A Level Gaze

"What effect must it have on a nation if it learns no foreign languages? Probably much the same as that which a total withdrawal from society has upon an individual."
--G.C. Lichtenberg



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Wednesday, September 11, 2002
 
I live in New York. In 1995, I worked on the 74th floor of WTC Tower #2 for six months. Like everyone else in the country and much of the world, I was stunned, shocked, shaken and angered by the events of a year ago today. All but the last of these emotions have faded by now.

I'm still angry.

Regular readers know I'm generally anti-war. I have been all my life. I always made one exception, though. I'd pick up a gun and jump right in if someone attacked the U.S. Nobody takes a shot at my country and gets away with it. The one glimmer of respect I ever had for George W. Bush came when I watched his first speech after the attacks. We were going to get those sons of bitches. We were going to hunt them down and kill them, and I couldn't have agreed more. God help me, I cheered the bastard with tears in my eyes.

But we didn't do it. One unequivocally justified course of action presented itself after 9/11, and we didn't take it. We toppled the Taliban, dropped some bombs from a safe distance, and let nearly all the Al Qaeda escape.

As we bend all of our energy and attention to effecting "regime change" in Iraq, somewhere there are people who got away with planning, staging, financing, and facilitating the attacks. Bin Laden 'isn't a priority' for us anymore. 'Maybe he's dead,' they say. We hear endless variations on the threat Iraq supposedly poses to America and its interests, and nothing about those who've already attacked us, and who have vowed to do so again. We've even seen fit to squelch any meaningful investigation of the circumstances that allowed the attack to succeed. In short, we've done next to nothing to bring the perpetrators to justice or to protect ourselves from further attacks.

It's a disgrace.