Franklin Countys First News

Letter to the Editor: Anniversary of September 11

As the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks approaches I find myself reflecting upon the work done those who sought to prevent the extremists responsible from using this tactic to draw us into open conflict with them.

While my time with the Marine Corps began as a result of concern over Iraqi weaponry in 1990, it would not be long before my focus shifted to terrorism. In fact, by 1993 I considered Iraq a non-issue, given the ease with which it was contained, and little more than a Cold War remnant, given that talk of invading began in 1985 as some argued it was time to depose those Middle Eastern leaders armed to assist us in defending our interests from Soviet aggression. Our inability to put an end to the terrorist attacks that rocked diplomatic and military facilities in that region, however, suggested that we should do everything in our power to suppress the growing extremist movement there. Feeling experience fighting such a foe might be gained in Somalia, I volunteered for deployment there only to see the opportunity evaporate when Republicans withdrew their support.

I didn’t see another opportunity to contribute more until 1998 when I was assigned to the Marine Detachment at the Naval War College. Prompted by the revelation terrorists then planned attacks in the United States, I then witnessed the development of the color coded terror alert system you’d come to know after 9/11 and discussion of a movement that command and intelligence officials blamed for the misconceptions that were then leading many political leaders to see war as a potential solution to the extremist problem rather than an act that would fulfill their objective to draw us into open conflict in the hope it would damage us as it had the Soviet Union. Given the economic and social consequences of those conflicts, which eventually affected 80 nations, I have no choice but to conclude that they were at least partly successful in accomplishing their goals.

On this 19th anniversary of the attacks that sent us to war in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East I’d like to ask that you all remember the efforts of those who sought to prevent it, as well as those who fought it, because I fear the former were blamed for failures that lay with Congress rather than with the departments they served and because many worked on both problems.

Jamie Beaulieu

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