I remember 9/11. I was in limbo between Bar Exam and Bar Exam results.
I was hungover and just waking up (California time) and reading my email when a friend called. She said “Turn on the television.”
I said “What channel?” and she said “Any one, it doesn’t matter.”
I turned on the television in time to see the second tower fall. I knew immediately we had been attacked and thought “Somebody is gonna pay” I was angry and wanted to see our nation take revenge. I am a liberal in the tradition of FDR. That means I am a peace-lover, but not a pacifist.
I wasn’t a Democrat that day, I was an American. I immediately forgot all about the 2000 election and the selection by SCOTUS of George W. Bush. I was even glad (briefly) that G-Dub was our President, because I knew there would be no question of retaliation.
Up until we shifted attention to Iraq and let Osama escape, I thought G-Dub was handling the situation well. I objected to the Patriot Act, and the loss of our civil liberties. I opposed the invasion of Iraq, because I didn’t believe Saddam had anything to do with Osama bin Laden and Al Queda.
Bush squandered an opportunity to be considered a “great” President. He wasted all the international goodwill and sympathy we recieved. He lied us into an unnecessary war, weakened our military, put us deeply into debt, and destroyed our reputation. He also used the attacks as an excuse to increase his own power, and to gain advantage for the GOP.
Worst of all, he made us a nation that tortures people and holds them in secret prisons without any due process of law. When he did that he made me ashamed to be an American for the first and only time in my life. We beat Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, and won the Cold War against the Soviet Union without torturing people or depriving anyone of due process.
I am, however, inclined to be somewhat forgiving of Bush and Co. for not doing enough to prevent 9/11. Yes, the warnings were there, but hindsight is always 20/20. I don’t doubt that Bush would have taken action if he was convinced of the danger. It wasn’t Bush’s fault that he wasn’t up to the job of President. Millions of Americans knew he was stupid when they voted for him
Pearl Harbor was obvious in hindsight as well., and nobody thinks FDR was stupid.
That doesn’t justify or excuse the people who made the attacks.
We are a big, free, and relatively open nation. We can never completely prevent something like 9/11, we can only deter it. Osama and his followers spotted a chink in our armor, and exploited it. All it would have taken to prevent 9/11 was reinforced cock-pit doors. No nation would have tried those attacks, it took a stateless group of radicals.
Sooner or later, some individual or group will figure out a way to commit another horrific attack. Until 9/11, the worst terrorist attack on US soil took place in Oklahoma City. I’ve been to the OK City memorial. My dad and stepmom lived in Norman OK (just a short drive south) and one of my sisters was in OK City that day, and could hear the blast. Al Queda used airplanes. Timothy McVeigh and his partner used a Ryder truck containing barrels full of fuel oil and fertilizer.
In both cases, the terrorists did not succeed at their ultimate goal. They only succeeded at killing innocent people. They can hit us, even hurt us. But as long as we keep our courage, they can never defeat us.