Daniel L. Davis
It’s hard to even imagine now, but there was a time when friends and families could wait for their loved ones right at the airport gate, hassle-free. You could enter a major sporting event without worrying about first being subjected to a veritable strip search. And the U.S. military was neither occupying nor attacking any nation, instead focusing its efforts on defending the nation against any existential threats. That’s the world that existed on September 10, 2001. What we have done to ourselves since that day is orders of magnitude worse than the harm nineteen terrorists ever thought about inflicting. A few stark examples:
• There was near-universal approval of the government response to the 9/11 attacks when the U.S. military joined with local forces in Afghanistan and routed the Taliban. Unfortunately, the unanimity of the support for military force continued without pause through the attack on Iraq in 2003. Since that time, the U.S. military has been deployed in scores of nations around the world, in nonstop deployments that have weakened their ability to respond to major threats. Nearly seven thousand service members have been killed andanother fifty thousand wounded in the never-ending operations; 327,000 suffered traumatic brain disorders and three hundred thousand more suffered post-traumatic stress disorder.