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My Turn: A take on 9/11

Brian McCullough, Staff writer

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Being only 2 years old when the attacks of Sept. 11 happened, I never had any memory of what transpired that day. But it changed my life and all the lives in the world forever. Looking at past attacks like Pearl Harbor can help us begin to understand the kind of impact Sept. 11 had on our politics, foreign policies and recent events.

“Understanding Pearl Harbor can inform our understanding of 9/11 and provide a good point of comparison,” Edward O’Donnell, an associate history professor at the College of the Holy Cross said, according to the Ventura County Star.

Sept. 11 caused us to enter a war we could not win. Unlike Pearl Harbor, there was not a particular government that we could invade. We would be facing radical terror groups that lived in secrecy, recruited online and carried out surprise attacks against civilians. You can never truly destroy an ideology by military conquest. We could not invade radical terror and then plant the stars and stripes on some barren city rubble like we could to the Japanese empire.

Our war against the Middle East only spurred anti-west sentiment and has led to terror attacks such as the mass shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando. All of this is fueled by the evolution of terror attacks from the mass plane suicide missiles to individuals wielding military-grade weapons in urban communities.

“But we have to recognize that the threat has shifted and evolved from the one that came to our shores on 9/11,” President Barack Obama said in a May 2013 address.

During his presidency, George Bush did what would become a controversy to this day and sent troops to Afghanistan to begin his “war on terror.” Back then, the country approved of it. According to Gallup, a company that pro-vides public opinion polls, Bush’s approval rating soared to 90 percent after he put troops on the ground. But this war was a mistake, and has caused our politics to become even more polarized.

“We’ve been divided ever since as a nation about the way the two wars have gone,” O’Donnell said. “It has seeped into our politics. This kind of vituperative bitterness that we see in our politics? It was there before 9/11, but it certainly has ramped up really to an extraordinary level since 9/11.”

This has caused the gridlock in Washington, which has in turn prompted candidates such as Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, who gained widespread support even though many didn’t believe their campaigns would last more than a month. Now the candidates that remain are the lesser of two evils. Gallup reported only 16 percent of people have a highly favorable view of Donald trump and only 22 percent have the same view of Hillary Clinton.

We may not know what our future holds, but we will be able to trace everything back to the pivotal day that the Twin Towers fell.

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