Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Lasting Losses of 9/11/01

That morning, when the second airliner hit the Twin Towers, life changed for every American, starting with the inane man who was reading “The Pet Goat” to second-graders in Sarasota, Florida. None of us would ever again feel as safe as we had before, and the accidental President who emerged from the disputed 2000 election would be empowered to change our lives in ways that would have otherwise been unimaginable.

Without 9/11, we would not now be enmeshed in an endless war in Iraq against the will of a majority of our people, be subjected to unthinkable government surveillance and invasions of privacy, and facing an election year in which voters with good reason seem to have lost faith in all politicians.

What happened that day might have, as it first appeared, brought us together in a shared sense of purpose arising from shock and grief. But the President who could have nurtured that unity was surrounded by politicians who saw fear as a way to win elections and crackpots who took it as an opportunity to test their theories of dominating the world with American military power.

With any other President in the Oval Office that day, we would be living in a different post-9/11 world than the one Bush, Cheney and their crew created.

Osama bin Laden’s murderous minions had to be lucky as well as cunning and evil to cause as much devastation as they did that day and, with the help of this Administration, in the six years since. On our part, we have much more to repair in America than Ground Zero in Manhattan.

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