There's an email circulating about that can also be found on the internet. It's called "When WWIII Started: A must read historical account of Terrorism against the US." You can read it here..
There are any interesting facts here, and certainly a disturbing pattern of aggression. However, I take issue with the implied premise that America is the center of the universe, making attacks on us equivalent to World War III.
Sadly, the Muslims have been attacking the West since the death of Mohammed, before the USA even existed, and the West has been fighting back and attacking as well since then. Many heroic deeds were done and wrongs righted on both sides, and many suffered terribly and cruel injustices were done -- again, on both sides.
So much of this struggle has been centered around the battle for Europe, with a highlight on Israel. If this is in fact 'World War III' it started a long time ago. See Islamism and specifically History of Islamism on WikiPedia for more detail.
A far more important and troubling point to me is the centrally religious aspect to this struggle. As is oft quoted on the Internet and elsewhere, religious wars are essentially groups of people killing each other in an argument over who has the better imaginary friend. We have people, tribes, nations, cultures, entire religions, decimating each other over points of faith that can neither be proved nor disproved.
I would posit that if you were somehow able to remove religion from the human equation, the central justification for centuries of intractable war, hatred and slaughter the world over would disappear.
I do not make this statement in any attempt to prove or disprove any religion or to attack or defend anyone's faith -- or lack thereof. As I stated above, such matters can neither be proven nor disproven. Whether one chooses to have faith in such matters or not is an entirely personal choice, one with which no other person should ever interfere. But to use it as a rationale to send entire cultures to war -- that's a bit much.
I agree we must defend ourselves and fight back when attacked. I utterly supported our war on the Taliban in Afghanistan. I wish we were devoting significantly more resources to securing and rebuilding that troubled nation.
I vehemently disagree that we should pre-emptively attack unless it is a proven fact that an attack on us is imminent or actually underway. This standard of proof is (and should be) tremendously high; we fell far short of those standards when we attacked Iraq. The Japanese pre-emptively attacked us at Pearl Harbor; the Germans pre-emptively attacked Poland, the Soviet Union, well, just about all it's neighbors -- in Europe. The list goes on and on, but the sad fact is that such pre-emptive attacks are rarely justified nor defensible.
I do not support President Bush, I did not "doze off in history class" and I most certainly am not sleeping now.
PS: Another interesting response to this posting on the Net can be found here; although it's a bit partisan it makes some good points. For those who don't want to follow the hyperlinks, here are the salient points:
- "The guy mentions all the attacks against the United States in the 1980's and then blames Clinton for them. That's comical. Clinton was Governor of Arkansas back then. The president who was asleep at the wheel was their beloved Ronald Reagan."
- "He later says all we did about the Africa embassy bombings was a couple of cruise missiles. That was a couple of cruise missiles too much according to the Republicans at the time, who skewered Clinton for those attacks. They said it was just an attempt to distract from the real issue in the country -- Monica Lewinsky."
- "The Republican priorities have been backwards throughout nearly all of this and it continues today. Out of all the attacks mentioned in this message, how many of them were carried out by Iraq? Zero! So, why in the world did we attack a country that didn't carry out any of these attacks against us?"
- "Our real enemy is Muslim fundamentalism (coupled with Christian and Jewish fundamentalism that leads us into endless conflicts with each other). But we continue to skate around that issue, as two of our strongest allies in the region -- Saudi Arabia and Pakistan -- continue to spread Muslim fundamentalism throughout the region."
- "Just because you want to fight a war doesn't mean you should blunder into countries unrelated to the war. Just because Japan bombed us in Pearl Harbor, doesn't mean we should have invaded China."