AVA- More than 2,000 Americans and hundreds of foreign nationals lost their lives that day, leaving massive voids in the lives of their families, friends and communities.
Our thoughts are with them today.
The Sept. 11 attacks shook the nation and the world. Americans were brought together, unified in their grief and desire for a just response to such a vicious attack on innocent people just going about their day.
In one of the most iconic responses to the aftermath of the attacks, President George W. Bush, bullhorn in hand, said exactly what Americans wanted to hear: “I can hear you! The rest of the world can hear you. And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.”
Seventeen years later, it is important to not only remember the loss of life in New York City, at the Pentagon and in a Pennsylvania field, but to reflect on all that has happened since.
In the decades since the attacks, Al-Qaeda has been greatly diminished as threat to the United States, Osama bin Laden has been killed and an invigorated focus on terrorism has thwarted many attacks here and abroad.
Unfortunately, some of the responses to the attacks of Sept. 11 have been less than ideal.
In the understandable rush to hold accountable those responsible for the attacks, Congress too willingly ceded its constitutional war powers to the executive branch.
Just three days after the attacks, Congress approved an Authorization for Use of Military Force that has wrongly been used to justify military conflicts in numerous countries that had nothing to do with the Sept. 11 attacks.
Meanwhile, the conflict most readily related to the attacks, the war in Afghanistan, has unfortunately devolved into a quagmire.
Since Oct. 7, 2001, the war in Afghanistan has dragged on with far less clarity on what the actual goal of the war is than was true two decades ago. With bin Laden dead and Al-Qaeda broken down, why are we still in Afghanistan?
At an ongoing cost of $45 billion a year, the war has been marked by continued corruption, wasted resources and widespread suffering.
Another unfortunate misstep in the aftermath of the attacks was the ramping up of mass surveillance and the erosion of our civil liberties.
On Oct. 26, 2001, President Bush signed the infamous USA PATRIOT Act, which provided the government with sweeping surveillance powers, trampling the Fourth Amendment protections of Americans.
Since that Sept. 11, Americans have become accustomed to the massive bloating of the surveillance state that has occurred over the past two decades.
As a nation predicated on individual liberty, limited government and constitutional protections, this is untenable.
It is time to correct the current course, restore constitutional limits, end the 2001 AUMF and withdraw from all conflicts that do not have explicit Congressional authorization and advance our national security interests.
Tuesday 11 September 2018 11:02