Every year September 11th rolls around and I feel I should write something about 9/11. Every year, I don't. I can't really say why. Even though I lived in California at the time, I felt and feel deeply and very personally about the horror that took place in Manhattan that day.
Maybe that's because I used to live there, and still have friends there. It might be because I've been through the WTC countless times on my way to work and pleasure, and can't fully grasp its being gone.
Or, it could be the outrage I felt then and still feel — not only at the perpetrators and their cohorts, but almost as strongly at the political leaders who've refused to do much of anything about it.
Much of anything? After hundreds of billions spent and thousands of American soldiers' lives sacrificed? Yes. I believe that amounts to not much of anything, at least not by comparison to a real war.
War was never declared. That would be the minimum one could expect from the President and Congress when America was attacked by jihadists supported and goaded by half a dozen Middle Eastern theocracies for the past 30 years.
Worse, although from the first I strongly supported the efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq and still do, I always felt it was a second string effort. It always seemed too much like when the government interferes in the economy during a crisis, i.e. mostly to appear to be "doing something."
There was never any hint the U.S. would invade Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Libya, and Lebanon — not to mention Pakistan for good measure.
Iran should have been — and still should be — the main focus of any effort to combat Islam-inspired jihad. It was and remains the ground zero of all such attacks and they won't stop until Iran is neutralized. Yet, even after it was shown six ways from Sunday that Iran was (and is) supporting the jihadists in Iraq, the President largely ignored it.
That neutralization effort would have to go beyond military conquest, too, as we did in Japan after WWII when State Shinto was dismantled in the Japanese culture. That effort, by the way, was done forcefully and without apology, unlike the mealy-mouthed diplomacy we see, for example, in Afghanistan and Iraq, both of whom have constitutions making Sharia their explicit legal foundation. [For an in-depth historical examination of U.S. efforts in Japan, see the work of Dr. John Lewis, particularly No Substitute for Victory and Gifts from Heaven, The Meaning of the American Victory Over Japan, 1945.]
Even at its peak, while our soldiers and Marines and many officers continued to act with unbounded heroism against absurd ROE, the most senior officers and civilian authorities offered tepid political support.
At his most 'cowboy', Bush never came close to emulating Churchill, FDR, or even Thatcher in his will to win the war. That many in Congress opposed him is no excuse. He ignored the pansies when he thought he should, and rightly so. If he had acted more forcefully, the American people would've made it near-impossible for Congress to pull his funding.
So, in the end, like a father whose son's murder is given short shrift by the courts — and like so many Americans I suspect — I'm left with a deep sadness and a great longing for the appropriate level of moral outrage by Washington. That, and an unanswered question about when the casualties of 9/11 will ever get the justice they, and we, deserve.