On this day sixteen years ago, I stopped at the candy store on my way back from a walk on the beach when I heard the news. I saw the towers fall on a tiny CRT TV hanging from the ceiling, and the first thing I did was go home to my family because I thought if we weren't all going to die in atomic fire before the end of the day it would look weird if I didn't make the effort to be with them before the missiles hit and we all died.
It was a completely real possibility, you understand. My first thought, long before I thought about the people in the planes and in the towers who died in front of me, was "The Americans are going to start a nuclear war over this. They're going to kill us all."
I would have made a great General in those days, with my strategic mind easily deprioritizing the unintuitive complexities of empathy in favor of observing, evaluating and taking effective action.
But of course the nukes didn't happen, never would have happened. That fear came from a place of not knowing how international politics tend to favor more nuanced approaches than "Do nothing" or "Nuke it until it glows". What they did, if you remember, was basically ruin the concept of heavier-than-air flight forever, in the name of ensuring no one would steal an airplane and launch it into a soft target again. It's like God's covenant with Noah, when He promises not to kill everyone in the world with floods again, except instead of a rainbow now flying is so unpleasant no one wants to do it. It's not hijackers we fear, but being thrown off our flight and having a stranger stick their fist up our butt for no reason at all.
9/11 was the most successful terrorist attack the world has seen so far, in terms of what the terrorists wanted. WENA hates and fears Muslims to such a degree an incompetent jackass was made leader of the most economically and militarily powerful nation in the world on the promise of erasing the "grey zone" - the most evil thing in the world according to Daesh, the concept of Muslisms and non-Muslims living side by side in peace.
And we continue to give Daesh and their friends more and more power, to limit our lives, to decide for us what we should be allowed to do, who we should be allowed to be, where we should be allowed to go.
We elect men who work to make us uneducated and afraid, and then we act outraged that we have learned nothing.