Nine years since Al Quada took down the Twin Towers. Not a day any of us is likely to forget ever, especially if we were able to watch it happen in real time on teevee. I was in my office at the theatre that morning – no online live streaming then, at least not at my company – and at the first word, we all raced to a break room where there was a television. And we watched – about a dozen of us. And we didn’t speak. We just watched. Our building had by then become a no-smoking building. But we smoked – for hours. No one said a word. About an hour after the second tower fell, we began going home. And didn’t come back for a few days except to staff the evening performances – the show always goes on. But during the day, no one came in. The phones had stopped ringing. The box office was silent. No one answered email. So we stayed home and watched New York and called friends and family.
Less than a month later, U.S. forces were in Afghanistan. And we have been there for eight years and 338 days.
It’s hard to know what’s been accomplished. The purity – don’t know if that’s the right word – the purity of our cause was soiled by the diversion to Iraq. The capture of our actual enemy was thwarted by the diversion to Iraq. The support of most of the rest of the world began evaporating in distaste after the diversion to Iraq.
Our leaders served us badly. And now I expect they’re somewhere playing golf. There should be a price to pay, but the only price being paid is by our troops.
- In Afghanistan 2071 coalition troops have died and many many more have been casualties. Those might be acceptable numbers were it not for the fact that half of the deaths have occurred in the last 19 months.
- In Iraq 4800 have died (over 30K seriously injured), but at least there the fatality numbers have gone steadily down since the civil war abated. And with the implementation of the (Bush) Status of Forces Agreement, there are fewer troops in the country, none of whom are designated combat troops. (They’ll all be going to Afghanistan soon.)
- Since 2001 we’ve spent over A TRILLION DOLLARS on our wars – 800 billion in Iraq, and 300 billion in Afghanistan.
And after all that, we’re scared to death of shampoo bottles and our shoes. We Americans need to do some very serious soul searching before we’re ready to go in grace into this new century and this new millennium.
At the very least, we need to stop amusing ourselves with trivial nonsense. But we are what we are. Aren’t we.