I wanted to write something for the anniversary of 9/11 but I didn’t want to write about the falling towers or the burning Pentagon. We’ve all seen way too many pictures of the incredible carnage, the soot-smudged faces and crushed fire trucks. We have all cried and mourned for the fallen and asked all of the questions, like how could this happen and why and will it happen again? Today as I write a beautiful tower is being erected on the site as mute testimony to the resilience of the American people and in honor of all those that didn’t come home that evening.
In answer to my question will it happen again? I can only say let’s hope not but yes the world is still full of people with the right mentality to do that and there is no sure way to stop them. We can only be vigilant and hope they get caught before they can succeed. On that fateful day, the fact that 20 terrorists were able to casually board those planes with box cutters and weapons showed we were lax beyond our wildest imaginations. It was almost like a Hollywood script that played out as perfectly in the skies that day, as it does in the movies. We were asleep at the switch and oblivious to what was happening and we had been that way for some time.
Many precautions have been taken since then. Some of them, common sense things that should have been done long before this happened — and had they been, it wouldn’t have happened. Secure cockpits on the aircraft and better security at the airports come to mind. There are those who think we take too many precautions now days but in my mind those people should be told to travel some other way if they don’t like it. Their freedoms shouldn’t preclude our safety.
But the world of the terrorists goes far beyond using planes as missiles. There is cyber crime and biological warfare and so many ways to hurt us it defies all logical attempts to stop it. We have waged two wars and caused twice as many American deaths as 9/11 did in an attempt to stop it and have done little except divide our country and cause financial hardship. There is only one way to stop it for sure and that is to try to exist peacefully with other countries and maybe mind our own business a little better. We are good at making enemies and sadly poor, at making, or keeping friends. Blood seems to be having greater power then rhetoric when it comes to changing peoples minds about dealing with this and look where that has gotten us.
There are examples of countries out there that choose to live peacefully with their neighbors. Lots of examples. Countries that use their money and talents to serve their people, not build war machines. We got Bin Laden and now it’s time to bring our troops home and fix this country. We’re hated more every day were in the Middle East and we are seen as meddlers. Do we need to kill another 5,000 of our sons and daughters before we get the message? The message being, “your never going to win this way.” John Quincy Adams said and I quote: “America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.”
MIKE HOLST lives in Crosslake. He has been actively writing for the past nine years, both as a columnist and an author and has written 12 novels and published six of them.