Exactly 13 years ago today, on Sept. 10, 2001, the United States was blissfully marking time in a relative phase of innocence during our then 225-year history.
President George W. Bush was in Florida that Monday to lend support to a reading education initiative the next day, Sept. 11, 2001. The Yankee game with the Boston Red Sox was rained out. The Dow rallied to break about even.
One of the major stories in the news Sept. 10 was the sighting of sharks off the Mid-Atlantic coast. Having once lived in Virginia Beach, Va., I followed the shark stories and sightings closely.
I never gave those predators another thought at dawn when I saw the world explode on my TV the next day. The sharks of terror were released in the skies above New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania. And they haunt us still.
I am curious what President Barack Obama will have to say at 7 p.m. tonight (Mountain Time) when he addresses the nation about ISIL, ISIS — however you want to refer to our latest terrorist enemies.
To my knowledge, President Obama has never acknowledged the “War on Terror” that President Bush thought he was fighting during his two terms. Nonetheless, Obama and these United States are the enemy of somebody who uses ideology-fueled terror and death and slaughter to get our attention.
Whatever Obama ends up saying tonight, tomorrow will be the 13th anniversary of 9-11, an awful date burned with a hot poker of shock and horror into our national psyche.
A year ago Obama wanted punitive air strikes to bring some justice to Syrian bad guys who still slaughter their political foes. Most Americans wanted nothing to do with it as we were extricating ourselves from other Middle East trouble spots. There is a multifront crisis today, from Eastern Europe to North Korea to the North China Sea.
The Islamic State, which knows no borders, seems to be egging for a fight — and not just air strikes. They want to rattle us right back into their lair. They want boots on the ground. On their terms. On their turf. Our generals warn it may come to that.
Million dollar warheads and drones can only take out a finite number of captured U.S. humvees fleets and weapons caches that ISIS now controls. And it’s not the equipment so much as it is the evil doctrine behind it.
We are angry. We want action. We don’t suffer beheadings well. We are wary of the predatory sharks of this planet. But this enemy is a cancer, a phantom of ideals that defy the values we understand and live by.
So, here we are on the Day Before the Twelfth Hour, on the eve of the 13th remembrance of 9-11. Regardless of what President Obama says he is going to do tonight, what should he do?
What would you do?