Friday, September 12, 2008

Where were you on 9/11?

I had the day off. I got up a little late, turned on one of the morning shows and immediately saw the picture of smoke billowing from the Trade Center. I thought, oh man, a high-rise fire --- that looks really nasty. Of course the reality quickly became evident, and as more planes started to crash I had this weird idea that the terrorists were tampering with our air-traffic control system (I had read a really good suspense novel called "All Fall Down" with this theme).
I spent the entire day in front of the TV, like many others. I had to call into work to check my schedule, and I figured the people there knew what was going on but weren't seeing the images yet. I exchanged a few nervous comments with one of the staff ("Crazy, huh?") and went back to watching the horror.

Putting aside the shock and grief at the loss of life, it makes me so sad to think of the lost opportunities and all that has been squandered since that day. On 9/11 America needed a president who was astute, strong and possessed of great wisdom. We needed someone who, as he accepted the sympathy calls from other world leaders would say thanks a lot, but we will ALL meet in one week's time at a designated location and we will TOGETHER form a plan to erase the scourge of terrorism from this world FOREVER.

Unfortunately, the people we had in office weren't anywhere near up to the task. It's now well documented that within hours (hours!) of the attacks they were trying to find a link to Iraq.
We were quite justified in going into Afghanistan but it should have been with 140,000 troops, not a force smaller than the New York City police department. Fifteen of the nineteen hijackers were Saudi nationals --- anyone know of any repercussions to Saudi Arabia? On September 12, the United States could have declared that we were severely restricting or stopping oil imports from Saudi Arabia (and believe me, the Saudis need us to buy their oil ---- it is the sole basis of their economy -- they have no manufacturing, no tourism, no nothing !). Remember how incredibly angry and upset we all were after 9/11? If Americans had been called upon to sacrifice, to conserve gas and oil, I have no doubt they would have responded mightily.

But we know the rest of the story. Arrogance, politics and incredible incompetence in Iraq--not the troops, the people who sent them there. Read the book "Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone" and you won't know whether to laugh or cry at the sheer idiocy of the "Coalition Provisional Authority. " When the British suffered a terrorist attack in 2005 the police had all the perpetrators either killed or in jail within days. They didn't invade anybody, didn't set up secret prisons, they just went after the people who did it and got them.

Normally I enjoy watching historical retrospectives on TV, like the History Channel often runs.
I have never been able to watch one on 9/11 --- I just find it way too painful. I can't begin to
comprehend what the people in those planes and buildings must have felt. I look back on the last 7 years and I don't think we have done right by them. It was the luck of the draw; we just didn't have the right people in charge. It should have been so much different.

No comments: