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Op-Ed: Twenty Years After 9/11; We’re Far Weaker, More Divided Than Ever

The Taliban will once again become a haven for terrorists; only now, they are far more powerful since they are the beneficiaries of 83 billion dollars worth of some of the most sophisticated military equipment on Earth. We have elevated them to Rock Star status in the Islamic world. File photo: Walter Cicchetti,, licensed.
The Taliban will once again become a haven for terrorists; only now, they are far more powerful since they are the beneficiaries of 83 billion dollars worth of some of the most sophisticated military equipment on Earth. We have elevated them to Rock Star status in the Islamic world. File photo: Walter Cicchetti,, licensed.

“Freedom is never more than a generation away from extinction.”  — Ronald Reagan     

BOYNTON BEACH, FL – It has been 20 years since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks which killed nearly 3000 of our fellow Americans and the full impact of that monumental day in our history has yet to be realized. There have been other such dates in our history; dates on which our world irrevocably changed and nothing would ever be the same again. December 7, 1941 (the day Pearl Harbor was bombed) and November 22, 1963 (the day JFK was assassinated), are two other dates that come to mind. The events that occurred on all three of these dates shook us to our very core, aroused us out of our malaise and marked the end, in a way, of an “Age of Innocence.”

In the aftermath of those three dates, the country grieved, mourned, and came together in a way that has been rarely seen in our history. In the case of 9/11, there was a groundswell of patriotism, as millions of American homes proudly displayed the flag and every other car on the road seemed to display a smaller version attached to the rear window or bumper. Countless numbers of young Americans volunteered to enlist in the armed forces while a widely reproduced editorial cartoon from that time, depicted a NYC police officer and fireman superimposed over the NYC skyline. Underneath was the caption: “The NEW twin towers of New York City.”

How far we have come since those heady post 9/11 days when the country stood united, even if only for a brief period of time. Today, the radical left seems to be in control, and we are experiencing a psychological affliction, where everything we had previously held sacred, has been turned upside down. We now live in a world where our children are being taught to judge one another by the color of their skin and police officers are subject to scorn and hate. Police Departments across the nation are being cut back, restrained, and defunded while crime skyrockets, homelessness soars, and tens of thousands of Americans die annually, thanks to the drugs which pour over our now open Southern border along with hundreds of thousands of unvetted illegal aliens, many of them COVID positive, from over 150 countries every month.

This is occurring even as the U.S. is preparing to take in hundreds of thousands of refugees while our government is pushing vaccination/mask mandates and passports. We have established a welfare state where creativity initiative and the desire to succeed have given way to idleness, sloth, indolence, and the sole pursuit of pleasure. Our previously held value system is no longer held in high esteem. Ideas such as individual responsibility, the nuclear family, religious observance, patriotism, and love of country are outdated and ridiculed. The family unit is being superseded by the state as the sole provider of succor, sustenance, information and education, while all religious traditions (except Islam) have been degraded. We have succeeded in replacing the biblical Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse with a more appropriate updated version: Identity Politics, Wokeness, Cancel Culture and Critical Race Theory.

Our history continues to be subject to revision, even as statues of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln continue to be defaced or toppled. Our education system has become a propaganda tool of the far left with the introduction of Critical Race Theory and the 1619 Project, while our higher learning institutions are fertile breeding grounds for anti-America hate. The flag, which millions of Americans so proudly displayed after 9/11 is now regarded as a symbol of repression and racism, while the national anthem is mocked. Entire teams at major sporting events now routinely “take the knee” during the playing of The Star Spangled Banner. This would have been unthinkable in the aftermath of 9/11. Our national debt is soaring and energy prices spiking, while the inflation tax is taking an ever-increasing bite out of our income.

On a single day, January 20, 2021, we went from being an energy independent nation to a dependent one, as Joe Biden, with the stroke of a pen, virtually shut down domestic energy production, while giving the green light to Vladimir Putin to complete the North Star pipeline from Russia to Western Europe. We are now reduced to begging the gulf oil states and even Russia, to increase their production so that we may begin importing from them. The signs are all unmistakable. The United States of America is slowly dying; the threads that hold us together as a civilization are slowly unraveling.

The aftermath of the 9/11 attacks produced a curious attitude among some Americans who began to question who was really at fault. In an act that can only be described as self-flagellation, there were those who determined that we ourselves were. The Bush administration added fuel to the fire by refusing to dwell on the origins, motives, and religious affiliation of the attackers; calling them instead: terrorists or extremists. The Obama administration expanded on this idea, ruling out all references to Islam and Muslims in its daily briefings, training manuals, and operations. How can you fight an enemy you cannot even name? Given current trends, it may very well come to pass that in years to come, even the terms “terrorist” and “extremist” will be deemed unacceptable. Perhaps Congresswoman Ilhan Omar gave us a possible glimpse of this new narrative when she stated that on September 112001: “Some people … did something.” Although we did not realize it at the time, September 11, 2001 marked the beginning of a paradigm shift in American thought, ideas, and opinions away from traditional American values to a more liberal/left approach.

This was especially true among our young people. Our youth will bear most of the burden of the inevitable changes that will ensue. They will be the first of this new “Lost Generation” to be unable to achieve the same standard of living as their parents. The subsequent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the disillusionment following the failure of the “Arab Spring” Movement to effect any meaningful change only added to the psychological apathy we were undergoing. After 20 years, trillions of dollars spent, thousands of lives lost, and tens of thousands of others wounded, what do we have to show for all that sacrifice?

In our hubris, we actually believe that an area of the world, deeply immersed in Tribalism, Sectarianism, and Fundamentalism would want to embrace our own value system. This would include the establishment of a liberal Parliamentarian government, universal women’s suffrage, LGBTQ rights, and secular as opposed to Sharia law. The new Biden administration has continued this mindset and even expanded upon it. In what can only be described as a state of extreme naiveté, willful ignorance or purposeful intent, Biden’s U.N. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield recently spoke of writing a “strongly worded letter” to the Taliban, chastising them for the treatment of Afghan women, while Secretary of State Antony Blinken bemoaned the “lack of diversity and gender equity” in the new Taliban government. This was occurring as U.S. foreign policy was collapsing all around him. We are now paying the price for our stupidity, arrogance, and incompetence. All of our efforts have come to naught, not just in Afghanistan but throughout the Middle East. Libya, Yemen, and Iraq are for all practical purposes, failed nation states where various terrorist groups are re-grouping and have re-emerged as a viable force, while the conflict in Syria has resulted in some one million dead with millions more displaced.

As for Afghanistan, despite Joe Biden’s claim of the evacuation as an “extraordinary success,” it was in fact a complete debacle. In our haste to leave, we walked out leaving an untold number of our own citizens and thousands of Afghan allies behind. Afghanistan under the Taliban, will once again become a haven for terrorists; only now, they are far more powerful since they are the beneficiaries of 83 billion dollars worth of some of the most sophisticated military equipment on Earth. We have elevated them to Rock Star status in the Islamic world. Recruitment to the Jihadist cause will escalate as this is seen as a major victory over the U.S. and the West. Pakistan, which has funded the Taliban and provided logistical support and a safe haven, who must be given credit for their role in the Taliban’s victory, was given tens of billions of dollars in American aid over the last two decades, even as Washington acknowledged that much of the money disappeared into unaccounted sinkholes.

Twenty years after 9/11; we are far weaker and more divided than ever before. The collapse of the “Pax Americana” has created a vacuum which our enemies are only too happy to fill. Our standing among the nations of the world is greatly diminished. Our enemies regard us with disdain and contempt, while our allies, wary and afraid, might soon seek some form of accommodation with our adversaries. We introduced and maintained substantial military forces into Iraq and Afghanistan, ostensibly with the goal of fighting terrorism, but that mission quickly morphed into nation building, a task for which we were not prepared and ill-equipped. We failed to recognize that the war on terror is in fact a low level multi-generational conflict; a task which requires succeeding generations to secure our borders and maintain extra vigilance. The very thought of this type of conflict is anathema to the American people who seek a short swift victory.

There is however, one small consolation. We are finally able to actually identify the enemy by name. The problem is that it is NOT the Taliban, ISIS-K or al-Qaeda. The REAL enemy, as Joe Biden has informed us are “white supremacists.” That is interpreted by the Democrat Party and the radical left as anyone who might have voted for Donald Trump for President. Accordingly, the entire U.S. military were ordered to “stand down” while an internal investigation was conducted to identify any possible Trump supporters within the ranks.

We now bear a stark resemblance to Imperial Rome and the Soviet Union in the last years before their inevitable collapse. Perhaps this is the fate of all great civilizations. The late eminent British historian Arnold Toynbee stated it best when he wrote: “Civilizations, I believe, come to birth and proceed to grow by successfully responding to successive challenges. They break down and go to pieces if and when a challenge confronts them which they fail to meet.”

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