In case you haven’t turned on the news, today is the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. People always say the same thing to you, right? Do you remember where you were? I do, of course. (I was in my Yeshiva in New York, which wouldn’t let us leave to go see what’s happening on TV.)
But the thing I remember the most was how unsurprised I was. I felt bad about that, like I should be all shook up, just like the newscasters were saying they were. I just wasn’t.
As a kid, I’d always wondered why there were no big terrorist attacks like they had in Israel and they showed in movies all the time. I figured we must just have better defenses. Secret ones, like automatic surface-to-air missile launchers or a few F-16’s hidden just out of sight. I thought our ports had automatic scanners with green lasers and our airports had retina scanning camera technology. After all, the threat was so obvious. It was so easy to attack.
When the planes hit the towers though, all these fantasies were shaken out of my head. Of course we had no secret weapons. Our security was crap just like it appeared to be. After all, our government worked on a break-fix model, and nobody had attacked us yet.
What 9/11 and the following months taught me was exactly how inept and bloated out government is. The only thing that made me feel a little better was George W. Bush. While the lawmakers made speech after speech about how they were going to change things, this guy actually did something. Thank God for crazy Texans. And thank God for the Executive branch. Everyone ripped him for it afterwards, but honestly, how good did it feel when good old George got up there and said he would “smoke ’em out of their caves”? Hells yeah, Mr. President.
And he did. He sent the Army into Afghanistan which eventually flushed out Bin Laden and his henchmen.
What did the bureaucracy do during that time? Publish a huge paper showing why our security sucks, pour tons of money into a monstrous break-fix security “system” that routinely fails every comprehensive test thrown at it, and get 50 different designs for the new ground zero.
Those green lasers don’t seem to be any closer.