We spent our day under blue skies in Vancouver, Washington. Extreme clear, with Mt. St. Helens or Mt. Hood etched on the horizon when we topped a ridge.
Seven years ago was another extreme clear day. Waking not to oldies, but to "Ladies and Gentlemen, the South Tower of the World Trade Center has just collapsed." Not a joke. Turn on the tube. Plane into building. Two planes. Slo mo. Full speed. Towers. People. Falling, falling. Over, and over, and over and over. The skies blue, and quiet, on the SFO approach path. We're at war.
In seven years, they haven't touched us again. It's not an accident. We took the fight to Al Qaeda, closed with the enemy. Kicked them out of Kabul, tore up their networks, sucked them in and killed them. Whatever mistakes we made in Iraq, they made worse, and showed their murderous intent to Muslims as well as the West.
We've won in Iraq. What did we win? We don't know yet. Iraqis, Arabs and Muslims will tell us, that's the only way it can be. We do know we'll never fight such a campaign again. The political will to fight slowly and carefully is exhausted. And if the attempt to build a strategic backfire in the Arab and Muslim worlds fails, then come another extreme clear day, it will be war to the knife.
They are still out there. The weakened government of Pakistan offers sanctuary to the Taliban and Al Qaeda, willingly or not. And we're over the border after them, admitted or not. Iran still perseveres in building a Bomb, and Russia plays with that fire thinking it can escape being burnt. The next administration will get to figure out how to take up where Jimmy Carter left off.
The scars are deep on our own body politic. The enemy used our own media - some willing - against our civilization. The Fourth Estate is debauched and debilitated. Our citizenry will now be informed through the Internet. What will that do to the Republic? We do not know. We talk of some form of civil war - can the center hold?