Communities across the land took time over the weekend to honor the heroes who answered the call on 9/11 and some folks spoke about the unity we felt in responding to the terrorists who inflicted so much pain on this great country.
The unity didn’t last, which naturally drew sighs of frustration among many Americans.
I want to remind us of what destroyed our national unity. It was deception from the highest office in the land.
President Bush stood on the rubble at Ground Zero and told the terrorists that they would “hear from all of us soon.” We went to war against the Taliban, drove them out of power in Afghanistan. It was a noble cause, as we had to fight the bad guys directly.
Then we took our eyes off the ball. The president talked about the “axis of evil” that included the government in Baghdad. Then the vice president, Dick Cheney, and the secretary of state, Colin Powell, told us how Saddam Hussein had a hand in the 9/11 attack, how he possessed terrible “weapons of mass destruction” and would use them against us and our allies.
In March 2003, barely 18 months after 9/11, we went to war against Iraq. With that action, we kissed our national unity goodbye.
Our eternal gratitude for the police officers, firefighters and medical teams remains strong. Their raw courage in fighting the evils of a terrorist act will remain with us for as long as those of us who remember that time will walk this good Earth.
Let us not conflate the poor decisions born of deception with that admiration.