I understand those who’d like to go back to September 10th, I really do. I’d like it myself, we’re all getting war weary. I’d rather be debating the role of the federal government in the medical sector at leisure than wondering when or where the next blow is going to fall, or how many American lives is this all going to cost at the end of the day. But I was already worried about the next blow before 9/11, and now I’m doubly concerned because one of the damnable things about terrorism is its relentless one-upmanship. If they want to make a mark, they’re going to have to raise the bar – and that’s where the WMD issue comes back around again: Three thousand lives is a pretty good day, and it’s going to be hard to beat that just by hijacking airliners. That’s why it was worth going in, just to find out for sure. Just to make sure it wouldn’t come from the one Arab government that had the motive, means and intent to hurt us. Just to try a radical experiment, and see if planting the seed of democracy can bear fruit in an area that needs it more than any other. Because what’s the alternative?
The facts on the table in front of us is that we are in a fight with a radical Islamist militarism that is fundamentally opposed to the way of life that we take for granted, in a world where borders have for all intentions vanished. We can’t wish it away, even while wishing it wasn’t so. This isn’t going to only happen in some quasi-theoretical “over there,” that we tut-tut about while reading the front pages of our morning newspapers, and then go back to the sports section to memorize the box scores, or the style section to read about who J-Lo is marrying this week.
And if we were serious about it, as serious as the subject matter (our survival) deserves, I think we’d try to eschew trying out each new revelation to see whether it would be a useful tool to bash in the heads of the other party’s faithful.
There’s two things currently that worry my own little mind..
First, I worry that we’re forgetting about the fight that we’re in. Some of us surely aren’t, because it directly affects what we do. Those in the military, active and reserve, aren’t forgetting about the fight we’re in because it’s in front of them every day. Those in my line of work can’t forget the fight we’re in because I’m sitting about helping to prepare my company – and more importantly, our people – to survive the next blow. But I fear, at times, we are forgetting what happened to us on September 11th.. and what might have been had we not taken the steps that we have taken.
Second, I’m worried about the next blow. As I sit today, less than two weeks from the start of the Democratic National Convention, and I watch and read about the screwing down of manhole covers, the clearing of sight lines around the Fleet Center, the removal of mail boxes and newspaper vending machines, and the array of police gathering in downtown Boston, I wonder if it will be enough. I know that my employer is as prepared as we can be – and our own exposure is small compared to those who are based near the Fleet Center.
But I know, at some point, there’s going to be another blow. And then what? Will we remember?
And I pray that we won’t be like Spain.