I grieve not only for those lost on that day, but for what this country has lost in the interim because of how our government failed to respond, how they responded in the worst way possible, and how they have polluted humankind's image of the United States of America.
I am also angry: Furious with the current administration, of course, but also with those who allowed the NeoCons to ruin our nation over the course of the last seven years. How can they live with themselves? Do they really believe people like John "Bomb-Bomb-Iran" McCain and Sarah "Sack O' Lies" Palin will do anything to restore American honor? Or has their guilt for keeping the Bushies in office long enough to nearly destroy our nation driven them deep into a pit of self-hatred that they cannot face, so instead they push for more evil to be wrought upon the world in the name of... I don't even know what they believe it's all for.
"The War on Terror" is the biggest load of crap. Ask any terrorism expert who hasn't allowed support-Bush guilt to delude him or herself, and you'll hear that you cannot fight terror with war. Let me amend that:
You can fight terror with war, but you will lose. You cannot beat terror with war.
Terrorism is a crime. Nations cannot wage effective war against terrorism by waging war; that only incites more acts of terror and grows the support base for terrorist activity. How do you fight crime? With police activity. You arrest the bad guys, break up the bad-guy rings. Meanwhile, you try to fix the society that breeds bad guys. For most people, it's as simple as ensuring that everyone has the basic rights that we in the US declared a couple hundred years ago to be self-evident.
The motives of psychotics will always be beyond our ability to comprehend, their behavior beyond correction. But we can help ensure that they don't get widespread support by helping remove the hopelessness inherent in many societies - especially in the Middle East. The absolute worst thing we can do for the forces of good - and the best thing we can do to assist psychotics to enlist the hopeless - is wage endless war. This creates fear, anger, sadness, loss... it breeds more hopelessness and it breeds hate.
If the goal of our administration's "War on Terror" is to build resentment against the United States of America, it's been overwhelmingly effective. If its goal is to ensure a endless supply of America-hating terrorists, they've succeeded.
In the essay I wrote right after 9/11, I suggested that the only way to stop this from happening again was, "Nations all across the world must join forces to capture every single terrorist and every single accomplice to terror."
We did not do that. Can we do that now, effectively? Yes, but it's a bigger job now, what with so many more people having been harmed by "The War on Terror" and so many fewer supportive of the US. But we can still do it.
It also makes a lovely "what if?" alternate-history scenario. What if we had mobilized the world's crime-fighting forces to arrest the bad guys instead of bomb the nations where they lived (except Saudi Arabia, of course)? What if we had spent the money we've spent on "The War on Terror" instead on reducing the hopelessness of those who succumb to the call to join terrorist organizations?