9/11 Five Years Later: What Now?

I know I am a week late on this. By now the anniversary of 9/11 has already become old news. But I formulated a few thoughts on the subject of terrorism a week ago that I am just now getting around to putting online.

I heard the President’s speech on my car radio. As usual, I thought it was excellent. The following day some controversy erupted regarding the nature of the speech. Some accused the President of being too political at a time when we need to pursue unity. I think the President’s speech was very political, and I will now explain why I think that is a good thing.

We live in an age of deep ideological divide. When addressing the massive political issue of the war on terror, it is virtually impossible NOT to be political. I suppose it’s possible, but a non-political speech on the war on terror would not be worth hearing. In order to say something significant at all, President Bush had to be political, because outside the realm of contentious political discussion these days there is only vague sentiment. Do the President’s critics really believe that he could address the nation on the 5th anniversary of 9/11 and NOT mention the war in Iraq? The reason Iraq is the most politically contentious issue at this point in time is because it is the most SIGNIFICANT issue at this point in time. A president who avoided massive issues in order to foster a false unity would not be worthy of the office.

The President did make an appeal for us all to put aside our differences and unite in order to achieve victory in Iraq. There is a segment of the population that will never do that. Consistent pacifists won’t because they don’t believe in war in the first place. Also, those who hate President Bush will do anything to see him fail, so they will not unite either. Unfortunately, the Democratic Party receives a great deal of funding from both pacifists and Bush-haters, so a number of them will not make any steps toward unity in order to satisfy their base.

But a sizeable majority of Americans are neither consistent pacifists nor rabid Bush-haters. There are many Americans–both Democrat and Republican–who want to win this war in Iraq. The stakes are too high to give up, and our national fragmentation on this issue has only emboldened our enemies to keep fighting. If there is one thing we should understand about Muslim terrorists, it is that they are very patient. Years of planning went into the 9/11 attacks, and they will spend many more years fighting us in Iraq if they believe we will eventually give up. Unfortunately, too many voices from the ranks of leadership in this country have given them reason to hold onto that belief. Failure in Iraq is something that very well could be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

So, what kind of unity can we achieve? I think that most Americans want to win this war, whether they agree with our premise for going into Iraq or not. So let’s just recognize that we are not all going to agree on things like the threat of WMD or Saddam’s ties to terrorists, etc. We are not all going to agree on how well this war has been fought. But most Americans of all political stripes (except consistent pacifists and Bush-haters) can agree that victory in Iraq is both desirable and achievable. So I would like to see a movement of support for our troops and for our war effort from the grassroots level. I would like to see Democrats and Republicans holding joint rallies in support of victory. It is so “in” these days to say, “I support our troops.” I would like to see people actually do that instead of saying it to pacify their conscience. What does support of our troops really look like? Does it look like what we’re doing now? I think there is enough potential for unity left in this ideological divided time to achieve victory in Iraq. However, I don’t know whether we will be able to see past our differences in order to achieve it. I hope we can.

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One Response to “9/11 Five Years Later: What Now?”

  1. Doctor Clockwork Says:

    Take my friend test!

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