Monday, September 12, 2011

My non-reflection on 9/11

You can take a million different angles on the anniversary of the deadliest terrorist attack in U.S. history, and I'm pretty sure all of them have been presented in some form or another over the last week. I'm not going to subject you to a cynic's screed about the pointlessness and opportunism of all this coverage (even though I've certainly had strong feelings about that from time to time), and I'm not going to go the other direction and engage in emotional nationalism or policy retrospective. For me, the most important reflections are those by the people who lost friends or family, and I think the policy clutter has drowned out much of that meaningful remembrance.

That said, I want to point you to what I think is the best thing written this weekend about our national reaction to terrorism since 9/11: Spencer Ackerman's Danger Room piece called "How to Beat Terrorism: Refuse to Be Terrorized." I'm not going to spend any time going in to all the reasons why I agree, or trying to bolster Spencer's points; we can do that another time, when things aren't so emotional. But you ought to read it and perhaps reflect for just a moment on exactly what "security" means. For me, it means having the national confidence not to lose our collective mind in response to the painful (if fundamentally meaningless) jabs of disaffected hermits -- not to gulp down (and even beg for) a medicine that's far worse than the disease.

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