Monday, September 5, 2011

9-11 10 Years Later

This Sunday marks 10 years since the tragedy of 9/11. We cannot forget the lessons learned from that and the subsequent events. Many have become part of our way of life. Travel on an airplane and you are reminded of the event by the pat-downs, body scanners, and vigilance of the TSA. We are using new acronyms as a result of this event -- HSA, TSA, IED. Our lives have changed in response to this single incident.

Many of us remember where we were when we heard the news. I was pulling into the parking lot for a conference and training session in the Bay Area when I heard the news on NPR. I called my wife and she confirmed that the event had happened. The company holding the event thought about cancelling it, but, made the right decision to keep it going. After all, with airline travel stopped, the people at the event could go nowhere anyway. I spent the first night, like most of us, glued to the TV, disbelief the first thing entering my mind when I saw the towers collapse. During the conference, attendees with friends and relatives who worked in or around the Twin Towers were on their cell phones constantly hoping for good news about them. Some got it . . . some didn't.

As I sit here thinking about the anniversary, I wonder whether we have actually learned anything? The two wars which started as a result of this incident have cost many lives and much money. They don't seem to have accomplished anything. Iraq was always a mistake in my opinion -- a useless waste of lives spawned by Bush and his cronies perhaps only to avenge the failure of his father to eliminate the problem years earlier. The war in Afghanistan seems to have not only cost lives and bled our economy but to have resulted in a stronger resistance the "American Imperialism". The corruption of the government in Afghanistan seems little better than the warped view of Islam espoused by the Taliban. And, now, 10 years later, I still read that the U.S. must stay in Afghanistan or risk future attacks. It appears we have accomplished nothing except to raise even more terrorists who hate the U.S.A. When I think about the lives that could have been spared and the money that could have gone to helping those in need both in the U.S. and abroad, I am saddened.

Perhaps that is the real tragedy of 9/11. We have failed to achieve anything in the efforts spawned because of the tragedy. We have not stopped terrorism. In fact, we may have incited more terrorism because of our actions. The world is still a mess, politically, socially, and now economically. It appears we have, again, failed to learn the real lesson of 9/11 and work on the things which really matter.