Whether or not you’re watching The Path to 9-11, ABC’s controversial dramatization of the day that changed everything, you have to ask: are we safer today than we were five years ago? Who’s winning the Long War? (Full disclosure: I’m not watching it, but it’s not for partisan reasons. I just don’t have a television. Yes, that’s weird. Wanna make something of it? Then read a book. I’d suggest Kevin Phillip’s American Theocracy.)
I don’t know who’s winning, but I think I see a light at the end of the tunnel. And it looks like Aladdin’s lamp in the Arabian night.
Before 9-11, the idea that the United States of America would hold people in secret prisons, without filing charges, subjecting them to “alternative methods of interrogation” would have only been credible to the wackiest of America haters (on the left and right). Last week President Bush admitted that we do it, and that we will keep on doing it.
Before 9-11, the term “Homeland Security” would have reeked of Soviet-era apparatchik-speak. Today, it’s a $40 billion a year Cabinet-level agency.
Before 9-11, the Iraq and Iran were on opposite sides. Today, their relations are warming and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is planning to visit Tehran. (He better get there quickly, before the bombing starts.)
Before 9-11, the Taliban were our allies. (They routed the Soviets, remember?) Then, of course, they were our enemies. Now, they don’t even show up on the list of “foreign terrorist organizations” and are in the midst of one of the greatest comebacks in the history of guerilla movements.
Before 9-11, there were 4,500 U.S troops in Saudi Arabia. In spite of our insistence that we don’t cower before terrorists, and the fact that Osama Bin Laden has demanded that the "infidels" (that's us) leave the holy land of Islam, we’ve retreated.
Before 9-11, Osama Bin Laden was out of the mainstream of Islam, run out of every country he tried to operate in, “He was a threat, but he was one of many, and by no means of the prominence that he later came to be.” (State Department spokesman Adam Ereli.) Now, he’s the mythic leader of discontented Islam, the great Jihadist who has routed the powerful infidels at every turn.
Before 9-11, we were the greatest power in the history of the world.
But that was before 9-11, now wasn’t it?