Ten years ago, a well-coordinated terrorist plot led to the assault upon
But the response of the American government was fast, decisive and, in a calculated way, quite brutal. The attackers were known to be the terrorist al-Qaeda organization, it was known that they were housed by the Taliban in hidden places in
But was it? And, even if it had displayed an impressive amount of military muscle, how long would that last? And of what deeper value was it, for the preservation of America's long-term power position? Over the years that followed the epic events of 2001 and 2003, the ground wars in
Is isolationism in evidence at my hardware store and deli? You bet it is. Nobody talks much here about the rise of
When the actual day of the 10th anniversary occurs, the ceremonials arranged by the
But what of those of us who are attempting to step back from these memorializations and ask questions about where America is in the world right now as compared with a decade ago? Has
And perhaps the real answer to that critical last question might be this: that the largest effect of 9/11 upon America is that it became distracted. Distracted in two very important ways: in the first place, it was distracted from many other things that are going on in the world; and, secondly, distracted from the erosion of its financial strength and international commercial competitiveness.
Let us look at the first matter, albeit very briefly. In its own hemisphere -- surely among the most important areas in the world to U.S. interests -- a new
Even more worrying has been a decade of distraction from attending the "Common Wealth" -- that is, the "Common Good" of America itself and of its citizenry. The Bush administration's combination of expensive foreign wars and inexcusable tax cuts that favored the rich has had dreadful effects upon U.S. federal deficits, upon America's growing dependency upon foreigners, and upon the long-term future of the dollar. The social fabric is fraying, the underclass is growing -- it is observable year upon year in the soup kitchen where I work -- and the public-school system crumbling. Under-investment in our roads and railways and power systems is visible every day. And, as if any more bad news was needed, along comes a
This, then, may be the real legacy of 9/11, long after U.S. troops are withdrawn from those high Hindu Kush ranges. For here was the decade when America turned its attention away from its own domestic condition and from its need to have a wider view of global change.
- Ian Williams' Lost 9/11 Chronicle
- Remembering the Day That Changed Us
- Decade After the Terror, We Move Forward
- 10 Years After 9/11 NATO's Future Remains Uncertain
- 9/11 and the Successful War
- Reasons to Remember 9-11
- 9/11 Unity Is Just a Memory
- Did 9/11 Weaken or Strengthen the United States?
- Extremists: Power-Mad Brothers Under the Skin
- Myth and Reality After 9/11
- Captives to the Logic of Violence
- Bin Laden's Unintended Legacy: Revealing True American Colors
- Durban III Promises Wave of Islamophobia
Available at Amazon.com:
Copyright 2011, TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.