A post at Jonathan Turley mentioned that a circuit court declined to hold the airlines responsible for the cleanup costs after 9/11. Turley, whose opinions I generally respect, was comfortable with the decision but not with the reason given for it, which was that 9/11 was “an act of war.”
The commenters, a group which I also generally respect, universally agreed that it was indeed an act of war, and the reason given seemed to focus on our response to that act which was, of course, to invade Afghanistan. So it was an act of war not because of the act itself, but because of our reaction to it, which seems entirely illogical to me. One has to ask if it would still be an act of war if we had reacted differently. If not, then the act itself can not be defined as an act of war on the basis of our reactionan.
The argument makes me think of the words of Judge William Young, in sentencing the shoe bomber, “So war talk is way out of line in this court. You’re a big fellow. But you’re not that big. You’re no warrior. I know warriors. You are a terrorist. A species of criminal guilty of multiple attempted murders.”
In defining 9/11 as an act of war we elevate and dignify criminals as warriors. We insult the men and women who have risked and lost their lives on the field of battle in defense of this nation. They are warriors. The 9/11 perpetrators were not warriors, they ware not waging war, they were criminals, engaged simply in multiple acts of murder.
Defining 9/11 as an act of war is an exercise in self justification, giving false blessing to us beginning a war on the Islamic world; a war which continues unabated almost thirteen years later.