September 11, 2009

September 11 Reflection

Today the nation is revisiting and rehashing the terrible attacks of September 11, 2001. I'm hearing again all the theories about what happened that day. So, once again, I provide my own story of 9/11.
My husband and I were getting ready for work that morning, listening to local talk radio just before 8 a.m., when we heard that a plane had hit The World Trade Center. Speculation at the time was that it was a small private plane. What in the world was going on with that pilot, I thought. Suicide? An untrained pilot? How do you miss THE World Trade Center??

We were about to shut off the radio and leave for work when we heard a report that it was a commercial airliner that hit the tower. Oh, God, I thought, that is not an accident. A commercial pilot would not make that kind of mistake. It was disturbing. Did some crazed pilot decided to kill himself, his passengers and crew, and all the victims in the tower? How could such a disturbed person be at the helm of a commercial jet? Where was the co-pilot? It didn't quite make sense.

We turned off the radio and headed out the door, running late as usual. We jumped in our respective vehicles to go our separate ways. I quickly turned on the radio to find out if there was more news. There was. A second commercial airliner had just hit the second tower. O-H-M-Y-G-O-D, I said out loud, "Osama Bin Laden." There was no doubt. THIS is the attack he's been promising.

Anger washed over me. How could they let this happen? HOW!? Something this huge cannot happen without some clues. How could they have been asleep at the wheel? How could they be SO incompetent? How could the government of the United States of America fail its citizens LIKE THIS?

I drove to work in a terrible emotional state. I needed to talk to others. What were others thinking? What did they make of it?

When I got to the office, only one person was at his desk. It happened to be a young man, a registered sex offender with a bad attitude. I didn't often stop by his office. But this day, I stopped at his door. He looked up, and all I could say was, "NOW there will be no place for Bin Laden to hide." He stared at me for moment, and I walked on to my own office. I had no idea how terribly wrong I was.

Soon the office suite filled with other staff. We watched what we could via the Internet, listened to radio, and talked nervously for the next several hours as things unfolded. No one seemed to know much about Bin Laden but expressed a vague sense that the attackers were probably Muslim extremists. We were worried about attacks in our community, with a large international population, or a couple hours away in Chicago. None of us did any work, and none of us cared.
As angry and shocked as I was that day, my anger and shock only grew as I learned more about what the Bush Administration was up to before, on, and after that dreadful day. There were signs. There were warnings. But they did not take any of it seriously. Why? Because of their blind ideology and arrogance.

My politics have changed since then. I watched over the next months and years as the Bush/Cheney regime milked this horror for all it was worth in order to achieve their own agenda. They betrayed us not just on 9/11 but so many times over after that. And I, for one, will never, ever forgive or forget.


NOTE: Bush and Cheney are Neoconservatives. Neoconservatives oppose what is commonly referred to as foreign policy "realism." This excellent article by Fareed Zakaria draws the contrast between the Neoconservatives (who claim to "create reality") and then-candidate Obama's foreign policy realism: Obama, Foreign Policy Realist. It also paints a truer picture of President Obama than that we hear in common public discourse.

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