Here we are, 12 year later, and the open wounds of 9/11 have mostly scarred over. A new skyscraper in New York City has replaced the two that fell on that dark day. The Pentagon has been rebuilt. A memorial graces the field in Pennsylvania where the fourth plane came down.
But, still the war wages on. Afghanistan. Iraq. Libya. Somalia. Twelve years ago our leaders vowed to fight terrorism wherever they could. There have been victories and setbacks, and countless individuals have given the full measure of their devotion in the name of this country’s freedom.
But, no doubt, there is also a weariness that comes with a decade-plus of war and shadow war.
No doubt that is why, when President Barack Obama spoke this week about a strike in Syria in response to that civil-war ravaged country’s use of chemical weapons, so many spoke against it.
We can understand that feeling. Many are thinking “When does it all end?”
No doubt many can’t forget friends, neighbors, and loved ones who have sacrificed so much. Soldiers and families whose lives will never be the same, changed forever because of war in a distant land. Why on earth should we ever want to add yet another Mideast country to the list of places where the US military will fight, and most certainly some will sacrifice their lives.
But, it’s hard to forget those images of the men, women, and children of Syria who died two weeks ago, killed by poison gas allegedly launched by their own countrymen, perhaps ordered by the Syrian dictator himself. Many around the world have been shocked and heartbroken over the news.
It’s just amazing that in this era of purported enlightenment, when advances in communications, art, and science have made the world a much smaller place, men still rain down terror on their neighbors and countrymen. The question for us here in the United States is, do we want or need to be part of that terror?
Are there solutions to the Syrian mess? Yes, but unfortunately many of them would require more violence. Is attacking Syria with an outside force the best solution? Probably not. The United States needs to find a way to funnel the universal indignation of the world over the chemical attacks into a unified, multinational response, not go it alone.
Twelve years ago this country made a collective vow to never forget those who died so needlessly on September 11. And we should not forget those who died so needlessly in Syria, either. But, we are worn down by war. There have to be other options, other ways. Bombs can’t be the answer.