Eugenia Rita Lee
9/11: the Good, the Bad, and the Whoops
Was 9/11 a big mistake? America still reels from the attack on our sense of security, the devastating event an abrupt betrayal of our trust in social respect. Before the act of terrorism, we trusted that everyone was doing what they could for the good of humankind, if not for the nation. With the fall of the World Trade Center came the mistrust of a religious group that gradually expanded to any random stranger on the street. The general fear the public has of a crime with no aim, an attack on our nerves, has grown exponentially since that first breach of common good, but the real question is, what have we learned from such an event?
Enter Charles Krauthammer, the author of, “The 9/11 “Overreaction”? Nonsense.” This charming essay on his version of the after effects of 9/11 in the US and his take on it was originally published in the Washington Post on September 8th, 2011, 3 days before the 10th anniversary of the fall of American communal trust. In it, he claims that the event was an eye opener, the act revealing to the general public that we, in terms of military and preparedness, were not prepared enough as a nation. It unleased “the massive and unrelenting American war on terror, a systematic worldwide campaign carried out with increasing sophistication, efficiency and lethality,” (Krauthammer) which turned the leader of al-Qaeda, “Osama bin Laden…, jihadi hero after whom babies were named all over the Muslim world — to pathetic old recluse,” (Krauthammer) in a matter of years. Effective as this attempt of military might is at preemptively scaring off most of our potential opponents, in recent years it has been, “cheaply denigrated as an “overreaction.”” (Krauthammer) “Now, it is reduced to a talking point as one of “the two wars” that bankrupted us,” continuing the topic of change in the general opinion of the after effects of 9/11, he soldiers ahead to say that the war on terror was only one, “of “the two wars”,” (Krauthammer) which totaled 1.3 trillion dollars, “less than 1/11th of the national debt, less than one year of Obama deficit spending.” (Krauthammer) He ends with, “America’s current demoralization is not a result of the war on terror,” neatly wrapping up his argument that 9/11 was in fact, beneficial and not part of the bankrupting of the country.
I believe that Krauthammer was correct about the war on terror not being why America has a staggering national debt. His point that the increase in military might was not an overreaction is also very believable in that the crippling of al-Qaeda was a result of bulking up our weaponry. The essay he wrote forces readers to reconsider the differences between the previous wars and the war on terror, the largest being that fear is no palpable enemy and no tangible home base. I do, unfortunately have my doubts. Can lives be comparable to the monetary setbacks? Krauthammer fails to talk about the number of lives lost and displaced, whether American or Middle Eastern, which are big parts of what the general public complained about, starting mere months after the beginning of the war on terror campaign. Neglecting the humanity part of the complaints, he only responds to half of the accusations surrounding the event, the issues of monetary status and national morale in the US. Perspective is a key point in his essay, and his is that of an optimistic political opinion columnist. On the flip side, a former soldier and an American born Muslim, Omar Ashmawy, writes what he believes 9/11 did for the United States in, “Ten years after 9/11, we’re still in the dark”. He writes from experience, introducing himself as a Muslim who, “joined the U.S. military after law school to help my country defend itself against the threat of Islamic extremism.” (Ashmawy) Alarmingly, what he sees as the outcome of the war on terror is that, “After so many years and so much sacrifice, nothing has changed,”...
Cited: Krauthammer, Charles. "The 9/11 'overreaction '? Nonsense." Washington Post. The Washington Post, 08 Sept. 2010. Web. 04 Mar. 2015.
Ashawy, Omar. "Ten Years after 9/11, We 're Still in the Dark." Washington Post. The Washington Post, 09 Sept. 2011. Web. 04 Mar. 2015.
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