Did We Forget?
We all said it after 9/11, right?
The images of that crystal-clear September morning are forever etched in our collective consciousness. The Twin Towers. Planes crashing into them. Massive exploding fireballs. Towers collapsing. The burning Pentagon. Shanksville.
2,977 people dead.
The intense fear that gripped the country for months after the attacks was palpable. People were afraid to go to the mall. Parents were afraid to take their kids trick-or-treating. The mere sight of a passenger airliner or military helicopter flying overhead caused anxiety.
Now, every year, images of the Towers and two beams of light shining into the sky remind us to NEVER FORGET. But, despite the images, I can’t help but think we HAVE forgotten the message.
We’ve all heard the quote by George Santayana, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
Well, here we are. Twenty years from September 11, 2001 and it appears we haven’t learned from history. In fact, it can be argued that we’re worse off now than before.
We have certainly sacrificed great sums of money fighting the war on terror. Estimates put the direct financial costs at $2 TRILLION. Figuring the debt-financed interest on that amount, costs easily exceed $6.5 TRILLION.
Then there is the HUMAN cost of 20 years of war. An analysis by AP News shows the following:
American service members killed in Afghanistan: 2,461.
American service members wounded in action: >20,000.
U.S. contractors killed: 3,846.
Afghan national military and police killed: 66,000.
Other allied and NATO service members killed: 1,144.
Afghan civilians killed: 47,245.
Taliban and other opposition fighters killed: 51,191.
Aid workers killed: 444.
Journalists killed: 72.
Another cost that we, the American people, have paid for in this war on terror is the loss of our FREEDOM. We all initially accepted the enactment of the Patriot Act as a way to feel safer in our own country. But look how things have evolved...
One out of every four people in our population was not alive twenty years ago. This means we have an entire generation of young people who don’t know what it was like to live in an America where you could get on an airplane without having to remove your shoes, be frisked, x-rayed and searched.
They never lived in an America where you could talk on the phone without the fear of being listened to or send an email without the government monitoring every bit of metadata and content.
They never lived in an America where they didn’t have to worry about the postman spying on them.
They never lived in an America where they could celebrate a holiday free from Homeland Security terror warnings, or to be afraid of increased chatter on terrorist networks, and “if you see something, say something.”
They never lived in an America that didn’t have the government monitoring their bank accounts to make sure any deposit or withdrawal greater than $10,000 wasn’t sponsoring terrorism.
They've never lived in an America without war.
Yet, here we are. We are in the exact same place we were twenty years ago as far as our vulnerability to terrorism is concerned. But sadly, given the price we’ve paid in lives, freedom, and money, we are worse off than ever before.
This administration has relinquished control of the very same territory to the very same terrorists we went to fight. These same terrorists have regained more territory in Afghanistan than they controlled when we went to fight the war on terror after 9/11.
Our Commander-in-Chief declares that our exit from Afghanistan has been an “extraordinary success” and that al-Qaeda is gone. But even his own administration has had to come out and contradict him.
Joe Biden's August 31st deadline for withdrawal from Afghanistan was not chosen for any strategic purpose. In fact, from a military standpoint, it was the WORST time because it was the height of fighting season for the Taliban. No, the deadline was chosen for political purposes, optics and grandstanding to coincide with the twentieth anniversary of 9/11.
Four ex-Guantanamo Bay terror inmates that Obama (as president) and Joe Biden (as Vice President) released in a prisoner swap for U.S. Army deserter, Bowe Bergdahl, are now heading up the new Taliban government.
And get this, instead of worrying about our country, American citizens still stranded in Afghanistan, and our allies' loss of trust in us, the Biden administration is concerned about “the lack of gender diversity among the terrorists tapped to serve in the Taliban's interim government.”
It sure doesn’t appear that we’ve learned anything from our past, so I’m afraid we ARE condemned to repeat it.
Will we be fighting terrorists again after a 9/11 version 2.0?
I find it difficult to believe that this whole mess happened because of incompetence and mishandling alone. As I said in my previous blog post, “Who’s Shaking the Jar?,” how could this be anything but purposeful?
Not only will our government have us endlessly fighting a war on terror, they have now succeeded in causing us to be at war with each other.
Do you remember how the country came together on September 12th, 2001, following those attacks? And how we celebrated our first responders? How we were moved by patriotic displays of the flag and the singing of the Star Spangled Banner? How we were ALL Americans?
Sadly, some of us broke the promise we made to ourselves.
We did forget.
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