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Instead of true leadership, five years of this

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As I write this on the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, my heart goes out to the families of the victims. And my heart goes out to all my fellow Americans. We have so many reasons to be sad on this day, as we mourn not only the loss of those 2,973 innocent lives, but also the loss of the America that I was so proud to be a part of.

Five years ago, we looked to our leaders to defend us. Instead, what did we see?

We saw a President who sat frozen in a classroom as the Twin Towers burned.

We saw a premature withdrawal from Afghanistan, with Osama bin Laden still on the loose, and the Taliban (and poppy fields) growing back bigger, stronger, and more dangerous than ever.

We saw our troops sent off to fight a war of aggression, a war based on lies, in a country that never posed a threat to us. And they didn't even have enough armor to protect them.

We saw the torture of human beings, done in our name and with our tax dollars.

We saw the steady erosion of our civil liberties, which our founding fathers had defined as unalienable.

We saw right-wing pundits calling on us to be suspicious of anyone who looks or sounds Middle Eastern. In this new America, you are guilty until proven innocent (if you even get a chance to prove your innocence).

We saw the good will of the world, which was ours for the days and weeks following 9/11, morph into disappointment, and then fear, and then disgust, and then hatred, as the Bush agenda unfolded.

Osama probably couldn't be happier.

Indeed, there is much to mourn today.

But there is some good news (for some): Halliburton has made a fortune in profits.

I miss the world as it was before 9/11. But, most of all, I miss my America.

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Mary Shaw is a Philadelphia-based writer and activist, with a focus on politics, human rights, and social justice. She is a former Philadelphia Area Coordinator for the Nobel-Prize-winning human rights group Amnesty International, and her views (more...)
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