Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Andrew Sullivan: From 9/11 to Fort Hood

Andrew Sullivan has an insightful post today on the lessons that continue to unfold in this post-9/11 world:

The awful truth is: what 9/11 revealed, and what it was designed to reveal, is that there is nothing we can really do definitively to stop another one. They had no weapons but our own technology. The training they had was not that sophisticated and the costs of the operation were relatively tiny. There were 19 of them. None of the key perpetrators has been brought to justice. Bin Laden remains at large. If you calculate the costs of that evil attack against the financial, moral and human costs of the fight back, 9/11 was a fantastic demonstration of the power of asymmetry to destroy the West....

And now, in the wake of Fort Hood, we face the possibility of radicalizing Muslims in America and polarizing more Americans against them. This does not help.

I remember thinking a year after 9/11 that as momentous as that event had seemed, nothing had really changed in the world. But eight years later we have both of our front paws on a rug that's being pulled out from under us while our rear legs are shackled in place. We've become a victim of our own reactions and trapped in an effort to finish a job that we were wrong to start in the first place. We can't win a "war" on terror; we can't buy safety by trying to use drones more than our own troops. As a country we may be too big and too slow to maintain our balance in a world where we're challenged not only by extremists in caves halfway around the world but also by those on our living room television sets.

President Obama's eulogy at Fort Hood today was inspiring and, in a sense, true. But remembering that our liberty is secured by the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform masks an important fact: those sacrifices are necessary, perhaps, but surely not sufficient, to ensure our liberty. Our nation needs the brave. And also the wise.

(Video link)

Today has been a glum for me already; Andrew's post only intensified that feeling.

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