Wars on two fronts will have cost the nation’s tax payers more than $2.5 billion over the last decade, not to mention certain custodial costs that will surely be incurred. Citizens will never again take the mundane for granted. Events such as marathons, civic functions, and sporting events now require armed security. Air travel entails invasive body searches and scans. The motto of the day is now “see something, say something” as the Department of Homeland Security, the largest government bureaucracy in country’s history, has enlisted us all as citizen soldiers.
Policy decisions to extend the Patriot Act have also led to some unintended recent consequences and some future issues that will need to be addressed. Internet surveillance by the National Security Agency (NSA) seems to have overstepped its boundaries, capturing much more than suspected terrorist chatter. While the looming specter of unmanned surveillance aircraft use by law enforcement and other agencies yet unnamed, have officials at the ACLU twitching in unison.
While many Americans now paint, in broad strokes, the landscape of September 11, 2001, capturing faded images of collapsing buildings, distraught families, endless flag-draped coffins and funeral processionals, for me, it continues to evoke a gut-wrenching feeling of helplessness. Granted we have undoubtedly improved our country’s situational awareness and have reportedly thwarted dozens of potentially deadly terrorist threats. Cities like New York have been the beneficiaries of millions of DHS funding dollars to expand security video surveillance and harden vulnerable infrastructure with elaborate security technology.
Physically our nation is perhaps more secured than at any time in our history. Yet the fact that some national media would rather not expose us to visceral reminders of that day only serves to diminish the event and cheapen the lives lost. We need to remember. We must remember.