You may ask where I get my ideas for these weekly blogs. The answer is mostly from something I’ve recently heard, read, or experienced. In the case of this blog, it’s a matter of something I’ve just read, in fact, of two things. Let me explain. One of the periodicals I subscribe to is The Economist. Generally, I read just the editorials—what the Brits call “leaders”—and maybe one or two of the articles if something happens to strike my fancy. The day is just too short for more, I rationalize. The issue of September 11th-17th 2021, however, caused me to read more. Based on the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, DC, it is titled “9/11—America Then and Now.” The issue attempts to weigh the relative plusses and minuses of the United States’ response to what some consider its second Pearl Harbor. After all, unlike many other countries, the U.S. has managed to avoid attacks on its own sovereign territory and citizens since its two wars with England some 200+ years ago. I’ll tell you about the second thing I read in a minute...
In general, the Economist writers argue, the lives and treasure America spent on George W. Bush’s War on Terror were not worth the outcomes produced. Basically, the Middle East is still a mess. Our final withdrawal from Afghanistan, moreover, reminded many of us old enough to remember it of our disastrous leave-taking from Vietnam. When will we ever learn? When will we ever learn? Now, as some experts have been saying, the Taliban 2.0 doesn’t strike them as all that different from the religious fanatics who ruled there a generation ago. One is minded of the foolish gardener who pulls out weeds from above ground rather than from the root.
Another Economist article, though, is called “Renaissance Town—How, after 9/11, New York Built Back Better.” George Herbert (d. 1633), the British metaphysical poet, is known for saying, “Living well is the best revenge.” So, my other source was 27D in today’s crossword puzzle. The hint was “get even for.” The six-letter answer was avenge. While the second President Bush’s 9/11 response was to go after “the Axis of Evil,” the City of New York chose to undergo what I would call “rebuilding therapy.” It simply made Lower Manhattan a more beautiful, inviting, and lived-in space than it had ever been since the time of the Dutch colony, Nieuwe Amsterdam. Now for example people don’t just work there in a few money-oriented industries. There are actually families living there, pushing prams, walking dogs, and shopping in local stores. “W” would sometimes remark that he had become a Bible-believing Christian. Well and good, but it seems that he overlooked Romans 12:19 and Hebrews 10:30, not to mention Deuteronomy 32:35. A modern translation of the first two reads, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” (ESV) When the USA attempts to play God, it forgets that the job is already taken!