Needed: A National Examination of Conscience

Ray McGovern speaks (14 min) at Webinar, “Never Forget: 9/11 & 20 Years of War.”

His remarks (from 2:13:00 to 2:27:30), while far from eloquent, are from the heart.  One small correction: Not for the first time, Ray says “Dan Ellsberg”, when he means Dan Berrigan. Ray has treasured both Dans as major guides on the journey — as well as Dan Maguire, ethics professor par excellence.

At the start, Ray shares briefly three “conspiracy theories” that he believes in:

— 9/11 Commission co-chairs Kean and Hamilton “We were set up to fail”.

— Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, “mastermind” of 9/11, was motivated by his violent disagreement with U.S. foreign policy favoring Israel.

— The NY Times on 9/11/21 advances “conspiracy theory” that top U.S. military is lying through its teeth — again. Frontpages “Evidence Disputes U.S. Claim of ISIS Bomb in Kabul Drone Strike”.

We may not be guilty of the carnage of these past 20 years, but we are responsible. Indifference to the suffering of others is a greater sin than hate.  Professor Dan Maguire warns us that it is our neglects, not just our deeds, that condemn us.  Jeremiah: “The stain of your sin is still there, and I see through it, though you wash with soda and do not stint the soap.”

Acknowledging guilt is like looking at the sun. We blink and turn away from it. What is hard for individuals is even harder for nations. Still, it must be done.

Racism is still at the core of U.S. foreign/military policy — as it demonstrably was in the earlier carnage in Vietnam. After Vietnam, we had enough residual mercy to take in more than a million refugees from Indochina.

The most immediate task facing us is to do right by the refugees, the strangers/widows/orphans from the war in Afghanistan. Ambassador Chas Freeman, who helped create the enormous resettlement effort after Vietnam, poignantly asks “whether we are still the capable, welcoming, justice-oriented people we were when we took in the human casualties of our earlier policy failures.)

Hats off to sponsors CODEPINK, Massachusetts Peace Action & ADDICTED TO WAR