Think back to George Bush in September 2001, standing on top of a pile of World Trade Center rubble, bullhorn in hand, with his arm around the shoulders of a true hero of the day, a New York City fireman. The country was in shock, the world was in shock, and President Bush said all the right things that most Americans wanted to hear. He said things like, "The people who did this terrible thing will not get away with it. They can run but they can't hide. We'll find them and kill them. Justice will be done." And all over the world, the leaders of most countries on Earth nodded yes, we're behind you, America. We sympathize with your loss and stand ready to cooperate with you in any way you want, to make sure that an event such as 9/11 never happens again. "Today," they said, "we are all Americans." It was a rare moment in history when the thinking of many nations were in alignment, and we blew it. The people who did it, in the main, DID get away with it - except for the actual 19 perpetrators of 9/11 who died in the planes. Osama bin Laden is still walking the Earth, enjoying his breakfast tea or coffee under the bright blue skies of Afghanistan or Pakistan.
He, along with the other planners of the destruction of the World Trade Center towers did run and did hide, and are still not found. They are being hidden by vast populations of people who applaud their acts, so it is unlikely that any of them will be turned in for the 25 or 50 million dollar reward offered by America, and this, in countries where annual income is counted in three figures. Talk about hearts and minds. So he did get away with it, and has seen his plan for the destruction of America almost come to complete fruition. Think back, Students of Terrorism, to his public announcement of how he was going to do it. He said it cannot be militarily because America has most of the guns in the world, and you cannot bring down airplanes by throwing rocks at them. Mr. bin Laden told us he'd destroy America economically, and he knows economics, having been owner and operator of one of the largest construction companies in the world. He told us that all he had to do was to burn a little piece of cloth that looked like the American flag, in any Middle Eastern country, and America would spend billions of dollars that we don't have and cannot afford, in that country, to find and kill the flag burners, the terrorists, the insurgents. He has done that and we have performed like puppets on a string.
He has caused us to spend one trillion dollars in these fruitless pursuits, and we are a bankrupt country now, partly because of this. So how did we blow it? On 9/12/2001, George Bush had the power to instantly create a network of nations all cooperating with each other to stamp out terrorism wherever it lifted its head. On 9/12, he could have called the leaders of all of those countries that were "with us," to Washington, and formalized that arrangement. Our armies could have stayed home and our State National Guards could have done what they were created to do, which was to guard OUR nation, not fight in someone else's. The fever of war would not have infected our country and we would not have fulfilled bin Laden's prophesy of bankrupting us. We would have been part of a worldwide effort to find him that would have had a better chance of success than sending in our armies to wherever he decided we send them. That never happened, and today, after nine years of war taking place over the horizon, thousands of miles from our shores, Americans are being degraded every day at airports by being stripped bare by an x-ray machine that effectively removes all of our clothes, as well as stripping us of our inherent right to privacy, in an unsuccessful continuing attempt to stop what is unstoppable. As John Kennedy said, just before his head was blown off, if someone was willing to die, you cannot stop them from attempting to kill anyone, including a president. But we will not understand this, so we build machines that may reveal a terrorist to his bare skin, but will leave us unable or unwilling to understand that unless we get past the skin and into his mind and motives, we will never be able to stop them from hurting us. It is as if a terrible wound has been inflicted inside the body of our country and we are bleeding to death, watching our young soldiers dying in strange countries, watching our liberties at home bleeding into the ground, leaving us a pale version of the robust, liberty loving, strong land we were in 1776, and, when someone notices the blood coming from our body, and says, "Maybe there's a better way?" we wave that away with a weak gesture and say, "I'm okay. I'm winning the war." It is a good thing to defend yourself. It must be done and must be done better and especially smarter. It is a bad thing to engage in an unending, perpetual War On Terror, which, by its own definition, is unending. It cannot have an end unless we can figure out a way to kill every person in the world who wishes us harm, and that is not possible. Obama is perpetuating and accelerating America's status toward becoming just another country, and him as just another politician. Where is the visionary person who can see into the heart of darkness of an unending night of war, to let the sunshine in?