Friday, September 11, 2009

Eight years ago today...

...the world changed forever. Like the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the assassination of President Kennedy, everyone who lived through these events will never forget where they were or what they were doing that day. Had I been living on the East Coast, I might very well have been awake when it happened, but I was still living in CA, and I remember being home alone, and the phone kept ringing. I wanted to sleep longer, but to do that I had to silence the phone. So I got up, and just as I was about to pick it up to silence it, it rang again. We didn't have Caller ID so I had no idea who it was before I answered.

It was my brother's ex, though they were still together at the time. Later, she'd leave him for another guy, who, as I understand, would later leave her for another girl. Turnabout being fair play and all that.

Anyway, she told me that we as a country had just been invaded and bombed. I told her we were alright, got off the phone, and went to look on the TV. I was pretty sure she had said the World Trade Center in New York City, but all they were talking about on TV was a plane crashing into the Pentagon. I had to go online to get the story in New York.

Since then, I've been distrustful of televised news. They tell you what they want to tell you, with more information after a word from the sponsors. You go online, you set up Google News or a similar service the way you want, and you do it right, and you get the whole story on one page. You use Firefox and Adblock Plus and there are no sponsors, just the facts (and no ads means it loads faster).

We also - Americans in general - learned a lot about the Middle East. I can't be the only one who didn't give it a second thought. It also put the attack in perspective - one attack (well, four - four planes) was such a culture shock, but the Middle East sees attacks like this weekly. Daily, some weeks. So we have to think, if 9/11 was really as bad as we make it out to be, it must be really sad to live in the Middle East, and have this happen all the time. But two factors are in effect: First, we haven't had a terrorist attack on our soil by a foreign power outside of wartime before. This is a new thing. When it happens every day, it's less of a shock. Still sucks, but it's not the epic shock 9/11 was and continues to be. Second, too often Americans think of themselves as worlds better than the rest of the world. Too many of us figure terrorists blowing up terrorists is OK, tending to overlook the fact that, too often, children are caught in the crossfire. Far more children die in their bombings than died on 9/11, that's for sure. Of course, any child killed or harmed needlessly (or at all) is a tragedy. Still, we overlook it when the child isn't American.

It was also former President Bush's finest moment. Never mind that bin Laden and the Bush family go way back, with ties in oil, as well as military (specifically, when Bush's dad, who ran the CIA then, assisted the Taliban in getting the Russians out of Afghanistan) and it was quite convenient that Bush was in Florida at the time. I still think he expected Flight 93 to hit the White House and that his old Saudi buddy told him to be elsewhere. And never mind that Bush gave his Saudi buddy a full month to get out of Afghanistan (and his Taliban crew a month to decide to tell him where to shove his demands). And of course never mind that Bush lied about weapons of mass destruction. The idea of cleaning up the Middle East was not entirely a bad one. Saddam Hussein was a bad man who deserved much more than he got. He and his sons, if an article I read in Time can be believed, raped women, molested children, and killed whomever for fun. I am glad that he and his sons are dead and can only hope that their victims can move on. I do believe we spent a lot more time and more money there than we needed to, and that it was a big part of the recession that the Republicans engineered, but some of the aspects of the war were justified. If only Bush hadn't spent so long over there and tanked the economy doing so, but then again, I wasn't sitting in his chair for eight years. He did what he felt was right based on the information he had, and that's what he'll be remembered for. I only hope Obama can fix it before too long, because I know McCain had no interest in reversing any of Bush's failures - he thought the recession was this country on the right track!

Anyway, I don't want to get too (much more) political. That's all fact, though, if a little biased, based on what I've read and heard. The last bit is straight from McCain's own mouth on the debates, though, which I watched.

So I suppose the point that I've arrived at is that eight years ago today, we all woke up and realized there was more going on in the world that we were aware of, and that we had to recognize our voices, our place in the election system.

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