We Said We’d Never Forget. We Lied.
Twenty years after the terrorist attacks, too many Americans have forgotten.
On the morning of September 11th, 2001, Americans watched in shock as reports poured out that American Airlines Flight 11 had struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46 a.m.. Countless calls were made from wife to husband, parents to children, friend to friend, asking if they had heard the news. Millions of TVs turned on around the country to see what had happened. How, in the age of GPS and nearly a century of manned flight, could such a mistake have been made?
Then, at 9:03 a.m., we watched in horror as United Airlines Flight 175 came streaking across the New York skyline, and plowed directly into the South Tower of the World Trade Center, and in that moment, we all knew these disasters were no accident, but the work of terrorists. America was under attack.
The carnage was not over. Thirty-four minutes later, American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon. We were riveted as news reports came in with much speculation but precious few hard facts as to why the attacks had occurred, and who had executed them. We watched in despair as flames engulfed the upper floors of the World Trade Center towers, and were overcome with grief, agony, and rage as we first watched fellow Americans jump nearly a thousand feet to their deaths in a vain effort to escape the blazing inferno bearing down on them.
At 9:59 a.m., as first responders worked desperately to evacuate those trapped in the buildings, our grief, rage, and shock grew exponentially as we saw the South Tower collapse in a plummeting, twisting mass of concrete, glass, and steel, sending massive clouds of smoke and debris flying outward into the surrounding district. We would later learn that, after a valiant effort by passengers to overpower the terrorists, United Airlines Flight 93, on course to crash into the Capitol, crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. At 10:28 a.m., the North Tower of the World Trade Center collapsed, killing all who still remained inside.
By the time the attacks of that day ended, America lost 2,977 fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, sons, daughters, and friends. Those casualties included 343 NYFD firefighters, and more than 100 NYPD and other law enforcement officers. Tens of thousands more would suffer severe medical issues from breathing the toxic dust that covered the city.
In the coming months and years, we retaliated against those who attacked us, launching a war in Afghanistan against the Taliban who harbored, trained, and supported the attacks on America’s citizens. We would go on to set up bases in Afghanistan to make sure the Taliban could never use it again as a base of operations from which to attack America.
We promised we’d never forget, but we lied.
Today marks the 20-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks on American soil. What has become of us?
In the aftermath of these attacks we formed the Department of Homeland Security to make sure such an attack could never occur again. We became subjected to warrantless inspection of our web searches, emails, and online transactions. We watched in frustration as TSA agents groped, harassed, and molested elderly women and disabled children, even as we took a hands-off approach on young males traveling to and from Middle Eastern countries, lest we be accused of racial profiling. We subjected ourselves to ever greater intrusions on our privacy and ever greater infringements on our liberties as we engaged in security theater, giving the appearance of security without actually achieving security.
Shoes off, laptops out of the bag, separate bins, toenail clippers and lotion confiscated, pat-downs, body scans, and all manner of humiliating and irritating intrusions into our privacy and personal space. And for what?
TSA had grown to more than 60,000 employees and an annual budget of nearly $10 billion, yet the TSA has never thwarted a single terrorist attack. In fact, FAA “Red Teams,” which test airport security by attempting to smuggle facsimile knives, guns, bombs, and other weapons into airports and onto planes, succeed in doing so between 70% and 95% of the time. So we get all of the intrusions, all of the infringements on our rights, without ever improving our safety. Oh, and hundreds of TSA agents have been arrested for stealing tens of millions of dollars’ worth of personal items out of passengers’ luggage, and others for smuggling cocaine.
And crowning the shame of this all is the fact that we are now rewarding the very enemies who killed thousands of American citizens on 9/11, and nearly 2,400 more soldiers in the Afghan War.
A few weeks ago, despite relative peace in Afghanistan, and no military casualties in a year and a half, Joe Biden unilaterally decided to withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan in the middle of the night. In doing so, we left behind nearly $100 billion worth of advanced U.S. military weaponry, including drones, helicopters, and Humvees, that are now in the hands of the Taliban.
In these last few weeks, we have watched as the Taliban has once again taken control of Afghanistan, beating and killing American citizens that Biden abandoned to the terrorists. We have watched as Taliban terrorists go door to door, killing Christians and Afghanis, and kidnapping women and young girls who are then forced to marry these medieval murderers. We have watched as Afghan interpreters and support staff, who aided the U.S. cause, are left behind to suffer torture and death at the hands of the Taliban. And we watched as Afghanis clung desperately to the outside of U.S. military transport and cargo planes, trying to flee the Taliban, only to fall to their deaths.
And we learned that none of it had to happen, because the Taliban offered to let U.S. forces secure and control Kabul as we evacuated American citizens and our Afghan allies, but Joe Biden refused, and forced our brave soldiers and airmen to tuck tail and run from these cave-dwelling madmen who had nothing but pick-up trucks and old AK-47s.
It will be to Biden’s eternal shame that we abandoned American citizens, and the allies to whom we made promises, to the bloodlust of these savages. Every Christian beheaded, every girl kidnapped, raped, and forced into marriage, every innocent man stoned to death … their suffering and their blood is on Biden’s hands.
We promised we’d never forget the innocent lives lost on 9/11. We promised we would always honor the sacrifices of the men and women who spent the last two decades in Afghanistan and Iraq, securing a fragile peace. We promised we’d never allow the forces of evil to gain power so long as there was blood flowing through our veins and breath in our lungs. We promised that such atrocities would never again occur under our watch, and that we would regain our standing as the last, best hope for freedom on Earth.
We promised we’d never forget.
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