I’m not the first to notice that last night’s speech by President Obama came on the eve of the anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001, and that the two events — America’s involvement in other nations’ civil wars and the terrorist attacks — are inextricably connected. We would not have had one without the other, even if the war was the result of lies and misdirection by an administration with an agenda that had nothing to do with preventing another attack; indeed, it bred more terrorists than it destroyed.
I’m not going to get into all of the back-and-forth between the president’s critics and supporters about the speech last night; if you want to find out what they said, there are plenty of places to read what John McCain and the rest of the Villagers thought, as if that will make a difference to the actual policy and plans for what comes next.
That said, there are a lot of people who get paid a lot of money to write things in papers, magazines and websites for their insight who are reflecting on the events of the last thirteen years. I’m not one of them; I’m just a guy with a blog that gets maybe 200 hits a day if I’m lucky, and some of those are from people who, based on the name of this blog, come looking for pet supplies. You get my profundities for free, and they’re probably worth the price.
I’m not going to repeat the cliche that the world changed after September 11, 2001. Three thousand people died in New York, Washington, and a field in Pennsylvania, and countless others — friends, family, co-workers, and even the guy who sold a victim a newspaper or a bagel — were hit as well. And yet we went on. Not just as Americans (people from other places died, too) but as humans; wounded, yes, but recovering and changing just as any event large or small will change our life. As Lanford Wilson said in Fifth of July, you can’t worry about the stopping, you have to worry about the going on.
We’re going on now, not knowing what will happen. If you want to use a theatre metaphor, the future is all improv anyway.