A 9 11 Memorial Is No Substitute For Resolve (Part 1 of 3)
A 9 11 Memorial is no match for societal resolve. Over the next few days, much will be written, discussed, and mulled about on this specific date in American History. Calling the date out is unnecessary because 9/11/2001 is as recognized by this generation as 12/7/1941 was by those who lived a similar day over 70 years ago.
The naval assault was purely military, bent on destroying an entire fleet. It was brilliant, well planned, effective, and executed by a technologically superior enemy. Had it succeeded, the United States would have been too late to forestall an ocean rim takeover.
Whether apocryphal or not, Admiral Yamamoto is reputed to have said that he feared the attack on the Pacific Fleet “had but awakened a sleeping giant and filled it with a terrible resolve.” He was in a position to know as he had studied in this country and knew its people well. The Admiral also knew that the United States would not be taken by force of arms, as perhaps 40% the population owned firearms.
The Japanese could only hope to fight to a draw, make a peace for a time, re-gather strength, and try again later with captured military. The plan would have been feasible, but it was only fantasy. Americans valued freedom more than peace, and they would never acquiesce to chains of any type.
9/11 appeared as an asymmetrical attack, seemingly small in scope, but as serious as Pearl Harbor Day for much different logic (and there was logic to it). 9/11 New York and DC, and later Benghazi, were brilliant, well planned, ingeniously executed, but rather than a military objective, the attack targeted the very lifeblood of this country. Specifically, its financial institutions.
Although never clearly described in publication or description, 9/11 succeeded in its goal of altering an entire way of life, and converting a very liberated society into one of perpetual cloister and faux protection. The side effect of the act of war was to insinuate an invisible shield between normal life and suggested peril, unseen danger lurking in plain daylight, and unspoken oversight by officialdom.
It all seemed such a good idea at the time, after all “to provide for the common defense” was prominently displayed right there in the Preamble to the Constitution. This crime was so insidious, so vile, and so sly, it required covering a broad sector that could not detect the enemy, without huge expenditure of capital and talent. It was the government’s job.
President Bush strove diligently to pursue the upper echelons of terrorism. He did yeoman’s work in mounting an offensive, attacking strongholds, and he was an excellent executive officer who calmed his constituencies, kept the economy growing, and maintained the stability of a wounded country. The reputation of Republicans as good managers was intact.
Whether it was war-time mentality, complete betrayal of assumed political allies, or lack of foresight at a crucial moment, no one took into account the resultant price to be paid. This was not due to the initial attacks themselves, which were greater than anyone stated, but the expenditures to create a sense of security in United States proper.
The cost of 9/11 set in motion the 2008 financial collapse. Indeed, attention to the fiscal well-being was non-existent in the halls of Congress. In fact, the “awful” day provided excellent cover for continued abuses by lawmakers of various stripes. This is not to mention inflated budgets of new agencies, but revamped older ones. The cost of government exploded, and this does not include most military expense.
The perpetrators of the 9/11 attack never considered how badly officials would manage the aftermath. It would never occur to anyone, even Americans. The country bandaged its wounds and adapted to a limited lifestyle fraught with inconvenience, but it was, by George, safe…somewhat. It rebuilt, taking longer to replace original buildings, by a factor of eight times longer than was taken to build the Empire State Building. It fought a war divorced from its consciousness and left an unprepared foreign country in its wake.
What was missing? To be continued in Part II.