Op-Ed by Kyle Moore

It has been 10 years since one of the most catastrophic events in American history and much has happened since then. This tragedy has incited a greater sense of nationalism in America and a sense of “unity” among its people. It’s troubling to me that it takes such a horrible event to bring a group of people together, but that isn’t the point. Since 9/11, there have been over 66,000 civilian deaths in Iraq (some sources claim over 100,000). That’s one 9/11 every four months for the past seven years. Why does this go unnoticed? Are Iraqi civilians less significant than Americans? Sure the tragedy on 9/11 touched many people’s lives and may have personally affected a good number of Americans, but the terrorism of the U.S. government is equally as bad as any terrorism in the world right now – terrorism.

Terrorism is commonly defined as the killing of civilians, or more commonly, “the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.” The United States’ involvement in Iraq over the past ten years is the epitome of terrorism. This nation has decended upon the Middle East and wreaked havoc in countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iraq. This nation’s failed pursuit of “weapons of mass destruction” is the cause of the utter embarrassment I have felt as an American over the past decade. Over $900 billion of taxpayer money has gone to waste over the past ten years trying to maintain our alpha status in international affairs.

To me, war is never justifiable. Civilian deaths will inevitably occur and outside countries will get involved, pouring more fuel on the fire. The pinnacle of embarrassing nationalism we have felt in the United States rose with the assassination of Osama Bin Laden. Bin Laden was indeed responsible for many terrorist activities in the world, including 9/11, but was our assassination of him  just? This man was an unarmed victim and deserved a fair trial, just as with all people in the American legal system. What kind of democratic principle is it to “shoot on sight?” No matter what any human being did, it is ratherold-fashioned to kill a man on sight if he is unarmed.

Another troubling aspect of the situation is that we just dumped his body into the Atlantic Ocean. This is just absurd and completely bloodthirsty to me. If the Iraqis came to the U.S. and assassinated George Bush and dumped his body in the ocean, many people would probably be enraged. And no, this is not a different scenario because George Bush is responsible for far more civilian deaths than Osama Bin Laden could have ever dreamed of. They are essentially opposite sides of the same coin. So while I will always remember the tragic and horrifying events that happened miles away from me in New York City in 2001, I will equally remember the tens of thousands of civilians who were massacred at the hands of the United States over the past ten years.