9/11 Reflections: War Over, We Won

Eight years ago today our morning was interrupted with the live broadcast of hijacked passenger jets flying into the World Trade Center, followed by the Trade Center’s collapse.  We were all startled and frightened, in part at the unknown scope of the attacks and the exaggerated estimates of fatalities.

Eight years later it is possible to look back and indulge our inveterate tendency toward self-criticism and partisan rivalry to rehash everything we have done and not done and how that might have been done more perfectly.  But it is also possible to take a step further back from the whole series of events and recognize that the terrorists who perpetrated the attacks were completely unsuccessful and we have been completely victorious.

The terrorists who died in their mission killed thousands of innocent civilians, and accomplished nothing constructive for the cause for which they believed they were fighting.  If anything, the people for whom the terrorists in their delusions believed they were of service have suffered on account of the attacks, with no compensating benefit.

In the 220 years since we achieved independence from England, there has only been one foreign attack on American soil, and it was a total failure.  OK, two if you count Hawaii before statehood, and three if you count the Lusitania when it was off the coast of Ireland.  But those attacks did not wind up going well for the attackers either.  We are the strongest and the freest nation on earth, and a handful of misguided fanatics lack the power to change that, even if they think of a clever way to kill a lot of innocent people.


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