I was in Kyiv, Ukraine, sightseeing with the soon-to-be third Mrs. Grumpy Bastard. It was my first visit with her – the culmination of nearly a year of courtship via letters and phone calls. In fact, it was my first international trip as a civilian. The only other time I had been outside the borders of the United States was when I was TDY to the 4404th Wing (Provisional) in support of Operation Southern Watch.
We came back to the car between tourist attractions, and our driver (a close friend of the family – the only one who had a car) told us what he had just heard on the news. We continued with our day, and didn’t give it a lot of thought. We were in the first stages of “new love”, and little else mattered to us.
Although we only had initial reports at that time, I didn’t see it as the massive tragedy that so many others did. Yes, it was an awful thing. We had been attacked on our own soil. Many died that day. Many first responders proved what they were made of.
Even so, I didn’t see it as nearly the big deal that our government did. I was shocked when I called my brother the next day and learned that US airspace had been closed indefinitely as a result. Yes, it was bad. Yes, something needed to be done. But, to me, it was obvious that the bad guys had already blown their wad. Four coordinated hijackings within a very short amount of time had to have taken significant planning and resources. I saw very little chance of a repeat performance any time soon, and I was convinced that the reaction was very much an over-reaction.
Sure, my opinion was somewhat colored by the personal events in my life at the time, and the uncertainty of when I might be able to get back home. For what it’s worth, I did enjoy the extra time I ended up “stuck” in country with my lady.
Eleven years later, I’m not so sure my initial assessment was very far off. There was no reason to close our airspace. Can you say, “knee-jerk reaction”? Once we figured out it was Saudi citizens who were responsible, we should have turned the Kingdom into a glowing parking lot, and went on with our lives as before. However, we let them win. We now willingly submit to having our toddlers and great-grandmothers groped and their diapers inspected in the name of perceived security. And for what? Not a damn thing in the way of actual results. I’ll shut up now, before I really get pissed off.
Excuse me while I go eat a pig sandwich from my local raghead-free eating establishment. Fuck the terrorists, and the politicians who let them win by insisting on doing “something” even
if when it is wrong.