I drafted this post back in 2011, but never published it.... warning, I may contradict myself.
Like most people, I was shocked, angry and full of rage and hate during and immediately after the events of 9/11/01.
I am not ashamed to admit that revenge was always on my mind and that I believe that killing OBL was the right thing to do and should be celebrated as such. Also, the temporary dismantling and crippling of Al-Qaeda and removing the Taliban from power, was the correct response. I can support a policy of "whether or not it makes a difference in the long term, if you attack us in such a way, we will make your lives miserable for a while".
Honoring the victims, the heroes and the memory of that day are also something that we did right.
The sad part is that the attacks were HUGELY successful.
Not only did the initial attacks cause more than the intended physical and psychological harm, but we allowed our emotions to overrun our logic and the tragedy that played out had to have looked to OBL and his goons to be truly a gift from Allah.
We did NOT limit our response in Afghanistan to payback, killing Taliban and Al-Qaeda leadership and disrupting THEIR economy, society and training facilities, we had to go into a prolonged war there, due to our completely illogical invasion of Iraq. Not only did the Iraq war distract us from our mission in Afghanistan (which should have be clearly laid out and capped at 2 years duration and involved far more resources), it ruined our military and our economy.
The war in Iraq ruined our military because we over extended our volunteer forces well beyond their actual capabilities. No honest assessment of the fitness to serve of our reservists, nor our support assets for their families and their post-service healthcare was ever given, or certainly never given by anyone who wasn't fired from their post.
The war in Iraq ruined our economy by dismantling our Nation's surplus, further widening the gap between the poor and the wealthy WHILE reducing our capacity to manage the "mortgage crisis". Incidentally a "crisis" which was a self imposed, caused by criminal acts by our largest banks, financial institutions and government agencies.
Then to add insult to injury (literally), we went right into police state mode, like we always do during wartime and began forgetting that we have a constitution. We arrested people and didn't charge them. We infringed on citizens rights to privacy and due process. Basically, we gave up a piece of what America is all about in order to "improve security". Well, most experts will tell you that the three biggest deterrents to further attacks by airplane have been (1) reinforced cockpit doors (2) the realization by the enemy that passengers will take matters into their own hands if necessary (see the Pa heroes, shoe bomber passengers and others) (3) more intense baggage screening. None of which cost much money, disrupted travelers or necessitated us ignoring our core values !!
Other more pragmatically stupid things that we did were to ignore the plight of first responders, fail to come up with a reasonable memorial and not immediately rebuild on the WTC site.
Another very sad response was the explosion of polarization in our Nation's politics. The unprecedented extremism in our political landscape and the increased interweaving of religion into politics has to make our enemies grin.
So - enough bitching. What should we do going forward?
(1) We should remember the day on Sunday, but not with the hype and over blown craziness that will be inevitable. There should be a National moment of silence and then return to business as usual. Any more tears, any more debate, discussion, exposure of our tender underbelly is NOT the way to fight a war. Stiff upper lip, and a fuck you attitude is the only way to go.
(2) We should privately and without bravado, begin to develop a foreign policy that limits and eventually terminates all involvement in the Middle East and Asia, to include buying their oil and our completely ILLOGICAL support of the Israel. This is not an antisemitic remark. This is an anti-Israel remark. There IS a difference. Our unblinking support of their horrible policies regarding Arabs, is immoral and is crippling to our leadership role in the world. We need to also cease all financial support for Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and frankly every other country in the world, for a multitude of reasons. The two most obvious (to me) are that this support gets us nothing other than scrutiny for propping up bad governments and most immediately, we have a huge debt of our own to sort out.
(3) We should develop an energy policy that is based on developing renewable, clean sources of energy and in the mean time, using only energy developed from the US. Our first goal should be zero foreign imports and the second goal should be to go solar, wind, "new" nuclear and other clean and efficient forms as quickly as possible.
(4) Put back regulations on banks and anyone involved in trading financial instruments to a level that is appropriate and staff oversight agencies adequately. We could also properly educate our citizens to help them from being duped into ridiculous schemes and crazy mortgage arrangements. Probably, this education needs to start with our politicians, who seem to be some of the dumbest Americans of all, when it comes to understanding exactly how our government and our economy actually function. The Right wants a "defense of marriage clause in the constitution", how about a "must pass a simple test on government, economics, science, math, verbal and written communications and logic" amendment? I'd love to see that !! So - what did 9/11 teach me?
(1) The importance of maintaining a cool head during crisis. Let my emotions play out, express my feelings, but to always make DECISIONS based on cold facts, as I always do, under "normal" situations.
(2) Never trust anyone, especially the Government, Financial Institutions or even sometimes my fellow Business Persons.
(3) Be prepared to beat up a terrorist if necessary and not to fear low probability events, even if they are catastrophic. We all have to die of something. Why fear a terror attack or an earthquake, when I should really be fearing stress, beer, cigarette smoke and Mc Donald's food? Those are the things most likely to kill me.
(4) My general feelings of misanthropy and intellectual superiority are NOT misguided.
Peace to you all - Remember the Fallen - Honor them by sticking to our Core Values
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
(1) Never stop working to form a more perfect Union of States (get involved, vote, speak out)
(2) establish Justice (for all people, not just some)
(3) insure domestic Tranquility (lets work together, calmly and peacefully)
(4) provide for the common defence (so spelling in 1787)
(5) promote the general Welfare (for all citizens, this includes not only a standard of living, but the tools *education* to maintain that standard of living and rules to protect us from those that would put our collective welfare *medical care and retirement* at risk for their personal gain)
(6) secure the Blessings of Liberty (DON"T ever take our freedom for granted, nor do any harm to its foundation, which is based on items 1-5 above)