Saturday, September 11, 2004

Year three since War was declared on America

Three years after that sunny Tuesday that stunned a nation, life has continued. Only those who had a personal loss still have the feeling of pain and hurt that the rest of us felt that day. It is Cliché to say that 9/11 changed the course of the Nation because there seems a desire to revert to 9/10 thinking, because on 9/10 we were safe, we did not know that bad men in desolate places were trying to kill us, we were not at war. The realities of life that were so evident on 9/11 have faded into distant memory. Reality has been replaced with partisan finger pointing, blame, and a desire to "fix the problems" that led 911 so we can revert back to 9/10. Its easier to blame ourselves for what happened that terrible day because we know and understand our own shortcomings, our own weaknesses, and our faults, its this self reflection that makes us great. Its much more difficult to contemplate why so few can despise so many and take human life for a hate we can not comprehend.

Though self reflection can be an attribute, it can also be a curse when it is allowed to transform into self indictment. Our nation, unlike others, finds that it is easier to blame ourselves for events that transpire. Perhaps it is the arrogant belief that some have that our government should be infallible and be capable of protecting us from all threats all the time. Perhaps is the faith that evolved over 228 years of relatively few attacks on our country. What ever the answer may be, the fact is that self indictment is not an appropriate response when confronting an evil that does not seek a strategic goal, but rather seeks to end our way of life. While Self reflection examines institutional concerns that may or may not have made it easier for the attacks to have occurred, self indictment seeks to place blame on ourselves for a tragedy and does not address that fact that the people we face would have attacked regardless of bureaucratic policies.

Today should not just be a memorial for those lost on 9/11, but for all those who have died since that opening volley of the century's first great war. The greatest tribute that we can leave for the 3000 people that died 3 years ago, the 1000 soldiers that have died in Iraq, and countless soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines that have died in Afghanistan is a world that is better for their sacrifice. We can leave a freer world, a more democratic world, a more just world. With these goals, victory is assured because free democratic nations do not attack other free democratic nations. When other nations treat their people with dignity, we are safer because people satisfied with their position in their society do not fly airplanes into buildings.

This day represents many things to many different people, a failure of government, a declaration of war, a loss of a loved one. What ever it signifies to you, do not forget that 3000 people died for no other reason than the fact that they lived in this country. It is important realize that the US government did not kill these people, President Bush did not kill these people, President Clinton did not kill these people, Islamic Fascists did. Believing that fault rest in us is easy but it does not provide a long-term solution to the actual problem. We must avoid allure of quick resolution that self indictment creates because it does not provide lasting solutions to the threats we face. We should understand that pursuing a goal of short term satisfaction rather then long term peace could be the greatest disservice that we could do to those that have lost their life since 9/11.