Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 and reactions

It is strange to think it has been ten years since the attacks on September 11th, 2001. There are people old enough to have intelligent conversations with who weren't old enough to be aware of the strange transition between September 10th, 2011 and September 12, 2001. It's almost impossible to quantify how much that event changed everyone's outlook. The fear of terrorism was instantly put into the everyone's unconscious fears. I started noticing planes in the sky. How weird is it that the notion of someone hijacking a plane and crashing it into a building doesn't seem far fetched anymore?

Ok, I wrote my "where you when" last year and you can find that here. Today, I'm going to talk about the ten years since and our reactions.

As tragic as that day was, I believe the way our policy shifted after the attacks was even worse. The way in which the United States changed after the attacks is what made those attacks effective.

Proportionality should always be taken into account by government when responding to anything. Our government's response to the 9/11 attacks was definitely not proportional to what was in essence a lucky strike by Al-Qaeda. Domestic and foreign policy underwent such dramatic changes and the nation changed fundamentally.

Our nation has been at war for ten years. That is not a proportional militarily response to a terrorist attack. Too much blood and treasure has been lost and spent in response to the attacks. Then there are the tens of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans who have lost there lives in our war. It's not a just response to what happened. Then, there's the matter of both wars being absolutely unwinnable. Terrorism is a tactic, it is not a group of people and it is not something that can be defeated.

Domestically, in response to the attack the government created a new gigantic, Orwellian-sounding bureaucracy, the Department of Homeland Security, which really has no function. Civil Liberties have been revoked in the name of safety. The PATRIOT Act is something that is damaging the most basic part of what is great about America, Liberty. I really wish our legislators were smart enough to not vote on this right after the attacks. I could see how some would see it as a brilliant idea right after the attacks, but it was a ridiculous expansion of government power that will never end*.

I don't think that there should've been no response to the attacks of September 11th. It just didn't need to be so severe. It's easy to say that now with hindsight, but I'd like to think that a lot of the men and women in government would've had the foresight to see that dramatic changes in the immediate aftermath of such a traumatic event isn't wise. Some changes definitely needed to be made to reduce the risk of another attack, but total safety can never be achieved, so the fundamental changes made are just terrible.

It's always important to remember how unlikely it is for any individual to be killed by terrorism**. The government shouldn't have changed itself after 9/11, but you definitely shouldn't. Doing anything in your life differently because of fear of terrorist attack is just stupid. First, fear is exactly what the groups who perform terrorism want you feel. Second, You just aren't going to die in a terrorist attack.

Thanks for reading

*Government never gives back power once it has it.
**Hank Green stole my thunder on this one.


  1. I agree with the bit about fear being what the terrorists want, that's where they got their name. And terror attacks are SO rare. It's funny how when bad things happen, we flip shit and go, "We must make SURE this never happens again! INSANITYYYY." And then we just overdo everything and none of it is effective, because we actually suck at learning from the past (ohaistockmarket).

  2. It really is amazing to think that there are already people out there that don't remember that day. It doesn't seem like it's been 10 years.