This week from my hotel room in Lagos, Nigeria, for the first time in almost 10 years, I watched the towers fall. I listened to the tales of widows, friends and comrades as they recounted that day. I saw footage I’d never seen of firefighters running into the towers as others staggered out, and once again remembered the virtues of courage, sacrifice and what it truly means to be a hero. And I was overwhelmed with emotion. Just as hard a time as I had that day, maybe even more so because of what we’ve been through and where we are as a nation 10 years later.
It is always difficult, if not impossible, to vanquish fear and emotion and look at such an event rationally in the immediate aftermath. It is easy now to realize the mistakes our leaders made, but the 10th anniversary has allowed me to absolve some of those sins. It doesn’t necessarily justify all the actions of the past 10 years by both the Bush and Obama administrations, but it puts them in context.
As president, your No. 1 goal should be to protect the American people. People who believe Bush didn’t feel the pain of those 2,977 deaths, or the deaths of the soldiers he put in harm’s way in the war on terror, are deluding themselves. The same as those who think Obama doesn’t care about the troops who have died in the past three years are nitwits. Obama has expanded the war into Pakistan, strengthened the Patriot Act and kept Guantanamo open because he cares, and he never wants anything like 9/11 to happen again.
We must realize that no person or group can destroy our country as long as we perceive and heed FDR’s warning — “The only thing to fear is fear itself.”