September 11th, 2009


Eight Years Later

Once again, I present my September 11 checklist. You'll note nothing on it has changed from last year, or the year before, or the year before. In fact, nothing on it has changed from September 12, 2001.

Osama Bin Laden captured or killed? No.

World Trade Center rebuilt or replaced? No.

Afghanistan stabilized into a free and thriving democracy where terrorism no longer has a home? No.

We've had eight years, folks. Eight years to achieve any one of these objectives, and we haven't. So when September 11 rolls around every year, it's not just sadness and echoes of that day's fear that I feel.

I also feel anger. Not just at al-Qaeda and its sympathizers and supporters, but at us. At ourselves and how foolishly we botched the ways in which we responded to the attacks. How terribly we've let ourselves down, in the memory of all who perished that day and left holes in the hearts of millions.

Osama Bin Laden's severed head should have been on a pike outside the United Nations for the whole world to see by October 1, 2001. (I know that sounds barbaric, especially coming from someone who is against the death penalty, but I have nothing but a seething hatred for this insane mass murderer.)

The original twin towers of the World Trade Center took five years to erect, and that was back in the late 1960s-early 1970s. Today we could have done it in half that time. Can you imagine how great it would have been to have those towers--or something, anything--back up in 2003? How much it would have done to heal our wounds and let us move on emotionally? How much of a "fuck you" it would have been to the monsters who knocked it down and those who danced in the street when they did? Instead we have nothing but ego battles, ridiculous design ideas, and a big hole in the ground filled with bulldozers and cranes. Now they're saying it's on track to be rebuilt by 2011, in time for the 10th anniversary. I'll believe it when I see it.

So, another September 11, another day of reflection and contemplation that inevitably leads me to anger and frustration at our own seeming inability to accomplish any one of the three items above. I'm not even asking for all of them at the same time. Just one. Any one. Pick one, please, and let's get it done.