After 9/11

Fernando Mendez | 9/13/2017, 8:03 a.m.
After 9/11

It happened 16 years ago, but for those of us who were alive the memory of those two towers collapsing is still fresh. Many of us will remember two significant events in our recent history. One, the assassination of JFK in 1963. Most people alive at that time remember exactly where they were and what they were doing. The second one is 9/11, a day that changed our lives forever. In the following days and months our leaders would deal with grief, with an investigation about what happened and how it happened, and ultimately an attempt to make the culprits pay. We learned about Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda and the growth of hateful Islamic groups like ISIS that plague the world up to this day. President Bill Clinton had signed a directive authorizing the CIA to apprehend bin Laden, after the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Africa. George W. Bush got this country into a war in Iraq that toppled Saddam Hussein and subsequent conflict against the Taliban in Afghanistan that continues to this day. The headlines refer to the latter conflict as a war America can’t win. Unfortunately we have a man in the White House that will not listen to common sense advise from his generals. He is a confrontational and irrational leader who has met his equal in North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. The two of them could escalate tensions to a point where they will have no control over the outcome.

On this 16th anniversary of the tragedies of 9/11 Trump spoke from the Pentagon. His speech was full of images of a courageous military ready to take on more challenges, of the pride in our flag and of the people who were affected by the attacks. Needless to say his tone just didn't seem right, his rhetoric not appropriate to the painful solemnity of the moment, his cadence betraying a sense of unbelief. Trump’s presence on any stage seems jarring and incoherent. His prideful stride unlike Obama’s is not elegant and self assured but self important and weirdly arrogant, as though he is stepping into the boardroom to announce more firings. We know he is reading from a prepared text, but he cannot avoid adding here and there his own clumsy words. In the context of the times we do have the greatest and the most powerful military, but we wish he would stop asserting he is the Commander in Chief of forces like “the world has never seen.” We know he is given to boasting and exaggeration and that is not a quality the leader of the free world should possess. We have not created a better world. The world is different after 9/11 and it is less secure, less peaceful. We are a strong nation but 9/11 will always be a reminder of how vulnerable we are. We lead the world in technology and it no longer matters that we have the most powerful armed forces. We must engage in fighting poverty and disease in a world at peace. We must use our strength so that every human being lives in dignity and freedom.

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