September 11, 2001

Another year goes by and it’s hard to pin down much progress. I try to support what our country is doing and understand the bigger strategy at work, but the reports don’t make it easy.

We seem to be running around shooting the wrong people for the wrong reasons. Iraq had no WMD and sparked an immensely expensive full force response. It’s so expensive that we’ll be paying for it for generations to come. Yet we still depend too much on oil with nary a single step taken toward reducing that. Our oil-money-backed president can’t find it anywhere in his makeup to suggest more fuel-efficient cars. Such a suggestion might reduce his re-election war chest.

Meanwhile, North Korea has boldly shouted that it’s making nuclear weapons. No CIA briefings required here. Nothing to get mixed up. No crossed signals to explain later. Just a good old fashioned press release to the world from the craziest country on Earth. Our response? Well, let’s just say the Bush doctrine of pre-emptive war went out the window along with the budget surplus. Suddenly, our drop-bombs policy turned into diplomacy and we’re TALKING to the admitted makers of nuclear weapons. Bomb where there are no weapons; talk where there are known weapons. That’s coherent.

On taxes things are looking up, that is if you’re located in the uppermost portion of the income scale. Millionaires rejoice! You’ll pay much less in taxes than you did in the past. Poor folks will stay poor and probably a larger portion will become poor, what with the jobless recovery and the need for the middle class to support all the misdirected military activity.

I wrote a year ago that it was hard to live in Japan on the anniversary of September 11. I still think it is, but not for the same reasons. Last year I felt that the whole world was against the U.S. and I was relieved to find a pro-U.S. voice in the Japanese crowd. The story is touching and worth a read.

This year I feel sad for a different reason. The damage that the terrorists did to America was relatively small, not counting the human tragedy for which there is no measure. But the damage that America has done and continues to do to itself is enormous and getting bigger by the day.

Here’s hoping for better times.

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