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|Complacency Is The Worst Failure|
|Commentary/Politics - Editorials|
|Tuesday, 22 August 2006 22:24|
On Native Soil made its debut Monday evening, August 21, on Court TV. It is a documentary hosted by Kevin Costner and Hilary Swank on the grassroots efforts of 9/11 victims' families and loved ones to hold the United States government accountable for the tragedy that changed our nation forever.
The film acknowledges in no small measure that Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda are clearly the mass murderers responsible for the deaths of thousands on 9/11. But their evil was perpetrated because of the aggregate failure of our government on many levels, including failed policy and preparedness as reported in the 9/11 Commission's final report, but mostly "a failure of imagination."
It was purely the tenacious efforts of the surviving families and friends that caused the 9/11 Commission to be convened for the sole purpose of investigating events as they truly occurred, to assign culpability where it belongs, and to make recommendations for remedy.
For example, the majority of applications submitted for entrance to the United States by the 19 terrorists directly responsible for the hijackings were filled out incorrectly, missing basic information that should have caused the applications to be automatically rejected by immigration officials. Yet these applications were approved, and those individuals came to live and plot among us.
There is no doubt that we had forewarning of the terrible attack that took place on September 11, 2001. But because of a gross systemic lack of communication, complacency, and unbelievable incompetence, terrorists were successful on American soil. From immigration to the security agencies (CIA, FBI, NSA, etc.) to the FAA, the failures are profound across the board, putting the implementation of the 9/11 Commission's recommendations at the top of list for necessary preventative measures.
Yet, according to the documentary, only half of those recommendations have been fully implemented. What excuse(s) could possibly exist for neglecting these measures? What is most disturbing is the national complacency that allows this neglect to prevail.
The questions were raised: How many of you (Americans) called, e-mailed, or wrote to your congressmen to express your desire to see the 9/11 Commission recommendations implemented? How many of us expressed dissatisfaction with the obvious lack of prioritizing and slow progress in implementation? How many even read the 9/11 Commission's final report?
The families of victims of 9/11 are highly motivated by their grief to doggedly pursue answers and seek remedy. Their mission should be ours, as well. The complacency that defines the average American citizen's contribution to civic life is the most dangerous failure of all.
The freedoms that we enjoy are taken for granted to the degree that we even consider giving some of them away for the sake of security. Have we forgotten our history lessons? Are we forsaking our national legacy? The one thing that separates us from the rest of the world and makes us as strong as we are is our collective commitment to those freedoms stated in our Constitution. The right to live free is ingrained in our national soul, providing the basis for our values. Most importantly, it allows us to confidently embrace our Constitution with God's grace precisely because freedom inherently values individual life and pursuit of thought, love, knowledge, religion, ambition, and so much more.
Complacency is the antithesis of freedom. It lulls even the most ardent civic-minded person into a false sense of security and inaction, especially during times of economic prominence. All those lives sacrificed in 9/11's horror deserve our vigilance at the barest minimum. There are so many heroes from that terrible day, and the only way to truly honor them all is to not forget. We remember by staying engaged in the fallout, and following the progress of the 9/11 Commission's recommendations, even if we don't agree with all of them. We pay homage by renewing our commitment to our Constitution, and living free.
We live in a time of convenient technology. We can be active citizens with tremendous ease. Between the telephone, the postal service, and especially the Internet and e-mail, we can communicate with civic leaders and each other, and keep abreast of essential, reliable information in a timely manner, all in the comfort of our homes. There is no excuse for not getting involved. It requires so little of us, yet the benefits are beyond measure.
You can locate the contact information for your legislators at (http://www.onnativesoil.com). Important data on the events of 9/11 can also be found at (http://www.voicesof911.com). While it is a difficult and painful subject, healing is accelerated through participation of some kind - more proof of the wonder of the human spirit and of God's grace.
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