It’s been six years since 9/11/01.  My life has changed tremendously since then, but not as a result of the attacks.  My politics have changed as well, partly because of our response to the attacks.  But as we mark this date, many thoughts are going through my head, most of which center on all those people who died.  It’s just so senseless.  I don’t care how much you hate us for being who we are, having what we have, or for our stance on Israel or whatever other fucked up reason you might think you have, you don’t get to waltz in here, steal our planes, and use them as missiles.  Where does the action equal the reaction there?  It does not.  No argument about how evil America is makes what they did okay.  None.


Having said that, I have to point the same finger at us.  When we went into Afghanistan, I got it.  Yeah, that made sense.  It’s where Bin Laden was.  It’s where Al Qaeda was training.  So you go in, you get them, and that’s that.  The end of story.  Unfortunately, life is a bit more complicated than that.  We ended up in Iraq.  And at first, I got it.  The way things were being reported (especially by Fox News which I admit to watching sometimes), it seemed like Hussein was ready to give all sorts of our enemies tools with which to kill us.  But then that evidence got shaky.  Then that evidence became a “mistake”.  And that’s when I began to wonder what the hell we were doing there.  I’m not always so quick on the uptake.


My ex-husband, who is a staunch Republican, could argue a million different ways that what we were doing was right, could convince me for a little while that it was all okay, it made sense.  He repeated the party line, but more intelligently.  Maybe he should’ve been a lawyer.  I believed him for a while.  But then, with the whole reason for us being there falling apart, I couldn’t help but think he was wrong.  The longer we stayed, the more people who died or were gruesomely injured, the more I believed we had to get out.  Of course, by then, we had made such a mess of things over there that if we left without attempting to rebuild I think there’d be a special place in hell for us.  I’m sorry, but you can’t go into a country and destroy it for no reason and not at least try to fix it.  At this point though, what are we doing there?  Seriously, what are we doing on a day-to-day basis that justifies our presence?


Today I wonder if I would feel differently about any of this if I, like my parents, had known people who died that day.  Would I feel differently if I had been one of my ex-husband’s co-workers who were on the phone with brokers from Cantor Fitzgerald when the plane hit the building?  They were trapped, there was no escape, and they didn’t want to hang up the phone for two reasons.  One, they knew they’d never get another line out and the comfort of a voice, any voice, was better than none.  Two, they were getting information on what was going on from the guys my ex worked with.  As the building fell, the line went dead.  It was horrific.  (As an aside, my ex went to work for a branch of Cantor Fitzgerald after they moved the energy trading brokerage to Houston.  The employee manual had not been updated.  That was surreal as it had all these references to WTC and what to do in case of emergency, etc.  The shivers that went up my spine ….)


This is how I feel.  We need to get out of Iraq and back on task.  Bin Laden is still out there, raising mini-Osamas.  Would killing him help?  I don’t know.  He could be like the hydra, and when you cut his head off, a hundred uglier ones appear.  Is that how we should fight the so-called War on Terror?  Speaking of that, how do you argue with “The War on Terror”?  It sounds good.  We’re gonna stamp out terrorism by going after the terrorists and those who aid and harbor them.  Okay, fine by me.  But in the real world, does that work?  Is this the best way?  I don’t really think so.  I think the way we fight terrorism is 1) by improving our national image rather than invading countries in areas known to be hostile to us already, and 2) by using our intelligence to prevent attacks.  We had the intelligence ahead of 9/11.  What we lacked was the nasty murderous vision to put it together.  We now know that they’re not kidding.  They’re here to fuck us up by any means necessary.  Our job is to see to it that they don’t.  Maybe I’m being simplistic.  Okay, probably.  Lots of people, ex-husband included, would argue that the War on Terror is working because we haven’t been attacked since 9/11.  I disagree – I think we haven’t been attacked because our ability to prevent attacks has become much more sophisticated and we have become much less naïve.


All of that makes me wonder if I’d feel any differently if I were sitting in the Oval Office with all the information on my desk.  Or at the Pentagon, or the FBI, or the CIA.  But I’m not.  I’m sitting at home typing on my laptop with no information whatsoever except what the media feeds me.  So basically, I know nothing other than how I feel.  I’m saddened and sickened by what happened six years ago.  I just wish we had handled things some other way.