By Ed Morrissey
September 11, 2010
Every year on the anniversary of 9/11, I try to write some sort of retrospective on what has been the defining event for Americans of this generation, and for the nation in the 21st century. After nine years of commemorations, though, today I’d prefer to look forward rather than back. That was my first impulse in the moments after we realized that terrorists had attacked and destroyed the World Trade Center, disfigured the Pentagon, and murdered almost 3,000 people in their lunatic zeal for a pan-Islamist world.
In the days that followed, I asked myself how I personally should respond. How does a middle-aged man with a family come to the defense of his country from an asymmetrical threat? My father noted with some disdain that after Pearl Harbor, lines formed around military recruitment centers, but after this generation’s Pearl Harbor, those recruitment centers seemed almost forgotten. But this was the wake-up call in a war that didn’t involve empires and massive military machines; rather it was a war that involved a relatively small number of lunatics with a lot of cash and a willingness to die just to kill others, not for land or resources but just for the sake of death itself. We didn’t need a larger military as much as we needed a larger mindset.