The legacy of 9/11 makes me sad and angry.
There were certainly many good things that we did as America immediately following the attacks. We did come together as a nation and stood in unity before the face of an unknown assailant. All across the country, people were helping others stranded by the ban on air travel. Helping the families of those who lost loved ones in the three separate episodes that occurred that day. Our response as a nation from a military perspective was the correct one. I have no issue and will never have an issue for our nation's decision to go into Afghanistan and remove the Taliban who was harboring Al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. The entire world mourned with us, in shock of the audacity of the acts. We had a global coalition and world-wide support to take the actions that we did as a nation. When George Bush announced our intentions, he made it very clear that our enemy was Al-Qaeda and terrorists, and not the Islamic faith.
Oh my, how far we have come. It sickens me that here we are, nine years later, and we captured and killed Saddam Hussein, but Osama bin Laden is still a free man. It saddens me that George Bush/Dick Cheney used the acts of 9/11 to pursue a personal vendetta against Iraq and lied to the American people, and indeed, the whole world, in front of the U.N. and made a laughing stock of General Colin Powell. It sickens me at how many lives were lost in Iraq and the whole focus of our true enemy was diverted to a situation that, quite frankly, was under control, although not ideally so. Don't get me wrong, I am glad to see Saddam Hussein dead, I just think that it was absolutely unnecessary at that time to pursue that interest. As a result, we let Afghanistan get out of control. We let Osama bin Laden live on and taunt us and give us the middle finger as he continues to remain free.
The patriotism of many Americans were called into question with phrases such as "you are either with us or with them." Somehow, if you did not fully, and wholeheartedly support the war effort in either Afghanistan or Iraq, your patriotism was called into question. If you did not support the Patriot Act, your patriotism was called into question. Certainly, the name of the law was chosen for a reason. Your support of our troops was called into question. Short of serving and dying for your country, I don't know that there is any more of a patriotic act than to stand up before your government and tell it you disagree with it. Is that not one of our most important rights?
As a result of 9/11, we had one of the biggest government reorganizations ever with the creation of the Department of Homeland Security. We also had one of the most significant pieces of legislation ever passed, that has probably done more to harm our individual freedoms and liberties, in the Patriot Act then the acts of 9/11 ever did. To this day, and Obama has continued the practice, the United States government has sweeping powers to mistreat foreign nationals, for any reason whatsoever, all under the guise of "state secrets." All of our phone conversations can be wiretapped and recorded without any judicial review. I think everyone knew our lives would be forever changed after 9/11. Certainly with the increased airport security, large stone and steel sculptures/structures placed in front government builds designed to look nice, but really meant to keep a truck of explosives from being driven into the lobby. We all take a few extra seconds to glance at people who are different to see if they may be "up to something." Most recently, we have turned our back on religious freedoms with the protest of the Islamic Cultural Center in Manhattan, the arson fire committed at the construction site of a Mosque in Kentucky.
I will never forget the tragic events of 9/11, but I also will not forget the sacrifices that our society has made, even though we probably don't even realize it.