National Security After 9/11

Guest Post by George Payne, Director of Gandhi Earth Keepers, International.

Two words in the American lexicon that I genuinely despise are national security. I wonder how many honest people have been intimidated, silenced, or even assassinated in order to “protect” national security. I also wonder how often judicial and due process has been completely abandoned so as to “maintain” national security-and how many walls, fences, and borders have been built for the sake of this insidious abstraction.

National security is an extremely dangerous euphemism for unchecked power. When someone- or some group- resorts to using this justification, they are almost certainly masking a severe crime. The truth is every war threatens the security of every nation: just as all of those fences, walls and borders only lead to worse forms of bigotry, racism and xenophobia. Much more eloquently than I am capable of expressing, Kofi Anan captured this sentiment brilliantly in one of his speeches before the UN. He said, “Today, no walls can separate humanitarian or human rights crises in one part of the world from national security crises in another. What begins with the failure to uphold the dignity of one life all too often ends with a calamity for entire nations.”

As we approach the 14th anniversary of 9/11, I encourage readers to muster the courage and audacity to question their government. Do not accept the perennial lie that our country can only be secure by controlling the security of other nations. Challenge what you hear in the news and on TV. Question everything. Be a dissident when it counts. For the best way to honor the lives of those who died in that unimaginable horror, is to speak so much truth to power that this foreign and domestic terrorism will never happen again. Forget national security. What we need more than anything else is global friendship and open communication between people of the Earth.

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