I decided years ago to make a special post every 911.
So here I am, posting on a dying blog even as blogging itself dies, the victim of spit-it-out-quick technologies like Twitter and Tumblr.
I suspect these new "communication" formats, which promote unthinking blurts and smother long-term memory, are masking something important:
As the War on Terror drags into it's 14th year, we are living out some of the naysayers' dire predictions.
We were warned that profiling Arab men in airports would eventually let non-Arab jihadis slip through.
We were warned that the paranoia of endless war could lead to the creation of a Security State that would threaten our basic rights of free speech and privacy.
That warning seems less and less like a theory and more and more like a fact.
The warnings about "endless war" also seem more and more like a new reality.
We invaded Afghanistan for it's role in hosting and protecting the violent fanatics who attacked us on 911.
Afghanistan is still a mess and still hosts violent fanatics.
We invaded Iraq and deposed its dictator.
Iraq is a mess and now under assault by violent fanatics.
And now, over a decade later, a different president is again declaring that he doesn't need the approval of congress and will put together a 'coalition of the willing' to attack- violent fanatics.
What was that definition of insanity again?
I will admit I once believed in the WOT. I wanted our country to be safe from violent, regressive fanatics. I wanted women and religious minorities to enjoy the same security and freedom I take for granted.
I still want those things.
But I look around me and I see a generation of servicemen and women who are disabled or permanently traumatized by multiple tours of duty.
I'm discouraged by flaws in these societies that no amount of military intervention can correct:
Emirates who speak soothing words to the west while silently sending money to violent fanatics.
A concept of "freedom" that does not include women or religious minorities.
A constant desire to blame the west for these ills, even while begging the west to rescue the societies that cling to them.
I still want a better life for the innocent victims of violent fanatics.
But I want a better life for this country, too.
I cant help wondering: our armed forces are strictly volunteer. What happens when they can no longer attract sufficient recruits to feed the WoT?
Too many Americans can no longer find jobs that will support their families. How long will it be before some smart politician decides to reinstate the draft?
After all, the easiest way to reduce unemployment is to simply ship masses of the unemployed overseas.
That said, I still love this country. I love it for the magical mix of people who are born here or who are drawn here. I love it for the miracles that crazy mix oftens creates. I love it for our never-ending struggle to make our founding ideals a reality.
I guess that's all I have to say for this 911. I love my country. And that changes how I see certain things, 13 years on.
Not very uplifting this year. Sorry.