The horrible events of 9-11 left us not only saddened and scared, but resigned to living in a perpetual state of fear.
In the name of national security, we have given up our own rights as major companies cut deals with the Defense Department to share our personal information.
We are scanned – full body – in airports, and wary of anyone in a turban who might happen to share a flight with us.
We are the generation of the Patriot Act, and are willing to wave our flags and tout our patriotism, even as our rights slowly erode along with our privacy.
Today, metal detectors and warrantless wiretaps go largely unchallenged.
We forget all about the thousands of people locked up for years without a single criminal charge as suspected enemy combatants.
Fear and Politics
When Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the terrorist attacks, was set to go on trial in New York and face justice in the very city where he helped murder 3,000 people, fear and politics ruled the day.
Petty politics and media-manufactured controversy wasted an opportunity to look a murderer in the eyes, stand up as a people and tell him: we refuse to be afraid.
Instead, we refused to stand up to the murderer and run him through the very justice system he sought to destroy.
Now, ten years after the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, it is hard to gauge just how far we have come.
One positive sign is that there hasn’t been another successful terrorist attack on our shores since that horrific day. Of course, bin Laden’s death was a major blow to al Qaeda, but it hasn’t slowed the group’s resolve in the least.
If anything, America’s actions to protect the homeland from terrorism have only helped to foster a wider hatred for the West.
A Troubling Record
Since the attacks, we have occupied two countries, locked up thousands without charge and enraged much of the Arab world. We have engaged in “advanced interrogation techniques,” and botched drone attacks that have left innocent civilians dead.
Meanwhile, as international conflict rages on, the War on Terror continues to cost American lives and taxpayer dollars. Three years after President Obama was elected, we still subscribe to the Bush policies that haven’t brought us any closer to ending the struggle against terrorism.
It is time to let go of fear and once again reconnect with our fundamental American values.
Before the 9-11 attacks, our country was not synonymous with torture, extraordinary rendition, indefinite detention without charge or trial, warrantless wiretapping or racial profiling.
These are activities anyone would condemn, but have been carried out by our own leaders for the last decade.
By letting fear control us, we have stood idly by as our government power expands to historic levels, and our civil liberties are further trampled.
It’s time to embrace the freedoms that so many have died for in the past ten years, and demand that our leaders strike a more healthy balance between civil liberty and national security.Originally published on TopSecretWriters.com