My thoughts 10 years later

I still vividly remember being at work on 9/11/01 and watching the news feeds from my computer in my office as they replayed the planes crashing into the World Trade Center towers and thinking of the horror that must be going on within those structures. I, like most people across America, sat and felt utterly helpless as those towers fell to the ground. I was nearly reduced to tears thinking of the possible staggering loss of life and of the family’s of those affected by this attack. Ten years later I still have a feeling of great sympathy for those family’s and all the family’s since that have suffered through this deep grief as the nation went to war. It was, truly, one of those moments in the history of this country that we can all look back on and say, precisely, “This was the day it all changed.”

I consider myself an “amateur” historian so I rarely, if ever, look at anything as a singular instance. So as we mark the tenth anniversary of that day, we all need to reflect upon those tragic events, some of the reasons for the attacks and all that has transpired from that day to this. For nothing exists in an historical vacuum and this is usually where I end up being the “odd man out” of any discussion in such matters.

Recently, I’ve read several opinion pieces and letters to the editor which called these attacks “unprovoked”. Nothing could be further from the truth. It was our meddling in the affairs of the nations of the Middle East, it was our propping up of despots and then “throwing them under the bus” when they no longer served our needs, it was the fact that we had military troops stationed within their borders, it was for all kinds of reasons, some real some imagined, that these attacks occurred. There is no such thing as something “just happening”, ever. There is always a reason, even though Americans in their glorious hipocracy, fail to admit to it or just blatantly ignore it. When Americans talk about “ancient history” we are usually talking about 30 or 40 years ago, whereas the Arabs are still fuming over The Crusades. This is the main difference between “us” and “them”, our “timeline of thought” is much more relative to our present, rather than our past. Oh, we like to talk about our past but most folks look upon the past as “push pins” rather than as a stream of history where one event leads to another. That’s also the reason that Americans like to “one off” history. We need simple, “one reason fits all” explanations. The “they hate us for our freedoms” mantra was taken up by the war hawks and peddled to the masses and we soaked it up like a sponge. Most Americans didn’t know why “they” attacked so this fit our need for singularity of historical point and became the “push pin” needed to ramp us into war.

That’s a very brief look back to the reasons for the attacks, but what about what has happened since?

Since that day we have become a nation which believes that we have the right, even the moral authority, to invade sovereign nations as a “preemptive” measure to stop perceived threats of terrorists attacks.

Since that day we have become a nation which believes we need to kill hundreds of thousands of civilians in order to stop these perceived threats of attack. This is quite possibly the most heinous results of 9/11. We have killed mothers, children, toddlers and infants and report them as “collateral damage” in news reports. It is this sanitation of information that is most insidious.

Since that day we have become a nation which believes that in order to stay safe, we need to have security personnel in our airports that make 92 year old great-grandmothers in wheel chairs suffer the humiliation of taking off their adult diapers so it can be searched.

Since that day we have become a nation which believes that “no-knock” warrants are necessary and allow our federal police agency’s the authority to write their own warrants “on the fly” so they can protect us from “the terrorists”.

Since that day we have become a nation which doesn’t even blink an eye when it is reported that the President has, and uses, the authority to have US citizens assassinated, without any form of trial or civilian oversight, because someone in an intelligence agency says he might be planning a terrorist attack.

I could go on, but I think you get my point. Since September 11th, 2001 the people of this nation have willingly surrendered some of their most precious rights just so we can believe we are being made safe from “the terrorists”. So in the end, I guess all of this had made us safer if you believe the premise of “they hate us for our freedoms”. Now that we have willingly surrendered a host of our freedoms and rights “they” no longer need to attack us. But doesn’t that mean the terrorists have won?

Scroll to Top