Below are several Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Sunday, September 11, 2011. First, however, a few thoughts on this day.
Ten years ago this morning, the United States was attacked by a warped, extremist (and, I’d point out, an utter perversion of the great world religion known as Islam), ultra-violent, nihilistic group of thugs known as Al Qaeda. Today, ten years later, those thugs are mostly dead, captured, scattered to the winds, or reduced to impotence, their “ideology,” such as it is, largely rejected by the very people they were trying to convert, their objectives and tactics overwhelmingly discredited. Of course, threats remain in this world of ours, and always will, including both from state and non-state actors (e.g., terrorist groups of all kinds), using “conventional” weapons and also, potentially, “unconventional” ones as well. Needless to say, we must remain vigilant and prepared against these threats, but never obsessed or consumed.
In the end, of course, we must realize that no nation, the United States included, can or will ever achieve 100% security, let alone a total defeat of its enemies (also keep in mind, today’s “enemy” can be tomorrow’s good friend, as happened with the Germany and Japan of the 1940s). The bottom line is that absolute security is simply impossible — and even if it were, it would be ruinous economically, and in other ways, to attempt to achieve. Instead, what we should strive for and what we can achieve – with smart leadership, as well as with a public that is both informed and engaged – is a reasonable level of security, one that allows us to maintain our (generally) open and free political and economic systems, as well as our values and our long-term prosperity.
Perhaps most importantly, we should never let fear cause us to overreact, to paint entire groups of people (e.g., Muslims) with an inaccurate broad brush, to become in any way “like them,” or to lower our standards from the high ideals laid out in our great founding documents – life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, the rule of law, etc.
Today, on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, let us all rededicate ourselves to living up to those ideals, to setting an example — the “shining city on the hill” metaphor springs to mind – that people all around the world will want to emulate. Today, on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, let us reject everything the 9/11 attackers stood for and hoped to accomplish. In the end, that will be our best revenge for what they did that day — their utter defeat, in every way, shape and form, as we go on with our lives, building our futures, and looking back on those failed, miserable, angry people (if we choose to think of them at all!) with the pity, scorn, and contempt that they deserve.
*Security boosted in both D.C. and N.Y. ahead of 9/11 anniversary
*Editorial: Assessing the legacy of 9/11 (“The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11have left behind lingering compromises to American values.”)
*Sept. 11, 2011: Coming of age in a time of war
*Local firefighters remember, 10 years later
*The long road to recovery
*From security to health services, how 9/11 changed us
*9/11 reshaped Virginia politics
*Hampton Roads veterans recall what they did on 9/11
*A day of terror, and its impact
*Moment of silence will mark 10 years since Pentagon attack (“Friends, families of those killed will gather for private ceremony”)
*Fairfax County Police Vigilant in Wake of Possible Terror Threat (“Metro, airport, local police staying alert; ask residents to report any suspicious activity”)
*Washington Post 9/11 section