So what do you say on a day like today? Happy Patriot's Day? Happy is not a word that should go with today.
I remember the day five years ago. I had officially been out of the Army for a week. I turned in my military ID card to the personnel office at NAS Jax the day before. I was going to a job fair that day when I heard the news that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center on the way out the door. I listened to NPR on the way to my father's house to drop off my son so I could find a job and be gainfully employed. The career fair still went on, everyone was huddled around a TV set. There was the usual assortment of employers that had high turnover rates because wages have stagnated and they were thankless jobs like telemarketing and bill collections. I dropped off a few resumes and went home. Traffic at the local Navy base's gate was backed up for miles. I needed to go by the base to get home.
As I was stuck in traffic, I was filled with three emotions: shock, rage, and guilt. Shock because the message traffic I had seen about al-Qaeda's plans to fly airplanes into buildings was too fantastic to believe. It sounded like a plan that had no way of being carried out. Rage that my country had been attacked by a transnational terrorist group that no one in the administration had taken seriously. Guilt because I could have been the one to connect the dots. O.K. so the highest level of counterterrorism analysis I did was for USAREUR in the late 1990's. But still, I felt guilty about it. But I could have been Cassandra, no one would have listened to me.
I actually had respect for the one who should be impeached when he invaded Afghanistan so quickly. That respect returned to pre-9/11 levels when Osama bin Ladin escaped and our attentions were turned to Iraq. So when neo-cons accuse us of pre-9/11 thinking, it was their pet president who let Osama bin Ladin get away. Don't blame us. It was your president who let the man responsible for the murder of 2500+ Americans get away. The terrible events of 9/11 were the best thing that ever happened to George W. Bush (other than being born into the right family). aWol never would have been re-elected without 9/11. aWol's approval ratings soared after 9/11, so why shouldn't he return the favor to the man who saved aWol from one term obscurity? Now aWol will be remembered as the President who got re-elected despite his gross imcompetence.