I was there on 9/11. I saw what happened with my own eyes. By the grace of God I didn't lose my life, I only lost a bunch of personal belongings. The tangible sadness of the city on those first days in the aftermath of the attacks has not left me. Nor will the sense of hope we all experienced when the stars and stripes came out. I will never forget singing "America the Beautiful" on the sidewalk of Broadway. Hard as it is to believe, only six years ago, on the streets of New York, patriotism meant something magical and true, something beyond politics. But today I feel something other than sadness and nostalgia for a lost sense of community and purpose.
I have never felt so angry at the anniversary of anything before.
Tens of thousands of innocent civilians dead, hundreds of thousands of civilians injured, well over four thousand brave US, British and other US ally soldiers killed in action, tens of thousands of US and ally soldiers seriously injured, one war utterly lost, a second war in the process of being lost, upwards of half a trillion taxpayer dollars expended, vast quantities of property, infrastructure and cultural assets destroyed, your closest friends alienated, new enemies created, a whole world's sympathy squandered, all for. . . what?
Guantanamo. Extraterritorial rendition. Abu Graib. Water-boarding. Homeland Security. Patriot Act. These words and phrases only recently entered the universal lexicon of mankind, each syllable of which speak to an incalculable loss of US authority, prestige and honor among the nations. A legacy two centuries in the making, trampled for . . . what?
And to think! To know that the two most infamous terrorist leaders behind 9/11 -- the bloodiest, most depraved mass murderers in US history -- are still out there, recruiting more supporters with every passing day.
As to what purpose, we can say this much: this trail of moral, physical, and human carnage has made a certain constituency of naive, scared, and media-brainwashed US voters feel safer under the leadership of Bush. Meanwhile his domestic policies have greatly benefited the private interests of giant financial, pharmaceutical, defense, energy, and media corporations.
The present situation of United States in the world is outrageous. And those leaders who -- whether through recklessness indifference or calculated self-interest -- brought America to this deplorable juncture in history must be held to account. And they surely will be. Because regardless of what the sanitized US news media says, I am certainly not the only one who feels this much anger and betrayal, on this, the sixth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.