Yesterday was the tenth anniversary of 9/11/2001. It was certainly a significant day in our history, and it was horrible. However, I remember more the damage of what came after, when the Democrats lost all backbone and caved into every ridiculous assertion that the Bush Administration made in curtailing civil liberties and pursuing personal family vendettas that embroiled us in a costly war against Saddam Hussein's regime.
I do not agree with those who find 9/11 to be the worst day in our nation's history. I'd say the outbreak of the Civil War probably beats it. Pearl Harbor is undoubtedly a contender for the title, but at least in the wake of that attack, we had a clear enemy. The tragedy of 9/11 didn't stop when the towers fell; it continued through years of mismanagement, as Bush first squandered the world's good will prosecuting an illegal war against an essentially powerless target unrelated to the 9/11 attacks and as he continued to bankrupt our nation fighting two wars while ignoring the economic crises at home.
Our greater tragedy is that Barack Obama, elected to remove us from these wars and restore economic stability, has refused to make the hard choices to do either. True, we have left Iraq, but we have escalated Afghanistan, propping up a hopelessly corrupt regime that has as much chance of standing as any of the South Vietnamese puppet governments we supported in Viet Nam.
In one sense, we have won the war on terror: Al Qaeda is a shell of itself, its leader dead and its leadership decimated. So for the first time, we mark the anniversary of 9/11 with a sense that some measure of justice has been done to the perpetrator. However, we have allowed this pursuit of external enemies blind us to the ongoing and accelerating damage done by domestic policies inimical to our nation's long-term interests. Most of these principles are on display in the Republican primary fights, but Obama has offered only moderate resistance to the continued assault on the American middle class and working poor, and our nation faces the prospect of extended recession.
The result of the Great Depression was a system of government regulation and labor activism that saw the United States become the most prosperous nation in the world, with a solid middle class. Capital has chipped away at those gains, beginning in the 1970's, and in a time of terror we need to look not only at the enemies who build the bombs and point the guns, but also at those who seek to gut government oversight, consumer protection, and labor power.
Both these enemies seek the collapse of the American ideal.