Matt Zeitlin’s post on 9/11 is top notch, and I recommend that you read it. Here’s an excerpt:
One would hope that America’s size, strength and influence would breed a certain sense of responsibility and humility, an awareness of how our actions affect the entire world, for good as well as evil. Instead, we had a political class intent on war and the nullification of our the principles that are the supposed bedrock of our nation. Instead of tempering our anger and fear and distrust, they played on it.
The media and the public, instead of being wary of demagogues who use times of fear to advance nefarious ends, were enthralled with the idea of projecting power and strength, with little care for the consequences we’d bring upon ourselves or inflict on to others. We were hurt and humiliated, but not chastened.
I’m not particularly good at writing memorials or tributes, but I agree with Matt’s basic sentiment. So, in honor of those who lost their lives on 9/11, as well as the countless Americans, Afghans and Iraqis who have lost their lives since, here is a particularly pertinent quote from Reinhold Niebuhr:
For if we should perish, the ruthlessness of the foe would be only the secondary cause of the disaster. The primary cause would be that the strength of a great nation was directed by eyes too blind to see all the hazards of the struggle; and the blindness would be induced not by some accident of nature or history but by hatred and vainglory.