"What's 9/11 +5?"
Randy McRoberts asked earlier today, showing a picture of a recently-hit WTC tower "What is the correct response to this? I've been busy with job interviews and thinking through how my future's going to look today to give proper pundity focus on the days events.
The good news is that it has yet to happen again in the US. That we can be thankful for.
One of the reasons that the US has been peaceful here is that the focus has shifted; we can be thankful that the autoboomers are plying their trade in Baghdad rather than Bay City. The jihadis have put a lot of their remaining resources into Iraq; it wasn't a big jihadi capital prior to 9/11, but it is now,as the forces that want to establish a world caliphate by force are focused on driving democracy and the US out of Iraq.
One commentary that I stumbled into from a Glenn Reynolds link is a commentary from Democratic ex-Army chaplain William Chrystal; he closes his 9/11 piece with
Please join me and let's be God's hands and feet, both by supporting our troops in prayer and by offering them and their families all kinds of tangible aid. And let's do everything we can to bring a new administration into office -- one that understands the limits of military power and knows the strength of diplomacy and international unity to achieve just ends.
We can also use an administration that understands the limits of diplomacy and international unity. That was one of the problems that we had pre-9/11; diplomacy had its limits, especially if the other side has no interest in playing nice.
Diplomacy only works if there is a mutually-acceptable middle ground. Given the fact that we in the US would strongly prefer not to live under Osama's caliphate and a world Islamic government is al Qaeda's end goal, there's little middle ground to work on. Israel has a similar problem with Hamas and Hezbollah; Israel isn't in a position to negotiate the terms of the annihilation of the Jewish race.
Of course, the military has it's limitations, especially when the enemy uses suicide bombing and sneak-attacks as its tactics of choice; it makes since when you can't compete on the battlefield. The conflict will require more SWAT teams than tank divisions; however, we need to have those SWAT teams at the ready if we can locate a cluster of jihadis getting ready for their next attack.
The thing that struck me the most about 9/11 was the turning of airplanes into jumbo Molotov cocktails. The people in the WTC and the Pentagon may have had a clue that they were in iconic buildings that some yahoo might want to bring down; in fact, al Qaeda had bombed the WTC in the 90s. I can remember being in Hurley Medical Center in Flint the day of the attacks; I rested somewhat easy that a hospital in a medium-sized city was unlikely to be the fifth target.
The folks on the four doomed flights didn't have that iconic stature; they were just heading for the West Coast on normal early-morning flights. The idea that civilian airline planes could be "weaponized" wasn't something only registered with Tom Clancy geeks 5.1 years ago.
It registers now. A bit of innocence was lost.