Sunday, September 11, 2011

On this day

On September 11th, 2001 I was rising for my morning walk from Capitol Hill down to my work place in downtown Seattle with the news on in the background, as was my usual practice when news of the attacks started coming in.

I remember a twin sense of fear and anger as the news kept coming in and I made the call that I would be working from home that day. I remember favoring, if the target could be determined, an all-out effort to destroy the individuals responsible for this attack on our nation.

The anger is cooler today, if only because that sort of fury cannot be sustained. We have been at war in the Afghanistan and Iraq for 10 years now, with immense cost in life and treasure - and the job is far from done. Osama Bin Laden and many of his cronies are gone, but their habit of thought persists.

Today, we have among us more than a few appeasers and cowards leading our nation, emerged from the boltholes of falsehood and glory-hounding they sought out in the early days of this conflict, made bold by the cooling of the nations wrath since the early days after the assault upon our nation.

These cowards and fools would have us believe that our task in Afghanistan and Iraq is coming to an end, and that our obligation to both our nation and our dead - and to the people of those benighted lands - is at an end, and it is time to bring our troops home.

Yet our troops are still wounded in combat, and the invaded nations are still simmering hotbeds of the more radical sorts of Islam...ready to burst again into flame the moment we turn our back. Our President and his party fail to discern the lesson of WWII...that sometimes, an extended occupation (see: Germany, Japan) is not merely a good idea, but simply necessary.

To eradicate an idea, to shatter a pattern of thought, takes far more than combat and much more than military victories. It takes decades of education, and of creating institutions built in something other than corruption, cronyism, and tribalism. Inculcating the notion that religion and governance are bad bed mates is a work of generations, not a mere decade.

Until that work is done, we are at hazard of needing to re-visit Iraq and Afghanistan with further rounds of blood and thunder, merely to run a gore-covered red queens race to get back to where we are now.

Yet our leader would have us withdraw to the near certainty of embracing such a bloody future for all of three nations. Our work there is not nearly done, and our work has been hampered far too much by sensitivity and political correctness.

At home, those same leaders pay lip service to some of the most critical lessons of September 11th, 2001 - that "government" not only will not always be there to save us, but that it cannot always be there to save us. That the responsibility for stopping evil in its tracks rests, more often than not, with individuals such as the heroes of Flight 93.

We are left with the "look busy" efforts of the scum and villains of the TSA, performing Security Kabuki and with a vastly understaffed Air Marshal program and the promising armed pilot program first hobbled by opponents at its' creation and then de-funded by the current administration - crippling what few actual efforts at effective air security have been made.

Instead we have airports turned temples of anti-constitutionality, where probable cause and reasonable suspicion are mere trivia paid lip service, at best. With privacy shattering radiation producing scans and intentionally abusive pat-down searches as an option, our nation celebrates the sacrifices of our nations soldiers and the dead and wounded of that first Taliban offensive.

Today is rightly a day of national mourning and remembrance - but not with the hand-wringing over-blown sensationalism of the national media, but rather with a quiet moment in each of our hearts asking "is our job in Afghanistan and Iraq so finished that we may be reasonably assured of no more evil from those lands?" paired with "is our nation the bastion of freedom, privacy, and individual liberty - or have our leaders substantially emasculated that which the Taliban found most offensive, our freedom?"...

And, upon pondering those questions, I find my answers are far from reassuring. Our nation has strayed far from the track of sanity in favor of sensitivity, and from freedom to false safety.

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
~Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

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