It’s been almost 10 years.
The replacement towers are not yet built, although what was once called the Freedom Tower is now rising, floor by floor. Osama Bin Laden is dead. And another murderous attack on United States soil (or air space) has not occurred.
All is not well. We’re still paying too much for misguided wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that seem more the result of a need to throw one’s cojones around than to surgically eliminate the cause of death of 9/11. See: Death of Osama Bin Laden. The smart, selective deployment of an intense and intent attack force like the Navy Seals was all that was ever needed.
We’ve also paid way too little to the emergency responders who sacrificed their long-term health to help sort through what was happening in the rubble of that fateful day when our sense of national security changed inalterably. And given risen to far too much paranoia in acts like the Uniting (and) Strengthening America (by) Providing Appropriate Tools Required (to) Intercept (and) Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001. You know this as the Patriot Act. Or maybe the Anti-Money Laundering Act.
But, say what you will, the price we pay in scrutiny, head to toe, in airports everywhere has paid off. The funding of black budget intelligence agencies and initiatives have paid off. You know that, even though it’ll never be possible to stave off all terrorist attacks on this nation, we’ve been on a pretty long win streak now. By whatever means of national and international cooperation, the good guys have gained the upper hand on the bad guys.
And they – and we – are still p-ssed.
This nation has backed itself into a financial corner in the interim by (a) letting debt product “structuring” get out of hand; (b) putting the rescue in the hands of the federal government; (c) not forcing the industry that caused the problem in the first place produce a meaningful restructuring of itself; (d) not holding its executives to account, if they didn’t; and (e) continuing to overextend itself in the hopes of generating an economic recovery.
This would be possibly manageable, if there weren’t the huge expenditures on the war against terrorism on the ground in the Middle East. But neither that war on terrorism nor the war on pending economic calamity are coming to any conclusion.
The greatest thing President Obama could do on the eve that commemorates the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks is to set a date certain in this calendar year for the withdrawal of U.S. and allied armed forces from Iraq and Afghanistan. Leave the hired hands of whoever succeeds Blackwater there, if we must.
But we have shown we can defend against attacks on our soil by defense on our soil. And by surgical attack on foreign soil.
Let’s now concentrate on making our economy healthy. And, as that happens, we can again help other economies get healthy as well.
Which will take the air out of terrorism in the long term, any way. This will help keep markets working, as well as widespread hopes for global economic recovery.
How easy it is to forget this: If you go back to look up stock prices and mutual fund prices from 9/11/01 in the New York Times or any other publication from September 12 of that year, you won’t find any.
The nation’s stock markets did not open that day or the next day.
Ten years in, the challenge remains: never to forget.
In that regard, GoldenSource Corporation, which provides an integrated enterprise data management platform for the securities and investment management industry, is holding a commemorative event Wednesday, September 7.
All proceeds will go to Answer the Call, a largely volunteer, not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping widows and children of New York firefighters, police officers, and other emergency responders killed in the line of duty.
Answer the Call is based in the Financial District. Answering its call is one way you can help meet the challenge.
Tom Steinert-Threlkeld is the editorial director of SourceMedia's Money Management Group.