Today is a day of national reflection. As a nation we should mourn and remember the tragedy of 9/11 and the senseless death of thousands. However, as we mourn and reflect on such a tragedy that changed our country and our history irrevocably, we must also reflect on its repercussions.
One tragedy does not forgive another and since 9/11 we have lost approximately 6,750 American lives in Afghanistan and in Iraq. The initial invasion and routing of the Taliban did not lead to the approximate 2,100 lives lost there, but instead the subsequent occupation, neglect, nation building, and the surge have. In Iraq, a war of choice to liberate a nation, has led to approximately 4,500 deaths of American servicemen. In addition, hundreds of thousands of Afghani and Iraqi men, women and children have also lost their lives and become victims of our military endeavors and quagmires.
Osama Bin Laden never intended to destroy this nation with Al Qaeda’s attacks on 9/11. Instead, he sought to weaken the giant from within and make it destroy and ruin itself. Since 9/11 we have spent billions, and eventually trillions on the aftermath. We have had two wars, numerous others military expeditions, an expanded military and defense industry that has been the largest growth of government in a generation (which continues unchecked), a generation of injured and emotionally destroyed servicemen who we must care for, as well as our civil liberties being hindered for the sake of security.
Is this the America we were before 9/11? An America that led the world, stood for our principles and was a model worth emulating. Or instead, an America that spent billions chasing thugs in caves and desserts, and civilizing far flung nations, while our own citizens loose their homes, jobs and livelihood and other nations catch up to us. We have lost a great deal of legitimacy, respect, and more importantly blood and treasure. Today I mourn for the thousands who died on 9/11, but more importantly I mourn for the US. Unless we fix our nation and get back on a proper path, those who died on 9/11 would have died in vain and that would be the biggest tragedy.