Every year, I'm surprised by the way it still punches me in the gut. I was closer to 9/11 than most people: just out of business school, huge numbers of my friends and classmates were working down there. I was living with my parents a few miles uptown. And of course, I ended up working at the disaster recovery site for almost a year. I knew a number of people who died, including someone I dated. When I watch the President and the First Lady standing, hands over hearts, as Taps is played, it is of them that I think . . . and the thousands of faces that were posted on flyers all over downtown, all of them beaming out happy and unknowing from their snapshots.
The rage for revenge, though, has abated, at least on my part. Capturing Osama will not give any of those people another breath. I care only insofar as it helps us prevent another attack, either because we cripple Al Qaeda, or pour encourager les autres. Will we? Unlikely, but maybe. I'm told that the Taliban's popularity is waning rapidly in Pakistan, thanks to some ill-thought-out attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team, and a horrifying video of Taliban members beating a girl in Swat. On the other hand, I'm not really convinced that he isn't dead. So Al Qaeda gets its propaganda victory. On the other hand, we got eight years free of terrorist attacks.