Every year since I started writing for Wizbang, I’ve made a point of posting something relevant on each anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Last year was probably the most significant, as the entire site came together and a bunch of us all wrote essays on just what 9/11 meant to each one of us. Kevin reprinted a piece he’d written on the second anniversary on how his life had changed in those brief moments. Kim paid tribute to a man who died in the World Trade Center. Lorie published the piece she has already re-run. And I wrote to companion pieces: first a personal recollection, then a historical analysis.
This year, I didn’t really feel like putting too much energy into the remembrance. I’d put a lot of work into last year’s observances, and I have a tremendous amount of personal stresses going on in my life right now.
And then I saw this article by my friends and sometime colleagues over at Willisms. The photo was taken in Ramadi in January of this year, it appears.
The only point I would dare quibble over with that wise leatherneck is to add in the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. They’re at war, too. We’re not.
I can’t do very much for them. I’m almost too old to serve, and definitely too broken-down and run-down. I can’t do very much, except offer whatever support I can.
The men and women who are at war are not fighting those who attacked us on 9/11. They’re all dead.
They’re not fighting those who organized and planned those attacks. Those people are also dead, or captured or in hiding.
They’re fighting those who cheered the attacks. Those who laud the attackers as heroes, and wish to emulate or surpass them. Those who have chosen to take up the banner of our attackers and fight on — if not in their name, then in their cause.
Thanks to the incredible time compression of modern events and technology, this has become a multi-generational war. Many members of our military signed up after 9/11, and many of those cited the 9/11 attacks as their primary reason for joining. They are the “children” of the attack.
And their enemies are the heirs of the attackers. Those who want to see America — and, by extension, the West — brought low and militant Islam triumphant over the world.
There’s an old saying in the military that the armed services are always “punished” for winning a war. It refers to the tremendous slashing of personnel, equipment, and money that follows the conclusion of any war, as America steps off its war footing and resumes peaceful life. This time, the military is being “punished” not for winning, but as they win — their success in keeping the fighting far from our shores is allowing us civilians to largely ignore that the war is going on at all. Most of us deal with the war as an abstraction, an idea, and only rarely — usually when someone we know or have heard of or live near — is killed or wounded.
In the meantime, far too many of us are content to discuss and debate and argue the war when we feel like it, and consider those who are fighting and dying when we can’t avoid it. And when it gets too much for us, then we can put it all behind us and go to the mall.