I woke up on 9/11 the way millions of others did, with the phone call to turn on the television — with an urgency that told you it didn’t really matter which channel. And the first words out of my mouth after clicking the remote were probably the first words millions of other people said: “Oh my God.” Only, of course, there was nothing godly about it, no matter what the perpetrators might have thought.
Ten years and a multifront war later, perspective become more possible, if still imperfect. I don’t care to rehash the day of the attack. My viewpoint was too remote to still matter to anyone but myself. If you want reminiscence, look elsewhere. There’s plenty to be found, especially in the blogosphere.
What I do want to do today is take a brief look at ten years of war. After the shock of 9/11 wore off, resolve set in. Left, right, conservative, liberal, moderate, everyone said the same two words: “Never again.” So, as former New York Mayor Ed Koch used to ask, “How’m I doin’?”
The liberal conceit in the Global War on Islamic Terror was twofold and intertwined. There was the belief that the attacks that morning were somehow our fault, and that it wasn’t an act of war. Those notions have twin effects in collapsing our ability to fight . The first one treats our enemy as somehow less than adult, not fully responsible for waging a war against civilians. The second saps our national will and our cultural confidence. This is the real homefront, and it’s the one front where, if we aren’t quite losing, we certainly aren’t winning.
The conservative (and neocon) error was also twofold.