Tuesday, September 11, 2012

9/11 - 11 Years Later and Still at War

It's 11 years since cowards took advantage of the open, free society that we enjoy and flew airplanes filled of innocent people into buildings filled with still more innocents. Nearly 3,000 people died. America had been attacked on her home soil and we reacted like the proud, wounded nation we are.

For all of my daughter Emma's life and 90% of my son John's life, America has been at war. But it's not a war that has really affected them in any way. Or me either. Or most folks.

It's a real war.  Ask those who are fighting it.  They are sacrificing , giving lives and limbs.  Months and year of their lives.  Losing jobs and houses, coming home bankrupt with PTSD and an indifferent public.
But there's no rationing.
No shortages.
No real significant protests.
No body counts on TV each night.
Would we have tolerated 11 years of war if we had personal sacrifices required of us?
If our tv shows and sports events had been disrupted?
If we had not been able to get strawberries in February?
If gas or chocolate or razor blades were only available on alternate weeks?
Or how about, if, god forbid, middle class, white people from northern states would be compelled to serve?
Not a chance.
There is no way 'The War on Terror' would still be going on if you and I had been forced to make the same sacrifices of the men and women serving today.  Or those of the generations who have been conscripted to protect this nation from evil (immediate or potential) in previous generations. Or even if the sacrifices expected of those on the home front in World War II were expected of us today.
There would have been massive protests, perhaps riots. Politicians would have been run out of office and pay and benefits for the military would have been seriously adjusted.
As sad as it is to note on this day of memorial, in some ways, I fear the terrorists have won this war.  Yes, we got Bin Laden and toppled Saddam Hussein. Yes, we drove the Taliban from power (sort of). No, there have not been any other Al-Quaeda  attacks on our home soil. These things all point to victory.
But the cost has been massive. 6,280 American have given their lives since 9/11 in service of our cause.  We have spent around $4 trillion to accomplish our war goals. At home, our freedoms and liberties have been curtailed or eliminated, infrastructure funds diverted to hardening targets and strengthening the homeland. 
While we may not feel the effects of a decade of war every day, they are there. 
Our 11 years of war have had their toll. And it's one not often thought of by most of us and that seems completely lost in today's presidential campaign. Today I remember all those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001, as well all the heroes who risked and gave so much to save lives that day.
But I also remember all the warriors who have fought on my proxy, going where I can - and would - not.  And their families, silently suffering so that Emma and John don't. 
So many heroes to whom we give so little.
Thank you and I am sorry I have not made your struggle part of my every day.

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