Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Your War

A few months ago I was listening to a This American Life piece in which a reporter was trying to understand the parties that broke out on college campuses after it was announced the US had killed Bin Laden. Those kids were 8-10 years old when 9/11 struck. They didn’t have friends who’d died in the attacks as I did. They hadn’t worked in The Towers earlier that year as I had. They hadn’t watched with impotent fury in the 80s as Reagan armed and trained “freedom fighters” from Managua to Kabul, including the future leaders Al-Queda. So why did they care so much and why did they literally jump for joy at this assassination? I agree Bin Laden was despicable. I agree the world is better without him in it. I approve of our using lethal force and even taking him out rather than taking him to trial. But I'm deeply dismayed that these kids did not remember that we looked on with horror when we saw rare pockets of Muslims celebrating our loss on 9/11. And that they didn't recognize that their impromptu celebration was little different. When the reporter asked these kids why they were hooting and hollering the response the reporter got was that this ‘war on terror’ was their war, not ‘your’ war. The ‘You’ in this case was the reporter and anyone over 25. And according to them “We” had no idea about the right way to commemorate the occasion. Then they finished up the interview returned to binge drink like this was just another frat party.    
What was the last thing you heard that made you think, “Wow, I am in a different generation from these whipper-snappers. And I didn't get old. They got stupid.”

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