By Hardy Haberman, DV contributing writer
Thirteen years. Seems like a long time and yet I remember it like yesterday.
What I am about to say will undoubtedly enrage a lot of folks. But it comes from the heart, and I hope you will hear me out.
When those men hijacked the flights which later crashed into the World Trade Center Towers and The Pentagon and that lonely field in Pennsylvania, they had one intention in mind. They are called terrorists because that was their goal, to terrorize. They achieved that goal in a spectacular and outrageous fashion, and from that perspective their attacks were a success.
Americans, including me, were terrorized.
It was impossible not to feel terror as we all watched the aftermath of this despicable act. Indeed, we will never forget it, nor should we.
Now here is where I will lose friends: It’s time for us to stop being terrorized.
That terror caused us to put in place a series of laws that robbed many of the very freedoms we hold so dear.
It caused us to blindly follow a misguided president who dragged us into a war that didn’t need to happen in a country that had no part in the attacks.
It caused us to set up a secret surveillance network that rivals the old KGB but with half the efficiency.
It caused us to doubt our fellow citizens’ patriotism, simply because their religion or their manner of dress might be different than our own.
It caused us to imprison without charges hundreds of foreign nationals as “enemy combatants” with no clue as to how they would be tried or what they would be charged with.
It caused us to spend billions of dollars on half-baked security measures that do little to improve our safety and everything to reduce our privacy.
It sent us into a decade of doubt, suspicion and misdirected anger.
If that is not the result they sought, I don’t know what is. They succeeded with three of their flying bombs and the fourth was stopped only by the heroism of American citizens like you and me.
Its time we got back on track and stopped being terrorized. We need to stop behaving like scared rabbits and start behaving like those brave folks on United Flight 93. We need to stand up and realize that the world is a dangerous place, but we cannot sacrifice our freedom for security. We need to realize that each of us could be called on to defend our country at any time, but we do not need to militarize our country to do it.
We can be cautious without being paranoid. We can be vigilant without being militarized. We can reclaim our freedom and live life to the fullest without looking over our shoulder every few seconds fearing another attack.
I feel pretty sure there may be other attacks. That genii is out of the bottle. It is the world we live in today.
We cannot isolate ourselves any longer, but we can improve the quality of our lives and our freedom.
Until we do that, the terrorists win.