I'm not sure what the point might be of the editorial in the Sept. 10 edition of The East Boston Times other than to attempt to sound a solemn tone regarding the horrific events of seven years ago that we commemorate tomorrow. While that may be justification enough, when the author of the piece veers into comments on the American military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan, speaking of the two as if they are equally necessary operations, I cannot help but quibble with the premise.
The terrorists who carried out the 9/11 attacks did so with the support of Al Qaeda, which was given sanctuary by the Taliban in Afghanistan. No investigation, including those by the US government, has found a link between the terrorist attacks and Iraq. Most honest assessments of the events between 9/11 and the spring of 2003 have concluded that the Bush Administration trumped up intelligence to win public support for invading Iraq. To say, as the editorial does, "The world may dislike us for our incursion into Iraq and for our presence in Afghanistan, but at least we are going after the bad guys," is a simplistic rendering of the facts, and to dismiss the civilian casualties at the hands of all parties (estimated to be around 90,000) since the invasion began -- the editorial says that "much fuss is made," but "how could it be any different" -- is callous and ignorant.
Saddam Hussein was certainly a ruthless dictator, but there is no shortage of those in the world. With America's decision to launch a military invasion without provocation and over the objections of most of our allies, the landscape has been irrevocably altered for the worse. The US has ignited Islamic fundamentalist terrorism rather than contained it, and George W. Bush has made the entire world a less safe place.
I also can't help but take issue with the way parts of the editorial are written. The opening sentence says, "Nowhere is the legacy of the tragic 9/11 attacks more prescient than it is here in East Boston." Huh? "Prescience" means "foresight." I'm not sure what this sentence means. Also, after reading "...we once again look back," "We have no idea exactly what the future holds," "Talk is cheap. Actions speak louder than words," and about others "wanting to destroy our way of life," I'd like to suggest that, next time, we leave the cliches behind.