Yes, exactly. I had a similar sense of disbelief as I lay listening to my alarm radio. I was in New Zealand at the time, half a world away from New York.
At the time, I was working on a consulting contract at the New Zealand power grid operator Transpower. I went to work as usual, but for most of that day the client's staff didn't get much work done as they kept watching the nearest TV in stunned silence. Being on a contract where I was paid by the hour, I could not be spending the time watching TV as well, but the little I did see was compelling viewing and perturbed me greatly. The staff watched the events unfolding, and that TV footage was repeated for us over the next few weeks, so I didn't miss anything.
...the world has never been the same.
Yes, exactly how I still feel. It was unforgettable, and yet though I was neither near to nor involved in the event itself, it changed me.
Similarly, because I had lived in London and was near to some of the IRA bombings there in the '70s (only 1 block away in one case), I can never look at an unattended bag or suitcase in a public place without an uneasy sense of alarm. The experience had changed me and my paradigms.
The point about quoting the film The Thin Red Line
is to suggest that, even though it is fictional, there may be some truth in the quote, and truth as to the question of:
"What is this great evil?"The answer to that question is that it is us. It is we who are doing the killing.
After the senseless slaughter of 911, a lot of senseless slaughter (retribution) ensued in Afghanistan. Don't mess about, use "Daisy cutter" bombs. Then later in Iraq. This is in our natures. I am not condemning those wars. How could you condemn a scorpion for being what Nature made it?
I believe, as @rgdot
put it (and a belief is not a rational thought), that it is the killing that is evil. It is anti-Life.
To make us good soldiers, military practice and procedures necessarily desensitise our otherwise natural aversion to killing other people. To make it easier and less risky than having to bayonet them or shoot them yourself between the eyes, we automate it all by an efficient process and do it wholesale. For example:
- By US military crew putting a group of targets/victims on a night vision video screen as infra-red blobs and then killing them all at the press of a button by remotely targetting and triggering a missile from an overhead drone. Cheers go up at the kill. Move on to the next one to get these barbaric bastards on their home ground.
- Muslim terrorists enact 911. Palestinian Muslims celebrating, cheering and dancing in the streets after the 911 kills of those unbelievers on home ground and right in the midst of their previously thought "safe" city of NY. That'll teach the imperialist murdering bastard sinners. Two more planes to drop.
What is the difference? Where is the humanity? You kill us, we kill you, and we will keep on doing it. We cannot seem to stop this endless dance of death with our fellow-humans.
It is us committing this evil, and we usually justify it by belief in one imagined theoretical construct or another - one religio-political ideology or another. It doesn't really matter which one - any will suffice. We are capable of killing, and - if we are Fascist enough - will apparently kill other people generally for not accepting
our imaginary paradigms or our imaginary ideologies, and in retribution we will kill those who kill us for the same thing.
There is no more persuasive argument than the click of a pistol being cocked and aimed at your head.
That makes my ideology stronger than yours, see? Do you agree, or not?