«

»

9/11 again

And I find that I’m having a harder time caring this year.  Oh, sure, I can and do still empathize with those who lost loved ones, and I’m still angry that anyone could actually be heartless enough to plan and execute such an attack (and damn glad the main pig-fucker is dead and tossed to the sharks).  It’s our increasingly-feeble response to 9/11 that I’m having a harder time caring about.

For all the initial calls to find the bastards and destroy them utterly, here we are, 16 years later, still playing whack-a-mole with the RIFs.  Of course for at least eight of those years, we weren’t serious about it, thanks to our unlamentedly-former so-called president.  And the guy before him, much as I liked the cut of his jib at the time, frankly didn’t go about it right.  (If he’d studied his father’s response to the invasion of Kuwait more closely, we’d have been a lot better off.)  And I’ll never forgive the guy before him for not taking Osama’s head when it was offered to him on a plate.  But I digress.

It was my great privilege to meet Harry Truman’s oldest grandson last Friday night.  Clifton Truman Daniel is a great man and a great American, and for all that he’s an antiwar no-nukes type, he is at least rational about it.  Hell, I even agree with him; I’d prefer never to see such weapons used in anger again.  On the other hand, you maintain the peace by preparing for war.

The point is, Mr. Daniel demonstrated that he fully and completely understood his Grandpa.  “Grandpa never reconsidered his decision to use the bombs.  His decision was based solely on the premise that doing so would save American lives.”*

How’s that old song go?  “Mister, we could use a man like Harry Truman again.”**  Because America isn’t Sally Field; we don’t really care if the world likes us.  We want the world to respect us sufficiently to fear our response if someone tries to pull something like 9/11 again.  That we are currently being threatened by a North Korean Louse That Roared with nuclear devastation and/or EMP attack only points up the fact that our leaders have been unserious in this endeavor.  For what it’s worth, it appears that President Trump is deadly serious about it, and the fat boy hasn’t yet actually achieved an understanding of that fact.  Which may end up being very messy, but when you kick the can down the road for 25 years, sooner or later it’s going to come to rest in an uncomfortable place, which it now has pretty much done.

The real lesson and legacy of 9/11 is that nobody is our friend, and we need to start acting accordingly.  Donald Trump and certain members of his administration get it.  Many Americans are tired of all the putzing around and want action.  To be entirely honest, I originally wrote “and closure”, but I think Americans would be willing to support a long-term general cleanup of the asshole of the world if it had clearly-stated intentions and goals.  There’s only one problem with that.

The problem with America (note, “America”, not “Americans”) doing anything long-term is that we have these minor revolutions every couple of years that we call elections.  So everything we do is circumscribed by the two- and four-year election cycles.  George W. Bush found that out in 2006, and in a way, thank goodness, because we hung around in Iraq too long and were doing too many things wrong there.***  We could fix that problem, of course, at the cost of more of our already circumscribed essential liberties.  Or we could fix it by simply deciding, as a people, that we have the power to make the world be the way we want it to be, and dedicating our lives and treasure to that end — much as did the Romans.

As for the rest of the world, well, “Fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.”  I’m not particularly interested in their opinion and neither should you be.

___________________

* Paraphrasing a bit, but that’s the essence of what he said in response to a question from the audience after his talk.

** Yeah, I know.

*** His daddy had the right idea — kick ass, take names, then get the hell out — but didn’t hang tough quite long enough.  The true end game in Gulf War I should have been Saddam dead or in a jail cell.  Instead, that wound festered for another ten years and resulted in another war.  On the other hand, who knew what might have replaced Saddam.

Of course, Jerry Pournelle (PBUH) for many years opined that we should have instituted a Legionary Corps and literally settled legionary troops there much like the Romans did when they extended their frontiers.  With 25 years’ worth of 20/20 hindsight, I have to wonder if that wasn’t a better solution.  Although today I’d be inclined to simply hand the keys to the Kurds and say, “It’s all yours, boys.  Call us when you need air strikes or more ammo.”