are already referring to this as a "war," but it is still not clear just who the enemy is. The U.S. has already killed innocent civilians in an attempt to kill Osama bin Laden, a former U.S. ally. Despite the best efforts of the military, Saddam Hussein survived attacks. The U.S. military has obviously done a good job at training in other nations...when our former allies become our enemies, they easily elude capture.

But what should America do? Should we go to war? Should we risk tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of lives...those of civilians, and military personnel? Will this be another Desert Storm ( a "victory" without success ) or a Vietnam ( a defeat that divided the nation and cost thousands of American soldiers their lives ) ? Mass bombing will likely just kill already deeply wounded Afghanistan civilians. Ground forces will face devastating terrorism and death.

This is a war on terrorism, not a war like World War I and II. In fact, if the U.S. does enter a Vietnam-style war, other nations may feel forced to take sides. And those nations bordering and nearby to Afghanistan may not want to risk their own internal revolutions to defend the far-away American way of life.

We do not need a war. We must fight terror with targeted and effective attacks...or we face only escalated attacks and more victims. We need to protect America, but we also need to find a way to seek justice without being unjust ourselves.

REMEMBERING ...

The news of last Tuesday's attack on American soil spread quickly across the world. Gays and lesbians were just as impacted as other Americans. And just as entertainers mourned those among their own, or Britain mourned their losses in the World Trade Center, gays and lesbians also took special note of those from the community who perished.

Among the gay people known dead is New York Fire Department Catholic chaplain Rev. Mychal Judge.

San Francisco gay rugby player Mark Bingham, 31, died in the Pennsylvania crash. He is believed to have died a hero...he might have been among a group of people who rushed the hijackers, thwarting their plans to hit another D.C. target.

A gay male couple from Los Angeles, Ronald Gamboa and Dan Brandhorst, and their 3-year-old adopted son, David, died on one of the planes that hit the World Trade Center.

The co-pilot of American Airlines flight 77, which crashed into the Pentagon, was openly gay, the Washington Blade reported. David Charlebois lived in Washington, D.C., and was a member of the National Gay Pilots Association.

David Angell, 54, executive producer of the NBC TV show Frasier, died in one of the plane crashes. Angell, who was straight, was involved in the gay protests against Dr. Laura Schlessinger.

There were of course many thousands of victims and survivors of the attacks on America's East Coast. We send our well wishes to their families, and we hope the price of justice will not be more innocent lives.

Tracy Baim, Publisher


This article shared 1264 times since Wed Sep 19, 2001
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