This morning I found myself flying out of my hometown heading to Detroit for the week. Last night after the kids went to bed, my wife and I spoke a few words about the day that was 11 September. My son’s fourth grade teacher posted on Facebook that she was going to speak to the class about 9-11 and she included a video online. It was one of those heart wrenching, sad music type videos that opened with pictures of the sun rising all over the United States and after five minutes of typical, normal life it went into the events of that day. I had to focus on something else to keep from crying so please forgive my angst when you read the following words.
Several thoughts, the first is that I wonder how long my son and the rest of the class sat still looking at pictures of random buildings and sun rises. That’s not important right now. What is important is where we are as a nation fifteen years after 9-11. Using a limited comparison of where we were as a nation fifteen years after Pearl Harbor might not be appropriate but it is sobering. Please remember that I am not that guy who wants to live in the past but can it be more obvious that we have squandered the national unity that arose following the attacks.
This morning I sat in the Chicago airport and thought about what was different today than it was at 7:30 AM on 11 September 2001. You know as well as I do that everything has changed and probably not for the better. We are constantly told by those in power that they need more power, more surveillance, and more money to keep us free. But I just can’t see anyway that we have more freedom today than we did fifteen years ago.
Those same people tell us that we need to fight the enemy over there so we don’t have to fight them here. That sounds reasonable until you try to count how many people since 2001 have walked across the southern border or that we are importing another 10,000 more people from Syria on top of the 10,000 that we have already brought in this year. All this on top of all the attacks that have happened within our borders in the past five years.
I left the Air Force in 2007 because of the constant deployments and the strain that it had placed on my marriage. Even then, it was becoming apparent that we did not have the political leadership that was willing to take the restraints off the military and let us fight a total war with the intention of winning. At the time, I thought that if we were not going to fight to win, then we should pull out and bring everyone home. As a small personal form of protest, I resigned my commission. When I told the personnel office that I wanted to resign it, I had to talk to the Colonel. He told me that in his career that he had never had heard of anyone resigning their commission. I told him it was about time someone did. I don’t think he liked that but I really didn’t care. With the hindsight of history, I can’t think of a President who did more harm to the United States, than President Bush, Vice President Chaney and the Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld.
When President Obama took office in 2008, I was hopeful that we (as a nation) would choose peace over war and we would end the constant mind-numbing archaic fight of a nation state verses an idea. But here we are eight years later and we have lost total control of events. Russia and China are stronger than ever. North Korea with China’s approval is in a proxy war with Japan. Turkey is aligned with Russia. Russia is openly fighting US forces in Syria. Our drones are killing people left and right in countries that we don’t even know exist. Someone (probably Russia) is hacking our government computers and trying to manipulate the election. The US consulate was burned to the ground and an American Ambassador was killed in the process. Britain left the European Union after our President begged them to stay in the EU. The NSA is collecting everything that I am thinking right now and Gitmo is still open. I guess that I am glad I voted for the other guy twice so it isn’t on me.
Even with having the two least qualified candidates running for President, I still think that America is the best nation on the face of the Earth. But is isn’t quite the slam dunk that it was fifteen years ago.
Until next time, keep on rockin.