Tuesday, September 11, 2007

"Never Forget" the rest of the story

The flag waved at half-staff above the Old Capitol today, September 11, 2007. Six years ago, nearly 3,000 Americans were killed in the worst terrorist attack ever on our native soil. The courageous and patriotic response that day is often replayed on the anniversary; the names of those murdered are read aloud at the site of what was once the World Trade Center towers.

"Never forget," they say--in fact, everyone says it. And I haven't forgotten. No, I'll never lose sight of what the United States lost that morning. But perhaps more important than remembering those we lost, we should make an honest effort to never forget what happened afterward, either.

September 11 is a touchy subject, so I'll tread lightly. I've been critical of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani using the attacks to highlight his foreign policy resume. Shame on him--or anyone else--for politicizing that dreadful day.

The fact remains, though, that the response wasn't handled properly. President Bush, whom I admired for uniting the country in the days and weeks after the attacks, has squandered his opportunity to bring justice to those who murdered our friends, relatives, and loved ones that day. I believed Mr. Bush when he stood at Ground Zero a few days later and assured every American that our nation wouldn't stand idly while our enemies attacked us on our own soil.

Osama bin Laden was wanted "dead or alive," remember? T-shirts with his image centered behind cross hairs were popular online, and as American troops zeroed in on him in Afghanistan, it seemed a matter of time before NBC would interrupt its evening coverage to announce his capture.

Six years later, and bin Laden is still on the loose.

I disagree with the president's misadventure in Iraq. If only he dedicated the same time and resources in Afghanistan, perhaps our military could have arrested bin Laden as swiftly as we toppled Saddam Hussein's government. I don't think anybody anticipated that bin Laden would remain at large six years after the 9/11 attacks; how can the president justify invading Iraq and hanging its leader when he still hasn't finished off al-Qaeda or Osama bin Laden?

I'll never forget that day--can anybody? But as long as we're preserving the memory of the dead, let's make an effort to remind ourselves of what they died for and how they were avenged. If you think about it that way, it's depressing. The mastermind of that assault on America is alive and releasing messages to commemorate the anniversary of the day he fought America--and won.

I'd certainly like the president to keep that in mind while he considers what he's done since taking his oath of office to defend our land. Frankly, President Bush should be ashamed of himself.

No comments: