Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years After

So what are the lessons to be learned from 9/11?  And did we learn them?  Did some of us?  Did all of us learn some of them?  Did different people take away different things?  Certainly yes to that last one.

The first lesson I take away is, leadership makes a difference.  What if we had had different leadership during that time?  I really don't know enough about Al Gore to speculate on how his administration might have responded, so I will suggest JFK.  Imagine how JFK would have handled it.  The man who kept his head during the Cuban Missile Crisis, when everyone around him was urging him to escalate, at the very height of cold war tension.

JFK was the man who launched the Green Berets.  I suggest a very measured response would have followed.  I don't believe there would have been a war in Afghanistan, much less Iraq.  I believe he would have accepted the offer of OBL to be handed over to a third party for an internationally observed trial.  Show the world that America really does believe in law and order.

Instead, of course, we showed the world that we can be angry and vengeful.  We're going to war!  And you're either with us or you're against us!  And you don't want to be against us!  The sad part is virtually everybody was with us, and would have stayed with us if we would have been less bellicose.

Also, I think we did learn that not everybody views us as wonderful old America.  Everybody's best friend.  Envy of the world.  I think that was news to way too many people.  It can be very hard to view oneself from another perspective and I will grant you that the perspective of Al Qaeda is not one I would have thought of.  But still, was/is some examination of our role in the world called for?  Yes!  We need to stop assuming that we know it all, already.  Let's try to find out what the rest of the world thinks and actually consider that they might have a point.  Again, not Al Qaeda.  They have no validity.  But let's ask ourselves why anybody would even listen to them.  Why do they get any support at all?  Sometimes if you want to win friends and influence people you have to work at it, and not just assume that everyone will love you because you love yourself so much.

Finally, I think the biggest lesson to learn, and we've been told before and we'll be told again, is that life goes on.  The world didn't stop turning that day.  Whatever happens we have to deal with it.  And a big, fat temper tantrum is always a poor way of dealing with anything.  Look what it got us.  


  1. Yes, life does go on and we have to deal with whatever hardship comes our way, but the world DID stop turning that day, metaphorically speaking. The loss of 3000 innocent lives all at once was, and still is overwhelming to comprehend and to suggest that our reaction was a big fat temper tantrum is absurd.

    Thousands of protesters occupying the State capitol in Madison, banging drums, vanalizing, and costing hundreds of thousands of dollars in security, repair and cleanup all because they have to pay a little more for theit healthcare is a temper tantrum. Responding with force to a declaration of war is responsible foreign policy, not a hissy fit.

    Contrary to left wing media bias, George Bush did not go into Afganistan, guns blazing and bullets firing. There was nothing "bellicose" about our response. We didn't start this. Al Qaeda declared war on us when they used our planes as missiles to attack us. Our response was swift, yes, but also calculated and measured, with results to show for it. Many of the masterminds of 9/11 and other top al Qaeda operatives were killed and/or captured including Osama bin Laden, although not on Bush's watch, it was his military policies that helped make it possible.

    To respond to your point that America isn't everybody's best friend, I say "so what..?" We are the greatest sovereign nation in the world. We've helped more countries than any other nation combined. When there's an international disaster like the Indonesian tsunami for instance, who is the first to respond? That's right, America. We ARE the envy of the world, that's why so many people give up so much to come here. We have nothing to apologize to the rest of the world for. We have nothing to explain and nothing to prove as far as I'm concerned.

    I do agree with you that leadership makes a difference, It is interesting to think what JFK would have done. The Cuban Missile Crisis was one thing, an unprovoked attack on our soil is another thing entirely, especially when it was a civilian, not a military target. I would venture to say that Americans would not have tolerated the idea of an internationally observed trial for OBL.

    Given the circumstances, why should we have to prove to other countries that we believe in law and order? With an atrocity of that magnitude, we should show our citizens, especially those who were affected and suffered unimaginable loss on 9/11 that we believe in justice.

  2. I will just ask you one question, Chris. How many innocent lives lost due to our response is too many? Or is there no such number?

  3. Good post. Was wondering the same thing tonight, what would things be like with different leadership.

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