I still very vividly remember driving from Bethesda to College Park for one of my first days at the University of Maryland back in fall 2001. I had been listening to the CD and but decided to listen to the radio for a while. At that point, only one plane had struck and there was a great deal of confusion about what was going on. Not surprisingly given the strike on the Pentagon, people inside the beltway went into total freakout mode in the following days and months. I suppose in some sense they've never left that state of mind.
It is good to commemorate the deaths of the innocent who died that day.
It is even better to draw the right lessons from the events of that day and that is something I fear we have not done. The lesson is not, as some on the right would have it, that we have to start some sort of new crusade against Islam, which is somehow, in their view, especially violent among religions. I am old enough to remember Protestants and Catholics shooting and blowing each other up in Northern Ireland and, if one goes back further, and not all that far, to find organized Christianity being waist-deep in violence. At the same time, I do not agree with those who wring their hands and worry that somehow 9/11 was a penalty for our not being nice enough or not celebrating diversity enough here at home. Mark Steyn pillories this view.
I am in fact very sympathetic to Radley Balko's view that by spending our lives and treasure on pointless wars of choice, as well as trading in so many of our domestic liberties, we have let the enemies of modernism and freedom win an undeserved victory.
Who was my favorite student this term?
9 months ago