Every year on this date, we have numerous poignant reminders of the fact that, in the age of modern terrorism, we are no longer safe from mass destruction based on the strength of our military or our location between two enormous oceans. We learned, fourteen years ago on this day, that we are facing a determined enemy that is capable of wreaking enormous havoc here in the homeland, murdering thousands of our fellow citizens using only rudimentary tools and weapons. And so we say, on this day every year, “We will never forget.”
But the truth, of course, is that we have already forgotten.
This year, we are reminded of how much 9/11 has faded from our memory in an especially pointed way as we observe that we are en route, as a country, to giving the Iranian regime $100 billion in cash that we know for an absolute fact will largely find its way into the hands of terrorist groups. Forget, for a moment, that we are likely setting the Iranian regime itself on the path to creating a nuclear weapon. The most basic truth of 9/11 was that a little bit of money and training in the hands of determined people is a deadly combination.
And we have forgotten it, as a people.
Sure, I suppose it’s true that the deal itself is wildly unpopular with the American people, who oppose it by over a two to one margin. That having been said, they elected (and then re-elected) a President who telegraphed early and often that he was indifferent to the danger of Islamic terrorism – or, worse, an unwitting accomplice.
After we watched the Administration “accidentally” help radical groups seize control (or attempt to seize control) of country after country (Egypt, Libya, Syria), we sent them back to office.
Time and time again they naively professed to be helping freedom-loving Muslims overthrow their governments only to see violent terrorists to seize control, and we re-elected the clueless naifs and told them to proceed on as they were.
After they created the vacuum into which ISIS stormed, were publicly clueless as to the danger ISIS presented, and then belatedly floundered about with ineffective half measures while trying to confront ISIS, we re-elected enough Democrats in the Senate to sustain a filibuster, knowing full well that they would never buck Obama on any meaningful issue at all.
So yeah – maybe, as a country, we hate the Iran Deal and realize it’s bad news for America. But over the course of the last three elections, we haven’t cared enough about that to prevent people from taking office who we knew good and well would put the Iran Deal or something very much like it into place.
Which means, essentially, that while we may pay lip service to the notion that we will “never forget,” we have already forgotten – at least where it matters. We remember in that place where we post remembrances on twitter or have Facebook ribbons or offer an obligatory #NeverForget hashtag, maybe. But we’ve forgotten down in the place where we were supposed to remember what caused the gaping hole in the New York skyline on that fateful day.
We’ve forgotten down in the place where we determined (based on our observations after 9/11) that America’s economic health was dependent on her physical security, and we would never again let a person who didn’t treat the threat of terrorism seriously take office.
We’ve forgotten in the place where memory actually guides our actions, in other words. And while most of the country mouths platitudes still this day, the evidence suggests that we really have forgotten what we felt on that day and our determination to never see it happen again. And so we elected a man who virtually ensured that it would.
And so, we wait. Because we have forgotten, it is likely that we will get another reminder – this one worse than the last. Hopefully this time, it will take us longer than 10 years to forget.