Sacrifices 17 years ago should never be forgotten

It seems almost inconceivable that it’s been 17 years since that awful morning when terrorists manning highjacked airliners plowed the craft into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City while a third highjacked wide-body jet slammed into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

A fourth plane was forced down in a Pennsylvania field by passengers battling the highjackers for control.

Thousands of innocents including hundreds of firefighters and police officers lost their lives that day, at the hands of 19 al-Qaida terrorists working for Osama bin Laden.

As Americans pulled together in ways similar to the beginning of World War II, what followed was war in the Middle East, years and years of war. Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was ultimately deposed, captured, tried and executed in 2006. About 5 years later, in May 2011, U.S. Navy Seals killed bin Laden in a stronghold in Pakistan.

And although ISIS has been driven from power and its leadership killed, one-by-one, U.S. forces remain in Afghanistan to this day, hunting an elusive enemy, sustaining casualties. And that fact alone begs the question, has it all been worth it? Have all the lives, time and treasure the U.S. has invested in the war on terror produced the results its architects anticipated?

Like a lot of things in Washington, it depends on who you talk to and what their perspective is.

Ask the people that worked for President George Bush in those days and a great many will say yes. Backing them up is the undeniable fact that no terrorist attack has taken place on U.S, soil since 9-11.

Others aren’t so sure. Some skeptics claim many fewer lives and a lot less money could have been spent over the years with the same result achieved. Perhaps the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

Where do we go from here? Clearly, we can not and should not maintain a foreign policy that has U.S. armies in the field fighting — forever. That just isn’t sustainable, never mind the moral implications.

As we’ve said in this space on previous occasions, we need leadership that will bring the various sides together.

Today, however, let us pause and take stock of who we are and where we’re going, and to never forget the sacrifices made 17 years ago and since in the pursuit of peace.