I feel for you Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, I really do. Israel is getting its ass bombed off and you are understandably upset, which makes it all the more surprising that your objection to the FAA’s no-fly advisory for Ben Gurion is such a big item on your agenda.
Ben Gurion is admittedly the safest airport in the world. El Al is the safest airline. Hell, they even have missile countermeasures — though your spokespeople usually don’t explain they are for different kinds of missiles than those from the Hamas Air Force and not nearly as effective as your average military airplane’s.
Shocking confession here: 9/11 doesn’t invoke strong empathy in me. I recognize the terrible toll and untold acts of humanity, heroism, and charity. If ever there was a day that showed humanity at its best and worst, it’s 9/11. We should honor the sacrifices and shared sense of loss, but I primarily see 9/11 as the beginning of the most disturbing trend in my country during my lifetime.
As a coldly practical matter, 9/11 wasn’t an unknown act of violence. More people have died before. The violence wasn’t any worse, and in some cases, not as bad as your garden variety war. Almost every other country had already come to know terrorism as a common event even as Americans lived a delusion that it couldn’t happen here. Sure, we saw it on live TV, which made it more visceral and noticeable, but as violence it was distressfully common. That’s what makes America’s reaction to it so surrealistically wrong.
Before 9/11, George W. Bush was destined for a middling legacy. There was no great indication his administration would become the clustercoitus it became. His biggest “accomplishment” was a cut-em’-in-half, Solomonaic decision to ban stem cell testing while using up the existing supply of “the unborn”. When he delivered his announcement, he had that deer in the headlights squint that would become so familiar and ridiculed in the years to come.
Then came September 11. We call it 9/11. The universal emergency number is a fitting tribute to him.
After first, he didn’t perform terribly. Sure, his initial reaction was a little stunned and appearing on TV shortly after the attacks he looked harried and panicked. Who wouldn’t? But after regaining his composure, he did mostly the right things…at first.