Six Years Later
|In the life of everyone, there are always days they remember. A lot of times, these are days of celebration. Things like birthdays, weddings, first kisses, that kind of stuff. Then there are the tragedies. Accidents, deaths, funerals, and in some cases, national events. The Challenger. Katrina. Pearl Harbor. JFK.|
For most people under 25, one day they will remember will be September 11, 2001. The day Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda participated in an unprovoked attack on the United States by hijacking 4 planes, flying two into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon, and attempting to fly the other into the White House before it crashed in Pennsylvania. With no worry about how many innocent people might die, (because they redefined the term "innocent people" so that there were none) twenty people began their day with the express purpose of killing Americans. As many as possible.
It was not long after that date that we attacked Afghanistan. This is where bin Laden hung out, where Al Qaeda trained and where the Taliban held court. Soon we were seeing pictures of our victorious forces in battle across the country. Newspapers across the globe said that we were all Americans. Even the French! The world that had watched the Taliban take over Afghanistan and give bin Laden sanctuary was rooting for us. Cheering for us. Supporting us. We had been attacked, the world was united in our right to seek out and punish those involved, and we had the goodwill of most of the peoples of the world.
But we have not finished the job. Somewhere along the way we lost sight of who attacked us. On September 11, 2001, we were attacked by al Qaeda and Taliban supported Osama bin Laden, at the time living in Afghanistan. Here it is 6 years later to the day and by all accounts the Taliban has reestablished itself, bin Laden is still alive and sending videos to the US. Al Qaeda is alive and well, and the people of the rural areas of Afghanistan are raking in the dough of the largest opium crop in years. Opium that will be sold as heroin to finance worldwide terrorist activities.
President Bush, you blew it! Somehow you took near total support of the American people and the world community that we had when we attacked Afghanistan and blew it. To make matters worse, you did not finish the job in that country. You sent American troops into Afghanistan to rid the country of the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and the Taliban. Other governments now understand that to get something done in that area, one must deal with the Taliban, as was evident in the release of the South Korean missionaries. How is this possible? Didn't we destroy them? Despite the election of President Hamid Karzai, even your biggest supporters would have to admit something has gone wrong. Houston, we have a problem!
I know we are a little busy in Iraq. A country that was already hemmed in by US and Allied firepower long before September 11, 2001. But the country from where the attacks were launched and the government and leaders that supported those attacks are in the process of a remarkable rebirth. Maybe after the "surge" we could return to finish the job in Afghanistan.
I will always remember September 11, 2001. I was in my car early in the morning driving on the freeway with my wife. I supported our response in Afghanistan. But like Vietnam, Korea, and the first Gulf War, we did not finish the job. I hope the next time we are attacked or choose to go to war, our civilian military leaders remember September 11. And finish the job.