Twelve years really does seem like a lifetime. As we pause and remember those few individuals who died before 8:46 a.m. ET, and the many who died after, I just have to wonder if we’ve learned anything – and if what we have learned has been forgotten.
Most of us are physically far-removed from the devastation 12 years ago, but emotionally – as a citizens of the greatest country in the world – we were all together that day.
The act of terror on Sept. 11 was new. It was unique. On that day we were introduced to a new war, one that would never be fought against a specific country or countries; against men and women in uniforms. We would soon be fighting an extreme ideology with no borders or uniform. To this day, I have no idea how any country can best fight radicals associated with Islamic fundamentalists. The bad guys hold the innocent as human shields, both figuratively and in reality. When the innocent have nowhere to go, you’ve got issues.
Recently, were experiencing the downstream impact of an enemy who is not clearly defined. Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, is simply stating “it was not him” when it comes to the obvious use of chemical weapons, and since current protocol seems to require a signed affidavit with a video confession by Assad himself that he “did do it,” little can be done. A quagmire if you will. I wrote about this 364 days ago.
Any major attack – including conventional, nuclear or biologic – against the United States or allies in the region will not be from a defined, established government in the region. The State of Iran would probably never send a missile into Israel, and if they did, it would be blamed on an outlier group who was not affiliated with the government. In other words, it would be a terrible tragedy that was some sort of mistake. They would be sorry. Somehow, a radical Islamic fundamentalist group – an outlier – got control over a weapon and used it. The official government leaders would be ashamed. They would promise to root out the evil in their country. The diplomats would go to work again.
Take my quote from a year ago, and see how it matches up to what is happening in Syria? I pray we do not, but we certainly may see more of this. In this new war, we’re fighting with both hands tied behind our back. What will the future hold?
Today, our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends who lost loved ones on Sept. 11, 2001, the individuals in the military who have given up so much and died, and the families of military men and women to whom we are all indebted.