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But an America that only guards against a dangerous world diminishes its power in the world.In the last ten years, China has usurped the noun Americans thought we held the patent to—the “future.” While we have deployed troops backward, into the Bible, China has built dams in Africa and made trade agreements with South America. troops are killed building roads between tribal villages in Afghanistan, the Chinese sign mineral contracts in Kabul.President Barack Obama, according to his critics on the right, is a socialist and a Muslim. Which leads us to Ground Zero, the tenth anniversary.
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22, 2001, to pay tribute to those missing in the terrorist attacks and to protest the possible military response by the US.
11, 2001, the Times ran dozens of analysis and opinion pieces examining how the events of that day might change the United States and the world.
We sensed ourselves entering some terrible epoch, but we did not have sufficient nouns and verbs.” Ten years later, the words are clearer, as is the extent of what was lost. In generations past, America used wounds to form armies. We have become a nation obsessed with guarding our borders, particularly the Mexican border, even as ghostly TSA images of our naked bodies reach upward, as though under arrest. When American special forces killed Osama bin Laden in May (we do not remember the date), there was no pervading sense in America that the era of 9/11 was finished.
I believe the time has come to put away the ceremonies of 9/11—the politicians’ speeches at Ground Zero, the parade of children holding the photos of their dead fathers and mothers, the bag-pipes, the tolling bell, the roll call of the dead. The dreadful mnemonic date has formed a seal over our minds. We eschew the international, except for the deserts from which the terrorists came. Some Americans danced in the street, waved flags, honked their horns. What is maddening us is that the wars of 9/11 can have no ending, because we have no clear purpose, because they have no clear adversary.