America lost its #8216;One Day War#8217; on 9/11

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 13, 2008

On 9/11 we were attacked by cowards whose hatred of our values brought them to kill more than 3,000 innocent fathers, sons, wives and daughters.

On a single day we were so painfully reminded that freedom is never free. After that day the nations of the world stood with us with an outreach of empathy and a spirit of unity that was unknown before the tragedy of 9/11.

While terrorism had been in the world, before 9/11 we had largely been spared its cruelty and injustice.

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Never again could we have such innocence.

Our president stood before us just days later in the rubble of the streets of New York and, speaking for all Americans, told the world that those who did this would pay.

That payment took us to Afghanistan to confront Al Qaeda and the Taliban government that supported the terrorists. It was the response demanded by peace-loving people all over the planet.

But since that decision we have lost our way, making decisions that harmed rather than strengthened America both at home and abroad. We should have immediately placed strong sanctions against Saudi Arabia, where most of the terrorists came from.

They have allowed anti-Western and anti-American schools to prosper there for decades, while claiming to be our ally. Instead we treated them as special friends, flying the Royal Family out of America while all air flight was grounded.

We should have followed Al Qaeda wherever they went on the earth, destroying them in a justifiable rage that ignored boundaries. Instead we let them hide in the mountains of Pakistan were they remain today.

And we should not have used 9/11 as an excuse to rally patriotic Americans to invade Iraq, falsely implying that that nation was part of the terrorism movement that attacked America.

Now, five years later, we remain in a civil war in a nation torn apart by our occupation. So many lost young Americans, so many wounded so seriously, so much of our wealth lost in the sand.

We were attacked by a small group of terrorists, not a nation, not a movement, not a formidable army, but we gave them so much for the One Day War.

We gave away our freedoms by accepting the Patriot Act. We gave away our values at Gitmo and CIA prisons abroad. We gave away our fairness and our legal system by holding prisoners for years without charging them.

It was a One Day War, but we gave away our freedom from government intrusion by the NSA and the telecommunications companies turning over our conversations to the government.

We allowed our government to create Pentagon internal spy groups to spy on Americans. We allowed the FBI to use and abuse National Security Letters to take away our constitutional freedoms.

It was a One Day War, but we used it to justify torture and the violation of the Geneva conventions and our own military code of conduct. We allowed our president to claim because we were at war that we should accept these actions as part of his right to defend the nation.

But there is no war, there is no enemy, there is no reason to continue to accept this assault upon the U.S. Constitution.

It was a One Day War, but we have permitted huge war profiteering that has yet to be fully revealed. It was a One Day War that a cynical president and his political party used to hurt America far more than the terrorists could have ever accomplished.

We lost the One Day War and we want America back.

Jim Crawford is a contributing columnist for The Ironton Tribune.