terror & war

The All Coliseum 9/11 Awards

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The History Channel is running a handful of documentaries today, all about 9/11. Fox News and CNN are showing various specials, all with eyewitness accounts of what happened that day. And internet site after internet site is undoubtedly analyzing and reflecting on all things September 11th. But only here, at the Coliseum, can you ultimately measure who were the real winners and losers of 9/11, exactly 10 years later.

The All Coliseum 9/11 Heroes
There have been so many real life heroes in the war on terror. Obviously any soldier that put his life on the line to fight Al-Qaeda overseas is a hero. But the All Coliseum 9/11 Hero Award is a tie between the New York City firefighters that rushed into the Towers and the passengers of United Flight 93. Hundreds of firefighters rushed into a burning skyscraper that day knowing that they would have to lug 100 pounds of equipment up 80 plus floors, with virtually no chance at putting out the fire, and little more chance of getting out alive. But they have to share this All Coliseum award with the passengers of United 93, who basically overran trained international terrorists from the cramp conditions of coach in an effort to save lives on the ground, knowing their own lives were probably lost.

The All Coliseum 9/11 Morons
It is too easy to hand out an All 9/11 Villain award to Usama Bin Laden, or anyone else involved in the attack on 9/11 or the Al-Qaeda lead insurgencies against the U.S. in Afghanistan and Iraq. In stead we issue a Moron Award to a group of people that have underminded the entire tragedy, and have fueled an unwarranted hate and distrust for the United States government that exists both inside and outside the U.S. The Award goes to the so called Truthers, who claim that a government, which couldn’t keep the Valerie Plame incident under wraps, let alone Dick Cheney’s hunting accident, had the omnipotent power to orchestrate an attack on its own people in order to start 2 wars that would bankrupt the country and push the ruling party out of favor. Engineer after engineer has proven that what reportedly happened that day likely happened. Yet these Truthers scream conspiracy year after year in hopes that one day, we will finally realize that their is in fact a Devil with a pitchfork, who runs the U.S. government from a bunker underground with a super-computer and a board full of corporate advisers.

The All Coliseum 9/11 Myth
The Award for the greatest 9/11 myth is awarded to Iraq. Not that it had anything to do with 9/11, but that 9/11 had anything to do with it. People have amnesia when it comes to Iraq. During Clinton’s later years, Sadam Hussein was public enemy number one in the U.S. and around the world. In fact, Clinton had a regime change policy in place when he left office.  Chances are the Bush Administration’s patience would have run thin with Sadam, even without a 9/11. And public support and congressional support might have still been there. Afterall, the support was overwhelming when it all started in 2003. Americans and politicians did not turn sour against the war until things took longer than expected. I will even go out on a limb and say that a conflict with Iraq would have taken place under a Gore Administration, although under different diplomatic conditions I am sure. The fact is, Sadam had been in serious violation of U.N. resolutions for years, and showed no signs of moving towards compliance.

The All Coliseum 9/11 City
An All Coliseum Award goes out to New York City for passing the highest test of divine tribulation. For a city that has a reputation for chaos and rude behavior, could there have been a more orderly and compassionate response to the tragedy? What firefighters and police did that day was mind boggling. The volunteers at Ground Zero weeks and months after the attacks were courageous and giving. The image that best exemplifies how poised New York was during the tragedy was the image of thousands of pedestrians crossing over the Brooklyn Bridge in an orderly fashion, often holding hands or consoling each other. There is not a more populous place in the country than Manhattan, and therefore maybe not an easier target for another major attack. However, despite numerous threats, over 9 New Year’s Eve celebrations, and hundreds of other events, nothing has happened. Simply amazing.

The All Coliseum 9/11 Error
I do not believe that people in the Clinton, nor Bush Administration could have foreseen an attack from commercial flights into buildings. I know Bush received some warning in an NSA report a month before 9/11, but I believe Condi Rice in that the information was just to vague. The real error made on the war on terror was made in October of 2001 after 9/11. When the war in Afghanistan first began, the U.S. and NATO coalition bombed Al-Qaeda and Taliban infrastructures, but they were unable to get special forces into the country for a few weeks, because of logistical snafus and shortcomings. It allowed many Taliban and Al-Qaeda leaders to slip into the rugged terrain around the Pakistan border. This was the All Coliseum 9/11 Error. From that moment on, liberating and then securing Afghanistan, has been near impossible due to the political and geographical ambiguity of that border region.

The All Coliseum 9/11 Redemption
The All Coliseum 9/11 Redemption was the killing of Usama Bin Laden. How appropriate was it that it came before the 10 year anniversary? Navy Seal Team 6 deserves most of the credit, but President Obama deserves some too. Much to his credit, he stepped up the effort in Afghanistan and made some crucial decisions in the moments leading up to the Bin Laden compound raid. Some argue that this was more of a symbolic victory, but it seems to me that the Al-Qaeda organization itself is finally falling apart.

The All Coliseum 9/11 Victory
The real victory is that the U.S. has not been successfully attacked on the homeland in 10 years. It is perfectly logical to think, with all the hate for the U.S. around the world, combined with the intrinsic ease of terrorism, and the precedent set on 9/11, that the United States would turn into a country much like Israel or Northern Ireland, which routinely come under terrorist attack. But New York is no Jerusalem, because the Bush Administration overhauled the government and intelligence communities, and took military action against terrorist installations overseas. Most people ask at what cost? But to be perfectly realistic, measures like the Patriot Act or increased airport security do not ruin the quality of life in America. Catching a flight or getting into a big game was a hassle before 9/11. The real cost is soldiers lives, but thank God we have a volunteer armed forces and patriotic citizens willing to make the decision to join.

The All Coliseum 9/11 Failure
The All Coliseum 9/11 Failure Award unfortunately goes to unity. September 11th 2001 was the pinnacle of American unity. On that day, there were truly no Republicans nor Democrats. No blacks, nor whites, nor Hispanics. No liberals, nor conservatives. No rich, nor poor. Just Americans. It was the moment when we all realized that inside these boarders we might bicker about our piece of the American pie, but outside these boarders there was an enemy that saw us all as pigs. We supported our president, volunteered to help, and spoke intelligently about our world. And that lasted a few years until the Iraq situation went bad. Then it all fell apart. People turned on our president and questioned our dignity. Then politics, worse than ever, took over. As the economy fell apart and Obama came into office, the class warfare started. Today there is no rational thinking in politics, nor in public discourse. Blame Bush, blame Obama, and sadly…forget the lessons of 9/11.

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