So it's the tenth anniversary of September 11th. And, as there should be, there's plenty of coverage in the US about it. That was a huge day for the US. I could tell you about where I was that day, or what I felt, like lots of Americans are doing right now. But instead of talking about how that one day changed us, I wish we'd acknowledge better how our actions the last ten years have changed the world, especially the Middle East and Central Asia.
I'd have hoped, ten years ago, that by now Americans would know more about the Middle East and Central Asia. We do know a little more, but it's only the most superficial of information- where the bad guys live and whom we're fighting. We know very little about the people whose lives we've turned upside down, about the way they live, what they consider a good government, and what we can do to help create and support good government in the Middle East and especially Central Asia.
We've had the focus in the wrong place nearly all this time. We wanted to stomp out all the bad guys (remember how we celebrated just a few months ago when the biggest bad guy of all was killed? and how we cheered when Saddam Hussein was captured?), but I doubt Americans are safer as a result.
And I certainly don't think these last ten years have created a positive legacy in the Middle East and Central Asia. It's unfortunate we haven't cared more about that.