At the White House today, with little fanfare beyond an executive order posted on a website, President Obama performed another annual ritual -- extending the so-called "national emergency" that was caused by the 9/11 attack for one more year:As memorable and as meaningful as the 9/11 attacks were, they were also 14 years ago. That puppy that I sat under a tree with, Rosie, grew up, grew old and died last year -- we have a new red golden puppy, Daisy, now. And my little, impressionable kids?...one graduated college in June and the other is a junior. More to the point, virtually all the al-Qaeda leadership who planned the 9/11 attacks are dead or in custody, and while the long convoluted plotline of post 9/11 war and conflict has created an ongoing mess in the Middle East, any lingering threat to what was billed "the homeland" -- and the vigilance needed to stop it -- is in a much, much better place than it was in 2001.
The terrorist threat that led to the declaration on September 14, 2001, of a national emergency continues. For this reason, I have determined that it is necessary to continue in effect after September 14, 2015, the national emergency with respect to the terrorist threat.
So what good comes of declaring a "national emergency," year after year? The practical impact is -- hopefully -- limited, but the psychological impact, that America is still a nation governed by fear, is demoralizing. We should also, at the stage, end the authorization of military force that was enacted after 9/11, and has been used to justify all sorts of military conflicts, drone strikes, etc., that have nothing to do with al-Qaeda and the 2001 attack.
But stopping these one-year "emergency" declarations should be a no-brainer. Saying that we're still living in an emergency -- after nearly a generation -- is an annual moral victory for the terrorists. Sept. 11, 2016, will be President Obama's last 9/11 anniversary in office. He can respect the memory of the dead, and our national spirit, by keeping his pen in his desk drawer that day.
Friday, September 11, 2015
The permanent emergency
Well said, Will Bunch: