David Beamer's beloved son died while fighting for his life and the life of his fellow travelers on September 11. Cindy Sheehan also lost a cherished son who was fighting for his life, for a cause, and for the lives of his fellow Americans. Michael Berg mourns the loss of his son Nick, who was executed by terrorists two years ago. All of those young men were brave, true, and trusting Americans. Good and decent souls, all. Their parents loved them and raised them from infancy to honorable manhood.
A movie has been made to dramatize the events that led to the death of Todd Beamer and the other passengers on the ill-fated United Flight 93 which crashed in a farmfield in Shanksville, Pennslyvania. The alleged target of the hijackers was said to have been the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
Todd Beamer's father David recently wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal about "United 93" after having seen a preview of the film. He said:
"It is not too soon for this story to be told, seen and heard. But it is too soon for us to become complacent. It is too soon for us to think of this war in only national terms. We need to be mindful that this enemy, who made those holes in our landscape and caused the deaths of some 3,000 of our fellow free people, has a vision to personally kill or convert each and every one of us. This film reminds us that this war is personal."
Mr. Beamer is right. Individual conscience and liberty are at the very heart of our Declaration of Independence. If we believe our personal liberty is paramount to human rights and the rule of law, it should stand for us and for all people of this world. We need to stop acting unilaterally and begin to lead and cooperate with other nations whose people, each of them an individual of conscience, have as much at stake as we do. Mr. Beamer doesn't want his son to have fought and died in vain. Neither does Cindy Sheehan or Michael Berg want for their sons to have died in vain. America never should have split from the world community, squandering their cooperation, trust, and will to cut terror at its roots in solidarity.
President Bush is all too willing to take Mr. Beamer's caring statement and turn it into an excuse to spill his misguided brand of unilateral war (after limp shows of consulting with the international community) over to the boundaries of other nations. I am not at all comfortable with Bush's treatment of Mr. Beamer's concerns and comments.
In an interview with the financial news network CNBC, Mr Bush said he had yet to see the recently released film of the uprising, a dramatic portrayal of events on the United Airlines plane before it crashed in a Pennsylvania field.
But he said he agreed with the description of David Beamer, whose son Todd died in the crash, who in a Wall Street Journal commentary last month called it "our first successful counter-attack in our homeland in this new global war, World War III".
Mr Bush said: "I believe that. I believe that it was the first counter-attack to World War III."
The President will not change his mind once he sees the film "United 93", for his mind was made up long before September 11. His sights were set on removing Saddam Hussein and forcing a democratization in which even British PM Tony Blair is uncomfortable to have his nation participating. As Stephen Colbert wryly jabbed at the recent White House Correspondent's dinner,
The greatest thing about this man is he's steady. You know where he stands. He believes the same thing Wednesday that he believed on Monday, no matter what happened Tuesday. Events can change; this man's beliefs never will.
Understanding the consequences of the President's dogmatic and unbending style of war-making and foreign policy (even in the bold face of contradicting reality), I shudder at hearing Bush say the very words "World War Three". He has surely earned his reputation as the least-trusted President in America's history.
Mr. Beamer's concerns focus upon the potential loss of individual liberty resulting from the post-Cold War tactics of terrorists:
This enemy is on a fanatical mission to take away our lives and liberty--[..] This enemy seeks to take away the free will that our Creator has endowed in us. [..] we are at war with a real enemy and it is personal. [..] This enemy does not seek our resources, our land or our materials, but rather to alter our very way of life."
Because of our founding roots, Americans understand that no one alters our way of life unless we allow them to do so. What a shame to have to look to our own government with distrust because of their deliberate misleading and failure to go into a war with a strategy to win or a plan to get us out. The Bush administration has failed Mr. Beamer, Mr. Berg, and Mrs. Sheehan, along with the rest of the world's civil individuals.
Michael. Berg is running for public office (Green Party) and has his own strong views on President Bush's war on terror. Each parent of each lost soul in this new war has a different opinion about the way our nation is struggling with it. Emotion may tug at our hearts when we hear each of these parents reach out to the public, and it's a great symbol of the core founding of America that each one of these parents speaks out with freedom. It is then up to us, all citizens, to decide on the best future course for safeguarding our personal freedoms. That includes the ways that our nation decides to defend itself.
Mr. Beamer knows that war is sometimes inevitable :
"There are those who would hope to escape the pain of war."
In a nuclear age, I believe that we should remember that military intervention and 'hot' war should be our dead-last resort. Let's remember Cindy Sheehan, who lost her son to what she believes has been a war of lies told to America by its very own leader. Mr. Beamer has obviously read and respects the words of our Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution. I wish that I saw the same respect for the Founding documents by our own President. His concern for himself and for the power of his office has trumped all respect for the rule of American law. I, and many other citizens, believe that he has run roughshod over our individual liberties and mocked the rule of law. What a pity that Americans, at this time in our history, have to be so concerned for the very life of our own democracy when we should be united against those who employ terror against all the world's people.
We the People do not trust George W. Bush. What a sorry day.